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

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Old 10-26-2016, 12:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NV
Posts: 644
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Default Your understanding

Originally Posted by donstephan View Post
My understanding of the process of building high gloss is that the surface of the finish must be extremely flat and smooth. The first coat of finish on red oak is not going to look as shiny as the first coat of the same finish on maple. That first coat, when dry, will not be flat on the red oak because of the open pores in the wood. That first coat, when dry, likely has more shine because the surface of maple is smoother than the surface of red oak.

The applied coat on maple, when dry, still may not have a great shine, because the surface of the dried finish is not perfectly smooth. But the process of leveling the surface of the dried finish removes some of the finish as sanding dust, likely sanding through in places back to the wood itself. So several coats of finish are applied before leveling. A further complication is that some finishes shrink as they dry/cure; for them, it is best to wait several days to several weeks, depending on the finish, before leveling.

If you want a glass smooth finish on say red oak, it likely would require applying a number of coats, allowing time to fully cure, level sand, apply several more coats, then final sanding to gloss. The same finish on maple might not require the initial coats and level sanding.

An added question is how much sanding of the bare wood before the initial coats of finish. Some feel the final look is improved by sanding the raw wood to 12000 grit equivalent, some feel there is no benefit to sanding beyond 400 or 600.

You might consider turning pairs of 6" long dowels of woods you want to use for pen bodies, sand one of each pair to 400 or 600 grit, and the other of each pair to a much higher grit, and clearly mark each. Try a finish on these pairs to get some experience with level sanding and bringing to gloss, and see if you find a difference in the two different final raw wood sanding grits.

In my opinion, the exercise is valuable experience at little cost.

I am a little confused.
Not trying to put you in the center of anything but you said from your understanding in the first sentence of your reply .
I have to ask have you done a 2 part slow drying epoxy before like west systems 105/207 on a regular bases ??

Some of the things you said I somewhat agree with.
But why would anyone buff polish wood to 12000 MM grit and then put on a glass like finish ???
Me my final sand grit is 320 with the lathe turned off and I sand with the grain .
Then I vacuum the saw dust out of the woods water pores .
On ebony its bad deal to sand across the grain with any grit .
Maybe for a satin finish like tung oil but polishing wood to 12000 MM if going to take away from the woods natural color.

Micro mesh on resin ,,, I would like to know if any professional in the fiberglass business uses MM to polish out the surface .
Because I have tried it and it takes about 10 times longer and you still need to polish the piece out with a polishing cream .

As a level surface , makes no difference ..
Boat makers and pool cue makers have been spraying fiberglass resin for decades.
Most every one who applies a thin 2 part slow drying epoxy manually is most likely applying it to thick ..........and allot should be wiped off so the piece doesn't get egged shaped .
As of leveling 35 rpm seem to be the magic number.
Slower rpms the resin flows around the pen blank and picks up bubbles .
< its just like stirring it , faster rpms and it wants to get high spots like its being flung off.
I don't sand between coats and I put one coat on after another every 6 hours.
But I put on thin even coats.

If you are good enough as in you know how to mix 2 part epoxy without getting air bubbles in the epoxy and know how to spread evenly the epoxy and you know how to get the bubbles out while the piece is turning .
Then there really is very little buffing or polishing , if done right .

Its not a big deal to sand and then polish out to a deep glass like finish .
We use to polish out the wind shields of the haul trucks at a gold mine I worked at .
They put lime on ever haul truck load of leach ore they hauled in.
Leach ore ( on a giant rubber pad and then spray cyanide through a sprinkling systems that dissolves the microscopic gold .
The lime helped dissolved to gold .
The wind would blow the lime all over the haul trucks and pit the glass wind shields .
We buffed out the windshields to the point it looked like a new windshield .

Epoxy resin , from the first coat to the last coat they all are crystal clear.
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