More Buffing

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Dean Center, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. Dean Center

    Dean Center

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    455
    Location:
    Bozeman, MT
    Jamie's questions about buffing have stimulated me to brazenly trot out my ignorance and ask a few of my own questions about this vexing technique?

    1. What is the purpose of buffing? Not, 'what's the point' with implied derision, but what are people who buff aiming to achieve?

    2. What can be realistically achieved with buffing? Can fine scratches be removed? How fine? How about dust motes stuck in the finish? Finish drips?

    3. What speed do you use for an 8" buff? A 4" buff? How can you recognize the right speed?

    4. How do you tell if you're applying the correct amount of pressure? (I too have seen bare wood show up)

    I apologize for including so many questions in one. Experience suggests simpler questions get better responses, but these are all really one problem for me. Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Jamie Straw

    Jamie Straw

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Messages:
    1,440
    Location:
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Bravo! Looking forward to the responses!
     
  3. odie

    odie

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    Messages:
    4,421
    Location:
    Deep in the woods
    OK, Dean.......I'll take a stab at this.........:D

    1. The purpose is exactly the same as any waxed surface would be.....it's an enhancement to the aesthetic visual appeal of the wood surface. Prior to using the Beall buffing method, I was predominantly using Black Bison paste wax. I've discontinued that, in favor of the Beall method. I see it as a more refined waxed surface, and between the two, the difference is very noticeable to the eye. The Black Bison was applied while the bowl was spinning, and still mounted to the faceplate, while the Beall is done after the bowl is separated from the faceplate.

    2. When I first started using the Beall method, I was hoping fine scratches that are plainly visible, could be eliminated.....but, that expectation was a disappointment. I think it does remove some microscopic scratches, too small to see with the eye. In doing so, the aesthetic quality of the waxed surface is enhanced.....there is more "depth" to it, for a lack of a better way to explain it. Yes, I believe it does remove dust motes stuck to the surface. I start with a blast of air, and a quick wipe with a cotton cloth before beginning the initial tripoli, or EEE step.....that removes the majority of the dust. My preferred finish is natural danish oil.....and, I seldom, if ever get any surface drips with it. I suspect that any extra thick drips, or any extra thick ordinary elements of another kind of finish will not do well with the Beall method, but I'll leave that point for those who have a direct experience with this aspect of Beall buffing.

    3. My buffing speed is 1725, or close to it. I've never used any other speed, and I'm getting such a good result at this speed, that I wouldn't spend too much effort to change speeds. However, I've suspected that slightly slower speeds might be as suitable for the Beall method. A slightly slower speed may be less susceptible to bowls being grabbed and flung across the room......but, that aspect is quickly overcome by simply gaining some "stick time" with the Beall method.....thus, knowing how to hold a bowl to the spinning wheels and buffs.....therefore preventing these "grabs". (I lost several bowls this way, when I first started using the Beall system! :() Early on, someone else on this forum suggested the use of nitrile exam gloves for extra grip power on your bowl.....and, this is a very good suggestion that I also recommend for first time users.

    4. Too much pressure doesn't mean much, if any difference in surface quality with my preferred danish oil, but it is a wasted effort, with no practical benefit. (If you load up your wheel excessively with compound, too much pressure can tend to make things a bit messy, though......the solution isn't using less pressure, but to NOT load up your wheels! Too much pressure does create more heat, and could mean a difference to those who are using a different finish than I do. When I buff, the heat transfer to the bowl is noticeable to my fingertips.....the more the pressure, the more heat created. You are going to need some pressure, because no pressure doesn't work, either. Just how much that is, is hard to describe, but there is a "happy place" somewhere between no pressure, and too much pressure. I suspect most everyone will find it pretty easily, with a little experimentation.

    The most important key to success isn't a mystery, and it's exactly the same key to success in getting the most out of your preferred finishing method.........SURFACE PREPARATION! There is no "magic bullet" here!!!!! :p

    ko
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  4. Jamie Straw

    Jamie Straw

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Messages:
    1,440
    Location:
    Bainbridge Island, WA
  5. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    719
    Location:
    Brandon, MS
    To add just a little to Kelly's excellent encompassing post. The Beal buff does remove the nibs very well and that is reason enough to use it. Not too sure about heat being the reason it works and by pressing harder to create heat you will get more "grabs".
    I use Renaissance Wax and do not buff wax on . It works better and is more resistant to finger prints.
    The hard part is to decide on your buffer set up and which one to buy.
     
  6. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2015
    Messages:
    387
    Location:
    Sitka, Alaska, United States
    Home Page:
    Good answers so far; I'll probably repeat some of what Odie said. I've been using the Beal system about 6 months and buffed somewhere around 100 bowls. I use a walnut oil finish, and I soak it in over many applications, so I can't speak to harder finishes. If I haven't let the walnut oil sit for a while, some comes out with heat of buffing, leaving a greasy feel to the finish...but that goes away within a couple of days. Better to wait a week or so after the last coat of walnut oil. On to your questions...

    1. I started buffing after seeing the rich depth or a fellow turner. It just looks better, very three dimensional. And that is true even without the carnauba. There's a noticeable difference with both the tripoli and white diamond.

    2. For hardwoods, I sand to at least 400, softwoods, 800. Fine scratches will still be there, as far as I can tell. Part of reason I like an oil finish over a hard finish, oil hides any scratches, whereas the harder finishes bring 'em out. Fine scratches need removed with the proper grit of sandpaper...I've learned the hard way and had to go back, way too many times! As for finish questions, again, I use walnut oil.

    3. As per instructions, 8" @ 1850, 4" @ 3000. I might get a bit faster results at higher speeds with 8", up a little over 2000, but I can't prove it. As already said, pressing hard doesn't really do anything more with buffing, and I don't think longer times accomplish much either. Just a fairly quick pass, overlapping, works best for me. I buff as much as I can with the 8", including what I can of the interior of bowls. As mentioned, the wheels can grab and send a bowl FLYING. Did it once and it flew at least 10 feet. Scary. Start carefully, hold tight, keep your head out of the line of fire.

    4. I tried going WAY too hard for WAY too long with the Tripoli just to see what happened. Eventually I started wearing into the summerwood a little. I think it's like anything, practice teaches you. Feels funny at first, and within 10 bowls its habit, and second-nature in 20-50.

    I really like the Holdfast buffing adapter. 8" from the headstock is a good distance. Any shorter would crimp my style, at least. I also like threading on, rather than using the morse taper. I'm probably kidding myself, but it feels faster. I don't use the included nylon washer...too easy to leave it on there and then run the risk of an unsecured chuck coming off with a heavy bowl.

    One more that thought, already mentioned, but worth echoing. Go VERY light on the Tripoli and white diamond. Just a quick touch per big bowl for me. The carnauba is a bit more forgiving, but you really don't need much. A stick of each will last you many, many bowls.

    Final thought: for utility bowls, I don't think buffing really adds much more than initial good looks with walnut oil (again I can't speak for other finishes.) Carnauba protects the bowl, but dulls pretty fast with salads. And there's some discussion on wether or not Tripoli and white diamond would render a salad bowl no longer food grade. Of carnauba IS food grade. All that said, for selling bowls, buffing sure is a quick spruce up for an already pretty good bowl.

    Hope that helps!
     
  7. John Terdik

    John Terdik

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Prescott, AZ
    I've been buffing Elm, Oak, Hickory and Mesquite turnings only because that is the only wood I've been working with.
    1. I don't expect the buffing to remove any scratches, this is accomplished by the sanding if done correctly. The buffing adds a new color and depth to the piece. I sand all my turnings to at least 600. Ideally my skill level would be such that I could start with 300-400 grit but it is not. Thus I'll start as low as necessary. Just to make it simple either move up in increments of 100 or 1 1/2 x the previous grit. It is SUPER important to remove ALL of the scraches left behind by the previous grit. By the time I hit 400 it is very difficult to see any scraches. I use a very strong LED light and rotate the piece at different angles to ensue I got all of the scraches.
    2. Before I apply my wipe-on poly it is a MUST that all dust be removed. Also this is a chance to inspect and ensure ALL scratches have been removed. If you still see scratches, STOP and re-sand as necessary DO NOT progress forward. After I've finished with my 600 or higher grit I use my air compressor to blow off ALL dust and apply a wipe-on poly or sanding sealer. I let this dry for at least 24 hours.
    3. After you apply any finish or grain fillers if you see any junk in the finish ensure it is removed in the next sanding. I then sand again starting with the 320 and work up to my 600 grit.
    4. I then use my air compressor to blow away any remaining dust. Now I'm ready to buff.
    5. I have an 8" extension that I mount my Beall 8" wheel individually on. I start with the Tripoli (about 2300 RPM) and buff until I'm happy. At this time there is a HUGE improvement in the depth of color and the degree as to how the grain pops. As others suggest you don't want to burn but the piece does feel warm to mildly hot.
    6. I then move to the White Diamond and repeat what I did with the Tripoli. Still you see a pop but not as much as the first buffing and the depth seems to be deeper.
    7. I finish with the Carnauba and again I see an improvement. At this point the piece is SUPER smooth, like glass. The color and depth is really noticeable. At my last club meeting I had a few of my recent pieces in the show-n-tell and received numerous complements as to how nice the finish looked.
    Currently I use the 8" Beall wheels and 4" balls. Where possible I use the wheels. I wear tight fitting rubber coated gloves to help ensure I don't loose my grip on the piece being buffed. Once, before using the gloves I almost lost a piece, so far the gloves have solved this problem for me. I plan to get a set of 10" wheels and complement what I already have. Also I may make some 2" and 3" balls for the inside of the small pieces. However this is on hold because of other higher priorities.
    Pressure - I try to get very little flex in the wheel (for me this seems to be a good amount of pressure), at 2300 RPM it is rather stiff. Too much pressure and you get a LOT of heat.
    Other post in this thread have some good suggestions.
    I suggest you do more research, try things even the weird things and see what you come up with. Who knows, possibly you will discover better methods but sometimes knowing what does not work is as important as knowing what does work.
    IMHO (1) Improve you sanding skills, work up to at least 600 - at this point you have ZERO scratches. (2) Try buffing and notice the HUGE improvement. (3) I'm sure you will be pleased with the results, assuming you have done the prep work correctly.
     
  8. KellyDunn

    KellyDunn

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Messages:
    361
    Location:
    Hawi, Hawaii
    Home Page:
    First off concentric scratch marks in my 2c should be an aim. Not swirly marks. And they are just fine to me. Who did the book Sculpting wood? He said that buffing was an art finish. I have heeded those words since I first read them. Mark Lindquist. I have a buffing station. Everything gets buffed and non allergic woods get ren wax. Some Hawaiian woods dont like wax. They get sticky. I call them allergic. Allergic to wax. As the other Kelly stated very well its a learning process. But I even buff and wax salad bowls. They look great for a long time if not used. My finish for most pieces is just a thinned down poly. But not built up. Do what works for you. I for one am glad I read Marks words and took it to heart.
     

Share This Page