polished wheels look good but chrome wheels look great. The biggest part is $$$. Once the wheels are polished the cleaning-as for looks-is easier and quicker. It does help a lot to sand the wheels first-cuts down on labor and time. The retro wheel is easier to polish than the c wheel because of the cut outs, but that depends on the person doing the work.
You want to maintain 7,000-7,200 rpm's at the end of the wheel. A hand drill the has 3,000 rpms and a 6" polishing/buffing wheel is very close to that. When using the black compound use the center of the wheel and pull toward you-against the direction the wheel is turning-to cut or to remove scratches. Go with the direction and the side of the wheel to polish, less pressure helps to.
I to only use up to 600 grit sand paper, I do not dry sand at all, only wet sand and keep the sand paper and wheel clean, I use a spray bottle with water every 3-4 min... Dry sanding will cause scratches and more work later on when polishing. It takes me around 4-6 hours to do a wheel and about 2 hours per fork.
I get my compounds and polishing wheels now at lowes, walk in walk out instead of ordering. I have used casewellplating compounds with good results, their compounds are a larger bar than that of lowes. Do not buy a ploshing kit, It comes with 4" wheels not good. but the sisal wheels do help to remove the deep scratches. I finish with mothers billet polish compound but I warm it to liquid from the paste form. There are a lot of good compounds to finish/maintain the look. I use mothers mainly because it is available close by and works good.
The metal must get hot in order for the grease compounds to work it's best. When I am polshing small stuff, brake reservior's, bolt heads etc., they get almost to hot to hold in my hand/touch.
good luck on your project