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Old 08-01-2004, 10:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Does anyone have any experience with buffing metal (stainless steel, aluminum, etc) and with what compounds? I have done research and everyone has some different suggestions for polishing (cutting/coloring). Over the weekend I tried placing the stainless in the Sun to warm the parts up but could not get the cut/polish method to work correctly. The buffer I'm using is the 8" on Harbor Freight's website (3/4 speed) and have 3 different wheels and 3 different compounds (white, redish and gray).

Please feel free to make any suggestion as all are welcome.

Thanks in advance,
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Old 08-01-2004, 11:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 08-01-2004, 11:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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When I polished the window moldings for my 66 coupe, I used a 6" polishing wheel attached to a bench grinder. I used a 3 step process, starting with tripoli compound (probably your gray, but it was a brownish color when i did it), then using the white rouge (white), and finally the jewelers rouge (dark reddish). The results were quite good, but it does take a significant amount of time to get those results, so perhaps you just weren't giving it enough time. I'm not sure about the buffer, but if it doesn't have enough speed/horsepower, then it might be even harder to get the cutting compounds to work well.

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Old 08-02-2004, 12:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Having spent many years as a jeweler and metalsmith, I can tell you it's a matter of 2 things, (1) the speed of your buff, and (2) the compound you use. Warming up the metal has no effect.

Stainless is a hard metal and so you need a lot of speed on the wheel and you need a strong cutting compound. Consider the cutting compound like sandpaper. It's used to smooth out very fine, and sometimes not so fine scratches. After that, you use either a white diamond or red rouge polish to brighten it. Never put two different compounds on the same buff.

Keep in mind that you should always keep the piece moving, especially when using cutting compound, otherwise you'll risk "drawing" the metal (wearing grooves in it). And when doing your final polish, keep changing directions, it'll give you a nice bright shine. You can finish by washing the piece with slightly diluted sudsy ammonia. It's the best at removing the compound film and buildup from the metal.

I just polished my glass trim a couple months ago, and they came out very nicely.

Good luck
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Old 08-02-2004, 04:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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used exact same setup as you did and my backlight and windshield trim looks like its out of factory. used Eastwood's compounds and spend atleast 6 hrs doing it. if you need name of compounds PM me and i will hunt for it.
'68 6-cyl coupe
Canadian Mustang "Big Kit"
Pony Carb
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