Frustrating!! Help finishing a pen !! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Frustrating!! Help finishing a pen !!

I'm starting to turn pens but I'm having trouble applying finish this is how I do it first I sand pen starting at 150 grit and finish with 600 then I apply two coats of medium CA glue (from woodturningz) don't know if brand matter then I sand with micro mesh 1500-12000 at this point the pen is very shiny but you can see swirl marks so I apply meguiars plastic polish and it doesn't remove the swirl marks another problem I've have is that some spots don't take the gloss what am I doing wrong? Any advice is appreciated.
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post #2 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 01:53 AM
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Are you wet sanding with the micro mesh, or dry sanding? I've always wet sanded a CA finish. I also take my time and go slowly. I start with 5-6 coats of CA, then probably sand off 2 of them. I spend more time sanding than I'd like to be honest with you, but I've always been happy with the results. Try just slowing down. Lathe at 500 RPM, wet sand, and spend about 30 to 45 seconds with each pad.
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post #3 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 02:01 AM
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Hello Erik

Not sure if I had answered this on another forum or not but will post my opinion here too.

First, not sure what tool you use to finish your turning with but I like to use a skew. What this does is gets me right past the lower grits of sanding and I can apply my CA right away and then MM. But if you feel you need to sand never start with 150. You should be able to start 400 or even 600. BUt no lower than 220. Now when you do this you need to stop the lathe after each grit size and then sand with the grain to get the swirl marks out. This is what you could be seeing when applying CA because that will magnify anything underneath. You then need to wipe the sanding dust off or blow it off before moving onto the next grit size and then repeat. Now you see why I do not sand that low. Alot of extra work.

OK anyway you now got to the point of applying CA. 2 coats is not nearly enough. I always use at least 8 coats of med CA and that is after I seal the wood with 1 or 2 coats of thin CA. You also need to seal the ends and that is why thin is good for this too. Especially if you are wet sading the final finishes. With 2 coats only you will sand through that way too easily.

OK you now got the many coats of CA on. You need to sand this finish and using MM is a good thing. I recomend wet sanding. It saves the pads and also keeps dust down and acts as a lubricant. Try it works well.

OK now you got through the MM and you still see swirls. Plastic polish will not take these out. That will just enhance the shine. You need to sand the swirl marks out. Some people buff the swirl marks out and that is another method that takes some learning. Buffing too hard or too much with the wrong paste will eat through the finish real quick. I do not do this.

Well this is all I have for now. I am sure other will chime in and give their versions but I do hope they answer your questions too. Good luck.

John T.
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post #4 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Itchytoe
Are you wet sanding with the micro mesh, or dry sanding? I've always wet sanded a CA finish. I also take my time and go slowly. I start with 5-6 coats of CA, then probably sand off 2 of them. I spend more time sanding than I'd like to be honest with you, but I've always been happy with the results. Try just slowing down. Lathe at 500 RPM, wet sand, and spend about 30 to 45 seconds with each pad.
No I'm dry sanding , one question though do you sand between CA coats? Cause I notice surface gets rough after each coat.
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post #5 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 03:28 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTTHECLOCKMAN
Hello Erik

Not sure if I had answered this on another forum or not but will post my opinion here too.

First, not sure what tool you use to finish your turning with but I like to use a skew. What this does is gets me right past the lower grits of sanding and I can apply my CA right away and then MM. But if you feel you need to sand never start with 150. You should be able to start 400 or even 600. BUt no lower than 220. Now when you do this you need to stop the lathe after each grit size and then sand with the grain to get the swirl marks out. This is what you could be seeing when applying CA because that will magnify anything underneath. You then need to wipe the sanding dust off or blow it off before moving onto the next grit size and then repeat. Now you see why I do not sand that low. Alot of extra work.

OK anyway you now got to the point of applying CA. 2 coats is not nearly enough. I always use at least 8 coats of med CA and that is after I seal the wood with 1 or 2 coats of thin CA. You also need to seal the ends and that is why thin is good for this too. Especially if you are wet sading the final finishes. With 2 coats only you will sand through that way too easily.

OK you now got the many coats of CA on. You need to sand this finish and using MM is a good thing. I recomend wet sanding. It saves the pads and also keeps dust down and acts as a lubricant. Try it works well.

OK now you got through the MM and you still see swirls. Plastic polish will not take these out. That will just enhance the shine. You need to sand the swirl marks out. Some people buff the swirl marks out and that is another method that takes some learning. Buffing too hard or too much with the wrong paste will eat through the finish real quick. I do not do this.

Well this is all I have for now. I am sure other will chime in and give their versions but I do hope they answer your questions too. Good luck.
Thanks for all the information , I'm going to try your method tomorrow n see how it comes out one thing I don't understand is what you mean by sealing the edges?
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post #6 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 08:36 AM
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Check out this Youtube video. It might help...


Joe

"If I agreed with you, then we'd both be wrong!"
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post #7 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 09:16 AM
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The swirl marks are likely from applying the CA, If you are not quick about wiping back and forth you will leave drag marks in the CA. I start with two of thin CA to seal the wood, then four coats of medium starting the wipe from opposite ends each layer. If you see ripples after the last coat add another coat and use a skew flat on the side to take the tops off the ripples till you see it smooth. Don't overdo and cut down to the wood or leave too little to polish up with the micromesh. This is also a good way to even the finish on open pored wood that insists on leaving little dimples no matter how much CA you apply.
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post #8 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 09:37 AM
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Apply CA as a finish is a fine art but I think too many people make it harder than it is. First sealing the wood means just that you need to seal the grain of the wood. If you do not do this especially on the ends the water from wet sanding will get under the layer of glue and cause cloudy marks and will not disapear. I take a drop of CA and place it on a board of some sort and dab the ends of the blank in it. I wipe the edges witha paper towel before it dries. Have to be quick or the towel will stick to it.

When you apply the CA don't over wipe it. It is like spalkling a wall. Put the compound on and scrape and walk away. The more you try to be perfect the more things get worse. A couple wipes back and forth is all that is needed. Like I said I let dry naturally and do not use the accelrator. This is a matter of choice but to me that stuff smells worse than the CA. I do not have alot of problems with inhaling or burning eyes as you read alot of people do because, 1 I have my dust collector on behind the lathe which draws the smell away and 2 I am not standing over it for a long time. I go do other things in the shop. I treat working on a pen like working on a masterpiece. Do not rush perfection. People that mass produce and become a pen spitting machine take the fun right out of it and make it a job. Not for me have fun.

Now after a couple coats if you see a few ripples you can take some 800 grit paper and wet sand real quick. That grit size will not eat so fast into the layers but will smooth the finish out. Dry it off and proced with a few more coats. If it feels rough adding a couple more coats will fill in the voids. MED CA is the way to go.

Like I said after I have all coats of CA on I let sit overnight to let the CA cure. CA will continue to outgas till it dries. This outgassing can cause cloudiness when you go to sand and polish the blank. People think it is moisture but what you are doing is reheating the CA because of the friction applied when sanding and thus a water sanding will keep cool.

I am sure you will be back asking how to take the blank off the bushings next because of the buil up. WE will cross that bridge when we get there. Happy finishing.


PS that video link that was provide was for people who fall in love with adding another problem by using BLO. No need for it and it has not been proven to do a thing and I am skeptable that blo actually breaks the CA down. I have no proof because I am not a chemist. But if it was so good why do companies not make CA with blo already in it???

Yes there are many ways to apply a CA finish. Heck go to Utube and you will see alot. Do a google search and you will se pdf files with methods. Each of us must take what we read and see and apply it and come up with the method that works for us. But when mastered it sure is a nice finish. Good luck

John T.

Last edited by JTTHECLOCKMAN; 03-17-2012 at 09:45 AM.
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post #9 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 10:50 AM
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The swirl marks are from applying the CA too slow. Speed up the process a bit. You still will get a few swirl marks. When you start sanding with the MM, be sure to remove all the swirl marks with the first grit. I only wet sand CA, never dry. Once you have the piece smooth, move on through your grits. If youo do it right, there will be no need to use a polishing compound once your done with the MM.

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post #10 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viorato831 View Post
No I'm dry sanding , one question though do you sand between CA coats? Cause I notice surface gets rough after each coat.
I do not sand between coats. When applying it, I'm just trying to get enough on the pen so that I have something to finish. Each layer blends perfectly with the layer before, even if I accidentally leave a swirl or two in the previous coat. It just fills the swirl and I can continue like normal.
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post #11 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 05:48 PM
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After putting on a few coats of thin CA (I normally do this after 5 or 6), stop and look at it -- do you see ripples in the surface?

If so, take a piece of 320 grit and using a flat piece of hardwood as a backing block, level the surface. Pause frequently -- when it's completely level, it will all have the same scratched-up quality. Any bright shiny patches are low spots that haven't been touched by the sandpaper -- the goal is to get rid of all of them.

Then I apply maybe 10 more coats of thin CA, and move on to using the micromesh sponge pads wet.

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post #12 of 39 Old 03-17-2012, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys a lot of good ideas. I'll try putting more coats of ca glue and wet sand it . I'll let you guys know the outcome and maybe post some pictures so far I've made 2 pens and have one on the lathe experimenting with the finish process . If anyone else have more tips please chime in and share them.
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post #13 of 39 Old 03-19-2012, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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These are the results I'm getting eve though I'm putting 4-5 coats of medium CA the problem starts when I begin to MM could it be that the CA hasn't cure yet? What you guys think?
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post #14 of 39 Old 03-19-2012, 04:59 PM
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1) How long were you waiting after the final coat of CA before you started sanding? Give it at least 30 minutes, an hour if you can.

2) Were you wet-sanding with the micromesh?

3) If you keep going, can you get the entire surface to have that same milky appearance? If you can, wash all the dirty water off, wipe with a paper towel, and then move on to the next finer grade of micromesh. Lather, rinse, repeat.

4) If it's any consolation, your photos look just like the wood that gave me all kinds of trouble (I forget, is it wenge? or bubinga? something like that) and I had to re-finish it 3 or 4 times

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post #15 of 39 Old 03-19-2012, 05:47 PM
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Are you spraying the CA with an activator to harden it?

Disclaimer: I haven't read the entire post.

This is what I do, which was recommended from people on here in one form or fashion.

End with skew for smooth surface.
sand with 80 spinning
sand with 150 spinning
sand 220 spinning, then with grain
sand 320 spinning, then with grain
sand 600 spinning, then with grain
Look very closely for sanding or tool marks
Apply thin CA (others say they do fine with medium, I use thin)
each coat gets a quick spritz of activator then next coat
I use 5-8 coats depending if I loose count and how it looks
wet sand with 800 spinning
wet sand with 1200 spinning
wet sand with 1500 spinning
Polish with CA polish

My finishes are good, but if set side by side with Whaler or someone like that it would be apparent I have a lot more to learn, but I'm moving in that direction.

I have seen some clouding like that on some other projects, but usually on a ridge or something where it looks like the wet sanding did just a little to much, meaning I put to much pressure on that spot.

Good luck.
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post #16 of 39 Old 03-19-2012, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duncsuss
1) How long were you waiting after the final coat of CA before you started sanding? Give it at least 30 minutes, an hour if you can.

2) Were you wet-sanding with the micromesh?

3) If you keep going, can you get the entire surface to have that same milky appearance? If you can, wash all the dirty water off, wipe with a paper towel, and then move on to the next finer grade of micromesh. Lather, rinse, repeat.

4) If it's any consolation, your photos look just like the wood that gave me all kinds of trouble (I forget, is it wenge? or bubinga? something like that) and I had to re-finish it 3 or 4 times
Thanks for your response ... I waited about 5 min after the last CA coat then started sanding with MM I see all people in youtube doing this all the time sanding right after the last coat. I'll try to give it more time to dry.

2. Yes I was wet sanding

3. I think so the thing is that if I keep going in going to mess up the CA layer underneath and so on till I get to bare wood. What I'm thinking is maybe skip the corse MM grits and move to 3000 on.

4. The wood I'm using is cocobolo I heard people also have trouble finishing this wood
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post #17 of 39 Old 03-19-2012, 06:06 PM
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other suggestions ...

1) lathe speed -- slowest setting, at least for the first 2 or 3 micromesh grits (don't want to wear through the surface), then you can crank it up to a middle speed when you're in the finer grades

2) don't squeeze tight -- use a very light touch, sliding up and down the length of the blank

3) keep a spray bottle of water on hand, spritz it to make sure there's plenty of water on there (yes it will splatter -- that's why you wear a face shield )

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post #18 of 39 Old 03-19-2012, 06:39 PM
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My procedure varies a bit from the others.
I start sanding at 220 or 320 depending on how good my final cut is and go to 600.
Then using a piece of blue shop towel I put on a drop of walnut oil and a couple drops of med CA and apply it at about 1600 rpm and go for 6 to 8 coats. Then it goes to the Beale buffing system. At times I can just use the white diamond and wax wheels other times I do have to start with the tripoli. After assembly it gets a coat of Ren wax.
No accelerator, no sanding between coats and no MM.
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post #19 of 39 Old 03-19-2012, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mose
Are you spraying the CA with an activator to harden it?

Disclaimer: I haven't read the entire post.

This is what I do, which was recommended from people on here in one form or fashion.

End with skew for smooth surface.
sand with 80 spinning
sand with 150 spinning
sand 220 spinning, then with grain
sand 320 spinning, then with grain
sand 600 spinning, then with grain
Look very closely for sanding or tool marks
Apply thin CA (others say they do fine with medium, I use thin)
each coat gets a quick spritz of activator then next coat
I use 5-8 coats depending if I loose count and how it looks
wet sand with 800 spinning
wet sand with 1200 spinning
wet sand with 1500 spinning
Polish with CA polish

My finishes are good, but if set side by side with Whaler or someone like that it would be apparent I have a lot more to learn, but I'm moving in that direction.

I have seen some clouding like that on some other projects, but usually on a ridge or something where it looks like the wet sanding did just a little to much, meaning I put to much pressure on that spot.

Good luck.
Thanks Mose.. I'm using an activator .. Ive tracked down the clouding and is caused by the sanding Before I start sanding (MM)the finish looks good no scratches or clouding but is not very shiny... as I mentioned before as soon as I start MM the last coat of CA it starts to peel off I still don't know why is that I wonder if it's the CA I use ??
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post #20 of 39 Old 03-19-2012, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update: I was able to get rid of the clouding by avoiding the CA activator .. Pen came out ok but You can see very light scratches probably due to the MM sanding or the paper towel I used to apply the polish . How can I get rid of those? I applied plastic polish and finish with renaissance wax is that who it's done??
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