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


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Old 08-18-2015, 01:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Finishing for rookies

I am getting ready to make my fist pen today and I am still unsure about the finishing process. I read a ton of posts already and I think I am going to follow the steps below. I have seen some people recommend using pastewax after the one step polish, what does that actually do?

1. sand up to 1000 or so
2. walnut or linseed oil (optional)
3. friction polish (I have some mylands)
4. CA 3+ coats
5. sand with MM
6. apply one step or similar plastic polish
7. apply Johnson or similar paste wax

Am I missing something or if there are any suggestions or recommendations I would greatly appreciate it!
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Never done friction polish and ca. Also depending on the wood I think 1,000 is a little high I usually 400 maybe 600.

Also it's going to be more like 10 coats of ca.

The wax can give it just a tad bit more shine.
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I have not used both CA and friction polish together. I use CA and BLO.
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I should avoid using the friction polish? Just from googling around I put the steps above together, not sure if I am breaking any cardinal rules or anything. Thanks

Last edited by drewdin; 08-18-2015 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 08-18-2015, 03:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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In general, polishes (I don't know about friction polishes, although I have used them on wood) remove fine scratches and make the finish more reflective (shinier, adds the depth or the illusion of depth). Waxes that do not contain polish, serve to protect the surface of underlying material and possibly some shine as long as long as the wax remains on the surface (just like a car). The wax may also enhance the illusion of depth of shine.

There are other members that know far more than me. What I just shared with you is what I learned from Meguiars technical support. They finish cars and boats so consider the source. :-)
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Old 08-18-2015, 03:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Drew -

The only cardinal rule is 'don't get blood on the wood' (and even that is negotiable if you prefer blood-stained wood).

Seriously, there are as many ways to finish a pen as there are pen turners. There are folks who insist that CA is the only appropriate finish, but that's just plain wrong. You can finish pens however you want - to achieve whatever final effect you want.

I've used CA and CA+BLO - but I've concluded that I really don't like working with CA as a finish, and I don't like the high gloss pasticky look of a CA-finished pen.

I've also used WOP - both the solvent-based Minwax product from the hardware store and water-based floor finish. Both are fine - I prefer the look of the solvent-based version. The water-based version is slightly bluish to my eye. Both are time consuming to use because they take time to cure between coats (1 hour for the water-based version, 4 hours for the solvent-based version).

My current favorite is a lacquer-based friction polish. Most commercial friction polishes are a combination of shellac and oil and emulate the old French polish used on furniture. They look nice and are quick to apply, but they tend to not wear well. Lacquer-based friction polishes are also quick to apply (you can finish a pen in minutes) and they are fairly resistant to wear. They aren't extremely glossy - which is fine by me because I make pens from wood and I want the the user to experience the look and feel of wood.

Lacquer-based friction polishes are harder to find as commercial products - PSI has a couple of options, and one of the name-brand friction polishes is based on lacquer (Behlens???). I make my own by mixing equal quantities of ordinary lacquer, lacquer thinner, and oil (I use Tung oil, but BLO is fine).

I tend to sand pens up to 1200 grit. Sometimes I wipe the pen with oil (either BLO or Tung oil) to enhance the grain. When I do that, I usually apply a barrier coat of shellac sanding sealer over the oil and under the final finish, and then denib with 4/0 steel wool or the equivalent Scotchbrite pad before applying the friction polish.
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Old 08-18-2015, 03:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Hi Drew! Welcome to IAP.

I am also a bit skeptical of using a friction polish under CA, but who knows.

I use this method about 1/2 of the time: Doctors Wood Shop Pen Finish Tutorial

and for the rest I sand with abranet and walnut oil up to 600 (about) grit, and then apply 2-3 coats of Danish oil. Very matte appearance - which is my favorite.

However, I am going to try Louie's (Monophoto) suggestion as what he is looking for is similar to me! My opinion only: Acrylics/Urethanes are beautiful; and wood is beautiful. Enjoy both for their beauty.

Have FUN!
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Old 08-18-2015, 04:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Like Louie said, there are no set rules when it comes to finishing a pen. Most everyone has their own favorite methods, so just experiment with a variety of finishes & techniques and see what works best for you. Much of it simply comes down to personal preferences in the application of the finish and the look & feel when you are done.

Personally, I use Myland's sanding sealer and friction polish for wood pens more than anything else, although I will sometimes use CA, polyurethane or carnauba wax depending on the wood and the end result that I am trying to achieve.

I generally sand wood to 600 grit then burnish it by pressing a pinch of the wood shavings up against the spinning blank and working it back & forth a few times. This accomplishes the same thing as continuing to sand with a few grits of micro mesh but is much faster and can sometimes really make the grain pop before you apply your final polish.

One way to quickly experiment with different techniques is to simply turn several pieces of cheap wood between centers without even drilling a hole or gluing in a blank. Just turn them round, sand and polish to see how you like the results.

Have fun
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Or turn a really nice blank just to true and experiment with any finish you want. You can always turn off the finish and have plenty of wood left to turn a pen.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edohmann View Post
Like Louie said, there are no set rules when it comes to finishing a pen. Most everyone has their own favorite methods, so just experiment with a variety of finishes & techniques and see what works best for you. Much of it simply comes down to personal preferences in the application of the finish and the look & feel when you are done.

Personally, I use Myland's sanding sealer and friction polish for wood pens more than anything else, although I will sometimes use CA, polyurethane or carnauba wax depending on the wood and the end result that I am trying to achieve.

I generally sand wood to 600 grit then burnish it by pressing a pinch of the wood shavings up against the spinning blank and working it back & forth a few times. This accomplishes the same thing as continuing to sand with a few grits of micro mesh but is much faster and can sometimes really make the grain pop before you apply your final polish.

One way to quickly experiment with different techniques is to simply turn several pieces of cheap wood between centers without even drilling a hole or gluing in a blank. Just turn them round, sand and polish to see how you like the results.

Have fun
Edgar

I do this a lot ... I took a blank or a leftover section of blank (still large enough to make a pen or keychain) and turned it round, then I finished it as though it were a completed pen barrel. I keep them all in a bag together, so that if someone were to ask "What would this pen look like with x wood instead?" I can just pull that bag out and say "This here is representative of that species of wood finished, and the pen will come out looking very similar, but keep in mind that the color and grain may not be exactly the same".

I also take the small leftover sections that are too small to make a pen blank or keychain, and I make those into beads. The beads are also very useful to show people, as they are properly finish polished.

On some occasions, people ask me to make their keychain or pen from exactly the blank that I am showing them, and this usually works fine for me, as I have spare blanks of each species that I haven't turned yet. The other reason this works OK with me is simple .... before I can actually drill a blank for any pen or keychain, I have to turn it round first anyway. :P
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