Buffing Tips - Getting the Mirror Finish & Buffing Safety Guidelines



If you are having trouble getting a mirror finish on your carbon or stainless blades even after sanding and polishing, consider these techniques. 

Tip #1:  Try buffing a couple times early when you are sanding.  This should make the remaining scratches easier to see. 

Tip #2:  If your last grit was 400 at a diagonal you would not expect to see any scratches parallel to the blade. Try mixing up the angles so that you can see the scratches.   Try changing directions with each grit and finish with 800 grit.

Tip #3:  Try sanding using a magnafocuser and florescent light to show the scratches.  Or use three different lights so that you can see your blade from different directions.

Tip #4:  Consider covering your blade with black felt pen so you can see the scratches. You can do this several times and use a different grit each time. For example, to remove the big scratches apply the felt pen and start with 120 grit, then reapply the felt pen and use  220 grit.  Then to remove the smaller scratches apply the felt pen and use 320 grit. Try sanding each time in two different directions. Take your time and slowly move from one grit to the next.

Tip #5:  If you are getting a cloudy appearance on your blade, try cleaning your wheel and applying fresh compound.

Tip #6:  To finish your blade use multiple polishing compounds. For example, start polishing with white, then move to green, then finish with pink or purple. Finish with a light touch.



Buffing machines are considered one of the most dangerous machines in the shop. Therefore always use extreme caution when using it. Follow these safety guidelines.

  1.  Always buff on the lower half of the wheel. Never buff where a knife piece can be grabbed and thrown toward you.
  2. Make sure the size of the arbor hole and shaft size match. For example, it is important that a 1” diameter shaft in your buffing wheel is matched with a 1” diameter arbor hole.
  1. The end flanges must securely clamp the buffs. Make certain they are sized properly and apply enough pressure to securely clamp the buffs.
  1. The flanges must be installed with concave side toward buffs, and be large enough to cover the outer tips of the metal clinch ring teeth. The correct flanges are cupped.   Flanges 4-1/2” in diameter and larger have ventilating holes in the cupped area.
  1. The arbor shaft threads must be in good condition, and long enough to allow the nut to be tightened for firm
    clamping of the buff and end flanges.
  1. The Shaft nuts must be firmly tightened with a wrench and checked frequently to make sure they are still tight.
  1. Follow these rules when using spacers between buff sections:
  • Spacers must be large enough to cover outside tips of clinch ring teeth, just like end flanges.
  • When spacers are used to support buff centers, they must be of proper diameter to support the
    entire clinch ring inside diameter.
  • Flange areas of the spacers must securely clamp the buff. Make certain that the buff support and
    interlock areas do not prevent proper flange pressure on the buff.
  • Remember the buff ring must not spin on the spacer or hub because this will break the clinch ring and/or burn the buff.
  1. Never exceed the maximum RPM ratings as indicated here.

Buff Diameter

3 Inch

5  Inch

 6″ – 8″

 3600 RPM


9″ – 10″

3450 RPM


11″ – 12″

3000 RPM

3450 RPM


  1. Check the machine manufacturer’s guarding recommendations, and follow them, especially if you are just starting out.
  1. Small and irregular parts should be buffed only while in proper holding fixtures or similar devices.
  1. Avoid loose fitting clothes and don’t reach over a rotating buff or fixture.
  1. Don’t leave buffing machine running unattended.
  1. Read and observe all safety recommendations of the buffing machine manufacturer. Wear eye protection, keep hair back, wear gloves to protect your hands and wear a mask or respirator to protect your lungs.


Share this post...

Previous post Next post


Leave a comment