Frequently Asked Questions

Here we answer our customers' frequently asked questions about polishing and grinding:

What is the Difference Between Polishing and Buffing?

The terms "polishing" and "buffing" designate two technically different processes during surface finishing. Both processes are about reducing the roughness of the surfaces to a minimum without changing the workpiece geometry that has previously been defined through cutting and grinding. Consequently, polishing and buffing must not remove significant amounts of material.


Polishing is a finishing process that involves the use of an abrasive that’s firmly connected with a carrier such as sanding belts. Polishing therefore is a shape cutting process to smooth surfaces, remove scratches and indentations and scale the surface. The resulting polishing lines must be fine enought to be effectively removed during subsequent buffing.


It is assumed that buffing is essentially based on two distinct processes: On the one hand, the roughness peaks remaining from the previous polishing steps are gently removed with the help of fine abrasive grains. On the other hand, the workpiece surface is deformed in microscopic areas by the abrasive grains striking it at high speed, which results in a smoothing of unevenness.

Buffing ist performed in subsequent steps with rotating wheels, which are usually made of natural materials and are impregnated with fine polishing pastes. There are two main steps involved in buffing:

  • Coarse cut buffing removes the fine polishing lines by applying high levels of energy until a smooth and homogeneous surface appearance is created. The most suitable polishing tools for this process step usually are brushes or polishing discs manufactured of resistant natural raw materials such as tampico or sisal fibers together with heavy-cut polishing compounds.
  • Finish buffing is the last and finest step in surface finishing, which is carried out using cotton polishing wheels at low working pressure and short process times together with super-finish polishing compounds. This will level out any microfine lines remaining after the cut-buff process and thereby smooth the surface. This then creates the desired brigth luster finish.

How do I Properly Dress a Buffing Wheel?

Careful preparation of the buffing tool is a prerequisite for an optimal buffing result. Because the finer the fiber structure of the disc, the better the surface quality. Unused and untreated cotton buffing discs do not accept the polishing paste well which leads to unsatisfactory results. For this reason, the surface of buffing discs must be carefully roughened, until a fine velour of microfibers has emerged. Please follow our instructions for the trimming of buffing wheels.

Which Cut-Buffing Wheel is Right for my Project?

When pre-polishing, it is very important that the tool is precisely matched to the polishing project. Cut-buffing discs from EICKELIT consist of high-quality natural materials such as sisal fabric, sisal cords, sisal-cotton mixtures or Tampico-fibre. Thanks to a variety of designs and our universal impregnation system, the EICKELIT pre-polishing discs can be optimized for any challenge.

SI-W-PK SB-VR SB-4 SB-3 SB-XL Sisal-Cord
Attack SI-W-PK5 SB-VR3 SB-43 SB-33 SB-L3 Cord5
Flexi­bility SI-W-PK1 SB-VR1 SB-43 SB-32 SB-L4 Cord5
Cooling SI-W-PK1 SB-VR1 SB-43 SB-35 SB-L5 Cord4

Please select the type of cutting disc that best suits your polishing project from the above table (5 = "more" → 1 = "less")

Which Impregnation Should I Use for Cut-Buffing?

The EICKELIT impregnation system allows an individual optimization of the service life, aggressiveness and absorption capacity of polishing compounds. Please select the most suitable impregnation for your application according to the following table:

Impregnation Stages Properties Application
ImpregnationGreen Stages1 Propertiessupple / non-smearing ApplicationNon-ferrous metals
ImpregnationViolet Stages1 Propertieselastic / sticky ApplicationUniversal
ImpregnationBlue Stages1-3 Propertiesvery soft -> soft ApplicationAluminium
ImpregnationRed Stages1-3 Propertiessoft -> medium-hard ApplicationUniversal
ImpregnationYellow Stages1-3 Propertiesmedium-hard -> hard ApplicationSteel / Stainless steel
ImpregnationWhite Stages1-3 Propertiesvery hard -> extra aggressive ApplicationStainless steel / titanium

Which Type of Cotton Should I Use?

Please use the following table to select the right type of cotton for your application:

EICKELIT Cotton Qualities

Which Non-Wovens are Available?

The following tables can be used to select the right type of abrasive fleece for your application:

Aluminium Oxide:

Name Abrasive Grit Grade Firmness
NameAO-002 AbrasiveCorundum Grit45 GradeSuper Coarse FirmnessExtra Reinforced
NameAO-003-MG AbrasiveCorundum Grit80 GradeExtra Coarse FirmnessStandard
NameAO-003 AbrasiveCorundum Grit100 GradeCoarse FirmnessStandard
NameAO-004 AbrasiveCorundum Grit180 GradeMedium FirmnessStandard
NameAO-004-HD AbrasiveCorundum Grit180 GradeMedium FirmnessReinforced
NameAO-004-SD AbrasiveCorundum Grit180 GradeMedium FirmnessExtra Reinforced
NameAO-006 AbrasiveCorundum Grit240 GradeFine FirmnessStandard
NameAO-006-HD AbrasiveCorundum Grit240 GradeFine FirmnessReinforced
NameAO-007 AbrasiveCorundum Grit320 GradeVery Fine FestigkeitStandard
NameAO-007-HD AbrasiveCorundum Grit320 GradeVery Fine FirmnessReinforced
NameAO-007-SD AbrasiveCorundum Grit320 GradeVery Fine FirmnessExtra Reinforced

Silicon Carbide:

Name Abrasive Grit Grade Firmness
NameSC-004 AbrasiveSilicon Carbide Grit180 GradeMedium FirmnessStandard
NameSC-006 AbrasiveSilicon Carbide Grit240 GradeFine FirmnessStandard
NameSC-007 AbrasiveSilicon Carbide Grit320 GradeVery Fine FirmnessSoft
NameSC-009 AbrasiveSilicon Carbide Grit600 GradeUltra Fine FirmnessExtra Soft

Which Buffing Tool suits my Application?

Please contact us directly during our business hours, we will be happy to advise you personally. Outside of our business hours you are welcome to leave us a message, we will get back to you back as soon as possible.

Does EICKELIT Offer Advice on Polishing?

  • Please read our tips on polishing first
  • We would be happy to advise you on your polishing project without obligation. Please give us a call during our opening hours or send us a message, we will get back to you as soon as possible. We are looking forward to your contact.