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Finishing It ain't a pen till it's FINISHED!

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Old 06-26-2017, 04:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by magpens View Post
OK, I'll bite ! . What's the diff between buffing and polishing ?

Yeah, I know there is a diff but just want to hear it from someone; the answer might be educational to more than me.
In most instances, buffing is the process to remove the blemishes from the surface, i.e. scratches. Polishing is the process of refining and cleaning the surface to achieve a shine.
Both processes are similar, but use different materials.

Buffing uses a ridged or coarse wheel with a larger particle compound. The compound and wheels are dependent on the material and the condition of the surface. Once the buffing is finished, the surface should be smooth and ready for polishing.

Polishing uses a soft wheel, usually flannel or canton flannel for a glass shine. Cotton can be used, and is usually the string or loose wheels. These wheels are used in combination with what's called a greaseless compound. These compounds use either an extremely fine particle or powder. The lack of grease, or the binder, eliminates the build up that diminishes the shine and it removes the grease from the buffing process.

I don't know how informative this may be... I'm better at conveying information by demonstration as opposed to written instruction.

One important tip when using wheels... use a light touch. Let the compound do the work, not the wheel. Just the outside edge of the wheel should lightly touch the surface. Using the wheel with too much pressure against it, will create a lot of heat and can destroy more than the finish.

A safety tip... avoid catches. This can be done by only touching the wheel to the bottom 3/4 of the part. Then flip it end for end, and repeat. If the wheel touches the top edge of the part, it can be violently ripped from your hand.

Originally Posted by Dehn0045 View Post
Originally Posted by Terredax View Post

I'm sure you find this worth the price that was paid.
Thanks John. I'm going to add a set of buffing wheels to my wish list. It would have been nice if more of the "beginner" penturning videos out there would go over some of these techniques (TBC, drilling on the lathe, etc). I guess it is all part of learning, but it sure would have saved me a bunch of time and money to go straight to the best techniques.
I'm sure a lot of people would appreciate an all in one stop for everything pen making. I guess the IAP is the best option, although it does take some effort to gather the information. It just depends on what a person is wanting to do, since some people want to get to a destination gradually.

Most of these techniques used to make pens, were adapted from other venues, with most being metal working and machining. All of these techniques have been used for other things for many years, and because of the diverse arrangement of the IAP, they have made their way here.

I'm guessing, that most of the beginners, start with the most simple and available pen making supplies. Then they discover the IAP, and find all of the useful information they wished they would've had before the purchase of the supplies they are now intending to replace.

I hope this is partially comprehensive.

Last edited by Terredax; 06-26-2017 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 06-26-2017, 05:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thank you very much, John. . That description of buffing and polishing has clarified quite a lot for me.

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

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Old 06-27-2017, 11:04 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I use DNA to clean off the wax left behind by EEE and than use plastic polish after the EEE. It is still much faster than MM and leaves equal or better finish. I don't put wax on the final pen so I know what the final product is.
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Old 06-27-2017, 11:50 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by magpens View Post
OK, I'll bite ! . What's the diff between buffing and polishing ?

Yeah, I know there is a diff but just want to hear it from someone; the answer might be educational to more than me.
Different sets of working communities have different meanings for the same terms. It can get confusing.

I remember when I first came here and saw the term "pop the grain". It had a different meaning that the woodworkers and cabinet makers that I grew up with. Even traveling to other states (in the South) and talking with woodworker or two at a saw mill or lumber yard, "Pop the grain" meant to wet it so the grain would be raised and then sand it down, smoothing it out to a very smooth surface.

Then on this forum I hear people using it from different sections of the country in which it was meant to "make the contrast of the grain to be noticed VISUALLY.

"Polish and buff" are similar in that they have different meanings in different communities. I have adapted to what I read on IAP. What I grew up with was this:
Polish - an extremely fine compound or waxy compound that fills in or rubs out extremely fine marks. The end result is a beautiful surface that you can see through.
Buff: when a haze has developed from wax, or the sheen/shine has declined from dust, time, or finger prints usage. Buffing wipes this dust, prints, hand oils, haze off so that the original beautiful surface can be seen or seen through.

In pen turning and in a few other industries now, compound is added to the buffing stage. That used to be called "more finely polishing".

When I was in Japan, the compound usage were listed under polish, and the buffing liquids/waxes (no fine compounds) and listed under buffing. That is what I grew up with, but the world does change and so do word meanings.
Hank Lee

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!
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Old 06-27-2017, 11:58 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Hank, I grew up with the same terminology as you; you Polished it, and then you Buffed it. However, if there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that the same thing can have many different names. Example : open wheel drivers have oversteer and understeer, while the stock car boys are either loose or tight. To paraphrase an old saying, sometimes we're separated by a common language...

Last edited by gtriever; 06-27-2017 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 07-28-2017, 04:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Well, I am still (self considered) a relative newbie, and this is how I finish my pens:

After sanding, I treat my turned banks with about ten coats of thin CA. I then move to EEE. After that, there's a friction polish applied. Lastly, I follow up with 2-3 coats of wipe-on Poly.

So far, things have been traveling nicely, with my pens. I don't dare presume to give the impression that mine is a winning recipe . It's just that I had bought my finishing products at different times, and am using them (largely) on the strength that I HAVE them.

But it seems to work out, pretty darned good.
God Bless,
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Old 07-28-2017, 08:25 PM   #17 (permalink)
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New to this forum. New to pen turning/finishing. Old hand at polishing wood, metal, and other products. My pen finishing process is as follows. Start with sanding @ 120 grit and move through 150, 180, 220, 240, 320 and end with 400. ALWAYS sand with the grain after each grit. After 400 grab a handful of the shavings from turning the blank and hold them with your hand against the turning blank to "burnish" the blank (I use the same speed as the turning speed). Be careful here. Then using thin CA to wipe on as many coats as you want. Here is what is special for me---White Diamonds. White Diamonds is a thick liquid polish that is used to polish metal, plastics, etc. I got mine at Advance Auto (around $14.00 for a large bottle). Apply at whatever speed you turned the part using a small section of soft cloth (old T-shirt) for about a minute then remove material with another section of cloth---looks like glass. Only drawback is that it will leave small specks of white residue in porous woods but that can be cleaned out with soap & water. Works great for me---just wanted to pass this along as a huge time saver.
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Old 07-28-2017, 08:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by plumcrazzy View Post
White Diamonds is a thick liquid polish that is used to polish metal, plastics, etc.
Is one of these bottles what you're referring to:

White Diamond "Metal Polish & High Shine Kit" Metal Polish & Sealant - New | eBay
Life is too short for a boring pen...
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Old 07-29-2017, 06:26 AM   #19 (permalink)
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So I've been turning pens a little while but I cut my teeth on finishing when I was building custom drums. The thing about drums is that the customer expects a flawless glass like finish. Of course, it's a little easier when you learn how to handle an HVLP gun and your sanding should be pretty minimal. Pens however, don't work too tell with a big spray gun.

One thing I never understood when reading posts about pen finishing was the thickness of finish people put on. 10+ coats? Who has time for that? So here's the finishing schedule I came up with for myself.

1. Once the pen is turned I'll hit it with 320 grit to get any line out from the cutting tool. Spin the piece, level it out, then stop the lathe and sand manually 90 degrees to the rotation.

2. Glove up, put a decent amount of thick CA glue (varies depending on pen size, kind of a practice til you get it right thing ya know?) on the finger and turn the lathe at 500rpms to spread it onto the piece. Takes a while to get it right but you can get it pretty smooth. The thick glue gets a nice base on there AND I've found it to be less likely to get between your pen blank and the bushings. Creates a barrier you can lay the thin glue on top of.

3. Let that cure an hour or so... then glove up and use a medium to thin CA glue. Same as before, 500 rpms, spread it on smooth. Each glue is different but lately I've been using some Aron Alpha type 202 glue. That stuff buffs out very nice. At 100 cps viscosity it's a bit thinner than what I'd been using but I think I like it.

4. Wait 30 minutes to an hour between coats but should only need 4 coats. Extra work needed to fill in voids obviously.

5. I let the finish cure at least 8 hours because well, I learned my lessons early on about letting things cure. Probably could use CA instant curing add ons but I'm never in that much of a rush.

6. I've tried micromesh, cool product... don't need that many grits. If I did my job right on the finish I start at 800 grit. Wet sand with lathe on, turn it off, wet sand 90 degrees to rotation. I do this with 800 grit, 1200 grit and 2000 grit. IF I screw up and have drips, etc I'll start with 600 grit instead.

7. After sanding I dry it off and break out the buffing pads. I actually use pads made for a hand buffer because I had them. 2 pads, one white for course compound and one blue for final buff. First pass is 3M Heavy Cut with the white pad, maybe hit them 2-3 times. Then the soft pad with 3M Finesse it final finish. Twice is plenty.

I realize it's still a lot of steps but no way would I ever need 10+ coats or want to sand through 10 different grits.

I'm a fan of using the right product for the job and the 3M buffing compounds are some of the better ones out there. Same with their foam pads, I've used the same ones for years now.

Last edited by McKenzie Penworks; 07-29-2017 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 07-30-2017, 08:22 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default white diamonds

Originally Posted by budnder View Post
Originally Posted by plumcrazzy View Post
White Diamonds is a thick liquid polish that is used to polish metal, plastics, etc.
Is one of these bottles what you're referring to:

White Diamond "Metal Polish & High Shine Kit" Metal Polish & Sealant - New | eBay
That's the stuff but much less expensive @ Advance Auto
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