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polishing silver with a buffing wheel Those who polish jewelry or other work by hand require wet and dry sand paper, finishing cloths, and silver cloths. However, many people appreciate the assistance of polishing machines or miniature hand tools, either to increase efficiency or to improve results. If you are polishing using a polishing wheel or miniature power tools, there are several accessories needed. The accessories are attached to the shaft of the polishing wheel or machine.

Prior to polishing and buffing, a material may be treated with a wire brush attachment to clean the work and remove loose material, a sanding drum to remove rough edges, and a grinding stone to further refine the process.

Polishing points and wheels come in various shapes and sizes depending upon the material to be worked on. As a general rule, felt wheels are harder than cloth so they are better during the earlier polishing phases, while cloth wheels are preferred during the final polishing — or buffing — phases.

Polishing Bars

Several different polishing bars are used, depending upon where you are in the polishing process. Tripoli is a brown bar, which is used at the first polish. A green bar is used as a general all-purpose polish, while a white bar is used to give a high polish. A rouge bar is used for the final polish.
green and white polishing bars
Two Polishing Bars

Polishing and Buffing Wheels

Polishing and buffing wheels include round buffing wheels, which come in several widths and are typically made of calico. Buffing wheels are treated with the appropriate polish and attached to the shaft of the polishing wheel or hand piece. Stainless steel wheels feature fine steel pins. They require no polish, and they result in a satin finish. Lambswool buffing wheels are made of very soft muslin. These wheels are typically used during the last phase of polishing, with rouge polish.

silicone polishers in a storage tray

Polishing Tool Suppliers

Switzerland-based Edenta offers a broad spectrum of silicone polishers that are designed for polishing composites, porcelains, and ceramics as well as resins, metals, and alloys; California-based UKAM offers a series of diamond polishing tools for various applications; and Atlanta-based Diamax offers a line of diamond tooling products that are designed to polish granite countertops and other stone surfaces.
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