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New 8" Buffer...Now what?

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  • New 8" Buffer...Now what?

    Just got an 8" buffer; 3/4 hp, 3450 rpm, 3/4" shaft.
    It appears that it needs pads at least 3/4" thick to work. Right?

    Here goes...I need the Right Stuff . I'll be polishing aluminum on my bike 90% of the time.

    I've been reading a lot of the posts from this awsome forum, and trying to put everything in prospective. Only doing a fair job of it though.

    Before getting the buffer I spent 8 hrs. sanding the aluminum parts I made for my new luggage rack with the following; 80 grit, then 120, 220, 330, 440 and finally 660.

    Then went to polish it with a buffer we have at work, drill press, stupid stuff.

    Started buffing, only to find out that I didn't completely remove one of the earlier layers of sanding 100%. ARGH!!!!! I was about to throw them across the shop before spending another 8 hrs trying to rectify the mess. "THAT's" when I knew I had to take it to the next step.

    "Most aluminum I use is just mill finish".

    Need to know:

    1. What are the right wheels to use to avoid all the sanding BS I went through before?
    2. Can I eliminat the sanding by just using compound and the right wheel?
    3. What compounds and order should be used?
    4. Do I need to have a separate wheel for each compound used?

    1.Size and type to get the best possible results, in what order, with what compound.

    Thanks for your patience, I just want to be as good as all of you.


  • #2
    Have you read the free 'buffing and polishing' booklet?
    Mike Caswell
    Caswell Inc
    Need Support? Visit our online support section at


    • #3
      Haven't read the booklet in its entirety yet. Will have to go back and do more homework.

      Sounds, though, like a with lot of the info on the forum you could re-write a manual daily, based on everyones experimentation, observations and discoveries.

      That's what I like so much about this forum, everyone is going out to the cutting edge on speed, products and finally "quality".

      I'll do whatever it takes,costs (oops! you didn't heat that) to get the results I want. I just prefer not to take any LONG ROADS to get the same quality, although the ride might be interesting. LOL



      • #4
        A "basic - must have" set:

        2 6" sisal wheels
        2 6" spiral sewn wheels
        2 6' loose cotton wheels
        (make sure you get wheels with the proper hole size)
        1 bar black emery compound
        1 bar bown triploi compound
        1 bar white rouge (?) compound

        With Caswell's 2-fer pricing going on, might as well load up on wheels.. I tend to eat up the sisals and loose cottons pretty quick and I'm just a hobbyist..

        Stack wheels if you want - I run 2-3 at a time for the most part. Spend the majority of your time with the sisal/black combo. It's gonna do the most "work" for you. I've found that once the parts start getting warm, you really start to see the shine come on. Adding compound for a second or two every minute or two works well for me.


        Wheels/compounds in that order, with proper cut & color technique should get ya started in the right direction.

        Good luck!!


        • #5
          Thanks SKIDDS

          Just got my wheels in the mail. Didn't catch your post before ordering and got the 8" wheels, not 6". I guess I'll have to give them a try 1st.

          Thanks again!


          • #6
            Sisel Wheel Raking?

            I just put a couple of Sisal wheels on the buffer, turned the buffer on and had what looked like hay flying all over the garage as soon as I touched a piece of aluminum to it.

            Can't remember, but I thought I'd read on a post that the Sisal wheels from Caswell don't need to be raked before using. Right?

            I guess I'll be moving "outside" and packing the hell out of the wheel with black compound before touching it with a piece of aluminum again.

            Does everyone feel like the Sisal wheel wants to knock the metal out of your hands when cutting with it?

            I had to pick my glasses up off of the floor twice before getting back into it. LOL


            • #7
              I've been using greaseless on sisal and yes, when new they do throw alot of twine around.

              What I did was to dress them lightly with a wheel rake to even out the strings and get the majority of what's loose out of there then go to work.


              • #8
                Thanks Stryder,

                That's what I needed :O)


                • #9
                  Yeah, those wheels do make a mess. Half my garage is covered in a 2" layer of sisal "shrapnel" right now - I haven't swept in several days.

                  I don't have too much trouble with the sisal wheels "grabbing" the part, usually it's the loose wheels when they catch an edge that want to do that..

                  My buffer rotates "over the top" towards me and I keep my part on the lower front portion of the wheel (4 to 5 o'clock position if you're looking at the left side of the left wheel, (7 to 8 o'clock if you're looking a the right side of the right wheel) to keep it from grabbing..

                  I also use my body to brace my arms to keep them as "solid" as possible to keep the part from moving where I don't want it to and if the wheel does grab, I'm better able to keep it from being torn out of my hands..


                  • #10
                    I went out and bought a buffer stand last weekend and will be heading out side. I keep my bike and computer in the garage and don't want it looking like a horse barn. I wonder if Sisal makes good mulch.LOL

                    Now that I raked the Sisal, and evened it out, it feels a lot smoother. Not so chattery when I apply pressure. I know what you mean though about bracing your self and leaning in to the wheel. that also helps a lot.

                    Getting pretty good results so far. I can read a news paper in the shine in the aluminum. I stull have "micro fine" buffer marks that show up when the light hits it at the right angle though. That's after I've used White and a loose wheel. I tried rubbing it with baking flower and it cleans up the shine, but doesn't do anything for the micro fine scratches.

                    Any ideas?

                    Do I need to polish it by hand now with something like Winol metal polish to remove them?




                    • #11
                      More sisal time will remove those fine scratches. You've just discovered the bane of all polishers... I'm currently working on a part that has scratches that just don't want to go away.. I've sanded until I've got raw fingertips and just about ground 2 6" sisal wheels to nubs and I'm *finally* gaining the upper hand..

                      One thing I do before moving to the white compound is lighty rake that loose wheel to knock off any "impurities" before I apply compound.

                      I've also stopped using tripoli (brown) at all. I go right from sisal/black to loose/white and am having very good results..


                      • #12
                        Maybe I shouldn't use the word "scratches", may be misleading.

                        Steps were:
                        Sand down to 2,000
                        Sisal & Black
                        Spiral & White
                        Loose & White

                        What ever I'm seeing is so faint that it looks like it is caused by ANY micro abrasive material that may be in the Loose & White. They are as fine as if you were to wipe the dust off of the surface, without using a damp cloth. Maybe it's just marks from the loose & white wheel? They always show up in the last direction I was buffing.

                        It looks as shiny as a mirror, until you tilt it a little and the lighting changes, then it looks a little foggy. I know I sound nuts, but it's like getting too close to perfect and not being to get quite there.


                        • #13
                          Somewhere in another thread, someone said to try some damp talcum powder on a loose wheel to remove those really fine lines.. I haven't tried it so can't really comment on it's effectiveness.. Might be worth a shot tho..


                          • #14
                            I read that too. If I get a chance this weekend I'll try it and let you know if it helps. Thanks.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Stryder
                              I've been using greaseless on sisal and yes, when new they do throw alot of twine around.

                              What I did was to dress them lightly with a wheel rake to even out the strings and get the majority of what's loose out of there then go to work.
                              you got to love the sisal... i never rake them done because they fall apart like that