A special welcome to our newest readers, I hope you enjoy the Newsletter – but don’t expect too much news, just tips and help.
I try hard not to repeat questions but as time goes on it gets harder. It’s impossible to check back and often questions have a slightly different angle so they’re similar but not the same. So my apologies if some of them seem familiar, but they’ll be new to a lot of readers. We get new subscribers every week, which is great. And these are all questions that have come in to us, so they’re obviously still relevant.
So shall we deal with some?

In fact we’ve had a lot of questions about buffing, our Buffing Wheel Kit and the Buffing Tree this week, so I’m going to focus on them. It might be that people are thinking about it as a Christmas present and want to know more about it, but these also come from owners wanting to check something. Although I’m sorry, I still can’t answer the ‘Where did I put my Buffing Wheels?’ one!!

A common question is what speed should the lathe be at for buffing? I usually buff at around 1100rpm when using the full size wheels. That suits me, and suits the items I usually buff. You can go up to 1500rpm if you want, the wheels are rated for that speed. But importantly anything above 600rpm will still be good, the wheels will still buff at slower speeds. Turning the speed down means that the wheels will deform more (as they are unstitched) allowing them to follow the contours of an intricate shape even better. The point of contact will also be softer which is an advantage for delicate pieces, and less heat will be generated. The process will take longer of course, but the results are worth it.
When using the Buffing Tree or Dome Buffs I normally run the lathe a bit faster if that suits the item as the smaller wheels have a lower peripheral speed.

Someone also asked why it’s a three wheel system, could they buy just one wheel? We’ve had that one before, often at shows, and invariably if someone buys just one wheel they come back for the others in the end! Each cloth wheel is different; the grade of the cloth gets softer as you go from A to C and are carefully chosen to co-ordinate with the compounds and waxes to give the best result. The A and B wheels are really preparing the surface for the final finish, the A wheel, with Compound 1, smoothing back at a very fine grade and the B wheel, with Compound 2, taking this even further and finer. You will see the shine increase after each wheel. The C wheel is the softest of them all and this is the one that does the final polishing, use with Carnauba Wax or Microcrystalline Wax for a really good shine.

And finally for this week, two questions in one…polishing something like African Blackwood which is very dense and very hard. It’s the sort of timber you’d use for ornamental work – it’s too rare and expensive for much else! – and I’d say that the best way to finish it would be with a wax. The nature of the wood would make it hard for a lacquer to adhere properly, so a wax would work well. Unusually I wouldn’t use a sealer first – there’s really no need on something like this.
If you’re able to buff it with our Buffing System this would be even better, just follow the normal procedure straight onto the bare wood. (Usually the wheels are for buffing a coating but not in this case).

When this email is delivered to your inbox I’ll be in Harrogate in preparation for the North of England Woodworking Show. Don’t forget to come and say hello if you’re going there too (maybe we need a secret handshake? Maybe not!) and if you tell us you’re a Chestnuteer (that’s a Newsletter reader in case you don’t know) you can pick up a free Chestnut Products Notepad and Pen while stocks last.

If I don’t see you at the weekend don’t worry, I’ll be back here again next week.

Have a good week