A few people have written me wondering about my mention of the buff
rake in a previous thread on polishing…
Basically what happens is that after constantly charging your wheel,
the compounds build up to the point at which they interfere with
your polishing. They leave streaks and lines of compound on your
work. You can also get lines drawn or worn into your metal,
especially flat sheet.
The rake breaks up this “overload” and exposes fresh material to
grab the new charge of compound.
Rakes can be purchased from suppliers or made up pretty simply.
While I lived in Mexico we used a row of bottle caps screwed onto a
piece of wood. In the USA these days you may have buy imported beer
to get the bottle caps .
You can sandwich a 4" section of coarse handsaw used for wood, or
coarse hacksaw blade used for cutting thick metal - between two
pieces of inch and a half - by seven inch - by half inch thick wood
molding. Then glue and screw the two pieces together, clamping the
blade between them. This is your “handle.” Just leave about a
quarter inch of the teeth exposed to perform the raking action.
WARNING: If you have not used a rake before you will find that it
can easily be snatched and thrown back at you. You must have a firm
hold on it with both hands. Move it sideways across the wheel and
STAY DOWN BELOW THE CENTER OF THE BUFF. Of course you ARE wearing
protection while doing this! You can get seriously hurt if you lose
You will learn to see and feel when the compounds that have built up
are sufficiently removed. Don’t overdo it either, you’ll find the
"happy medium" with practice.
Periodically cut a row of threads as the buff gets worn. This will
release and expose fresh material to hold you compounds.
Another thing you can try - is to reverse the direction of the buff.
Sometimes when a buff is subjected to too much pressure, all of the
fibers tend to “set.” Reversing the direction and then raking will
Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA 95209 USA