Buffing/Polishing Compounds To Use With Buffing Machine?

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Tabacco

Can't Leave
May 1, 2020
488
8,113
GA - USA
Hello.

I have just purchased a 4" variable speed buffing machine.

At the moment I have carnauba wax for polishing the briar but I would like to buy some compounds for the stems, to remove oxidation and for polishing them.
I am unfamiliar with those compounds, color grading and brands.

I have tried the search function and read several threads but I was not able to find a clear answer to my questions.

Can anybody recommend a good brand and what bars should I buy (color or grit size, but I see they typically go by color)? Within reasons I would not mind spending few dollars more if it is necessary to get quality compounds.

Again, the main purpose would be polishing the stems but suggestions about compounds that are more suitable for eliminating minor scratches from briar, or compounds that can be used for both stems and briar will be appreciated as well.

By the way, do you usually apply carnauba wax to stems as well, after polishing?
 
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LotusEater

Lifer
Apr 16, 2021
2,919
40,938
Kansas City Missouri
Check out the videos on pipe restoration by George Dibos on YouTube. He'll take you through the process step by step. It's the best and most authoritative source available on the subject.
Thanks for the tip
Like the OP I recently purchased a 4" variable speed buffer and have been looking for good info on how to get the best results/not ruin my pipes with it.
 

craig61a

Lifer
Apr 29, 2017
4,712
35,859
Minnesota USA
Myself, I use Red Rouge, White Diamond, and Green.

If you’re not very familiar with the buffer, practice on some old junk pipes or other stuff you have laying around the house.

And locate the buffer somewhere where if the wheel grabs the pipe it doesn’t get launched into a hard surface, hanging tools, etc. A padded box that sort of surrounds the wheel is good idea.

350CB377-02FD-4E40-8566-F062DCF3A703.jpeg
 

nolan613

Starting to Get Obsessed
May 21, 2019
128
123
76
Augusta, GA
Tried restoring stems using just a buffing wheel but were just not happy with the results. Now use Oxi-Clean, fine grit sanding sticks from Sally's Beauty Supply then white diamond wheel and finish with Obsidian oil.

Many ways to get the job done but this is a process that works for me. This is supposed to be fun so you need to find the system that works best for you.
 

Tabacco

Can't Leave
May 1, 2020
488
8,113
GA - USA
The problem with using the chemical approach, like with Oxyclean, is that I am afraid that it can change the physical characteristic od the stem. I do not know if in the long run it can make the stems more brittle, for example.

Thank you for all suggestions guys. I have ordered this kit from Amazon and see what I can do with it. If it does not work for oxidation I may go back to the Micro-Mesh pads just for that, and use the buffing compounds only for the final steps.

ENKAY Jewelers Rouge & Polishing Compound Kit (6 pc.)
 
Feb 12, 2022
1,411
18,865
North Georgia mountains.
Pretty recently, Vermont Freehand got a batch of Carnuba wax in. That's what I use for my final buff on the wheel. I use white diamond first and sometimes red Rouge, but I prefer to use micro sanding pads then white diamond and then Carnuba. Youtube is your friend with this topic
 
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MilesDavis

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 16, 2022
162
366
I use AWESOME cleaner ($1.25 a bottle). Spray it on and the nastiness just melts away. For stubborn oxidation, I'll use 600-800-grit wet/dry sandpaper and work the stem until it feels slick. Sometimes I will wet sand with alcohol. Then I use my Dremel 1-inch polishing wheel and Brown Tripoli compound. A light touch and the stem soon has a mirror finish. Going beyond Tripoli to finer compounds on a stem doesn't yield much difference. For the stummel, I will use Tripoli then Diamond Dust. Finally, the entire pipe gets Carnauba wax.
 
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Tabacco

Can't Leave
May 1, 2020
488
8,113
GA - USA
Thank you MilesDavies. I don’t have a Dremel.

.........I prefer to use micro sanding pads then white diamond and then Carnuba. ...
Since I am waiting for the new compound bars to arrive I took two of my pipes that I have really neglected in the past few years and gave it a try with what I have. A quick pass with the micro-mesh pads to clean and to eliminate scratches and bumps, the Fabulustre that I had already ordered and carnauba, both on the buffing machine. I am quite happy with the result.

This one is the first one as it was before the treatment. No major damages. Some scratches, toothmarks, and the need of a good clean.

tempImageBeUD3t.jpg

tempImagegN7J5K.jpg


After:

tempImage8dK41q.jpg

tempImagezTPXXb.jpg

Second pipe, similar results:

Before

tempImagePSrTJd.jpg

tempImageT6X5rR.jpg

After:

tempImageB0nL2o.jpg

tempImageMdpV4S.jpg


This is the compound I used:

tempImageNQNIPI.jpg
 
Feb 12, 2022
1,411
18,865
North Georgia mountains.
Thank you MilesDavies. I don’t have a Dremel.


Since I am waiting for the new compound bars to arrive I took two of my pipes that I have really neglected in the past few years and gave it a try with what I have. A quick pass with the micro-mesh pads to clean and to eliminate scratches and bumps, the Fabulustre that I had already ordered and carnauba, both on the buffing machine. I am quite happy with the result.

This one is the first one as it was before the treatment. No major damages. Some scratches, toothmarks, and the need of a good clean.

View attachment 161991

View attachment 161992


After:

View attachment 161993

View attachment 161995

Second pipe, similar results:

Before

View attachment 161994

View attachment 161996

After:

View attachment 161997

View attachment 161998


This is the compound I used:

View attachment 161999
Looks great!
 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
16,773
6,607
Maryland
postimg.cc
Those are good results with micromesh - it is not intended to remove bumps and only very fine scratches.

I get by with White Diamond. Heavy oxidation is removed with wet sandpaper - if you don't remove the oxidation, it will come back. Very, very rarely do I use Tripoli (or what I call an "eraser"). Make sure your wheel is spinning towards you, and you'll have less mishaps.
 

Papamique

Can't Leave
Mar 11, 2020
454
2,231
My experience is that trying to remove oxidation via buffing wheel, only creates wavy stems.
+1 there are many tricks but in the end nothing is faster at removing heavy oxidation than with sandpaper and elbow grease. Sometimes the, seemingly, longest way is actually the quickest and best.
 
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Tabacco

Can't Leave
May 1, 2020
488
8,113
GA - USA
.......
And locate the buffer somewhere where if the wheel grabs the pipe it doesn’t get launched into a hard surface, hanging tools, etc. A padded box that sort of surrounds the wheel is good idea.
This was definitely a good advice. I mounted a backstop with a thick foam pad. I think I will add a couple of neoprene sheets under the two wheels as well.
Thank you!

IMG_6918 (1).jpeg
 

Pipeoff

Can't Leave
Jun 22, 2021
301
609
Western New York
Added the recommended pad to the buffer box, good idea. I have a small shop vac attached to a bottom hole the solved the dust problem. Made a mistake using red that is ground into the stem and remains on the wheel. Note most compounds are for metal, now only use wax. Also the face mask fogs up protective eye glasses. Always mask and be careful of nomenclature on shank near stem.
 
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nolan613

Starting to Get Obsessed
May 21, 2019
128
123
76
Augusta, GA
Stems look really good. Because of the summer heat here in Georgia I setup my buffer in our spare bedroom using a cardboard box lined with foam. Works very well with a small comport fan to exhaust through a filter.
 
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UB 40

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 7, 2022
115
1,213
60
Cologne/ Germany
nahbesprechung.net
I hoped there was a compound that could remove oxidation effectively.

If you’re into adventures you can heat up acetic acid in a heat resistant tumbler in a microwave until it boils, let it boil for a short time. At 100 degrees Celsius the water will evaporate, at 110 degrees the steam will be pure acetic acid. Put the stem with the tenon downwards into it. The steam will immediately solve the oxidation. The greenish brown so called oxidation on vulcanite stems Is just expelled sulfur from the gum sulfur mix, which vulcanite consists of. Pure acetic acid is able to solve sulfur, just like water solves sugar. Diluted acid can’t do that, therefore you have to heat up the acid you can buy. You can get the acid in 60 percentage solution for cleaning or photography purposes. I tried it several times on estates. The drawback is bent stems may straighten because of the heat. Just bend them again, be sure you have drawn the angle of the bent on a piece of paper. The other drawback is all stamping paints will surely vanish. But you get a clean black stem, with some polishing it will shine again. And be careful not to inhale the steam it’s better to take the steaming tumbler outside or to heat it up in the yard anyway. Don’t take your best pipe for a first try.
 
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