A Guide to Buffing Compounds and Their Uses

January 02, 2021

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

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:

  • 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.
  • Compounds that minimize rough surfaces and give a quality of luster.
  • In the end, Finishing rouges that 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

    BUFFING COMPOUNDS

    APPLICATIONS

    METAL SURFACE

     

    Black Emery Compound

    • Removes scratches
    • Small pits
    • Plating 
    • Paint 
    • Antiquing 
    • Lacquer

    All metallic surface

    Greystar Compound

    • Removal of fire scale
    • Brings good color

    Best for stainless steel

    Brown Tripoli

    • Polishing
    • Shining
    • For lustrous finish

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

    White Buffing Compound

    • Ideal for cutting 
    • polishing 

    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
    • Shining

    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 & THEIR USES

    Metal polishing compounds like yellow, blue, and aluminum are specific for their respective applications, while other compounds are flexible and versatile. For example, on stainless steel surfaces, you can use a green or white buffing compound.

    Below, We have summarized every buffing compound in detail with their applications.

    1. BLACK EMERY COMPOUND

    The Black Emery Compound is filled with emery minerals to give high-level cutting. It is an ideal buffing compound for removing scratches, small pits, plating, paint, antiquing, lacquer, and more from metallic surfaces. It will save you hours of work and effort. 

    Black emery compound is perfect for heavy jobs as it removes rough surfaces and deep scratches and brings decent shine to the metal surface.

    2. GREY STAR BUFFING COMPOUND

    Greystar Compound is suitable for general buffing applications. It has a fantastic cut for metals to bring good color quality. Greystar compound has fine abrasives structure with medium grade consistency. It is suitable for quick and accurate fire scale removal. Best to use for stainless steel with a more rigorous buffing wheel.

    3. BROWN TRIPOLI

    The brown Tripoli buffing compound is exceptionally versatile and is widely used on softer metals such as brass, copper, and aluminum to polish surfaces. It can also be applied to wood surfaces, giving rise to a glossy finish.

    4. WHITE ROUGE

    White polishing compounds, used mainly on hard metals and stainless steel, have a more refined composition that makes them suitable for the polishing process’s cutting and intermediate stages.

    5. GREEN ROUGE

    The green metal polishing compound is perfect for finishing stainless steel surfaces. It is sometimes referred to as the compound of stainless steel. This Emerald Green Buffing Compound prevents scratches and gives a mirror-like finish.

    6. BLUE ROUGE

    The blue polishing compound restores the original smoothness and sparkle on non-ferrous metals, plastics, or synthetic materials.

    7. PINK ROUGE 

    This dual-purpose pink compound gives a finishing touch in the primary stage of soft metal polishing and the final stage of hard metal polishing. As it can also be used for wood, painted walls, and plastic. Pink rouge is one of the most flexible buffing compounds.

    8. BLACK ROUGE

    The black polishing compound is used in low quantities to add shine to aluminum, steel, copper, brass, and similar metals. If you need to remove deep scratches or smooth some rough surfaces, the black emery compound is recommended in particular.

    9. ALUMINUM BUFFING COMPOUND

    Aluminum buffing compounds provide a smooth surface on soft metals.

    10. YELLOW ROUGE

    These dry, low-residue polishing compounds provide a dazzling shine on hard metals such as gold and platinum, which is why the jewelry industry is popular with this particular compound.

    11. GOLD POLISHING COMPOUND

    Gold polishing compounds have various grades of abrasives. The gold compound gives polished metals a high luster, making them another excellent choice for jewelers and metalworkers.

    -FAQ’s

    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.