Lines in Pen finish? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 07-01-2011, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Lines in Pen finish?

I'm a complete novice in turning and have only done a handful of pens with my neighbor, who is also a novice, on his lathe.

We turn the pens down with a small gouge and expiremented last night with a skew a little, but even before using the skew we got lines in the pen. Upon close examination I can tell there are some sanding lines that need to be addressed but I know how to get rid of those on the next one.

The lines I'm talking about are evenly spaced and are barely noticed. With more coats of CA I can see them easier, sand them down, start again, get what I think is a good finish, not quite glass yet but we're learning. But then in just the right light at the right angle I can see the lines, they are perpendicular to the grain.

We have been sanding 320, 420, 600, Micromesh, CA, micromesh, CA, buff. I know this could use improvement from what I've read. Sometimes I toss in a little 00 steel wool. I do my final sanding with the grain before wipping clean before the CA.

My thoughts are that the paper towel is leaving a trail as I drag it accross the blank when applying CA. I don't remember this happening on the first couple pens I did at the local shop. Can the speed of the lathe make a difference here? It's a Shopsmith so I can't tell you the RPM, it's usually up at the saw/jointer setting.

I'm not selling them, and the people I'm giving them too would never notice, but I do pretty easily. We are so often our biggest critics. Overall I'm happy with them as my "first generation" sort of speak, but know it shouldn't be that hard to get to the next step of no lines.

Any tips? Sorry no pictures, I can't get them to show up with the camera that close. Thanks.
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-01-2011, 09:39 AM
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What kind of wood are you turning? Paduk will have vertical and horizontal grain lines.
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-01-2011, 09:42 AM
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If your starting your sanding with 320 grit then it may be tool marks. When you move the tool across the wood it can leave a tiny spiral cut. running the lathe fast and moving the tool slow will usually get rid of these.
then unless your turning skills are exceptional you will probably have to start sanding with150, 180 or 220 depending on your skill level. anything less than this and the marks left by the tools will show up when you get to the higher grits.
If the sanding is perfect and not marks can be seen then it's probably in the wiping of the finish. I find there is a lot of difference in the towels you use to wipe on a finish. I prefer bounty. I don't know why it works better but it does. But then I don't use CA as a finish so your attempts may be different. anyway it's worth trying a different brand.
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-01-2011, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks,

We are turning walnut, old mahogany, one acrylic, some golden burl of somesort he had, and soon some maple and cherry.

My skills are certainly not exceptional and almost not acceptable but we're getting there. I'll make sure to start lower on the grits and check for tool marks. I was thinking I had it smooth enough but maybe the CA brings out marks I couldn't see on the raw wood?
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post #5 of 24 Old 07-01-2011, 11:44 AM
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The angle of the light is very important. Light from directly overhead will leave a lot of marks unseen. Even if you have to use only a flashlight, wet the wood with mineral spirits and rotate with the light almost parallel to the pen. You can try it from above (normal) and then try it parallel with the spirits. Bet you will see a lot more marks; shadows are not cast with the light perpendicular.

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post #6 of 24 Old 07-01-2011, 12:56 PM
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I think there could be a few things pictures would help.

I start sanding with 100 or 150, I guess tool marks is possible.

Thick CA can leave swirls (high spots) even if its thin ca that is almost empty you can have that problem. this also happens if you apply to much CA.

Try posting some pictures.
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post #7 of 24 Old 07-01-2011, 02:59 PM
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Stopping the lathe between each grit and sanding the barrel lengthwise will make the worst of the marks around the barrel go away. As far as ripples a very light touch with the skew can help eliminate the worst offenders.
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-01-2011, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Beasley View Post
Stopping the lathe between each grit and sanding the barrel lengthwise will make the worst of the marks around the barrel go away. As far as ripples a very light touch with the skew can help eliminate the worst offenders.

Do you mean use the skew after a coat or two of CA or just at the end of the shaping to smooth the blank?

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try to get the right light and flash to get a close up pick tonight. No promises but I'll give it a shot. Thanks agian.
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post #9 of 24 Old 07-01-2011, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mose View Post
Do you mean use the skew after a coat or two of CA or just at the end of the shaping to smooth the blank?

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try to get the right light and flash to get a close up pick tonight. No promises but I'll give it a shot. Thanks agian.
Both actually. Use as needed. I often use a skew after shaping with the gouge to true the lines of the barrel and take out any waviness.
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-01-2011, 08:26 PM
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sanding lower grit and then up, iwill se sanding sealer and finish with higher grits
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post #11 of 24 Old 07-01-2011, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmoll View Post
sanding lower grit and then up, iwill se sanding sealer and finish with higher grits
He stated using micro mesh so he is going into the thousands even if not all the way to 12000. I would suggest adding 800 and 1000 before the micro mesh but I really dont think that's his problem.

I think its the CA getting applied to slow, to thick or it is to thick. just my .02
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post #12 of 24 Old 07-02-2011, 09:04 AM
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I've always turned all my pens with a 3/8 spindle gouge. After its turned to size I start off with 120 grit to remove any ripples or imperfections while the lathe is on. Then sand with the grain(up and down the barrel). Work through the grits up to 600. Each grit should be while the lathe is running and (with the grain). This removes most scratches. Once this is done I apply 6-8 coats of CA with acellorator. Then wet sand it to 12000MM. Add a coat of plastic polish and you have a glass looking pen finish.
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post #13 of 24 Old 07-03-2011, 12:02 PM
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With sanding I have the habit after running the sandpaper, to then manually sand it following the grain. This usually will get out most of marks made while sanding.

You just need to continuously turn the pen manually sanding it throughout the whole piece. As long as it's wood.

I've never worked with acrylics so I don't know how your supposed to go about sanding those.
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post #14 of 24 Old 07-03-2011, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VaureyWWC View Post
With sanding I have the habit after running the sandpaper, to then manually sand it following the grain. This usually will get out most of marks made while sanding.

You just need to continuously turn the pen manually sanding it throughout the whole piece. As long as it's wood.

I've never worked with acrylics so I don't know how your supposed to go about sanding those.
Acrylics respond pretty much the same way, the cross sanding helps minimise the sanding marks.
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post #15 of 24 Old 07-03-2011, 05:38 PM
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OK maybe a stupid question but how do you guys wet sand?

I use a wet clothe on top the blank and the micro mesh under it while spinning on the lathe. I found this way allows for wet sanding without dripping water everywhere on the lathe. After wet sanding I apply cunuba wax then a polishing compound.
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post #16 of 24 Old 07-03-2011, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrbrown View Post
OK maybe a stupid question but how do you guys wet sand?

I use a wet clothe on top the blank and the micro mesh under it while spinning on the lathe. I found this way allows for wet sanding without dripping water everywhere on the lathe. After wet sanding I apply cunuba wax then a polishing compound.
I lay a piece of thin plywood on the rails under the mandrel and just dip my micromesh and go at it. I try to keep a thin bead of water running at the contact.
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post #17 of 24 Old 07-04-2011, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Beasley View Post
I lay a piece of thin plywood on the rails under the mandrel and just dip my micromesh and go at it. I try to keep a thin bead of water running at the contact.
You may want to try the wet rag thing it seams to work really good. Not much mess either.

Last edited by rrbrown; 07-04-2011 at 11:08 PM.
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post #18 of 24 Old 07-06-2011, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for all the great suggestions. I still haven't managed to get the lighting right for the lines to show up in a pic but I haven't given up. I'll start using these techniques at the lathe and when I get the finish I'm looking for I'll post a pic. Thanks agian.
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post #19 of 24 Old 07-25-2011, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Gents,

Thanks for all the suggestions. I was never able to get a good picture of the issue but a combination of your suggestions solved the issue for me.

I started my sanding at a lower grit. At the 320 and 400 grit I was more vigilant about sanding with the grain between grit changes up to 600. Then I applied CA Thin with toilete paper, glueing much of it to my fingers in the process. Once I had applied a sufficient number of CA coats I moved to wet sanding with 800, 1200 and 2000. I followed that with a nice coat of EEE wax.

I made a couple pens for my mom out of maple from an old chair that belonged to her parents. They came out like glass with no trace of a line or scratch.

I still have a lot to learn about technique and really producing an ultra fine quality item, but thanks for helping me narrow down what needed to change at this stage.
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post #20 of 24 Old 07-25-2011, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mose View Post
Gents,

Then I applied CA Thin with toilete paper, glueing much of it to my fingers in the process.
Try using squares of Bounty paper towels folded a few times to apply the CA. Another trick is put the little bags from the parts in the kit over your finger before holding the paper towel to apply CA.

Glad you got it fixed.
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