Turning Archive 2004
>It depends on the manufacturer of the compounds, but.... Tripoli is in the equivalent range of 800-1100 sandpaper grit, and the White Diamond is in the 1400 to 1600 grit size when compared to sand paper.
However, we cannot make a straight across comparison between sandpaper and buffing compounds, because their cutting actions are different. Sandpaper makes a scratch pattern that is somewhere between a sharp "V" to a "U" shape with sharp peaks between the scratches. The effect is a scalloped shape. The gloss is limited to whatever available flat surfaces there are to reflect the light.
The lubricant in the buffing compound fills the scratches from the sandpaper, and the abrasive floats across the top of the scratch pattern, and rounding off the sharp peaks between the scratches. The resulting shape is a smoother wave form on the wood surface. The action of the soft buffing wheel assists in doing this. This rounding provides additional flatter reflective areas for light. And that is why a buffing will give a higher gloss appearance that a sandpaper, even though the grit particles are the same size.
Is that as clear as mud??