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A Guide to Buffing Compounds and Their Uses

A Guide to Buffing Compounds and Their Uses

Here, In this article, you will find a detailed guide to buffing compounds and various forms of polishing compounds and their uses to help manufacturers effectively differentiate between different buffing compounds.

What is the Buffing Compound?

Buffing compounds are an abrasive compound composed of polishing powder blended to form a cake or bar with waxes and fats. They are used to smooth metals in many industries to give a clean and polished finish and improve the polishing and buffing wheel's effectiveness.

Types of Buffing compounds

Types of Buffing compounds

Based on applications, Buffing compounds come in many forms, with highly coarse surfaces ranging from highly rough to super-fine. Depending on the uses and smoothing needs, you can use different compounds throughout the process.

Buffing or polishing compounds are mainly divided into three categories:

Cutting Compound

Tripolis is the cutting compound. Here, 'cutting' refers to how easily metal is cut directly by the buffing compound. Large cuts eliminate more cuts than lower ones. Tripoli compounds remove dull scratches and emery marks to provide a smooth, while dull, surface.

Polishing Compound

Compounds that minimize rough surfaces and give a quality of luster.

Finishing Rouges

In the end, Finishing rouges provide high-quality polish & sharp finishing.

Buffing compounds are available in various forms and colors. Each of them is specifically suited to a particular part of the process of buffing, cutting, and polishing. Few compounds are rougher and allow you to remove scratches from different metal surfaces easily. Some polishing compounds are gentler and are built to give your work a beautiful and shiny finish.

The significant difference between rouge compounds and tripoli compounds is: rouges are usually used for polishing and finishing work. In contrast, tripoli compounds are used for cutting and buffing to remove scratches from the metal.

Next, You will find the Buffing Compounds Color Chart along with their applications & applicable surface or metals. These are the most common buffing compounds, so choose them according to your needs.

Buffing Compounds Color Chart & Applications


Black Emery Compound

Removes scratches
Small pits

    All metallic surface

    Greystar Compound

    Removal of fire scale
    Brings good color

      Best for stainless steel

      Brown Tripoli

      For lustrous finish

        Wood surface & Softer metals like brass, copper, and aluminum

        White Buffing Compound

        Ideal for cutting 

          Hard metals and Stainless steel

          Green Buffing Compound

          Removes scratches
          Provides mirror-like finishing

            Best for stainless steel

            Pink Buffing Compound

            Soft metal polishing 
            Hard metal polishing 
            Versatile compounds

              Soft & Hard Metals
              Also, applicable for wood and plastics.

              Blue Buffing Compound

              Restore material smoothness & gleam

                Non-ferrous metals, plastics, or synthetic materials

                Black Buffing Compound

                Remove deep scratches 
                Smooth rough surfaces

                  Aluminum, steel, copper, brass, and other similar metals

                  Gold Buffing Compound

                  Provide a high luster

                    Gold and other polished metals

                    Yellow Buffing Compound

                    Provide high-quality shining

                      Hard metals like gold and platinum

                      Aluminum Buffing Compound

                      For smoothness

                        Soft metals


                        MOST COMMON BUFFING COMPOUNDS

                        Buffing compounds are available all together in differing types and colors, each uniquely suited to an unusual part of the buffing process.

                        We’ve compiled a list of the most common buffing compounds below.

                        1. Black Emery Compound
                        2. Grey Star Buffing Compound
                        3. Brown Tripoli
                        4. White Rouge
                        5. Green Rouge
                        6. Blue Rouge
                        7. Pink Rouge 
                        8. Black Rouge
                        9. Aluminum Buffing Compound
                        10. Yellow Rouge
                        11. Gold Polishing Compound

                        Know More About the Uses of Buffing Compounds


                        How to Use Polishing Compound?

                        First, choose the most suitable polishing compound to be polished on the working surface material. Then, work with the appropriate coarsest compound.

                        Apply the polishing compound to the face of a rotating buffing wheel sparingly. Repeat compound application as needed during buffing and polishing operations. Applying the rotating buff to the work surface uses only moderate pressure, allowing the buffing wheel and the polishing compound to do the work.

                        How to Choose the Right Polishing Compound?

                        Polishing compounds are somehow equivalent to sandpaper as they are used from coarse to fine. Before polishing, a workpiece that is heavily scratched can have to be sanded down with sandpaper. When the scratch depth on the workpiece is minimal, it is recommended to start with the coarsest compound that applies to the polishing material. Then one can step down to the next buffing compound from there and so on until the desired finish is reached.

                        It is possible to achieve a mirror finish many times by using just one compound. For example, with only the White Rouge Polishing Compound, a scratch-free aluminum piece, which has some haze from oxidation, could be polished to a high luster.

                        How to Use Red Rouge Polishing Compound?

                        By spinning a Buffing Wheel on either a bench grinder or electric drill, add a red rouge polishing compound to a buffing wheel and press the compound or jewelry rouge gently onto the wheel. The spinning buffing wheel’s heat and friction will be necessary to pass the compound to the buff.

                        Red rouge polishing compounds are mostly smoothing and shining metals, plastic, wood, and other materials. It is an excellent compound developed for buffing precious metals. A red buffing compound can achieve the full luster and a mirror-like finish in jewelry.

                        How to Use Buffing Compound Sticks?

                        Apply the polishing compound to the face of a rotating buffing wheel carefully. Repeat compound application as needed during buffing and polishing operations. 

                        On a bench grinder or electric drill, rotate the buffing wheel. When it is turning, drive the polishing compound stick gently against the buffing wheel. Keep the compound until the wheel has a light coating of the compound against the buffing wheel. There is only a small amount of compound needed.

                        How to Remove Polishing Compound Residue?

                        It is easy to remove buffing or polishing compound residue by simply,

                        1. Wet an old or soft toothbrush with hot water and gently brush to remove the dried polishing compound.
                        2. To wipe out more sticky residue from the polishing compound, add a small amount of either vegetable oil or smooth peanut butter and brush gently.
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