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Beall Wood Buffing Systems

The Beall Tools Company - manufacturers of the Beall Buffing System

I was privileged to meet Jerry Beall a couple of years ago when attending the Ornamental Turners International Conference in nearby Newark, OH.  As well as being an excellent host whenever we snook away from the main proceedings to revel in the atmosphere of his fascinating workshop, Jerry demonstrated to us many of the plethora of products and inventions that his agile mind has produced for the woodworking market. 

Whilst all were worthy of considerable attention, I was completely knocked out by Jerry's development of buffing systems for use on timber.  Here at last was a quick, simple way of putting that finishing glow onto wood products that really makes them stand out.  What I liked most was that this created a bright, light, smooth and incredibly tactile finish but not with the hard glossy, glassy, polished-plastic look with which some workers damn their work, but with a deep gleam that really brought out the beauty in the timber.  At last I got my act together and am now importing this excellent wood finishing system, which I am proud to present to you here, and which is available in the UK only from The ToolPost.

The Beall Wood Buff

Beall Wood Buff System supplied complete with three buffs, mounting adaptor, two compounds and wax.  MT adaptor in foreground is optional. The first of Jerry's products which I used was the Wood Buff and I now use this as my standard means of finishing my lathe turned items.  It can, of course, be used for any items small enough to be handled and brought to the wheel.

The Wood Buff Kit contains everything that you need to start using this method of finishing immediately.  Core to the kit are three 8" buffing wheels, each of a different material and construction to suit the stage in the process for which it is intended.  The wheels are marked to avoid them getting mixed up.  The buffing wheels are mounted using the spindle adaptor supplied, which is threaded to take the spindle of the wheels at one end and is bored at the other to fit onto the shaft of a grinder (recommended rotational speed for 8" wheels is circa 1750 rev/min).  A bush is also supplied so that the adaptor can be mounted on either a 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch shaft.  As a lathe user, I mount the adaptor in the lathe by holding its outside diameter firmly in the jaws of my chuck but your chuck has to be capable of gripping tightly onto a 1.5" (38 mm) diameter (I have cut a small dovetail into the end of the adptor to match the dovetail jaws of my chuck, to ensure good retention and accurate shaft alignment).  As an option, we also supply a Morse taper adaptor, in either 1MT or 2MT size, which can be mounted in the spindle throat and which has a parallel shaft turned on its outer end to carry the buffing wheel adaptor: this is probably the best option for most lathe users.  The kit is completed with the inclusion of two generously large bars of buffing compound, one each of Tripoli and White Diamond plus a hefty bar of  the Carnauba Wax essential for finishing.  See usage notes, below.

Additionally, we supply the smaller 4 inch diameter wheels which are very useful for polishing smaller items such as jewellery, boxes etc.  These wheels are available individually - as with the 8 inch wheels, each is constructed of a fabric and in a manner to suit the particular compound with which it is used - or as a fully configured kit with mounting hardware and polishing compounds, as for the 8" kit, above.  These smaller wheels can usefully be used  to augment an existing set of 8 inch wheels.  These 4 inch wheels perform best at higher rotational speed than the 8 inch versions - around 2850 to 3000 rev/min being an acceptable speed. For serious work with bowls, platters and other full-size pieces, we strongly recommend the use of the 8" system.

The Beall Bowl Buffs (in 3 sizes!)

2 inch Beall Bowl Buff system shown with mounting adaptor, buffing compounds and wax.For smaller work, such as small bowls, goblets, boxes etc. an additional kit is available comprising three further buffing wheels  In fact there are three sizes of these Bowl Buff kits available - 2inch, 3inch or 4inch to suit a wide range of work - each containing three wheels.  As supplied, these kits are conceived as add-ons for owners of Wood Buff kits.  However, by purchasing the Combination Adaptor, the buffing compounds, wax and optionally a Morse taper mounting mandrel, these kits can be used independently.

The bowl mops supplied in these kits are marked to ensure that they are always used with the correct compounds and they feature the same specifically-formulated construction as noted for the Wood Buffs, above.  The mops are dome-shaped, as can be seen in the photograph, above, so that they can be used directly into the bottom of bowls and goblets.

The bowl mops should be used at higher speeds than the Wood Buffs in view of their smaller diameter.  (As with all such operations, it is the peripheral speed that is important, not the rotational speed.)  See usage notes, below

 
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Wood and Bowl Buff Usage Notes

Since its introduction, the Wood Buff kit has gained a multitude of  admirers - particularly among turning enthusiasts. Its ease of use, coupled with its beauty, make it a particularly elegant solution to many finishing dilemmas. The 8" Wood Buff may be attached to a 1725 r.p.m. stationary motor, a wood lathe, or a multi-purpose workshop tool. And, although it was Collection of bowls in European Oak (quercus robur) being polished on the Beall Wood Buff.designed to polish smaller items, it can be adapted to large surfaces such as tabletops by powering it with a variable speed sander/polisher unit of the type used for vehicle refinishing. The kit includes a Combination 1/2" - 5/8" Adaptor, one end of which attaches to your motor shaft where it is held in place by set screws. The other end is internally threaded to accept the bolts installed in the centre of each buffing wheel to enable you to change wheels quickly during the buffing process.

The Wood Buff is designed to be used with a 1/3 hp or more, 1725 motor. This should be sufficient for most buffing tasks; larger items or a more vigorous buffing style may call for 1/2 hp. The 3,000 r.p.m. of many grinder motors will be too fast for the 8" wheels sold with the Wood Buff, but would work well for buffing with the Bowl Buffs, with the 4"  buffing wheels or with the Razor Edge Buff. When you face the shaft end of the motor, the wheel should rotate counter-clockwise in order for the Wood Buff to work properly.  (As with a grinding wheel, the wheel should be travelling DOWNWARDS at the point where you contact it with the work.)

Both Bowl Buffs and Wood Buffs work better (and shed less) if you first trim and break them in. To do this, wrap a piece of coarse sandpaper (100 grit or so) around a piece of scrap wood and, holding it securely, press it against the surface of the spinning buff. Move it across the entire surface to remove any loose threads on the buff's surface. With your other hand hold the hose of a shop vac or dust collector up to catch the particles which are released. (Be sure to wear eye protection and a dust mask.)

Here's the quick, simple way to beautifully finished woodwork la Jerry Beall:-

  1. Sand your work to at least 220 grit.  As ever, the finer, the better.  You can buff bare timber but a better result is obtained if the buffing process is applied over a sealing coat.  For a longer lasting finish, first apply a coat of Finishing Oil or similar product (but NOT linseed oil).  When the oil is completely dry, you at ready to start the buffing process.
  2. Begin the process with the Tripoli Buff and the red Tripoli compound.  Apply a generous amount of compound to the spinning wheel.  Begin buffing your workpiece, holding it slightly below the centre of the wheel so that it cannot "grab" the piece..  Several applications of the compound may be required if the workpiece has a large surface area.  (When the wheel is new, heavier applications of the compounds may be necessary than later, when the wheel is "loaded".)
  3. For the next step, change the wheels, mounting the White Diamond Buff, which is used with the harder, drier, White Diamond Compound.  Apply a small amount of the White Diamond compound to the wheel and buff the workpiece lightly: this will remove the residue left from the Tripoli and also provide the final polishing.
  4. Finally the wax coat is applied using the Wax Buff.  The wax included with the kit is pure Carnauba Wax, which is an edible vegetable wax and therefore ideal for finishing domestic treen items.  Once the wheel has been charged with the yellow Carnauba Wax a few times, only a light application will be needed on each subsequent use..  Hold the wax to the wheel for no more than a second as an excess of wax will impair, rather than improve, the finish.  Buff the workpiece lightly to produce a beautiful protective sheen.
  5. Stand back and admire your brilliant handiwork!

Full instructions are provided with all buffing kits.

*NB: Prices quoted in pounds sterling. 
Value Added Tax will be added to invoices to EU residents unless
a valid VAT registration number is quoted when ordering.

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1997-2011 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley & ToolPost Ltd.  Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice