How to Polish and Buff Your Paintwork

There are terms like convex, concave and waffle. These are terms used in the business of polishing and buffing in the auto repair shop. To most people, polishing and buffing the car is something that they do on the weekend, but in the professional world, this function takes on a much different meaning because there are so many factors to consider in creating “the perfect finish”, and they require a great deal of training, more than you’d think.

The polishing shop technician has a very important job. For instance, in order to get a good finish that really shines, it is necessary to deceive the eye. This is why a good technician will never use a concentric polisher, because they move in perfect circles. An eccentric polisher is one that moves off center. It has two functions, one is to distribute the compound evenly, by pushing it into the center – this allows the compound even distribution, and it also prevents splattering of the compound and two, it confuses the eye so that the eye doesn’t see any light reflected in the lines left by a conventional concentric polisher.

As far as the tools used to get that perfect finish, there is some disagreement among technicians as to what to use, the standard wool or the newer foam buffing pads. Most quality paint manufacturers have good tips on the right way to buff and polish, and you can find them on the net.

The technicians who prefer wool say that it gives the best finish, whereas the technicians who prefer the foam pads claim that they like them because they don’t leave bits behind after they go. Although foam pads are new, they are evolving like anything that is new.
A recent test was done with technicians who preferred wool, and several of those technicians said they preferred the newer foam to their old wool pads. Sometimes, a technician can be attached to their way of doing things and they will say that they like their way but they have never tried anything new in years.

They will say things like the pads they tried won’t remove wet or dry sand scratches from the panel, and they had to go back to wool to finish the job, but, as I mentioned earlier, old ways die-hard. So they don’t like to try new products, like the newer pads that are specially designed to be more like the wool pads, but without the drawbacks.

The three main types of newer foam polish pads are convex, concave and waffle and these types of pads are designed to create a compound pocket that guides the compound toward the center of the pad and not to the outside so it won’t splatter. Each of the convex, concave, or waffle pads have their own highly specialized function, but the main goal in all of this is the brilliant finish achieved by the illusion that the eye sees