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Guide To Polishing Compounds And Their Uses

Guide To Polishing Compounds

In the metalworking world, polishing plays a major role. Polishing makes a product aesthetically pleasing. One of the most important elements in the polishing process is polishing compounds.

Polishing compounds are abrasive compounds made of polishing powder, waxes, and lipids baked into a cake or bar. They are used to smooth metals and gradually create a clean and professional finish in various industries. Polishing or buffing compound is available for various materials and applications. Here is a list of polishing compounds and their uses:

There are three types of polishing compounds, which are further sub-categorized:

  • Tripolis: these are called “cutting compounds.” They are used to cut and color most soft metals like copper, brass, aluminum, tin, etc. They eliminate dull scratches and emery marks and leave a smooth surface with a dull finish. It can also use in woodworking.
  •  Intermediates: These compounds help eliminate rough surfaces and give them a glossy finish.
  •  Finishing Rouges is the burnishing compounds used to deliver high-quality lustre to finer material.

Compounds can be utilized independently or in combination at different stages based on the desired finish. For instance, if your workpiece has a rough surface, it will go under Tripoli and then Finishing Rouge to eliminate dullness and give a high-quality finish. If your workpiece doesn’t require a high-quality finish, it will go under Tripoli, intermediate, or both. 

Types Of Polishing Compounds (Subcategories)

Below are the Sub-categories of commonly used polishing compounds:

Brown Tripoli

This polishing compound is used on soft metals like brass, copper, and aluminum. The brown tripoli can easily eliminate lines or scratches (not too rough) from the surfaces. It can also be applied on wood surfaces and give them a lustrous finish. 

White Polishing Compound

This polishing compound is mainly used for hard metals like stainless steel and metals like nickel-plated and gives them a brighter shine. It is also an ideal choice for cutting and the intermediate polishing process.

Black Polishing Compound

The black polishing compound is the harshest polishing compound, usually contains emery as an abrasive, and is a great starting point after 180 grit sandpaper. It is ideal for removing deep scratches from platinum and stainless steel. Also used to smooth rough surfaces. It can be used on lap wheels, muslin, sisal, and treated buffs.

Blue Polishing Compound

This polishing compound works well on non-ferrous metals or almost any type of metal to give it a smooth final polish. For better results, use it with a buffing wheel.

Green Polishing Compound

This intermediate polishing compound is also known for its high-quality, mirror-like finish. As a result, it is mostly used for stainless steel. It is also known as stainless steel compound. This compound also works for brass and all non-precious metals. You can use it with a muslin buff for scratch removal from 240 grit sandpaper or a loose fold flannel buff for a high lustre finish.

Pink Polishing Compound

The pink polishing or dual-purpose compound is used in the initial stage of soft metal and the final stage of hard metal polishing to get extra finishing. It’s one of the most adaptable compounds, as it works on wood, plastic, and painted surfaces.

Red Polishing Compound

Red polishing compound is also known as Jeweler’s rouge or red rouge. It gives a high lustre finish to precious metals like gold and silver, which is why it is popular in the jewelry trade. Use it with a 6-inch loose fold buff at about 3000 RPM for best results.

Yellow Polishing Compound

This Yellow Rouge is a dry, low-residue polishing compound that gives gold, platinum, stainless steel, and other hard metals a high-gloss finish. It is good to apply after 240 grit to 320 grit sandpaper. Use it with non-treated muslin or felt-stitched buffs running at about 3000 RPM. This compound can be used in brass, silver, and polymer pieces.

Apart from the polishing compounds described above, there are a variety of polishing compounds available depending on the material and application. I hope this will help you select the appropriate polishing compound for your masterpiece.

Also Read:

  • What is Polishing, Its types and tools
  • Buffing vs. Polishing: What's the Difference
  • A Beginners Guide To Polish Aluminum
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