Thread Number: 12468
Buffing & Polishing
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Post# 133321   4/20/2011 at 16:59 (4,696 days old) by vacumaniac ()        

So, I am going to go purchase a buffer this evening. I was looking to see what the recommended buffing compound to use would be, and any other relevant info.

Post# 133326 , Reply# 1   4/20/2011 at 17:32 (4,696 days old) by LongLiveKirbys (Minneapolis)        
With a..

Bench type polisher i find that the basic tripoli compund works very well. if you would like to get more into it there are a few diffrent grit compunds you should get (i dont remember which ones off the top of my head)

Post# 133328 , Reply# 2   4/20/2011 at 17:42 (4,696 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

eurekastar's profile picture

I use what Kirby sells to its service centers and distributors.  They sell two different types -- one for cutting (heavy polishing) and one for the color finish to make it bright and shiny.  After I finish polishing, I wipe the castings down with "whiting powder".  I have used several different kinds that I've found at Sears and other places but nothing works as well as what Kirby sells. 

Post# 133335 , Reply# 3   4/20/2011 at 18:44 (4,695 days old) by LongLiveKirbys (Minneapolis)        
ahh yes..

the green kirby compund with the name pressed in it. works wonders!

Post# 133504 , Reply# 4   4/21/2011 at 21:07 (4,694 days old) by vacumaniac ()        

Well, I have been tackling the buffing for over an hour, how long on average should one expect to be buffing to give a good shine, I know it would depend on the condition of the piece, but what would a ballpark be?

Post# 133538 , Reply# 5   4/21/2011 at 23:26 (4,694 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

eurekastar's profile picture

hmmm...a lot of that depends on what all you did to prepare the casting before buffing and, as you've said, the condition of the casting, and which casting your working on!  It also depends on the quality of the compound and buffing wheel too.  So a ballpark guess -- maybe an hour or more for the nozzle (they're usually in the worst shape), 30 to 45 minutes on the bell housing, etc.  Plus, the more experienced you become, the more quickly it will go.  Be very careful too!  A casting can catch the wheel in just the wrong way and fly right out of your hand.  I've been hit pretty hard before!  I can't wait to see your finished product!  I know it will look great!  One last hint:  When reattaching the the fan case to the motor housing, before sure to apply a bead of clear silicone first or it will leak dust.

Post# 133961 , Reply# 6   4/24/2011 at 12:18 (4,692 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        

Thank you for getting your 516 before I got my Kirby. You have asked many of the questions I would have needed to ask. I feel like I am back in school and letting others ask the questions for me. My I ask what equipment and supplies you ended up purchasing? I have looked on line and can talk myself into spending a small fortune on buffers and such. Thank you.

Post# 133965 , Reply# 7   4/24/2011 at 12:53 (4,692 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        

compactelectra's profile picture
For professional results, you almost need a professional. I have a bench polisher and have tried my hand at it but now turn over the job to a professional. Here is a shot of my 561 that had deep gouges in it. Had it done in Omaha by a vac guy and auto restorer. I almost passed out when I saw it done.

Post# 133997 , Reply# 8   4/24/2011 at 19:23 (4,691 days old) by vacumaniac ()        

I have purchased a bench polisher and see that the results are coming. It just takes time lol

Post# 133998 , Reply# 9   4/24/2011 at 19:26 (4,691 days old) by Brandon_W_T ()        
Pro work

Fred knows first hand....

If you want a kirby to look positively brand new and nothing short of amazing, the vacuum shop here in omaha can do that!

I had my Kirby D80 sent to him, and its now the shiniest kirby I have ever witnessed in person! I am positive that Fred's is just as stunning, as the pictures show.

Post# 134002 , Reply# 10   4/24/2011 at 20:20 (4,691 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

eurekastar's profile picture

But with practice, you can achieve similar results at home!  And that is very gratifying, if not a lot of messy work!  I'm still working on my skill and learn something each I work on a vacuum. 

Post# 134008 , Reply# 11   4/24/2011 at 20:35 (4,691 days old) by kc_kirby (Kansas City, MO)        

Here is a guide on buffing that I used to figure out how to do it. I have achieved pretty good results, maybe not quite as good as a professional but pretty darn close. I use 3 different types of buffing pads and three different compounds. I use a sisal buff with Emery(Black), spiral cotton with Tripoli(brown) and Loose Cotton wheel with White Rouge compound. I have not used Kirby compound in quite a while. I did years ago when I started to learn how to buff Kirby's. It did ok, but I think the three step system works pretty good too. Most of my time is spent with the sisal buff and the emery compound. This is the step where you work on removing scratches and stains from the metal. You can remove scratches with Tripoli but its not as fast or effective. I also think the size of the buffs affects the outcome of the buffing too. I use an 8 inch buff with an rpm of 3600. Some bench grinders are half as fast and only 6 inches. I recommend the bigger and faster size. I think the reason the pro's get better results is the fact that they have much bigger buffers. Hope this has been of some help, this topic comes up frequently.


Post# 134010 , Reply# 12   4/24/2011 at 20:48 (4,691 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        
@ Chad

eurekastar's profile picture

Thanks for sharing that!  I've bookmarked that page on my computer.  Reading through it, I've learned a lot of stuff I didn't know. 

Post# 134018 , Reply# 13   4/24/2011 at 21:43 (4,691 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        




Here's a comprehensive article about machine polishing that I wrote back in 2005. The password to access it is "kirbybuff." Please do not re-post this article anywhere or give out the password. Thanks.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO electrolux~137's LINK

Post# 134019 , Reply# 14   4/24/2011 at 21:47 (4,691 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        


Yes, thank you for sharing! I take it you are using the Baldor hp unit as you are running at 3600 rpm with an 8 inch wheel. I was toying with the idea of getting the caswell hp kit but need to sell some toys on eBay to finance the purchase. I am sort of afraid of the harbor freight hp buffer as its customer reviews are less than stellar.


What unit did you purchase?

Post# 134038 , Reply# 15   4/25/2011 at 04:55 (4,691 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

I would NOT use a hand held angle grinder clamped in a vice as a buffer power source-these machines were designed for GRINDING not buffing-they run at very high speeds-5,000RPM on up.Don't think cloth or other type of buffing wheels will with stand that kind of speed.And would YOU want to hold something against a wheel or tool spinning that fast---NOT ME.From my experiences in lapidary work-stone cutting-polishing-for buffing lower speeds do work best.An 1800 RPM motor for a buffing wheel should be fine.3600RPM is really for grinding or sanding wood or metals.

Post# 134049 , Reply# 16   4/25/2011 at 08:47 (4,691 days old) by hooverbaby (Dalton in Furness, UK)        
Thanks Chad!

hooverbaby's profile picture
for that I link. I found it extremely informative, detailed and helpful. There are all sorts of other topics of interest too, such as, dare I say it, home electroplating and high voltage powder coating plants! It's a pity that some of these items are too dangerous to send via airmail..

Thanks for your link too Charles..though you sent me the password for that some time ago. I found that interesting..and quite amusing, especially the bits about being careful and finishing work looking like a coal-miner!

One day, when I once again have a larger shed in which to work and don't have mum complaining everytime I empty its contents onto the patio I will set myself up properly.

Last year I had a go with a buffing wheel attached to a small bench grinder and used a large green polishing stick on my Columbus with reasonable results. I'm not sure exactly what this compound was. It worked quite well but took a while for the shine to come up..


Post# 134150 , Reply# 17   4/26/2011 at 04:46 (4,690 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Oh yes!Charles link about buffing is excellent.Good information.

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