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Old 12-02-2017, 04:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Glen Rock, PA
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Default CA glue application

Hello all from South central PA. New to pen turning and have a question. What do you use to apply the CA glue to wood? I currently use the blue shop towels. I'm thinking they are too course, but can't think of another cost effective way to do this. Any suggestions?
Thanks, Skip
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Old 12-02-2017, 05:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Blue shop towels is what I use .... apply several coats and then sand smooth.
Then apply more coats as deemed necessary.

If you have a glue bottle with a small-holed tip, you can in fact rest the tip on the top of the blank with the blue towel on the bottom and just let the glue run out SLOWLY without pressing on the bottle. Keep the lathe running at VERY LOW SPEED. You still have the blue towel so this method does not necessarily improve the surface.

I don't think you can get a perfectly smooth CA finish without quite a bit of sanding, but I stand to be corrected on this and will be interested in reading other peoples methods.

Kids rule the world !!! .... eventually if not already !

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Old 12-02-2017, 05:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default CA glue application

We struggled with CA finish trying all brands of towels and techniques. It was taking us hours to get a good finish at times. Occasionally we had to remove the finish and try several times. Then some saint posted their method and we adapted it. Life has been beautiful ever since. Sorry I do not remember the poster or I would give them credit and possibly a reward.

First we finish the wooden blank with a skew in a negative rake position. This leaves it smooth enough that we almost never sand.

Then we apply our ca with closed cell craft foam that you can buy at hobby lobby etc. I figure the cost of foam is five or six cents per pen. We cut into about 3/4 in squares.

Using the foam ended about 98 percent of our ca problems. We add two coats thin then six coats medium.

Then we bring out the skew in the negative rake and smooth it down.

Micro mesh then white diamond and it is smooth as glass.

Works for us and we donít hardly touch sand paper.

Last edited by Talltim; 12-02-2017 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 12-02-2017, 05:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I second the craft foam. You can pick some up on Amazon for like $5 for 40x 8x11 sheets. Should be enough to last quite a long time. In 6 months I've only used a couple sheets.
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Foam

Could someone post a link or give a description of the exact type of foam? I'd like to give it a try. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The craft foam squares is very good. Some people use the little plastic bags that pen parts come in. Place the bag over a finger and apply a little CA while turning on the lathe. The bag makes it go on smooth.

I used to and still do on occasion use nitrile gloves. Gotta be experienced with this or the CA will suddenly harden and grab the glove and you will have a nitrile finished pen!

There are other media that applies CA well also. On occasion I come across some thin nylon type of plastics that are fairly flexible and cut those into squares or rectangles and use those.
Hank Lee

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have used many , if not all of the above. Foam, plastic bags, paper towels (smoking and non-smoking). My personal experience was to find an applicator that made it easy for me to apply coats without ridges so I can start with 400 or 600 grit sandpaper. I eventually found a decent, but not perfect balance of glue brand, vsicosity, number of coats, volume of CA, applicator, accelerator, and RPMs that work well for me. And that was only after 100s of attempts.

I use any brand of paper towels including the paper that comes out of the paper towel dispensing machings.
Almost any brand of CA, but I happen to use Mercury's thin flex (2 coats), and medium
flex (about 8 coats) now.
I prefer non-aerosol accelerator and wait about 1 to 2 minutes between coats.
I have also used EZ Bond, BSI, Stickfast, and about a half-dozen others. All worked fine and have stood the test of time.

I focus more on the application of even, ridge-free, and complete coats.

Trust me, I am no expert, and there are myriad ways to approach this. When folks used to suggest that I find a way that works for me, I used to get frustrated by that response. Now, I understand why.

I also used the BLO and CA mixture and found that to work fine with less sanding (hardly any). I just don't want to impart the slightly amber hue to the pen/pencil.

Lastly, this is not a recommendation, nor do I make any claims about safety.

I hope this helps - or at least provides you with a way NOT to do it.

Happy finishing!
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? Abraham Lincoln



Member of Local IAP Georgia Chapter meets quarterly in Roswell, GA

Last edited by TonyL; 12-02-2017 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am far from an expert, and I am still experimenting. I have found the BLO CA method to work well with very little sanding necessary.
I did just buy some of the foam at Hobby Lobby and plan to try that soon.
Keeping the lathe speed very slow also helped me.
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default CA glue application

Jim k

Here are 2 links. You can find it at most hobby/craft stores. I usually get it on sale at hobby lobby or with a coupon. A few sheets last a fair amount of time.

TonyL is right in that CA finishing is a personal journey. You will find your path.

I have seen a lot of beautiful CA finishes applied in many different ways. It seems that everyone pays their dues with trying various ways and then one day it happens.

Last edited by Talltim; 12-02-2017 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 12-03-2017, 12:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Adding one more thing for the future: Once you find what works for you, keep at it until it becomes second nature. THEN, try a different method. There are times when nothing seems to work! And alternative ways/methods come to the rescue when nothing else will.
(Read my tag line. )
Hank Lee

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!
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