Sadly, still true today… LOL

And speaking of sailors, how many of you remember running these…

If you did any time in a holding pool, you probably got really good with them… LOL



TBT… — 32 Comments

  1. I wasn’t in the .mil, but I used to run down a long hallways with one running, and then buff back to the beginning. We used to dance very well together…

  2. When I was somewhat leaner, I remember riding them down the halls of the dorm. Balance was an INTERESTING exercise. Getting it to move in anything approaching a straight line was also interesting.

  3. The buffer, not just a navy thing. The army used them too, except in basic. We were expected to get down on the floor and buff it by hand, Good times.

    • There’s an old youtubeish video of “Aim High, Air Force!” parody that shows broom, mop, buffer in prominent use.

    • In the Army, I discovered how to never get assigned to touch one again….quite by accident of course, but effective. You see, if you let go of the handlebar including the “dead-man” switch while the buffer is under full power, two things happen. The entire buffer spins wildly around out of control winding the cord around the machine and the area where the pad mounts, and the handlebar whips around with a lot of force, and well, I was near the outside wall close to the windows, so the machine took out the windows of my barracks room. Oops! Got yelled at big time by the CQ, but no disciplinary action.

      • Heh. Perfect setup for my story.

        In my Army maintenance company (Nuremburg, 1975-ish) our section (Small Arm Repair) was assigned a basement area to rehab for our own use. At one point we put in a tile floor, although I don’t recall being part of that detail. Anyway, they used too much black glue under the tiles, and after a week or so, it started to ooze up between the tiles. Since we were indoors, no petroleum solvents were allowed for clean up.

        We had two dipstick E-5 sergeants in charge of the cleanup. Dipstick 1 heads to supply and gets a nice shiny one gallon can of liquid soap concentrate, which is supposed to be mixed so many ounces/gallon of water. He comes back and pours the concentrated soap on the floor. Dipstick 2 engages the enemy with the buffer. No effect, other than floor is now slicker than greased snot.

        They switch from scrub brush to one of those green scotch-brite pads. Black ooze looks mildly annoyed.

        Dipstick 1 decides to sit on the buffer to give it more traction. This works. Just as the buffer gets up to speed, the scrub pad bites into the floor and stops spinning. Dipstick 2, still standing at the controls, begins to spin in a wide circle around the now stationary buffer (and Dipstick 1). As described above, they quickly wind up the cord, yanking it out of the wall socket, whereupon the whole carnival ride slowly spun to a stop.

        We had to let the floor dry out so the soap turned to powder and could be swept up. We cleaned up the black goo a bit a time with gasoline when no one was looking.

  4. Old habits die hard. Woke up at 0330 yesterday morning, couldn’t sleep, got up and had some coffee. 72 now.

  5. Coffee, any time. Re: the buffer – recently referred to as a “burnisher” by a repairman – I remember celebrating when promoted to E-5, as I finally didn’t have to do anything but watch the junior enlisted swab, wax, and polish.

  6. Buffers- BTDT. Budd up the finish was the easy part, once you knew just how to hold her handles. Rewaxing (days before good polyurethane) was an all-hands job. Wash, scrub with the brush, rinse and dry with swabs. Then 2-3 light coats of paste wax: apply and buff in, let dry, roughen slightly. Finish with the good polishing pad. If you could slide 10 yards, it was good job.

  7. Not in the Navy but… after several years of three shift rotation and more than a few all-nighters in college, yeah coffee. Our church had one of those, I ran it when I was about 14 or 15. If you weren’t paying attention it’d pick you up and throw you against the wall.

  8. Friend of mine would detour if she saw one of those floor buffers, even parked and without a keeper. Guess what she got to do in the Marines? You guessed it. Ten years later, she still hated and feared them in equal measure. I never asked why.

  9. A piece of wool blanket seemed best for polishing. Spent plenty of time using one. Never on the Submarine though. That was all by hand.

  10. I’m fighting a battle against my habit of drinking more coffee than I should and when I shouldn’t. I’m also losing the fight. On the upside, I haven’t had to wrestle a buffer in a very long time.

  11. All- LOL, glad I’m not the only one that has ‘both’ experiences… And yes, that was the ONE thing the SCRATCHY Navy wool blankets were good for… As long as nobody did a close count on the number of blankets in storage… 🙂

    Posted from my iPhone.

  12. My punishment in ETA school for being late on Monday. Instead of captains mast. Weekends for a month.

  13. Had CDO duty one weekend at Corpus so I invited the wife to join me for lunch at the galley. As we were finishing I noticed a young sailor buffing at one end of the galley. He has a towel wrapped around the handle and ever once in a while would jerk his hand off the handle. I went over and asked him what was going on. “This stupid thing keeps shocking me!” he replied. Turns out the ground pin on the plug was missing so I told him to shut it down and I told the mess cook in charge to secure the buffer until it could be repaired. He told me to “Mind my own business”. Didn’t end well for him.

  14. Gonna print out the buffer pic and use it for target practice. Yes, I can use one and no, I don’t ever wanna see another one again thankyouverymuch!
    Oddly, I never drank coffee until I was out for many years.

  15. I was taught to run a buffer on a summer job by a kid who stood all of 5 feet and about 90 lbs. I learned as a rookie that coffee didn’t always work out – VERY hard to direct traffic at an accident scene with about 3 cups on board 🙁
    I still prefer my caffeine cold.

  16. Your cup of coffee doesn’t include bacon-n-eggs? If Dad was up in the middle of the night there was always bacon-n-eggs with that pot of coffee.

  17. Used the machine several times – heh – while in A school, can still smell the wax.

  18. Robert- LOL

    Gomez- Cold? Oh hell no!!!

    Judy- No comment… LOL

    Grog- Oh yeah, that damned industrial wax in the 5 gallon buckets…

  19. BTDT also in my Army days. Complete with wool blanket as a pad and wool socks on feet to keep floor unscuffed. And woe unto him who walked on said floor in anything but socks.

  20. I learned to do that when I was a janitor’s assistant. Came in handy as a Titan II crew member.

  21. New Orleans, Holy Cross High School, refectory for boarding students (I was one) with completely set tables — all glasses, plates, and such are in place for the upcoming meal. I’m new and am told to get that buffer and shine the place. No idea how to “steer” the thing, I plugged it in, grabbed the handles and squeezed.

    It instantly took me in various directions, wiping out chairs and tables, everything on the tables flying. I don’t remember consciously doing so, but at some point I let go and the buffer made its last mad swing without me.

    The evening meal was late.

    A few years later, 1963, when I went to basic training I was already an expert with buffers.

  22. Our Drill Sargent instructed us in the proper waxing techniques for our hallways in Basic:
    1) Procure a couple of cans of Johnson’s wax (with our own funds). Do not use the gallons of water-based floor wax provided by the Army stored in the janitor’s closet with the buffer. Hide the Johnson’s Wax cans.
    2) Pop the lid on the wax and ignite it with a Zippo. Let burn for several minutes to build a reservoir of melted wax. Put lid on can to extinguish flames.
    3) Pour the molten wax along the hallway.
    4) Spread the wax with the bristles of the buffer. Let cool and dry until a uniformly dull appearance occurs on the floor.
    5) Attach a fluffy toilet seat cover over the bristles of the buffer and cinch up the tie string.
    6) Buff to a high shine.