In this article we will explain the difference in stiffness between the relation of buffing wheels and buffing compound bars. As shown in the chart below, we have different aggressiveness in polishing compound bars that range from heavy cut to fine finishing. As far as buffing wheels go, we display the different colors that range from stiff and hard to soft and fine finishing. 

buffing chart with buffing wheels and buffing compound barsHOW TO READ THIS POLISHING CHART 

Compound bars 

Our polishing compound rouge bars are mostly industry standard as far as colors go, so our green rouge would be equivalent to the green rouge from Jackson Lea, Menzerna, or Foremax. This is important to note if you are trying to cross reference bars and figure out which of your bars is what in relation to this chart above. 

but first....

What are polishing compound bars made out of? 

Polishing compound bars are made abrasive grains, stearic acid (binder), tallow & wax. compound bars depending on the color will vary in the abrasive grain that is used, whether it be coarse grains to help remove abrasive scratches or super fine micro abrasives for a mirror polish. 

What bars are best for removing heavy scratch marks? 

If you see on the chart we have two aggressive bars that are used in polishing. The first is the black compound bar which is our stainless cutting bar. This bar is used for polishing on stainless steel and can remover scratch marks as coarse as 320 grit and 400 grit. Typically you would pair this bar with our Red Treated airway buffing wheel! 

The tripoli polishing compound bar is brown in color and is typically used to polish aluminum and will remove 400 and 600 grit sand marks. This bar is typically paired with the orange airway buffing wheel but can also be paired with the yellow airway buffing wheel if the polishing job is not that bad! 

What bars are best for a 2 step mirror polish on aluminum or stainless steel? 

When it comes to polishing stainless steel or aluminum, you are dealing with two completely different forms of metal. Aluminum for instance, is very porous, absorbs compound and is typically very thin. This will require a compound that fills in these pours and gently polishes the surface of the aluminum. Our green rouge is made for exactly this, it differs from the yellow rouge bar which is for stainless in one simple fact, it has green chromium oxide in it. this green chromium oxide is what fills and polishes the surface of the aluminum and reflects a rich luster that will give you a mirror shine. We recommend using this bar with the Yellow Mill Treated Airway buffing wheel. 

Stainless steel and steel on the other hand, is not porous at all and typically is much thicker than aluminum. Due to this fact it will require that you use a slightly more aggressive bar in the yellow compound because you will need to generate and build more heat to move and polish the surface of that metal. We recommend using this bar with our Pink Mill Treated Airway buffing wheel. 

What is the No Scratch Pink Polishing Compound used for? 

Our special pink blend of micro abrasives and binders are used to make the best bar you will ever use for polishing plastics, composites, fiberglass & wood materials! This bar is a finer finishing bar that is meant to be used on already smoothed surfaces. This is a one-step bar! This bar can be used with our UBM (untreated) buffing wheel


We have a very real and very controversial philosophy on polishing compound bars here. While white rouge and blue rouge are very popular in the industry for high luster bars mostly due to them being around for so long, we feel that these are not the best choice, although they do leave a great finish if that's what you are used to. Our preferential bar for finishing is our purple high luster compound bar. THis bar can be used on almost any polishing surface and can be combined with any either or UBM untreated airway or our Domet Flannel finishing Airway. 


When it comes to jewelry, there is only one bar that should be used and thats the Jewelers Red Rouge. This bar is ideal for polishing precious metals like silver, gold, and platinum to a mirror finish. 



What do the different colors of a buffing wheel mean? 

Airway buffing wheels are made with a special treated unbiased muslim material that is put through a mill treatment that combines different stiffness treatments. These treatments are made using a Polyvinyl acetate treatment in different strengths that either had harder or "softer" streatments to the buffing wheels. The harder treatments being the RED and the ORANGE and the softer ones being the pink and the yellow. 

Our red airway buffing wheels are our stiffest mill treatment and is best in conjunction with our stainless polishing compound which is used to polish steel or stainless steel. This extra stiffness and rigidity is used to build extra heat and buffing strength as this is what causes the metal to "move" when it is getting polished in combination with the compound bar. 

Our Orange Treated buffing wheel is also stiff but SLIGHTLY softer than the Red treated airway and is best in combination with our brown tripoli compound bar when polishing aluminum. 

As far as the Pink Treated Airway, this wheel is used in combination with our Yellow Deluxe bar for a 2nd step polish on stainless steel. Most do not go further than this step. Inversely, the Yellow Mill treated airway is softer than the Pink treated airway and is used in combination with the green rouge polishing bar! 

Our final two Airway wheels, the Domet Flannel Airway and the UBM airway can be used in combination with with our purple fine finishing bar or our jeweler's red rouge for a super high luster! 

The Domet Flannel Airway is the softest of all buffing wheels and is often used to clean up light scratches on stainless steel, aluminum or other surfaces! 

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