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Old 11-22-2017, 01:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default .ca finish

When applying .ca finish do you necessarily need activator..and if not how long would you wait between coats
"I came into this world fighting,,,and I will go out the same way"
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It is not necessary to use activator but the drying time between coats will be long when you go up from thin CA to medium CA. Many turners use 4-5 coats of thin an 4-5 coats of medium. If you use that number of coats it will take a while for you to get a good dried group of coats so that you can proceed to sand and micromesh etc. My opinion.
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You do not need activator. How long you wait depends on your process, environment etc. I do a CA/BLO finish and I don't wait at all. Apply BLO, apply CA, repeat. The time It takes to get the next drop or two of either BLO or CA on the applicator is all the wait time I need.

I do wait before I start doing any sanding or polishing. Usually until the next day.
West Henrietta, NY
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Short answer is "no, wait until it is dry". Longer answer - I tend to use more thin CA, sometimes I use medium for build-up. Dry time depends on temperature and humidity, but with thin it is usually about a minute between coats for me. If drying is going too slow, I will use a little activator once, even with thin, but then subsequent coats will dry faster just with the activator in the air (if there isn't a breeze in the shop). I have anecdotal evidence that the cure time increases as the CA ages, I had a bottle that was almost a year old and it was pretty slow to dry, when I opened a new bottle it seemed to cure much faster. With medium CA I always use activator, you could get the job done without it, but that would be too much waiting for me. Just be careful not to use activator on voids that you are filling with CA, larger "pools" of CA will bubble up and haze with activator. Note - I use Bob Smith Industries CA and Stick Fast aerosol activator.
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I seldom use activator. My typical finish is 2 coats thin and 6 coats of medium. My shop and rec. room are in the basement so when I apply the medium I add a coat and go watch tv till the next commercial, then while the commercial is on add the next coat. Needless to say I am not in a hurry when I finish my pens.
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Old 11-22-2017, 04:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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As mentioned, humidity and temp plus the individual CA (brand, age of CA, thin/med/thick) determine curing time.

What would take 15 seconds in an 85 shop could take 1 to 2 minute at 55-60 in the shop. Humidity affects the reaction also. I keep a hair dryer in my shop close to my lathe - to help set CA in cooler weather. (I keep my shop about no more than 50 to 60 in the winter.)
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I use BLO and CA combined, applied with paper towel method (drizzle CA directly on spinning blank and rub with paper towel) and go immediately from one coat to the next without accelerator or wait time. Then move immediately to buffing. From starting CA to starting assembly--less than 5 minutes in most cases.
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Old 11-26-2017, 06:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm with the "never use activator" group. My shop is a ten by 12 building I built last year. It's heated (propane) and insulated. I am also a BLO/CA glue guy. I wait until each coat drys, before adding the next coat. If it is drying slowly, I will take it off the lathe, and put it on a peg to dry. This only happens when it's cold and wet outside, which is about all winter long here in Wisconsin. I try to stick to acrylic in the winter, and wood in the summer. Part of the reason I love acrylic is no need to mess with CA glue.
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