Buffing and Polishing Pads

Generally, we manufacture two types of buffing pads.  Within these two groups are sub groups of buffing pads that are different in respect to their composition, size and design.  The two main buffing pad groups are wool and foam pads.

Wool Buffing Pads

One category are buffing pads made from wool.  There are also blended pads; that is pads that have a mix of wool and synthetic materials.  Depending on the purpose, wool can be spun into various yarns, some are twisted, some are not.  For example, if a customer needs a buffing pad that is aggressive, we can offer him/her a buffing pad that is 100% twisted wool.  Twisted wool is considered aggressive in terms of cutting ability.  On the other hand, if a customer wants a buffing pad for final finishing or non-aggressive polishing, we can provide yarns that are non-twisted or made with a mixture of synthetic materials.  Buffing pads can be made for a specific purpose or multipurpose.  Our approach is to simplify the buffing system and we also suggest working with various car care chemicals, such as compounding, polishing and finishing products.  There is an obvious relationship between buffing pads and polishing compounds.  It takes time to learn how these products work with each other.  One thing is certain: wool is becoming more popular as paints are required to contain more solids and fewer solvents.   Wool is simply the faster medium when compared to foam pads, it cuts quicker.  Foam pads play a major role in buffing as well.  Generally, foam is considered most useful when finishing.   The rule of thumb is to start with a wool buffing pad and finish with a foam pad.

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Foam Buffing Pads

The second category of buffing pads we manufacture are foam pads.  Unlike wool pads, there are no blended foam buffing pads.  Foam pads are 100% foam, but they perform slightly different from each other on the basis of how they’re constructed.  Under a microscope, foam pads look like a bee’s honeycomb, small uniformly shaped cells.  The smaller the cells the more densely the construction, this type of foam pad would be considered less aggressive, thus it would be considered a finishing pad.  The opposite effect takes place if the foam cells were larger, or less dense.  This construction will cause the foam pad to be more aggressive, as in a compounding pad.  There are various grades of foam pads on either side of the aggressive or finishing scale.  We make up to six grades of foam pads; each represented by a different color.  Early on, foam buffing pad colors were standardized, however, more colors were added to the mix and now there is a broad band or examples.  Yellow, black and white are the most common colors across the board; however, our own range of colors has expanded to include blue and green.  We make many different size and configurations of foam buffing pads, ranging from 3” to 8”.  Our recognized labels such as center tee, ventilated or standard dome shape faced foam pads come to mind.  No job is too big or to small; we have the right selection with quality to match.  All of our pads are made of high strength reticulated foam.  In other words, the cells are open; this allows air to flow through the foam.  Chemical compounds and polishes require the right amount of air flow through the foam.   Open cell foam is ideal for this process to succeed.  Not only is closed cell foam not ideal, it is weaker structurally.

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European Foam Pads

Playing a minor role in the foam pad mix are the Euro foam pads, at least here in the USA.   The main difference between American made foam pads and European foam pads was the size, density and firmness of the foams. Euro foams are generally smaller, approximately 6” diameter on average.  In Europe, detail shops are a rare find; most buffing is done on small panel repair at the body shop level.  However, this is changing with the rising popularity of independent service stations offering detailing.  Furthermore, European paint has traditionally been high solid low solvent compositions; their foam pads worked well under their physically restrictive conditions.  The transition to conform to the new and ever changing environmental laws here was difficult at first, but technology caught up and eventually the impact on us was the discovery our wool pads worked wonderfully on the new paint, better than European foams, especially with the initial cut.

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