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post #1 of 27 Old 12-30-2008, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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Finish for pens

Just started turning, and have pumped out a handful of nice pens. I'm not happy with the finish of any of them though. I'm using CA glue applied with a paper towel, which is how I've seen it done on a couple videos. The finish looks ok, but isn't glassy smooth like I'd like it to be...It is somewhat wavy and gritty-feeling. I'm sanding from 150 all the way to 1200, and sand with the grain every couple grits as well. They're super-smooth before I apply the CA.

I'm considering either using wipe-on poly, wax, or perhaps a mixture of BLO and shellac as a wipe-on.

What do you folks use on your pens, and how do you apply it?

If you've had luck with CA, what process are you applying it with?

I've attached a picture of my 3rd pen...Honduras rosewood with CA crappy finish. Thank you!
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post #2 of 27 Old 12-30-2008, 07:53 AM
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Termite,
No need for wood pens to sand to 1200. 400 should be more than sufficient. I like using lacquer for finishes. I cut small squares from an old bath towel, about 3" x 3". I have a partial quart of lacquer left over from another project. I actually take the screwdriver that I open the can with and use it to stir the lacquer, then dribble a spot on the cloth square. Wipe it on the pen while it is spinning. It dries in 10-15 seconds. Put on 3-4 coats. Let them dry for ten or fifteen minutes before assembly. If you want them to be really smooth, get yourself a buffer and the Beale wheel buffing setup and give them a go on the buffer. They will end up like glass.
http://www.bgartforms.com/Beal_Buffing_System.htm
Mike Hawkins
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post #3 of 27 Old 12-30-2008, 08:03 AM
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I've only done the CA finish a few times and find it tricky. One thing your doing wrong is using the paper towel. The best finishers I've seen use a synthetic material or even plastic bags to apply the finish. Done right this looks great and holds up well. I just haven't done it enough to feel comfortable with it.
Lacquer I'm very familiar with. I don't do very many pens but what I have done is to apply the lacquer thinned about 50/50 using Bounty paper towels. For some reason the Bounty towels work better. I put on several coats at slow speed and then speed the lathe up and use a dry part of the towel to buff it. Several coats leaves a nice natural look to the wood.
I have not tried the super gloss on pens yet. For that I usually spray the finish but spraying would be a pain on pens.
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post #4 of 27 Old 12-30-2008, 11:53 AM
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Don't give up on the ca finish. It is by far one of the more durable finishes that can be applied, it just takes some practice. Me personally i don't use a paper towel because it has a tendancy to leave some lint behind, instead i use latex gloves because i can buy a box for around $8.00 and i have had better results than using a bag or towel. If you are getting the waves in after you apply the C/A start sanding with about 400 grit sand paper(or slightly lower) to remove the ripples and if you don't already have some get micro mesh It's basically sand paper that goes up to 12,000 grit and work your way up through all of the grits and you should have nice results with a good shine. Me personally i use blo to make the grain pop and help keep the bushings from sticking and then apply my C/A for up to about six coats with the medium type ca. The picture looks like it could use some more sanding with the higher grits that you could get with the micro mesh.
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post #5 of 27 Old 12-30-2008, 10:19 PM
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I just started to do CA finishes, since it holds up better then just a wax finish. However, I don't like the CA to be thick, then it looks and feels like plastic..... then what was the point of making a wood pen. I sand to 400 then apply 2 or 3 coats of THIN CA glue with a paper towel. Then I'll make sure there are no ridges or grooves, if there is I sand lightly with 400 and higher.

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post #6 of 27 Old 12-31-2008, 07:29 AM
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Are you using boiled linseed oil with the CA.
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post #7 of 27 Old 12-31-2008, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Are you using boiled linseed oil with the CA.
BLO before the CA goes on? No, haven't tried that. Should I?
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post #8 of 27 Old 12-31-2008, 10:07 AM
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Yeah BLO before CA, give it a try it does bring out the grain. I just put a spot on a paper towel and wipe it on, then off.

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post #9 of 27 Old 01-01-2009, 08:17 AM
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I find that a few drops of BLO then run the lathe. Add a few drops of CA run the lathe slow speed. Once the ca is on the pen run higher speed with a rag with the BLO on the rag This gives me the best finish.

You have to watch what type of paper towel you use because some of them are abrasive and dull the finish.
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post #10 of 27 Old 01-04-2009, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Just started turning, and have pumped out a handful of nice pens. I'm not happy with the finish of any of them though. I'm using CA glue applied with a paper towel, which is how I've seen it done on a couple videos. The finish looks ok, but isn't glassy smooth like I'd like it to be...It is somewhat wavy and gritty-feeling. I'm sanding from 150 all the way to 1200, and sand with the grain every couple grits as well. They're super-smooth before I apply the CA.

I'm considering either using wipe-on poly, wax, or perhaps a mixture of BLO and shellac as a wipe-on.

What do you folks use on your pens, and how do you apply it?

If you've had luck with CA, what process are you applying it with?

I've attached a picture of my 3rd pen...Honduras rosewood with CA crappy finish. Thank you!
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post #11 of 27 Old 01-04-2009, 03:46 AM
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A nice finish for pens is a french polish.It is a labor intensive finish except on lathe work---where you can rub it on with the lathe providing the elbow grease. It is shellac and blo basically, although I understand there are kits available now.It gives a high shine and although shellac is not as durable as some finishes, it should hold up well on a pen.I won't go into the details here because you can find it easily on the internet---just type in---french polish and go to work.Lots of luck.
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post #12 of 27 Old 08-24-2010, 08:51 AM
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I saved this as a favorite some time ago as a reference http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f6/ca...nishing-11223/ there are two good videos on CA finish.
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post #13 of 27 Old 08-24-2010, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bob Willing View Post
I saved this as a favorite some time ago as a reference http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f6/ca...nishing-11223/ there are two good videos on CA finish.
Thanks guys. This post is from nearly two years ago and thankfully I've got my CA finishing figured out since then!

Last edited by TexasTimbers; 08-26-2010 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Removed spam in quote by banned member - had nothing to do with you termite ;)
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post #14 of 27 Old 08-24-2010, 06:37 PM
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I use a paper towel to apply ca finish. I do not use BLO. After about 6 coats of CA wiped on while lathe is spinning I wet sand from about 600 to 12000 with the micro mesh. Always leave a very smooth glassy finish. Even though this post was started 2 years ago there will be new turners that will read it & wonder the same thing about a CA finish.

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post #15 of 27 Old 08-26-2010, 11:32 AM
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I haven't looked at any of th links yet but I've been having great success by applying the drops on the workpiece and using a plastic baggie as a makeshift glove and spreading it that way. I like it much better than rags (that smoke from the reaction!) or paper towels. Might be a cardinal sin to do it that way but it's working for me.




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post #16 of 27 Old 08-30-2010, 07:05 PM
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I use the CA finish on all of my calls now and absolutely love it. I apply with a Bounty paper towel. What I do is, turn the lathe down to its slowest speed. I will apply the CA while the wood is turning. I put on three coats, letting each coat dry in between. I then turn the speed up on the lathe, sand with 400gr and then 800gr. Once that is done, I use EEE compound and clean it off with the lathe spinning until the papertowel comes away clean. Then hit it one more time with Kiwi neutral shoe polish and tah-dah
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post #17 of 27 Old 08-31-2010, 08:32 AM
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I've done 3 pens with CA and each time the finish has been different. Only one resulted in the high-gloss finish I was hoping for -- and I used a combination of BLO and CA for that one. Another that I used BLO and CA turned out dull; one that I used just CA turned out dull.

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What I do is, turn the lathe down to its slowest speed. I will apply the CA while the wood is turning. I put on three coats, letting each coat dry in between.
I don't think I slowed the lathe -- does this impact the finish?

Do you wipe the CA on and keep rubbing with the paper towel till it dries/cures? (Or wipe the CA on and then get the towel out of the way?)

I could see the wet CA shining, but it turned dull as the CA dried. Maybe because I kept using the towel on it?

Thanks to all for your advice

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post #18 of 27 Old 08-31-2010, 10:23 AM
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Do you wipe the CA on and keep rubbing with the paper towel till it dries/cures? . . I could see the wet CA shining, but it turned dull as the CA dried. Maybe because I kept using the towel on it?


I drop down to the lowest speed to apply it. Your problem is that you're staying on it way to long. I use a plastic bag and make sure th bag is wrapped tight around my fingers and my goal is to apply it until it is smoothed out and get off of it in 2 seconds or less is always my goal. that's for small pieces. You stay on it for 5 seconds and you've been on it way too long.

The key to being able to get on and off that quick is in applying enough drops for the size of the piece but not too much. Either way and it won't turn out like you want. I apply the drops to the piece itself, then right as I lay my plastic-wrapped hand on top of the piece I turn the lathe on at precisely the same time - quickly spread the glue and get off of it pronto.

If you didn't use enough glue you can always hit it again in a few minutes so that's the better way to err instead of using too much. Too much and it'll gum up (because you're having to stay on too long to spread it out) or it'll form a drip/s at the bottom of the piece.

Remember there's as many ways to apply CA as their are turners who do it, and I am new at this but this is what is working for me so far. I've done this only a couple of dozen times so my experience isn't like some others here who ahve applied it hundreds or thousands of times.





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post #19 of 27 Old 08-31-2010, 10:28 AM
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Your problem is that you're staying on it way to long.
Thanks! (I was beginning to suspect this )

I'll try it on a few pieces -- when I get the hang of it, I may just buy one of those dis-assembly tools so I can put a gloss finish on the ones I'm not happy with.

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post #20 of 27 Old 09-01-2010, 08:41 PM
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I've done 3 pens with CA and each time the finish has been different. Only one resulted in the high-gloss finish I was hoping for -- and I used a combination of BLO and CA for that one. Another that I used BLO and CA turned out dull; one that I used just CA turned out dull.



I don't think I slowed the lathe -- does this impact the finish?

Do you wipe the CA on and keep rubbing with the paper towel till it dries/cures? (Or wipe the CA on and then get the towel out of the way?)

I could see the wet CA shining, but it turned dull as the CA dried. Maybe because I kept using the towel on it?

Thanks to all for your advice

If the lathe is turning too fast you will sling the CA off the wood. I apply the CA and remove the papertowel immediately. If you leave the towel on while turning it will ruin the applications. Also, apply several coats ( minimum of three, although it will depend on the woods used too. Some woods will absorb the CA and not build up layers. Redwood comes to mind). Then sand it enough to get the ridges out, and buff it with a compound of some kind. Before I got the EEE, I was using white diamond on my Beall System
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