I'd like to getting a buffing wheel set up for my shop, but I don't have the money for a nice one.  I'm thinking about getting one similar to this:

NTE buffer

at the local big box home improvement center.  Still, when all is said and done, I'll probably have over $100 in the cheap set up.  I'm just not sure if it will be worth even that money. 

I've been thinking about this for a while, and last night I was doing some buffing by hand and started really wishing I had a power set up.

Would appreciate your thoughts or experiences.  Thanks.


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Too fast for nitro finishes. R.

Yep... it's way too fast. You need to stay around 700-850rpm for most guitar work. If there's a tight budget involved, I'd probably go for a set of the foam buffing pads from StewMac and use a portable drill.

Thanks for the link, I hadn't seen those.  May give 'em a try.  Thanks fellas!


I started out with the wool bonnets on hand held drills. I graduated to the Stew Mac foam pads (  I remember when they first came out: I was probably one of the first to order these.) None of these methods worked anywhere as nice as a real buffing machine.

Eventually I ended up buying the Stew Mac arbor for the buffing wheels and I got a nice used motor for cheap and made my own system  I see that Stew Mac now offers an improved version of their buffer for large dollars but something similar to their old version is still available at :

I prefer to use only one buff per side-- it is quieter with less vibration and static electricity , more control and still does a nice job. One side is dedicated to med compound and the other to fine compound,. I like the Menzerna (sp?) brand.of compound.

I also have a small 4 inch flannel wheel for a hand held drill that comes in handy around fretboard tongues and bridges.

I have a separate buffer for metal parts. The item you found may be useful for that.

My old lambswool and foam buffs sit unused in a drawer. Hmm-- maybe I should do something about that.

You can go the hard way like I did ; but if you are a pro or you end up doing this professionally, my guess is you will eventually own a real buffing machine.

Hope this helps, Robert

Don't they make speed/rpm adjusters?Just curious...

They do, but the cost of AC Speed Controllers goes up quickly when the power requirements go up - buffers draw a lot of current on start up and pull a lot of current under load - so the answer, is, yes they do make speed controllers but its a costly unit for this kind of device.  r.

What Rusty said.  It is simpler to speed control a DC motor and they provide a LOT of torque for the hp rating but a DC motor and controller powerful enough to run a buffer would cost quit a bit  and you would need a power rectifier to convert the AC to DC to boot..

hi brian, not sure if this is much help to you as i'm in the uk but i like to make my own sanders/polishers etc... why not try what i made ?.. pillow block bearings from ebay, possibly get the one inch thick, 3 foot long shaft from ebay too, the upright posts could be wood instead of steel if you dont fancy welding ,just added a pair of 14" stewmac mops as shown in pics.... nick


Nice setup and I love the trashcan stand. LOL.....


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