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Buffing Pad Information

Buff high-gloss polyester and non-polyester finishes
Using professional hand-held polisher with liquid and paste compounds.

Guidelines for buffing pad setup:

• Use 7" Slow Speed Polisher -or- Variable Speed with Soft Start similar to the DeWalt Polisher.

• Soft Start provides for smooth start-ups and less fling off of compounds, especially if using liquid.

• Buffing Pads require a slower speed vs. Buffing Wheels. Powerful Variable Speed Polishers can be used for both. 

• Most 7" Polishers include a Hook-and-Loop Backup Pad for use with Perfect-It and Hook-and-Loop Pads.

• When needed or to replace, get the Hook and Loop Backup Pad for polishers with a 5/8" spindle (most common).

• If using Hook-and-Loop Pads and the Superbuff Polishing Pad, get the combination Perfect-It/Superbuff Backup Pad.

• Foam Pads - Pros: Gentle 'non-aggressive' light to moderate cutting; finishes with less swirls, if any; holds polishes longer ... Cons: Gets 'hotter' than wool, can 'burn' if too aggressive; harder to control, tends to 'jump'; does not 'cut' as fast as wool (pro or con).

• Wool Pads - Pros: Does not get 'hot' like foam, dissipates heat through the fibers; better control, does not 'jump'; cuts faster (pro or con) ... Cons: Uses more polish than foam; can leave buffer trails (swirls); more difficult to clean.

• Foam or Wool? It has to do with personal preference, operator ability and the finish being worked on most frequently. As a general rule: Foam and Superbuff for polyester; Lambs Wool (most gentle of the wool family) for non-polyester.

Cautions before using buffing pads:

• Important! Know what the finish is before buffing. Polyester - Polyurethane - Shellac - Varnish - Lacquer (Nitrocellulose) ... These terms for a finish, listed from hardest/thickest to softest/thinnest, are often used interchangeably by owners and at first glance are not always obvious ... But there is a big difference.

• To make things even more complex, manufacturers may mix finishes within a product. The primary finish may be polyester but some parts may be another finish. For example, some piano manufacturers may use polyurethane or lacquer (e.g. legs, benches); becoming more common is the use of high-gloss plastic or laminate (e.g. music shelf, keybed facings). Advice ... If plastic, stay away, very little can be done with this material outside of cleaning and possibly applying a Final Finish by hand.

• For non-polyester finishes, err on the side of caution. Always start with the least aggressive compound and work backwards, if needed and safe. Test in an inconspicuous location by hand with an Ultra-Soft Cloth. Avoid edges and corners which typically have the thinnest finish. For soft and thin finishes (e.g. lacquer), machine buffing will be too aggressive and hand polishing may be the only option.

• For older furniture and pianos that have 'crazing' or 'alligator skin' defects, it is likely that the cracks go down to the veneer level. Compounding and Polishing is not the answer and may create more problems. The only remedy in most cases is area finish repair or complete refinishing.

Guidelines for buffing pad methods:

• Buffing pads work best with high quality Menzerna Polish & Compound liquid and paste.

• Use Slow Speed Polisher or set Variable Speed Polisher to run at approximately 1,200 - 1,600 rpm, maximum 2,000 rpm.

• Apply liquid compound from the bottle or paste compound with a soft cloth to the finish in a circular pattern as needed. For large areas, only apply to sections being buffed immediately.

• Use caution when buffing, especially if non-polyester. Be less aggressive until comfortable with only the force needed to be effective.

• Use separate buffing pads for each compound level (Pre-Polish - Intensive Polish - Final Finish).

• Wear Safety Glasses, Goggles or Face Shields whenever using polishers.

• Periodically clean foam and wool pads used regularly or before storing away with a Cleaning Brush.

• For wool pads, use a Cleaning Spur to return the "fluff" back. Brings used and washed wool pads back to life in seconds.

• Cleaning buffing pads with the cleaning brush and warm water is usually all that is needed. For pads stored for long periods with compound residue, using an auto all-purpose cleaner and degreaser may be necessary. Avoid if possible, cleaners can leave a residue which may affect the performance of the pad. 

Note: Click Buffing Pad product pictures or 'details' for description of the best use for each style of buff.