How to Use a Polishing Compound

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Things You'll Need

  • Polishing compound bar

  • Buffing wheel

Polishing compound is typically sold in bar form and ranges from fine to coarse, much like sandpaper. Polishing compound is used to smooth and shine surfaces such as metal, plastic and wood. This compound also minimizes the appearance of scratches on surfaces by effectively "buffing" them out. Use polishing compounds with a buffing wheel for the best results. The best way to polish a surface is to first determine what type of polishing compound to use.


Step 1

Select the appropriate polishing compounds for the surface. Some surfaces, such as acrylic or scratch-free aluminum, require only one polishing compound. However, surfaces like brass, copper and stainless steel require several polishing compounds to achieve a mirror finish. Refer to the PJ Tool & Supply website to view a list of common surfaces and the compounds needed for each.


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Step 2

Begin with the coarsest polishing compound. As you polish, move from the coarsest to the finest polishing compound until the desired shine is achieved.

Step 3

Spin the buffing wheel on a bench grinder or electric drill. Gently push the polishing compound against the buffing wheel while it is spinning. Hold the compound against the buffing wheel until the wheel has a light layer of compound on it. Only a small amount of compound is needed.


Step 4

Hold the item to be polished against the buffing wheel while it is spinning to apply the first polishing compound. Once the entire piece has been buffed, select the next compound, repeat Step 3 and buff the surface again. Keep doing this, moving up from the coarsest to the finest compound.


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