Our metal polishing compounds are used with ourAirway Buffing Wheelsto increase the effectiveness of the wheel while being used during the cutting, buffing, and polishing process. Some are of a coarser consistency and are usually used to remove scratches while the others are finer, which lends to them being used to shine and finish your work. They should be applied to airway buffing wheels by coating the edges of the airway buffs like below:
How do I prep for polishing?
Prepping is almost entirely all about sanding. We recommend starting with180 grit for most wheelsand stepping forward to 220 grit, and finishing with 400 grit sanding disks. Most polishing, for aluminum, can be polished well after prepping with 400 grit—finer grits are not usually necessary before polishing with tripoli compound.
Two points to keep in mind that as an alternative to sanding discs one of most popular products is thebuff and blend prep discs. Most users will not need green buff and blend discs as those are often used more for concrete wheels. The blue buff and blend disc can help remove dirt, grime, and rust from a wheel to provide a clean surface to begin polishing with compound. We do recommend hitting an aluminum wheel with ourmaroon satin airwayprior to going to polish with tripoli compound as the blue buff and blend disc may leave some hash marks that won't come out without a finer sanding of 400 grit or the maroon airway.
What are the steps for polishing aluminum?
Tripoli compounds such as our T-88 Tripoli should be used for initial cutting and buffing, with the aim of removing more apparent scratches and blemishes during metal restoration on aluminum. It is the first step on on polishing aluminum and is paired with ourorange airway buffing wheels.It is not used on stainless for polishing.
Our G-16 Green rouge is often used as the second step in polishing aluminum. It is paired with ouryellow airway buffing wheel. This should produce a fantastic clean shine.
We offer two final finishing compounds—blue rouge and the purple polishing compound. Both represent a show finish and we recommend that you pair either one of these final show finishing compounds with a white flannel buffing wheel. Keep in mind many of our polishers are quite happy with the two-step process outlined above and leave show polishes only to their most cherished pieces.
What do the colors mean for metal polishing compound?
The color of the polishing compound is almost always a byproduct of the natural abrasive ingredients. Tripoli powder, pictured below for example, is an abrasive product that along with the other formula's ingredients allows the buffing wheel to polish a metal surface. These abrasives are often pigments as well causing the bar color to take on the appearance of the abrasive.
In situations where similar in color appearances have substantially different abrasive qualities, many manufactures (ourselves included) can add separate pigment or dye to help differentiate the products.