Fun with a polishing wheel.... or so I thought
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    Default Fun with a polishing wheel.... or so I thought

    I'm not sure what went wrong. I thought it was working great, until I got my Lux under some better light and saw the markings all over it. I picked up a polishing set from Harbor Freight. It included two cotton polishing wheels, red compound and white compound.

    I used the white polish, as recommended on the box. Then like a dummy I used the red polish on the gold plated button (even though pereas said not to polish it) but I thought since the polish was specific for gold, silver, platinum, I thought it'd be safe to use. WRONG. Button looks like crap now. Might as well sand it all off and polish whatever metal is underneath.

    Anyway, here are a few pics to show. Under low light, it looks great... but in brighter light it looks terrible.










    Is there anyone here with experience using a polishing wheel/compound? I'd love to get some help with this. I wanted a mirror finish, but all I got was a mess.
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    PV Master ECF Veteran DetraMental's Avatar
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    That first shot is a beauty. Wish I could help, I'd like to know as well.

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    The polishing compound usually gets you to 90% complete. If you can't feel the scratches then use autosol polish first (its a bit more abrasive) then mothers aluminum and chrome polish. Do it by hand and it may take a couple of attempts. If you can feel the scratches then use 1200 and then 2000 grit wet sand paper then the polish technique above

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    No, I can't feel any of the scratches or swirls. So the Mothers polish is safe to use on this material? Doe it work on stainless steel as well? I guess if it works on aluminum, which is pretty soft in comparison to these two metals, then it must work well on SS and alu-bronze, brass, etc.

    The atomizer got really messed up.. you can't see it in the pic, but it looks terrible up close.

    I don't mind hand polishing, it's just that I was under the impression using a polishing wheel was the best way to get a mirror shine.. that's what people seemed to say whenever I read up on it.

    Guess maybe I'll try the elbow grease method again if this doesn't work as expected.
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    Blue Magic polishing compound worked well removing hairline scratches from my phantom brass Stingray, it's not very abrasive but seemed to do the job well and pretty quickly. Pep boys has it.

    i believe a polishing wheel would be appropriate for tougher jobs, I used one on my brushed Kayfun to polish out to a mirror shine using SemiChrome paste, for smaller jobs like yours to just remove hairline scratches hand polishing is the best option IMO.
    Last edited by TruSound; 01-23-2014 at 04:30 AM.
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    You did OK, you just didn't do enough. You will need to use the red to get those scratches out, then white to polish. If that is plated metal, use some caution and check your work often...you could buff right through the plating and into the base metal, especially with the red. Keep your work,moving, don't let the wheel stay in the same place any length of time or the compound will burn. Load your buffing wheel often with compound. You know you need to load more when it doesn't seem to be making any progress, and when it's overloaded, you will see compound build up on the surface of the metal outside the edges of the buffing wheel. After the scratches are buffed out with the red, switch wheels and compounds and polish with the white. This step shouldn't take nearly as long as the red did.

    Again...start with red, keep it moving, check often. Finish with white using the same method, and change wheels in between compounds. Don't get in a hurry and it will come out fine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bolivar View Post
    You did OK, you just didn't do enough. You will need to use the red to get those scratches out, then white to polish. If that is plated metal, use some caution and check your work often...you could buff right through the plating and into the base metal, especially with the red. Keep your work,moving, don't let the wheel stay in the same place any length of time or the compound will burn. Load your buffing wheel often with compound. You know you need to load more when it doesn't seem to be making any progress, and when it's overloaded, you will see compound build up on the surface of the metal outside the edges of the buffing wheel. After the scratches are buffed out with the red, switch wheels and compounds and polish with the white. This step shouldn't take nearly as long as the red did.

    Again...start with red, keep it moving, check often. Finish with white using the same method, and change wheels in between compounds. Don't get in a hurry and it will come out fine.
    Thank you for the advice. It's been over 20 years since I used a buffing wheel, so I was more than a little rusty.. when I first starting doing it, I was actually moving the drill instead and managed to fling the tubing across the garage.

    I did eventually catch on and remembered to keep the drill in one place (much like a bench polisher/grinder would be) and moved the part around instead. This obviously did work better, but I did forget about loading the wheel with compound. I tried to do that at first, but it didn't seem to take, so then I thought I was supposed to rub the compound onto the part(s), which actually ended up causing most of the marks that are on them now.

    I'll try it again doing it the way you've suggested and see what happens. It's metal.. not like I'm going to permanently ruin them. I have however ruined the gold plating on the button, but I've accepted that. The tubing is alu-bronze, solid, not plated so it should be fine.

    If I still don't end up with a mirror finish after all that, I'll pick up some Mother's polish and try to finish it off that way.

    Thanks for the help people! I'll post pics with my results.
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    In the past I've gone from where you are to mirror polish by hand. I found the wheel was too difficult to control, and it looks like you're just about finished anyways. There are a lot of really great car products to put on the finishing shine and polish. It's been a while and I know there is probably better stuff out there now; so I hesitate to make a recommendation.

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    Found this info on Wikipedia

    BLACK = Emery Compound, a coarse abrasive material for removal of scratches, pits, paint, rust etc.
    BROWN = Tripoli compound used for general purpose cut and color on most soft metals.
    WHITE = Blizzard compound, used for color and final finish of harder metals, has a cutting action.
    RED = Jeweller’s Rouge, designed to polish without any cutting action. Safe on thin plates. Use on its own wheel.
    BLUE = A dryer, almost greaseless wheel - designed to polish without any cutting action. Safe on thin plates. Use on its own wheel.
    GREEN = Used exclusively for Stainless Steel.
    Last edited by NatureBoy; 01-25-2014 at 09:38 AM.
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    ...and I want to see pics now.

    Sent from my Nexus 5

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