Buffing is just the process of smoothing the minor high and low spots on a surface until it is perfectly smooth. Typically it is done with fabric wheels and abrasive compounds of various types. You progressively move from a very aggressive, to a less aggressive compound, and matching wheel, until you polish your piece to a near mirror finish.
To get started you will need a set of compounds and several polishing wheels, plus a motor to mount them to. If you are just starting out and don’t have anything, Eastwood offers Item 1/2 HP Buff Motor, Buff Shop Kit & Buff Stand #13545 for an affordable price that has everything you will need for most polishing jobs. Or order Eastwood Buffing Kit #50341, with smaller 6 inch polishing wheels, compounds and buffs and bobs to mount in your handheld drill for polishing smaller and irregular objects. There are other kits for more specific projects too, and everything is sold separately too.
All Eastwood buffing kits include the basics: Spiral and loose sewn polishing wheels, plus Tripoli, gray stainless, white rouge and jeweler’s rouge compounds and more. Start with the more aggressive wheels and compounds for step one, then move to step 2 and the final polish of step 3. NOTE: Condition of the work piece dictates the steps necessary. Some pieces may only require final finishing (Step 3).
Here is a handy reference chart for what wheel and compound to use where:
*Use caution to prevent buffing through plating.
For successful buffing, it is important that the motor and buffing wheel you use are matched. If your motor is not powerful enough for the wheel you are using, the motor will not be able to maintain proper speed. If the motor turns too fast, excess heat will build up and the work piece might become permanently discolored. Use the chart above to choose the right motor/wheel combination. Different wheel thicknesses can be achieved by stacking buffs together.