What is an Airway Buffing Wheel?
Airway buffs are a type of buffing and polishing wheel that is made up of multiple discs of cotton cloth attached to a steel center plate. Each cloth layer of these 16-ply wheels is attached to the steel plate in a way that forces the cotton to form pleats.
High-speed buffing and polishing wheels can create a lot of heat from the constant friction of the wheel, surface being buffed, and polishing compound grinding together. The pleats are designed to increase airflow so that you can buff and polish at a lower temperature. This allows you to work continuously longer than traditional polishing wheels, extends the overall working life of the airway buff, and lowers the chance of causing damage to the object you are polishing.
Airway Buffing Wheel Colors
The different colors of airway buffs are not there to let you work with your favorite color. Each of these colors has a different firmness/softness of the cloth pieces which are meant for different steps in the polishing process. You should also consider pairing each color buffing wheel with the appropriate color buffing compounds.
Orange buffs are mill treated to increase the firmness of the cloth flaps. This makes the orange airway buffs optimal for cutting, the first stages of the buffing process.
Recommended buffing compound: Black “Magic” and Brown Tripoli
Yellow airway buffs are also mill treated to increase stiffness but are 15% less stiff than their orange counterpart. Yellow buffs should be used in the second step of buffing and polishing.
Recommended buffing compound: Green Rouge
White airway buffing wheels are made of soft domet flannel. They are left untreated to remain ultra-plush. Unlike treated airway buffing wheels, the white domet fabric buffs are best saved for the final polishing stage when you want to get the perfect shine or a mirror finish.
Recommended buffing compound: White “Diamond”, Pink Rouge, and Blue Rouge
Tips for Using Airway Buffing Wheels
Use light pressure and allow the buffing compound to do the work. Increasing the pressure against the surface being polished will not help you get a better shine or get the job done faster.
Start buffing from the top of your surface and work your way down to the bottom using a consistent and smooth side-to-side motion. You should make several passes, overlapping each time to make sure you evenly cover the entire surface.