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How many of you guys use a buffer and what do you normally use it for. I was thinking about getting a low speed 6” buffer just for polishing scale material. Or would an 8” be better. I think they are about 50$ at HF but I haven’t looked at the specs just glanced at them when shopping for other things non knife related.
I have three. You want to look for a 1800 RPM . The 3600 are the dangerous ones if you're not careful. Keep everything on the lower 1/2 of the wheel so if it gets grabbed it is thrown down. The bigger wheel you get helps to cut speed down.
I can say I am lucky in some 30 years I have lost control of 1 blade.
I've got one of the HF ones. Like most of the stuff they sell, it "sort of" works, definitely not top shelf stuff. If you try to work it really hard for a long time, the motor will get too hot to touch. It's not real powerful either, so you can almost stall it, but in a way, that also makes it a little safer. But, for regular quick buffing jobs it works ok.

C Craft

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I have a converted grinder, I use it , using the upper portion of the wheel, and from behind the machine. If it snags it will throw the item towards the wall. I do not use it often, frankly because it is scary stuff when it does grab something! It will happen so very fast even being careful and when its all over you will want to go check your britches to make sure you haven't soiled yourself!!! The dents in the wall remind me every time I stand before it!!


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My Input: I have two buffers..... One 3/4hp Baldor, and One 1hp Jet with extended shafts. I WILL NEVER OWN OR USE A BUFFER THAT RUNS FASTER THEN 1800 RPM! The cheaper ones are generally those that are too fast... they tend to be 3600rpm or faster. The worst situation I can imagine a person placing themselves in...... a high speed buffer (more then 1800rpm) with a loose buff.

My "bad experience" came early in my career. My first buffer was a 3/4hp/3450rpm. Not long after buying it.....it grabbed/threw a blade THROUGH the shop wall, creating a hole big enough to put my fist through, and ended up about 20 yards out into the backyard. AFTER changing my shorts, I unplugged it, took it off the bench, and gave it away the next day.

I do not buff anything other then guard and/or handle materials.

BOTTOM LINE: A buffer is the most dangerous piece of equipment you can have in your shop. I have had TWO friends fatally injured by them, and every time I step up to use a buffer, I think about those incidents, and am far more cautious then any other function in the shop. My advice is to ignore cost, and unless a buffer is 1800rpm or less, just DON'T.
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Thanks for the advise and comments. There is a local Woodcraft store that sells a low speed 8” buffer for ~150$.
I might check that one out. The 6” is $100. So it seems the 8” would be the way to go
I also have the little HF 6 inch one. (about $45) I have a buff on one side with green chrome on it and a clean buff on the other side. The side with green chrome is great for polishing guards and the like. The clean buff is great for anything that just needs a little buff, like a handle after I've completed hand sanding. Some woods really pop when you give them a light buff after you sand at 600 or 800. Leather sheaths also look good with a very light buff.

As a general rule I don't use a buffer at all on my bevels. I got the buffer really early on when I was crazy about putting a mirror finish on everything, and then ended up not using the buffer at all for that. Then I stopped doing mirror finishes altogther, too. I broke the buffer back out when I started doing knives with guards and fittings.


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I have a really crummy grinder I put buffing wheels on. I can't get the reach like a real buffer but it works good enough for me and what I use it for. I just use it to shine up scales only so far. I don't do mirror blades to me they are not functional.


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Similar situation here, with my limited experience. I have a smaller one (6 in) which I use regularly on mainly blades. I have a faster more powerful one that is sitting in the naughty corner. Scared the sh.t out of once too often. With the smaller one you can actually put enough pressure against it to force it to stop. You are in control to some extent. With the other fast more powerful one it is completely different.


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I once heard a story where a woman with long hair was using a buffer in a craft class while in college. Her hair got pulled into the buffer and you guessed it.......lost lots of hair and part of her scalp.