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Buffing is the transforming of a rough or oxidized surface into a smooth, high-gloss surface. This process is done by using an electric buffer, a buffing wheel and compounds to smooth the surface. This is very similar to using wet and dry sandpaper when smoothing a metal surface. But buffing is much faster -- instead of using elbow grease, as with sandpaper, you utilize the horsepower and speed of the buffer, in conjunction with a buffing wheel and buffing compounds

Buffing compounds contain wax-based substances which have different abrasive powders added to them. These abrasive powders vary in grit size and type. The result is different buffing compounds for different applications with faster or slower cutting rates.

Buffing wheels are available in different styles for faster or slower cutting. Each has a flat surface, known as the "edge", which absorbs the compound. When compound is held against the "edge" of the rotating buffing wheel, the heat from the friction melts the wax; and the abrasive powder adheres to this "edge". This thin layer of abrasive (compound) cuts and smooths your workpiece while polishing the surface.

There are three stages in the buffing process - coarse, medium and fine. Each stage involves using various styles of buffing wheels and different types of compounds for the material to be buffed and the finish to be achieved.

Depending on the buffing job, you will need to determine which compound and buff wheel you are going to use first, then step down through the buffing stages until you are satisfied with the results. The following guides will help you select buffing wheels and compounds.

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