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Buffing question.

Everything related to the craft of making custom cowboy gear. And a few other gadgets.

Buffing question.

Postby jesse.beckham » Sat Nov 08, 2014 2:19 pm

So I have been going round and round with buffing steel. Someone with great success, other times little to no success. I'm looking for a polished chrome look on some buckles I'm working on. I've been sanding from 400 stepping up to 2000 then hitting it with the while nickel silver buffing compound (from steves fine things, I forget the name). Granted I have been using a Dresel to buff, but today I went and got a bench grinder buffer.

What is the best way to go about getting that polished look. One that's gonna last before catching rust.
Thanks all!
Jesse W. Beckham
jesse.beckham
 
Posts: 85
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Location: Wichita Falls / Nocona, TX

 

Re: Buffing question.

Postby Foster » Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:21 pm

I personally don't have much luck getting a good surface finish with a belt grinder (but then again, I only have a little 1x42) so I try to use it as little as possible - just enough to remove any deep scratches, nicks or pits. 

I like to use a random orbital sander for the rough finish. Since it doesn't leave a directional scratch pattern like a belt grinder, it's quick to work my way up through the different grits (usually starting at 80 or so and going up to 320) and doesn't round off corners/edges like a grinder can.  

Then I switch over to the polishing lathe and buff with 400 grit and higher greaseless compounds on spiral-sewn cotton wheels. The only problem I have with greaseless compounds is that they kind of liquify in hot weather and need to be kept in the refrigerator.      

After the greaseless, I go to black emery compound on a sisal wheel. This leaves a decent shine, but can be followed up with even finer compounds like white and red rouge on less agressive buffing wheels to get a mirror finish.     

I don't know if this helps at all. The process sounds kind of tedious, but it's actually pretty quick. I can go from mill finish to a high shine in a just a few minutes. Although I'm no expert, I'm kind of a perfectionist and am happy with the results I get by this method.

Jesse Foster       
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Location: Iowa

Re: Buffing question.

Postby jesse.beckham » Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:24 pm

Jesse, that sounds like a plan. I picked up a 1x30" belt grinder today, just having trouble hunting down anything finer than 320. I can do a decent job hand sanding. Just looking for a quicker way. I also picked up a bench grinder/buffer today. That helped a lot. I guess in the long run it tough to truly replace elbo grease.
Jesse W. Beckham
jesse.beckham
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:13 am
Location: Wichita Falls / Nocona, TX

Re: Buffing question.

Postby jesse.beckham » Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:27 pm

The greaseless compounds, where do you get that. I've just been using the white nickel silver polish and the green (filibrite, or something like that). So, what you're saying is you just sand with low grit, and do the rest with a buff wheel?
Jesse W. Beckham
jesse.beckham
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:13 am
Location: Wichita Falls / Nocona, TX

Re: Buffing question.

Postby Foster » Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:21 am

Yeah, basically I just use a belt grinder to quickly remove any deep marks that might have been in the bar stock, the orbital sander to get rid of the belt grinder's directional scratches and greaseless buffs to prep for polishing. I like the greaseless compounds because they combine the abrasiveness of a sanding belt with the flexibility of a buffing wheel, but they can be kind of messy.   

I get a lot of my buffing/polishing supplies from Caswell Plating, including the greaseless compounds.

http://www.caswellplating.com

They've also got a free guide to polishing that helped me a lot:

http://www.caswellplating.com/buffman.htm
 
Polishing is part science, part skill and part personal preference. There's a confusing amount of products available and everybody has their own favorites. I'm still learning too and what I use may not work for everybody else, but there it is - for whatever it's worth. Good luck!     
Foster
 
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Location: Iowa

Re: Buffing question.

Postby jesse.beckham » Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:04 pm

Jesse, thanks you! Thy is a great resource site. Helped clear up and educate me on polishing!
Jesse W. Beckham
jesse.beckham
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:13 am
Location: Wichita Falls / Nocona, TX

Re: Buffing question.

Postby l. bacon » Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:43 pm

Jesse, I finish most of my spurs with a high polish. The preparation before the buff determines the final finish. I use shop rolls of emery cloth wrapped around a quarter inch rod mandrel chucked in a 3/8th drill motor (1/4 inch drill motor spins it too fast). I start with 80 grit and work all the way to 600 grit. Each grit has to be worked on a bias to the previous grit. Every other grit I use the emery strip backed by a file. The 80, 120, and 240 grits are the slowest and take the most work but the rest of the passes go pretty quickly. Then I go to the buffing wheel. I use 10inch muslin tightly sewn buffs and black compound bar first then clean the piece and use green bar for the final polish on a separate buff. Hope this helps.

Larry
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Re: Buffing question.

Postby marrinan » Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:26 pm

If you cut a wooden disk of your grinder capacity will say 8 inch by 1 inch thick, cut and sand to shape as true as possible. You can use your grinder like a lathe for this step. Remove all the dust possible. use contact cement on the wood and a piece of 6-8 oz tooling leather and mount the leather to both the face and the edge. Press or roll with a rolling pin. Remember to bevel the joint with tapered surfaces so it as smooth as possible, This is referred to as skived edges make sure the top part of lap goes in the direction of rotation so you don't peal it off. With thid constructed you can charge with diamond paste beyond 50000 mess. you can get a mirror finish that is incredible. You can also put an edge on a knife like no other.

You need one of these dis for each mesh of diamond or other polish compound. You can also buy these set ups from knife making supply houses like Texas knife or Pop's or direct from manufacturer These are standard lapidary methods for glass like shine- Fred
Fred Marrinan
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Re: Buffing question.

Postby jesse.beckham » Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:47 pm

Thanks Fred, that's a great idea. Simple enough. I've also got plenty of scrap veg tan leather laying around too! Maybe be my weekend project.
Jesse W. Beckham
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Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:13 am
Location: Wichita Falls / Nocona, TX

Re: Buffing question.

Postby marrinan » Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:00 pm

I forgot to mention. If you are working on a non flat surface you put a firm sponge like layer between the leather and wood also with contact cement for a little give. about 1/4 inch will do and use 4-6 oz veg tanned leather for a little give. you use the face and edge, which ever you need. be sure and label what compound goes on which disk. Only work on the down stroke quarter of the wheel for safety just like a grinder Fred
Fred Marrinan
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Re: Buffing question.

Postby Foster » Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:39 pm

That's a good idea, Fred! I hadn't considered using diamond paste on anything but gravers. I wonder if a chamois buff charged with diamond would give similar results, but it wouldn't have the rigidity of the wooden backing disk though.  

Jesse Foster
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