Collated from newsgroup postings.
I have a 1/2 hp motor 1725 rpm and just this week ordered wheels (8in) buffing compound,and bench mandrel w/2in pulley.
This is my first attempt at buffing and my questions are; is the motor fast enough,and are the compounds tripoli,white diamond,and carnuba wax sufficient for most buffing requirements? What is the best oil ? I have been reading up and it appears that there is more to buffing than meets the eye. All thoughts and comments appreciated
Buffing is an easy technique to learn. I like to buff at something between 900 and 1200 RPM, depending on the wood. There is nothing wrong with spinning the buffer at 1750 RPM, or even higher, and many woodturners use the higher speeds. I just prefer the slower speeds.
I starting using the lathe so I could find the best speed before building a buffing station, and have never stopped.
Your abrasives are the typical used for wood. You may get a more definitive answer from somebody else, but the Tripoli is a jewelers rouge with the equivalent of about a 1200 grit abrasive. The White Diamond is something like 2000 grit.
There is only caution. Don't overload the wheel with wax. If you do, it will build too thick on the surface and leave smears and streaks of wax. The right amount is so small that you can't see it on the wheel.
A quick durable finish is going to 400 or 600 with sandpaper, soaking the piece in Danish oil, letting it thoroughly dry (about 2 days), and then buffing with both abrasives and finishing with wax.
I think that is fast enough, you have the right compounds.
Learn from my mistake. The fabric does not require a hard contact with the wood for it will grab your 4 day project and slam it into something. A light wisp of contact is sufficient.
Buffing does not replace sanding. A badly sanded piece can become a polished bad piece at best.
Buffing is a good finishing technique, but I don't think it is the best for everything. I know there are those who will disagree with me, but some woods look better with other finishes.
I don't buff segmented turnings because the definition of the pattern isn't quite as sharp. To me, it appears as though the darker wood has been slightly dragged into the lighter. I also get a higher brightness to the patterns with other finishes. I favour either using laquer as a filler followed by several coats of a varnish and oil mix, or a true french polish. Both look better than a buffed surface.
Polishing and wax do very little to accent the grain on highly figured woods, so it is best to give them a heavy application of something like Danish oil to accent the grain before buffing. I do this with weed pots, small solid wood plates, and small bowls. It all depends on the wood and how much time I want to spend on it. It takes some time to determine which woods you like with a buffed finish, and which you don't. There are some items that don't look good with a 2000 grit polished finish.
I use Pure Tung Oil...It makes the grain pop out and then after 2-3 coats, drying properly after each application, I first sand to 400 grit then finish with 500 and 600 after oiling. Buffing comes later.
Buffing is the best kept secret around. Wax will melt again if box or whatever is put in the sun. Be careful of that.
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