Why do I need a buffing wheel for my lathe?

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Forum topic by Alan S posted 08-01-2011 11:57 PM 2571 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Alan S

181 posts in 3314 days

08-01-2011 11:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: turning finishing

Everyone has the 3 wheel buffing systems for sale for you to use on your lathe. I would assume these are meant for small LATHE projects. Why can’t I just leave my workpiece on the lathe, and use a rag with buffing compound on the piece while it’s spinning to do the same thing? Thanks!


8 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2995 days

#1 posted 08-02-2011 12:58 AM

It is more of a point of you already have a motor sitting there on the lathe. Why have another one for a buffer?

It is getting multiple uses of the same machinery. The best combination I have seen are the ones that have a disk sander on the outboard side of the spindle. You can turn to one side and sharpen a chisel when it gets dull.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4215 days

#2 posted 08-02-2011 01:43 AM

I buff all sorts of stuff on mine….. not just turnings. And since you have all three wheels right there, you can go through the progression very quickly.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 2917 days

#3 posted 08-02-2011 01:48 AM

I just put a big bolt through the buffing wheel and mount it in my chuck. I only use 1 ultra fine wheel though so I don’t need to keep swapping wheels.

-- Scroll saw patterns @

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2968 days

#4 posted 08-02-2011 02:20 AM

Keith, you don’t use the same wheel for more than one compound do you?

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 2917 days

#5 posted 08-02-2011 02:25 AM

No, that wouldn’t work. I only use the buffing wheel for the last and finest polishing.

-- Scroll saw patterns @

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20476 posts in 3102 days

#6 posted 09-19-2013 12:15 AM

I just bought 3 wheels from Beall. They came with the Tripoli , white diamond and Carnuba wax and a video on buffing and threading.
I usually use EEE polish and Shellawax friction polish in the lathe when the part is fully round. But lately I have been turning crotches and irregular pieces and for that I’ll need the buffing wheels if I want to get to a 2000 or better finish. I also have a corian project that has wood embedded in it and it is irregular so that will need to be done on the buffer. I’m in the process of making the mount arbor for it so I can try them out. I’m going to use them one at a time instead of the 3 in a row.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2283 days

#7 posted 09-19-2013 12:40 AM

When you spin the work, everything leaves lines. With the buffing wheel you can vary the way the work contacts the buffer. I prefer a small buffer on a drill and leave the work on the lathe. I can randomize and speed things up a bit. Works for sanding too, but not quite as easy to get into tight places.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Underdog's profile


1095 posts in 2032 days

#8 posted 09-19-2013 01:21 AM

I bought several buffing wheels, and all the different grits of compound for less than $20 at Sears.
I then turned several mandrels for the buffing wheels out of some scrap poplar, and mounted the wheels on them.
I can now just chuck up which one I want and buff pens, bowls or whatever.

And I can put up with a certain vendor’s snide remarks about how cheap I am… because I don’t really need to buff that much stuff, and the Sears stuff has held up just fine, and I’m not out the $$$ for something too expensive to justify for the amount I use it.

Oh. And you don’t really wanna use a rag to apply compound to a spinning object. Too much chance you’ll get dragged in and injured. Use a good quality paper towel instead.

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

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