1. Always use some form of a dust collection system with plenty of ventilation. Prolonged exposure to polishing compounds will cause long-term health problems.
  2. Safety first, make sure to wear appropriate eye and finger protection.
  3. Make sure to match the compound to the correct buff whenever possible. Cutting compounds can be used with any type of buff. Rouges should be used with non-treated buffs since the binder on the buff can cause scratching.
  4. Store all buffs and compounds away from each other. This helps to prevent contamination of the compounds and could prevent it from producing a high luster finish.
  5. Always use enough polishing compound on the wheel and recharge frequently.
  6. Insufficient compound causes metal particles to accumulate on the surface of a buff, leading to gailing and scratching.
  7. Don't allow buffs to lose their shapes. Tapering, where one edge of the buff wears more than the other. To avoid this, try to use the entire face of the buff. If the buff does taper, use a file cleaner to grind it down and true it again.
  8. Use small brushes, silicone wheels, felt points or other small polishing tools when polishing around delicate findings.
     Large buffs mounted on a polishing motor can often grab and damage a piece.
  9. Avoid polishing directly against a corner, since it will round it off. Start with the flat surface against the wheel and draw it out to the edge of the wheel.
  10. Try to match the shape of the polishing tool to the part to be polished.
  11. Never polish down into a "V," since the buff will conform to the shape and cut a groove into the the surface. Instead polish against the point of the "V" and allow the buff to spread down over it.
  12. Use brushes to polish filigree, especially when using abrasive compounds. Buffs are too aggressive and will destroy details.
  13. Don't tilt a piece against the buff; this can taper the metal, especially inside the shank.
  14. Always clean a piece between cutting and buffing operations to avoid contamination.

Check out At the Bench for more tips and step-by-step instructions.