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Discussion Starter #1
I have been really working on my pen finishes. I can now make a pretty good CA finish.

I buff the finishes with those pads about 2" square. I have found that a wet buff makes a much better finish. I have about a 90% rate of getting a pen that I am really happy with.

Sometimes when I wet buff, water soaks in from the end. It will either expand the wood while I am buffing it, cloud the finish at the end a few hours later or cracj the CA as the wood expands.

It doesn't happen to every pen, but enough to be annoying.

Does anyone else finish this way? If so, have you had this problem? If you have, have you come up with a work around?

Thank You

Andy
 

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ironman123 said:
What I do is after I trim the ends, I take a Q-tip with thin CA and coat each end and touch of accelerator.

Ray
To make sure I understand, you do this PRIOR actually turning/shaping the wood blank?
 

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Yes after trimming the ends square but prior to turning and finishing. I dont use accelerator on the ends though because I want the thin CA to penetrate rather than set real fast. I do this because after I finish, I sand the ends square again and I dont want to sand off my sealed end if that makes any sence.:thumbsup:
 
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BassBlaster said:
Yes after trimming the ends square but prior to turning and finishing. I dont use accelerator on the ends though because I want the thin CA to penetrate rather than set real fast. I do this because after I finish, I sand the ends square again and I dont want to sand off my sealed end if that makes any sence.:thumbsup:
Pardon ally questions but I'm trying to get a better grasp on CA finishing. In all honesty, I've about given up on pens as I have yet to have a CA finish work. They keep chipping around the edges. So why to you sand after you finish and exactly how do you do it?
 

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I really need to make a CA video because this comes up so often and for whatever reason, it comes really easy for me. I hope Im not jinxing myself but I have never had a CA finish fail and I break all the rules!!

Okay, Ill try and spell it out the best I can but without pics or a video, I may not get my point across.

After I square the blank with my barrel trimmer. I place a drop of thin CA on the ends of the blank. I use the tip of the bottle to spread it around but a Q Tip as mentioned before would work as well. I let this soak in. After a few seconds, Ill take a paper towel and soak up anything that may have puddle and not gotten soaked up. Then I let it set for a couple minutes to set. Then I go to the lathe and do my turning and sanding. When I'm ready to finish, my blank goes to betwen centers if its not there allready. I never use bushing to finish. They just create unneccissary problems. For finishing I use a cone dead center and a cone live center. You can pick up a cone dead center at Grizzly for like 6 bucks if you dont have one. Be careful when you tighten the tailstock. youdont wanna put too much pressure on the blank with the cones or you will split your blank. Just enough pressure that the blank will spin and not stop if you touch it. Now, just before I apply finish, I wipe the blank down with DNA. Dosnt matter what kind of wood it is, I always do this. a little DNA on a paper towel. As soon as that dries, it only takes seconds, I hit it with the first layer of thin CA. I dont use accellerator on the thin CA. I want it to penetrate and pop the grain. Ill typically do two coats of the thin. If the wood is really soaking it up, I might do a third. Now I switch to med CA and start building finish. I build to a larger dimension than my componants so when I sand, I can bring it down to match the componants. Typically Ill do somwhere between 8 and 12 coats of the medium and mist each of those coats with accellerator. Im using cheap Kroger (thats the local grocery chain in these parts) brand paper towels. I get 4 rolls for 2 bucks. I use Titebond brand CA and the accellerater is called NCF Quick or something like that. I only use aerosol accellerator, never the pump bottles. Your looking for a mist, not a spray of drops. After that I start polishing with MM. Start with the lowest grit and dont stop using that grit until the entire blank has a dull look to it. If you stop the lathe and theres shiny spots on the blank then you still have hills and valleys in your finish. After you get the dull look on the entire blank, stop the lathe and cross sand. I also check measurements to componants now and try and get almost where I need to be with this grit. Then work your way through the grits and stop the lathe and cross sand on every one before going to the next. Youll be on the piece with the other grits a whole lot less than the first grit. Always use water, never dry. I use a spray bottle and keep my pads wet. After I get through all the grits, I polish with a piece of an old t shirt and som Huts plastic polish. Now since I finish between centers, I have some excess CA on the ends of the blank that needs to be dealt with BUT I dont have bushings glued to my work piece. I sand the ends of my blank with my end mill. Flip the cutter over so the flat side is up and stick a little piece of adhesive backed 150 grit on there and and the CA off the ends by hand. Dont use a drill. Perfect finish and perfect ends every time.

Hope this helps. Sorry if some of it dosnt make sence. If you have more questions ask. Ill have to see if I have any video skills and make a finshing video.
 
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Bass, thanks for taking the time to explain all that. I appreciate it. I have watched no less than 15 videos, been shown in person at least 4 times, and been told how to (I have pages of precise notes) & I just can't seem to get it. Others on here (Rusdemka) have given good advice too but I still seem to struggle. Due to not having to finish, my acrylic pens seem to be great but I have at least 75 blanks (35 or so Cocobolo) & I'd like to do some wood pens for gifts this year. I think I will reread your post tomorrow and take some notes. I plan on doing some pens tomorrow along with a few other projects I need to work on.
 

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No problem, we all have things we struggle with and its nice to be able to help out. I struggle with a bowl gouge. I own one of the best ones made, a Thompson and I cant cut wood with that thing to save my life and like you, no amount of video watching seems to help me. For some reason the CA finishes come easy for me. Im gonna give this video thing a go. I just have to figure out how to edit it or have someone edit it for me.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you everyone for the help.

I will definately use the ideas on the ends.

After turning the blank, i take it off the lathe and use the Beall Wood Buff and polish the blank. It is pretty smooth and shiny after that.

then back on the lathe for the CA.

The couple coats of thin CA is interesting. I will give that a try.

When you say 8 to 12 coats is that total thin and medium?

I use the buffing setup from BG Artforms to polish after I comes off the lathe.

I will definately be making some changes after reading this.

Thank you all again
Andy
 

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Thank you everyone for the help.

I will definately use the ideas on the ends.

After turning the blank, i take it off the lathe and use the Beall Wood Buff and polish the blank. It is pretty smooth and shiny after that.

then back on the lathe for the CA.

The couple coats of thin CA is interesting. I will give that a try.

When you say 8 to 12 coats is that total thin and medium?

I use the buffing setup from BG Artforms to polish after I comes off the lathe.

I will definately be making some changes after reading this.

Thank you all again
Andy
My 8 to 12 coats is just the medium. Doing it between centers and matching to the componants is a little different than doing it with bushings. My issue with bushing other than the fact that they are glued to the blank when your done is that youve sanded your blank down to the bushings. The bushings are suppose to match the componants or be very close. Now you add several layers of finish and suddenly your blank is bigger than your componants. Its hard to see the difference but you can feel the edge after the pen is assembled. Doing it between centers, I can actually sand the blank down a tad smaller than the componants and then build back up to match the componants with the finish. So, theres no set number of finish coats. I just build it back up to more than I need then sand it back down. I always do the 2 coats of thin then switch to medium. It typically takes 8 to 12 coats to build back up to where I need to be depending how good I was with my sanding process. Does any of that make since? I feel like Im just rambling when I try to explain how I do something. Lol

Your using a 3 wheel buff system prior to finish? Id be concerned about the finish adhering properly after that wax coat. I dunno how the white or red bar would affect it. Theres also several peopl who do a coat of CA and a coat of BLO and go back and forth. I dont completely get that either, Again, adhesion issues. Glue dosnt stick to oil. Some swear by it though and my way most definately isnt the only way, its ust a way that works!
 
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Discussion Starter #13
I don't use wax on the third wheel. Use it dry. It shines the wood and wipes the other stuff off.

I have had no problems with adhesion this way. I have a different wheel if I want to wax. My thinking is that if I start with a polished clean surface I will get a good finish.

I will try both ways and see. I want e best finish that I am capable of getting.
 

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No problem, we all have things we struggle with and its nice to be able to help out. I struggle with a bowl gouge. I own one of the best ones made, a Thompson and I cant cut wood with that thing to save my life and like you, no amount of video watching seems to help me. For some reason the CA finishes come easy for me. Im gonna give this video thing a go. I just have to figure out how to edit it or have someone edit it for me.
Boy, do I hear you on the bowl gouge. Mine is not so expensive as yours, but, I cannot get it to cut either.

Fortunately for me, skew chisels have come easily for me. I do most things with them and a little with a detail gouge. I am not really into bowls yet. Maybe over the winter.
 

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I had the same problem as you awhile back but have finally figured out that by turning between centers, I don't have the problem any more. When you TBC, a little of the CA will spill over the ends and seal them thus preventing water from getting in when you micromesh.

Hope that helps.

I certainly don't want to hijack this fantastic site, but you might want to check out International Association of Penturners website... penturners.org. There's tons of info there to help with your problem.
 
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