Turning the acrylics does take a bit longer as the material is much harder than most woods (and can also dull tools faster). I have seen the same size pen blanks taking twice as long to turn and up to three times longer to finish using progressively finer abrasives (in our case micro mesh pads). For example, I did a birds eye maple cigar pen and an acrylic cigar pen the other day and finished the maple version in just over 30 minutes and the acrylic took almost 1.5 hours.
As for the challenges of turning the acrylics, you are correct in that the acrylic will certainly grab the cutting tool and leave some nasty cuts in the material. I had that happen to me the other day while turning a blank called Invisavue
(from Woodcraft). I had the gouge working the material little by little and all of a sudden I got severe chatter from the gouge as it bounced along creating what can best be described as divots! I went back in to smooth the thing and it shattered on me (yes, face shield in place).
Other issues you face is the need to turn it almost smooth and be picky about the sanding you do. We have learned that anything larger than 150 grit will leave you with deep scars so you need to turn them closer to your bushings where wood can be turned round and then sanded to final dimensions if you really wanted to.
The big thing about the acrylics is, when they're turned and then polished right, they are nothing short of spectacular!
Blue/gold Inlace Acrylester from Rockler
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
Last edited by Mr Mac; 12-03-2010 at 06:30 AM.