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

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Old 04-05-2018, 01:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2018
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Default Little lost


I've watched many place for pen finish info and I got lost in all the step.

I use CA glue and what I've seen so far is.

-sand till 600 grit
-***(should I polish with Dr kirk scratch free now?
-apply 4 coat CA with a cloth
-sand 1000 and 2000

So far I'm good I get lost in polishing after those step.

I seen guide where it say to use tripoli+white diamond+hutt ultragloss plastic polish...

Do I need to use those 3 product? I want my pen to be as high quality as possible.

Does my Dr kirk scratch free could replace one of them?

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Old 04-05-2018, 01:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 207
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1. Sand wood till the scratches are gone.
2. Use denatured alchohol to get rid of dust.
3. I use thin foam strips to apply two coats of thin.
4. Using the foam strips, apply four coats of thick. (cut into 1 inch x 1.5 inch strips)
5. Then sand with 400 (wet) to remove any pits or high points.
6. 600 (wet) to get rid of any scratches
7. One Step plastic polish after that.

Foam sheet link, you can get them at any hobby store.

Last edited by elyk864; 04-05-2018 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 04-05-2018, 02:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Fairfield, Maine
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There are as many ways to do this as there are pen makers I think. Assuming you're talking a CA finish on wood blanks, this is my process:

Sand to 400 (I don't often have to use the lower grits), paying particular attention to radial scratches by also sanding laterally w/lathe off.

With lathe at a slow speed, apply CA (I use a coat of BLO first, then five coats of Mercury Thin Flex w/Mercury activator between coats.

Also at slow speed, carefully wet sand with 1000 grit paper (or MM pad), also making sure there are no radial marks left and the CA is smooth. Use caution not to sand through the CA.

Run through the three Dr. Kirk's grits w/lathe at full speed. Dr. Kirk's is great for removing tiny lateral scratches but not so much with radial ones.

Buff on Tripoli and White Diamond wheels.
Fairfield, Maine

Last edited by mecompco; 04-05-2018 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 04-05-2018, 03:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Tunica, MS,
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Now for one more thing to do to add to your "Arsenal" of confusion:

On about my 10th pen 13 full years ago, I got me a foot long (maybe 18 inches) of a plain pine 2X4 and cut it down to about 20 or so pen size blanks. I had purchased about 3 dozen slimline pen tubes. I decided to "Practice" my turning and my CA application and sanding.

I was determined to learn how to apply a finish. Previous to that, I made one pen that turned well, then 3 or 4 that did NOT; then another that did. What is going on? I asked. So I decided to learn buy trying, and trying and trying - and i discovered what worked for me.

There are minute' problems that arise when following one recipe from someone in a dry environment that is hot as hades, and someone else in an area that has 60 to 80% humidity year round, and those that have a swing of temps and swing of humidity on a weekly basis. I am here to tell you the effects of those wide swings DOES create differences in applying for and achieving high end finishes.

SO, back to trying for yourself. With all those blanks and tubes, it was NOT my purpose to make a pen. It was my purpose to practice and repeat; practice and repeat. I spent about 8 to 10 hours turning a blank, applying CA and sanding. I personally never start under 400 grit. I know one fellow that does not start under 600 grit.

A hint on what I mentioned above: I have lived in dry and humid, hot and cold, and CA and other finishes behave differently in different situations. It is not usually the brand per se (but can be, along with old CA), but the humidity and temp. Below 75 in general CA is slower to cure and white spots appear more. Humidity and wet sanding factors in too for those white spot conditions, but not so much in hot dry desert areas.

So cut some blanks from old boards and spend a day practicing and see what works for you.

As to sandpaper, One other fellow here (Probably several) will tell you to practice with your skew (or for those like me) practice with your scraper. Sharpen them GOOD! A well sharpened skew or scraper will leave your blank so smooth that you don't need to sand it. I'm NOT kidding!

Learn to measure the sizing with calipers, not by the bushings. Bushings wear down QUICK and are unreliable as to size. So, size by measuring with calipers and use your sharp tool to get it smooth as possible. Then practice with CA. When I have lumps in the CA, I smooth it down with the scraper and then start with 400 or 600 sandpaper, or start off with Micro Mesh on the CA.

Pens are not huge flat boards, they don't need to be traumatized with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper scratches. That is what the tool - skew, scraper or carbide insert - is for.
Hank Lee

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

Last edited by leehljp; 04-05-2018 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 04-05-2018, 03:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Lake City, Minnesota
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What Hank and Mike said. There are so many good bits of advice you can get here at IAP that it can get overwhelming. Just try some and eventually you'll settle on what works best for you. And ask lots of questions. I do. Great people here.
Hello! My name is Brian and I'm a pen turner...
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2018
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I still get lost in their comment ahah

But I already achieve a nice finish it's only my perfection quest pushing me!

Thanks you all

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