Polishing compounds are abrasive compounds consisting of polishing powder mixed with waxes and fats to form a cake or bar. They are used in a variety of industries to smooth metals and gradually apply a clean and professional finish. To help manufacturers properly distinguish between polishing compounds, we’ve created a comprehensive guide that breaks down the different types of polishing compounds and their uses.
Polishing Compound Categories
Polishing compounds fall into three primary categories:
Tripolis, which are cutting compounds. In this instance, ‘cut’ refers to how quickly the compound cuts away metal. High cuts remove more than lower cuts. Tripoli compounds eliminate dull scratches and emery marks to deliver a smooth, although dull, surface.
Intermediates, which cut away rough surfaces and provides a degree of luster.
Finishing rouges, which are burnishing compounds used to deliver a high-quality polish.
Because they have varying functions, polishing compounds come in many forms, with surfaces that range from highly coarse to super-fine. Depending on the application and how much smoothing needs to be done, you can use different compounds throughout the process to smooth away imperfections and achieve the desired results.
Commonly-Used Polishing Compounds & Recommended Applications
While some metal polishing compounds, like blue, yellow, or aluminum, are best suited to certain applications, others are more versatile. For example, you could use a green or white compound on stainless steel surfaces. We’ve compiled a list of commonly-used polishing compounds along with their recommended applications below.
The brown Tripoli polishing compound is highly versatile and commonly used to polish surfaces on softer metals like brass, copper, and aluminum. It can even be applied to wood surfaces, resulting in a lustrous finish.
This intermediate metal polishing compound is mainly used to finish stainless steel surfaces, which is why it is often referred to as the stainless steel compound. It removes scratches and provides a mirror-like finish.
Used primarily on hard metals and stainless steel, white polishing compounds have a finer composition that make it ideal for the cutting and intermediate stages of the polishing process
If you work with non-ferrous metals, plastics, or synthetic materials, the blue polishing compound can restore their original smoothness and gleam.
This dual-purpose compound is applied in the first stage of soft metal polishing and in the final stage of hard metal polishing to add a finishing touch. It is one of the most versatile compounds, as it can also be used on wood, painted surfaces, and plastic.
The black polishing compound is used in smaller doses to add shine to aluminum, steel, copper, brass, and similar metals. The black emery compound in particular is recommended if you need to remove deep scratches or smooth rough surfaces.
Aluminum metal polishing compounds provide a smooth and even surface on soft metals.
These dry, low-residue polishing compounds deliver a brilliant shine on hard metals like gold and platinum, which is why this particular compound is popular in the jewelry industry.
The gold metal polishing compound consists of different grades of abrasive. Together, they provide a high lustre to polished metals, making them another popular choice for jewelers and metalworkers.