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post #1 of 9 Old 08-07-2011, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Ca finishing

Have seen a few different techniques and even tried a couple of them.
Not working for me at all. I need tips please. I searched all over this place an everyone has their own way and ideas on this.
Any and all tips please.
Also, is it possible to put just a pen blank on the pen mandrel without the tubes in them to try different ways and find a way that works for me.

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post #2 of 9 Old 08-07-2011, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slicksqueegie View Post
... is it possible to put just a pen blank on the pen mandrel without the tubes in them to try different ways and find a way that works for me.
Sure -- you don't even need to use a mandrel, save yourself the bother of drilling the blank. Just mount it between centers or grab it in a chuck if you have jaws that will clamp down small enough.

Quote:
Have seen a few different techniques and even tried a couple of them.
Not working for me at all. I need tips please. I searched all over this place an everyone has their own way and ideas on this.
Any and all tips please.
I use a couple of different techniques that work most of the time.

The common factors in my method --

(1) sand the turned pen through to 400 grit (starting wherever you need to get rid of tear out and tool marks). Before moving onto the next grit, stop the lathe and sand up & down the length of the barrel to remove the circumferential scratches of the grit you just used. Turn the lathe by hand, sanding up & down till you've done the entire surface. Wipe away the dust in between grits to make sure no coarser grit is hanging around as you go to the finer grit.

(2) Put latex gloves on. I hate when my fingers stick to the glue bottle.

(3) Take a square of paper towel, tear it in half, and roll it up into a tight cylinder about the size of a fat pencil. (Use a good quality paper towel, e.g. Bounty. The cheap stuff leaves fibers embedded in the finish.)

(4) Set the lathe turning on its slowest speed.

(5) Holding the rolled towel underneath the turning pen, drip some thin CA onto the barrel and "smooth it out" with the towel. Don't hang around, a couple of sweeps is enough. I generally put a few drops at the left hand end of the barrel and as I sweep to the right bring the glue bottle along and drip a bit more as I go.

(6) Do the same to the other half of the pen (if it's a 2 piece model).

(7) Walk away. Don't be tempted to keep rubbing back and forth. In 30 seconds or so, the glue on the towel will give off the noxious fumes and get hot. Don't think this means the glue on the pen is cured -- cellulose fibers in the towel act as an accelerant. I stay away a couple of minutes after the towel-glue smoked.

(8) Repeat steps 5 though 7 a few times, using a fresh section of towel each time. If I stick with thin CA, I normally do about 5 coats. Sometimes I switch to medium CA, in which case I'll probably do 3 coats. Note that medium CA takes longer to cure than the thin stuff, so you use fewer coats but it takes about the same time.

Sidenote: medium CA doesn't drip as easily as the thin stuff, so I apply it by squeezing a pea-sized blob onto the rolled paper towel and -- without waiting around -- spread it the length of the barrel. One sweep back, and take the towel away. I use a fresh patch of the rolled towel for the second barrel.

(9) Stop the lathe and take a look at the surface. It will have ridges. With the lathe still on slow, I use 400 grit sandpaper to gently flatten the surface. When you stop the lathe and wipe the dust away, if there are low spots you can see them because they are still shiny -- sand a bit more till the surface is evenly dull.

(10) Apply more coats of CA -- about 10 if thin, about 5 if medium.

(11) Spritz with accelerant, if I have any. Leave it alone for 45 minutes or more.

(12) Before moving further, I check that the barrels aren't glued to the mandrel or bushings. Normally I just snap the bushings off, sometimes I turn the lathe on and use a parting tool or the tip of a skew to break the glue at the very end of the barrels.

(13) Use 400 grit sandpaper again. Then go up & down the length of the pen with the grit. Wipe away the dust. Look for glossy spots, repeat as needed.

(14) Switch to wet sanding with Micromesh -- I use the kit of colored sponges (about 2.5" squares). Again, in between each grit do the up & down, then wipe away the slurry of water and dust before moving on to the next grit.

(15) As a final touch, I use Hut Ultragloss plastic polish.

Another sidenote: I often apply Danish Oil prior to the first coat of CA -- what can I say, I like the glow it gives curly maple and rosewood burl. Sometimes I use several coats -- but always make sure the surface is dry before putting CA on. I apply the Danish Oil using a paper towel with the lathe turning at slowest speed then crank up the speed and use a dry section of towel to rub it in/wipe it off.

Hope some of this makes sense and helps!

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Last edited by duncsuss; 08-07-2011 at 12:36 PM.
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-07-2011, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! This does explain a lot for me.

Side note, Danish oil Tung and blo? Is it just personal preference? My grandpa, dad uncles all used Tung. I use Tung, most people here it seems use BLO, I hear Danish oil often as well, but not many here use tung? I read up on it, and they all seem to claim to do the same thing. Just different curing times I guess?

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post #4 of 9 Old 08-07-2011, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slicksqueegie View Post
Thank you! This does explain a lot for me.

Side note, Danish oil Tung and blo? Is it just personal preference? My grandpa, dad uncles all used Tung. I use Tung, most people here it seems use BLO, I hear Danish oil often as well, but not many here use tung? I read up on it, and they all seem to claim to do the same thing. Just different curing times I guess?
Hope you find a method that works for you -- I tried several before finding one that produced repeatable results for me (and even then, as I mentioned, it doesn't work well on certain woods).

I started out using Danish Oil because that's what the man in the shop recommended when I told him what I was trying to make, I believe it has some dissolved varnish in it which hardens when it cures. I just carry on using it because that's what's in the can.

I have no idea what the effective differences are between the various oils (Tung, BLO, etc.) It may be worth taking a look in the Finishes forum.

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post #5 of 9 Old 08-07-2011, 09:31 PM
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I've practiced this lately and ended up doing pretty much what duncsuss describes. Sometimes I do oil first, sometimes not, and I sand to at least 600 before starting CA. I keep the lathe at the normal turning speed and switch from my full face shield to big safety glasses - I'd rather replace those glasses than the full face shield if there is a splatter and a tiny drop or two on the skin comes off more easily than the shield. While I agree that latex gloves are necessary and I use them too, keep in mind that this is a safety concern - if the lathe is spinning and you accidentally let the work grab the glove you'll be sucked into the lathe a lot faster with the gloves on, SO BE CAREFUL!!! I also tend to turn off the lathe a lot to check the work and reach for the outside handwheel (never the work) to slow it down faster - when I'm wearing gloves this would grab too much so I press my arm against it a little which works fine (and doesn't hurt me).

But once I got a little used to doing a CA finish on pens, I also felt like I should do a recall on the friction finished pens I had already sold or given away before because the CA is so much more glossy/smooth.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-07-2011, 09:51 PM
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... switch from my full face shield to big safety glasses - I'd rather replace those glasses than the full face shield if there is a splatter ...
Good point -- I forgot to mention that I switch from my Trend Air-pro face shield to a $3 Harbor Freight visor for that exact reason

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post #7 of 9 Old 08-07-2011, 10:03 PM
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I've never had a problem with a CA finish. It seems easy to me and I always end up with a glass like finish. I do steps 1-6 as described but once I start adding "Thin CA" to the blank I use accelorator in between coats. I put on a total of about 6-7 coats within about 2 minutes. After that I use micro mesh (1500-12000) and wet sand the blank with light pressure through all the grits making sure the blank stays wet. After this I use a paper towel and dry the blank while on the lathe. Remove the blank and it is ready to put together because it will have a very high gloss. If it doesn't have a "High" gloss repeat the MM process because you did not use enough pressure the first time. I showed this to a friend last night that could not figure it out and he added the CA alright but I did notice while sanding he just barely let the MM pads touch the blank. I knew what he was doing wrong but I wanted to let him see the difference. He said it did not have the "High" gloss like mine. I told him to do it again and put a little more pressure to it and it turned out great. Any questions feel free to send me a message.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-07-2011, 10:15 PM
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Stick Fast has a new CA Finish that has a longer open time and a nrw polish system to go with it. Check out the thread at the IAP forum.
http://www.penturners.org/forum/show...ight=CA+finish
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-07-2011, 10:31 PM
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I'd see if you can do it without the accelerator. I used to build radio control airplanes and used CA accelerator a lot, and now I just can't stand the smell of the stuff. Other people have reported that over time they build up a sensitivity to it. Even though I'm not allergic yet, the smell of the stuff just doesn't go away and ruins my enjoyment of being in the shop.
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