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Recommendation for a buffing system

Joined
Jan 23, 2020
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Shingletown CA
I am going to try the buffing method for getting a smoother finish on turnings. I was looking at the beall system, but the three wheel one that mounts to the lathe, looks like it's too small and I won't be able to buff bowls without hitting the pad next to it. What does everyone here use ?
 

Dave Landers

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I have the 3-wheel Beall on one of my lathes. It works for most things, but clearance around the wheels can be an issue for larger bowls.
Getting inside a bowl with the wheels is not really easy. But I only buff the outside of my bowls because I like that smooth feel but don't want to over-do the finish on the inside because I expect people to use it.
 

Randy Anderson

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I've been considering some sort of buffing option for a while now but not sure to what extent I'll use it to justify the cost. Most of my bowls are natural edge which I think can be tough if not impossible to buff well on a system. For traditional bowls I currently put a piece of grey scotch brite followed by a folded quality paper towel on the end of my sander mandrel and go over it at high speed. Works well on a walnut oil finish but still considering what might work better so interested in ideas.
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2016
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Haubstadt, Indiana
I use to use the wheels, but now use the Beall bowl buffs. Much easier to use IMO. I have both the 3” and 4”, mostly use the 3”. I have had the wheels “snatch” the bowl right out of my hand.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
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Spartanburg, South Carolina
I'm looking at the Beall system myself, but not sure the whole 3-in-a-row one one mandrel will fit on my Laguna 12/16. I may just have to get the individual wheels and the adapter.
 
Joined
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Bozeman, MT
Am I missing something? This seems pretty straightforward.

There's a buffing wheel holder on a morse taper that holds one wheel at a time. This allows you to move the bowl around it to get the inside. Easy on and easy off with a threaded screw in the buff. Like this one: https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/p/39/2562/beall-Morse-Taper-Buff-Adapter
It can also hold the round buffs and the scotchbrite scuffing balls.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
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Hillsborough, NJ
I believe the 3-wheel set up was meant to buff pens or other small stuff ..... not bowls, etc. The 8" wheels are used for larger stuff.
There were a several posts on this a few years ago. Because I'm too lazy to type a long post - here is a link from 2017.

 
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
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Baltimore, MD
I bought the Beall system a couple of months ago and have been happy with it so far. When I ordered it I also wanted to buy the extension (is that what it’s called?) to allow me to use the half-round buffs to get into the insides of bowls that the discs can’t reach. At the time the supplier was backordered, so I said to myself, “you’re a turner - make your own!” I don’t always listen to myself, but this time I did. The extension is white oak, about 8” long. It is tapped with a (what else?) Beall tap, for the spindle. The outboard end has a nut epoxied in front of a deep recess to accommodate the studs on the buffs. I drilled a hole through the diameter to allow me to use a Phillips head screwdriver to get it off in the event it gets too tight.
 

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Joined
Mar 25, 2008
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Suwanee, GA
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www.mikepeacewoodturning.com
I have a Beall 3 on 1 and have no problems buffing the outside of bowls ups to say 8". I do a lot of small things like ornaments, boxes, baby rattles and more (I do not turn pens much) and find it is very convenient mounted on a separate mini lathe for most of my buffing needs. It does not do the inside of bowls. If I did not have a dedicated Jet 1014 and had to mount and dismount it, I would probably just as soon swap out separate wheels.
 

Emiliano Achaval

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I've been considering some sort of buffing option for a while now but not sure to what extent I'll use it to justify the cost. Most of my bowls are natural edge which I think can be tough if not impossible to buff well on a system. For traditional bowls I currently put a piece of grey scotch brite followed by a folded quality paper towel on the end of my sander mandrel and go over it at high speed. Works well on a walnut oil finish but still considering what might work better so interested in ideas.
I buff all my NE bowls, and I make a lot of them. I have the 3 large Beall wheels with an extender. You learn very quickly how to do it, it only takes one bowl flying out of your hands.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
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Lebanon, Missouri
I buff my work but I do the reverse of how most do it. I mount the item on the lathe and use buffs mounted in a 3/8" 2500 rpm drill. I use mushroom and wheel buffs. Wheel buffs go up to 6" dia. Never had a piece fly out of hands or off the lathe, but I have had the drill hit the floor a time or two when I caught an edge. I've buffed a lot of NE Bowls, small up to ~15". I like all the flexibility of buff size/shape to fit the buffed item. My lathe pivot head is great for buffing/sanding - I rotate the work 90° to the bed and have full access to the work.
 
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Joined
Feb 6, 2010
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Brandon, MS
Late here but I have used the buffs mounted in the MT taper but did not like the amount of space under buff. The best position to buff the bowl is with it underneath the buff to reduce the catch and throw. So I have a low speed motor mounted on a cart to do my buffing now. I usually do not use the carnuba, but do tripoli and white diamond on all but dark woods.
 

john lucas

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I use an aftermarket 8" extension that screws directly onto my lathe spindle. My lathe is variable speed and I have plenty of room to work. I dont know who sells those today.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
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TN
I bought buffs (8” wheels as well as 4” and 3” balls) and a 12” extension for that screws on to the 1 1/8 threads from Don Pencil many years ago. I haven’t seen his stuff in quite a while so doubt he’s still in business unfortunately.

I use Tripoli all the time, but am more judicious with the white diamond as it’s really tough to get out of any open grain in dark woods. I also have stopped using carnuba on walnut and other dark woods as it moisture spots just from atmospheric humidity; Renaissance wax doesn’t have that problem.

Buffing will add smoothness and shine, you’ll love it.
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
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Lummi Island, WA
I, too use the large Beale wheels on a 12" Don Pencil extension - perfect solution for even the largest bowls. Lou's solution above - turning an extension is a good idea; sadly I haven't seen Don's extension for sale for several years. Tap one end for your spindle and the other to take the wheels....
 

Emiliano Achaval

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I use an aftermarket 8" extension that screws directly onto my lathe spindle. My lathe is variable speed and I have plenty of room to work. I dont know who sells those today.
I got my extension from the Beall company. I think they have 2 sizes. You probably got it from them too... Thank you for always helping John. Aloha
 
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Dec 4, 2018
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Milon La Chapelle France
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I have been using a UK version of the Beall system for a few years on all my bowls (and other smaller projects) and am really pleased with the results. I should also add that I find buffing the inside of bowls easy with the 3" balls, and would consider them a good additional investment. As for Emiliano's remark about quickly learning to hang on... I agree fully, but I also attach a large collapsible garden leaf bag behind the lathe when buffing, just in case (it has caught a few goodies :rolleyes:).
 
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For those of you who frequently use the 3" ball buffs--I haven't gotten very good results with them. The regular buffs work fine, but sometimes you can't get to the inside of something with a 6 or 8" disc. With the ball buffs, do you use a different speed? Load with material differently? Apply different pressure?
 
Joined
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For those of you who frequently use the 3" ball buffs--I haven't gotten very good results with them. The regular buffs work fine, but sometimes you can't get to the inside of something with a 6 or 8" disc. With the ball buffs, do you use a different speed? Load with material differently? Apply different pressure?
I use 3” balls infrequently. I’ve found that by slowing down the speed I can fit my 8” wheels inside any bowls ~3”x5” and larger provided I haven’t rolled over the lip (closed) by very much; as long as I hang on tight and don’t mind buffing my fingers a little!

I typically buff around 1400-1600rpm, and slow down to 800-1100 to buff inside small bowls depending upon how open/closed they are. These are with my 8” wheel (actually one is worn down closer to 7” and I should replace).

When I use 3” I ramp speed up over 2000rpm, and keep in mind that the end of it isn’t really moving very fast. I’d usually rather force my 8” wheel in - but hang on!
 
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Vancouver,WA
I use the Beall system w/ one wheel at a time on their provided arbor, usually on my 1216 lathe. I had to buy the Morse taper adapter separately than the 'system' that included the 3 wheels and everything else.

I've seen people mount them (the stock wheels) in a drill to do interior of bowls large enough but haven't tried that yet. Probably will soon.
 
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Bay Settlement, WI
I put a rubber kneeling pad (from the garden supply) on the lathe bed anytime I am using my Beall system. If the piece I am buffing gets away from me, I can pretty much always catch it on the first bounce without damage!
 
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Rainy River District Ontario Canada
I did not like the beall setup or their prices, plus the difficulty of buffing without hitting the lathe bed.

So I turned a sleeve for a small motor (1720 rpm) and a chuck from a drill that died, then I got a slew of buffs and large fender washers and screws, that way I had different size buffs and for all of the polishing materials.
I clamp the motor on the corner of my bench and I can polish big and small, besides that, I often use a buff held in a variable speed drill so that I can polish a piece held on the lathe if Iike :)

polisher.jpg
Polish 20%22 Sycamore.jpgHandheld buffing.jpg
 

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Joined
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Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
I buff all my NE bowls, and I make a lot of them. I have the 3 large Beall wheels with an extender. You learn very quickly how to do it, it only takes one bowl flying out of your hands.

Well, I guess I'm a slow learner, because I lost at least three or four bowls early on! :eek: Haven't lost one in the last five or six years, though. :) Until you figure out how to best present the bowl to the spinning buff, it's a very good idea to have a pair of light duty rubberized work gloves with the fingertips cut off. The gloves work so well, that they're part of my regular routine now.....gives a real positive grip.

The Beall system works well, and I have no plans to change to anything else. Use the EEE (Tripoli) and WD (White Diamond) sparingly, and you may want to eliminate the WD for some very difficult woods.....like burls with voids. At other times, just using the WD wheel with whatever is left from the previous use, is also a good option. The WD tends to embed into voids, and looks bad. A stiff toothbrush helps, but it's much better to avoid it.

I remember the Beall instructions saying it will take out small scratches.....but, that is pure fantasy, from my POV. It's best to refine your sanding technique to the point where you only have to think about getting a good looking buffed surface.

All the buff sizes are in my inventory, but the 8" wheels and 4" bowl buffs are, by far, the most used buffs. Don't know if it's still available, but there is a 4" extension that screws directly into the motor mandrel, making it an 8" extension overall. I don't use it very often, but it's handy to have on occasion.

I initially buffed on the lathe, but that was quickly replaced with my homemade buffing station. I used an old Leeson 120v lathe motor I had on hand. It's 1.5hp, and that's way more hp than what's needed, but it does work beautifully. 1725rpm works very well, although a variable speed may be an improvement to overall performance. Still, I'm quite satisfied with my buffing station as is, so changing to a variable speed isn't very high on my list of things to do! ;)

-----odie-----

shop photos november 7 2020  (12).JPG
 
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Joined
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To clarify whether or not the 3-on-1 Beall buffing progression will fit on a Laguna 12/16, it will, but just barely. After the Woodcraft employee took it out of the box and helped me test it, sure enough it fit, so I bought it this week, and so far/so good. I'm getting great results with it. The tail-stock does hang out off of the bed ways just a smidge, but locks securely nonetheless.
 
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