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Old 11-14-2017, 07:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default CA finsish question

I didn't want to hijack a different thread so thought I would ask my question separately.

I read a lot of post about the CA finish and it seems a lot of people use what I would consider an excessive amount of CA.

My question is why so many coats?

I have done a few but the ones I did were maybe 2 coats of thin and 1 coat of medium at the most. Here is an example of just 2 coats of thin,


Are multiple coast just to obtain more depth or is there other advantages?
From what I have been observing on these post I wonder if the heavy coats of CA is partially the problem, from cloudiness to spots to cracking.
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Old 11-14-2017, 07:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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The more coats the deeper the look, You can get it to look like looking into a pond.

Lin.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Yes, more coats the more of a 'magnifying' effect you get.

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Old 11-14-2017, 09:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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OK, that explains it then, thanks
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeAMaker View Post
I didn't want to hijack a different thread so thought I would ask my question separately.

I read a lot of post about the CA finish and it seems a lot of people use what I would consider an excessive amount of CA.

My question is why so many coats?

Are multiple coast just to obtain more depth or is there other advantages?
More depth - that is part of the reason but not the complete reason. But, have you looked at $500.00 pens, $1000 pens? The Shine, Depth of finish. Well done Urushi finished pens go for $2000 - $5000. A great finish adds $1000 to $5000 in the right markets.

Some people love the depth of a finish, finely polished. I spent 26 years in East and Southeast Asia (most of it in Japan) and different cultures and different people prefer different things. Over There, shine on top of fine craftsmanship is everything. Ask those who sell pens for a living on this forum and you hear what sells the most (finely polished deep shine) 50 - 1 over flat finish. I grew up with flat work and oil finishes, but I learned to appreciate a good shine while overseas. I still love my tung oil finishes but on pens - oh the polished shine and I don't mean wax.

Quote:
From what I have been observing on these post I wonder if the heavy coats of CA is partially the problem, from cloudiness to spots to cracking.
The problem of cloudiness, spots and cracking are not a problem of CA per se. They are mostly the problem of inexperience. The problem is - not understanding humidity, temperature at application, application techniques, storage of finished pen, and quality of CA, plus the way all these interact with different kinds of wood. Which woods expand and contract with humidity changes; which ones don't; Oily woods, soft woods, hard woods, green wood, dry wood each have different characteristics. I have had spots, cracking, cloudiness, and lifting of CA on the ends when taking the bushings off. I didn't blame the CA, but with each problem, began to explore the reason for it and I learned from it.

After a couple of years of pen making, I learned how to prevent those things. It was experience, and is experience.

I did not get into pen making thinking I could find all the answers in 6 months and be a genius at it. I was not a natural. I just attacked each problem until I learned what caused it for me and I learned how to overcome it in each situation, and not just one time but prevent that problem every time. That means that I experimented over and over until I learned how to overcome it in each situation. It wasn't a problem of CA, it was a problem of inexperience.

My tag line contradicts this, but with enough tenacious experience one can overcome and get what they want!
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Glenn here is a good example of depth of C A. This is by CharlesH
Incredible dark stabilized buckeye burl on gold state jr
Lin
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for the explanations Hank, every helpful.

So much to learn - so little time. :)
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Old 11-15-2017, 01:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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It may seem like excessive CA. . It depends on your objective. . To get a reliable high-gloss finish you need quite a few layers of CA. . The reason? . The CA does not get absorbed uniformly by the top layer of wood because the wood itself is not of uniform composition. . For the first few layers of CA, you will get non-uniformities in appearance. . If you try to sand, you will most likely sand through the CA to the wood and that defeats your purpose. . If you don't sand, there will be inevitable irregularities on the CA surface so you do need to do some sanding. . It is often a delicate balance to achieve optimum appearance. . As you add more layers of CA, the CA surface irregularities tend to build up, which means that ultimately you will have to sand more to even them out.

You learn a technique that is unique to yourself.

You need enough layers to support the amount of sanding that is necessary to remove the CA surface irregularities without going right through to the wood.

I have often done up to 20 layers of thin CA ... fewer if some of the layers are medium CA (but I never use thick CA for finishing).

In my experience you may need to do some fairly aggressive sanding after you have applied "adequate" CA. . The first grit I use may be 240 or 320 ... a judgment call which you learn. . My approach is to spend several minutes sanding with these grits along the length of the blank with the lathe motor off, turning the spindle by hand.

I do enough of this sanding to remove all the little shiny spots and valleys in the CA surface. . I do this sanding dry.

Once I have removed all the shiny spots, the blank surface looks matte and may have lengthwise sanding marks.

I then move up to 400 grit and sand about 60 or so lengthwise strokes, rotating the spindle by hand.

Then on to 600 grit for another 60 or so strokes.

Proceed in this way up to about 1500 or 2000 grit ... always sanding dry. . I have totally gotten away from using micromesh but you can proceed with it if you wish. . Dry sandpapering is most important in my opinion.

At grits of 1000 and greater, you will start to see a slight sheen appearing. . Keep going and the sheen will improve.

To get the slight sheen to become a shine, you can try a little bit of spit !!

A shine is your objective, so you can then use some polishing liquids. . I first use Mequiar's automotive scratch remover ... better shine ... then Novus 3 polish, Novus 2 polish, and finally Mequiar's Plastix to finish off. I find that about 60 strokes lengthwise for each stage is about what I need.

I never use a rag, just the skin of my fingers. . You have to develop your own technique.

Now that you have a pleasingly shiny pen blank, you can tone it down to matte if you want, by using some fine steel wool ... grade 000, I think it is.

Ok ... I can hear you objecting, but that's my technique. . It works quite well for me. . But it does take time and effort and tires me out.

I know some people who apply only about 3 layers of thin CA and never sand and they like what they get. . But I am not satisfied with that.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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I'll have to practice building up thicker layers. For the few that I have done with CA, the 2 to 3 layers of CA, then mm sanding gave a decent shine. But I can see why people would add more for that deep shine.

Lately I have been using the WTF. Works similar to CA, build up layers for a deeper shine with no chance of gluing your fingers together and no bad smells. Takes a bit longer for each layer to dry, but with no sanding, other than a quick once over with 3K between layers, the time is a trade off.
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Old 11-15-2017, 05:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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More coats add up to a high gloss finish, more than that is for depth, I use thin CA and don't start any sanding before 5 coats. All depends on what you like.
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