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Old 10-21-2008, 08:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default finishing ebony ?

first start by saying this is an amazing site lots of info
my ? is i'am going to make 1st pen out of ebony and i want a glass like finish
will buffing with tripoli/white diamond work or is there a better way
thanks in advance for any advice
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Ebony takes a pretty high polish if you take just it through the grits and then buff it out. Avoid super high speeds when buffing - the wood can overheat which can lead to cracks later (credit due to wdcav1952 for that piece of information). I think CA might help you build a higher gloss though if you want to lean into that process.

Marc
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Old 10-22-2008, 07:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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First off, Welcome!

I also recommend learning the CA finish process or any of the other more durable finishes you can learn from perusing the library here. You can get a high gloss finish by buffing but it will not last long and you will wind up with a dull black pen in no time.
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Old 10-22-2008, 08:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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You may not need any finish as ebony takes a high sheen with proper sanding and buffing. Experiment with the blank after you have turned to round but before you turn down to the bushings.
Stay away from coarser grits as you begin sanding. You may put in scratches that will be near impossible to get out. And, be sure to turn off lathe and hand sand lengthwise each time you change grits.
After turning, let blanks set out a while, as much as several weeks. This is because ebony has a distressing tendency to crack. Better to lose just the turned blanks than a finished pen after delivery to a customer.
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Old 10-25-2008, 05:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Don't know how similar mun ebony is to finishing regular ebony, but coincidentally I'm trying to apply a CA/BLO finish to a mun ebony pen now and it's giving me fits - applied 7-8 coats going light on the BLO and then started around 3200MM to polish it, and immediately had sand through - it was as if none of the CA stayed on (brand new CA, no problems on other pens).

Is mun ebony one of those woods that is best done with just CA? And if so, could one of you who have good success with just CA and no BLO post a brief summary of how you're applying it? Thanks!!
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Old 10-25-2008, 05:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Ebony has a lot of oil on its own, so I think BLO just add insults to injury.
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcruby View Post
Ebony takes a pretty high polish if you take just it through the grits and then buff it out. Avoid super high speeds when buffing - the wood can overheat which can lead to cracks later (credit due to wdcav1952 for that piece of information). I think CA might help you build a higher gloss though if you want to lean into that process.

Marc
Thanks, Marc. Not only do you learn by my numerous mistakes, but you have a good memory.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munsterlander View Post
Don't know how similar mun ebony is to finishing regular ebony, but coincidentally I'm trying to apply a CA/BLO finish to a mun ebony pen now and it's giving me fits - applied 7-8 coats going light on the BLO and then started around 3200MM to polish it, and immediately had sand through - it was as if none of the CA stayed on (brand new CA, no problems on other pens).

Is mun ebony one of those woods that is best done with just CA? And if so, could one of you who have good success with just CA and no BLO post a brief summary of how you're applying it? Thanks!!
Mike, get one of those adjustable lights and attach it to your lathe so it shines DIRECTLY overhead. Turn on the lathe and you'll notice a shiney line on top of the spinning blank. Sand until that shiney line JUST dissapears then STOP. You'll never have sand through again!
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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-As I have used ebony for many a fretboard when I build my guitars, ebony will in fact buff to a very high shine, with no finish at all.

However, like others have said here, be it that there is no finish on it, over time, it will dull out, cause there is nothing protecting the bare wood (there is not finish on any fret boards, and in fact this is exactly what happens).

If you want the finish to last, use a CA finish. It will give you a very durable surface, and when polished with Micro-Mesh, then with fine rubbing compound, finishing with some carnuba wax, will provide you with a glass like and very shiny surface.

Sends us some pics when you are done....

:-)
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