Wool buffing pads get a bad reputation. Yes, they can leave a car covered in buffer trails, but no, it’s not because of the pad itself.
Just because some amateur detailers had a hard time using wool buffing pads does not make them rubbish!
In-fact, they can be great tools if you spend time learning them inside out.
In this article I’m going to tell you when to use a wool buffing pad, how to use them correctly, as well as the best ones you can buy.
What is a wool buffing pad used for?
Wool buffing pads are used to cut back extremely dull & oxidized paintwork.
If you’re working on a car that has been neglected for years, especially if it’s black, you may want to consider a wool pad.
While I’d generally recommend going for the least abrasive measure first, if you’re looking to transform a car quickly, without having to make multiple passes then wool is the way to go.
When To Use A Wool Pad
Just because you’re using a wool pad in one step of the polishing process, doesn’t mean you have to use it all the way through.
I recommend using a wool buffing pad during the compounding stage.
Once I’ve finished cutting, I’ll often switch to a dual action polisher and finish the car with a softer, foam pad.
The abrasive qualities of the wool will cut back scratches and swirls much quicker than your average foam pad.
That said, your average car will not need a wool pad. Well maintained vehicles will require less abrasive steps.
You should only really use extremely heavy cutting pads on cars that deserve their own “disaster” detailing videos.
Using a combination of a heavy cutting pad and rotary polisher will allow you to cut through the worst scratches, swirls and oxidation in a fraction of the time.
Sure, dual action polishers are considered “safer”, but once mastered, the rotary polisher with wool pads is much quicker and equally as safe.
Remember, every pad and piece of equipment can cause defects when used incorrectly. If you’re not comfortable using wool pads, get a test panel and learn how to use them properly before doing a clients car.
Types Of Wool Buffing Pads
The types of wool pads that you can get is pretty much the same as the foam pads.
Wool pads are also separated into three different categories.
The Cutting/compounding pads are going to be the most abrasive. These are used to remove heavy scratches and swirls from the paintwork and are mostly made up of 100% twisted wool.
Whereas polishing or finishing pads are normally comprised of yarns that are not twisted, and can be made with a mixture of synthetic materials.
As you probably already know, whenever you buy a pad, manufacturers make it clear whether they’re cutting, polishing or finishing pads.
If you’re ever unsure, it probably says on the pad itself. If not, give it a feel and you’ll have a good idea.
Best Wool Polishing Pads
Now, if you’re brave enough to give wool pads a go, here’s a couple that I’d recommend.
Sticking with trusted brands and products that are recommended by the majority is normally the way to go.
If you buy cheap pads, they normally don’t last long and you’ll have to buy twice.
Sisha Wool Polishing Pads (2 Pack)
If you want brand new cutting and compounding pads at a reasonable price, look no further.
Sishas’ wool polishing pads are made up of 100% twisted 4 ply sheeps wool.
For professionals that know what they’re doing, these pads are super aggressive and will significantly decrease the time spent polishing a car.
Coming in a 2-pack, these 7” polishing pads are easy to control and keep the panel you’re working on cooler than most.
Just like any other high-quality pad, they use the hook and loop system making them super easy to switch between as they become dirty.
For around $10 a pad, you can’t really go wrong. (As long as you know what you’re doing)!
3M Wool Polishing Pad (33283)
3M is considered to be the top dog, especially when it comes to paint refinishing in body shops and detail shop.
More often than not, if you were to ask a professional which pads they’re using, they’re probably going to tell you it’s 3M.
These ones are specifically tailored for polishing and removing minor paint defects.
If you’re looking to do a one-stage polish, or even just new pads for the finishing stage, I’d highly recommend trying these out.
With the perfect blend of wool and fine fibres, these pads will offer you a fast & skip free polishing experience.
As you’d expect when buying any 3M product, the wool polishing pads are super easy to use. They’ll connect to every standard polisher and can be changed quickly thanks to the “hookit” hook and loop system.
The biggest obstacle has to be the price. There’s no doubt about the quality of this pad, however, many people will not want to spend a lot of money on a single polishing pad.