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


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Old 10-26-2017, 02:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Pen finishing & keeping the feel of wood

It amazes me the degree to which many people on this forum swear by CA glue to finish a pen. The only real problem with CA is its plasticky feel. I like my pens to feel like the wood that makes them. There must be another way to go. Here in the UK one of our great pen makers, Phil Dart has put together his method in a short 4 page PDF. This is how he achieves his outstanding finishes, and I agree with him. It is well worth a read.
It is here:
http://www.beaufortink.co.uk/achievi...a%20finish.pdf

Take care

Ray

PS. this may help people allergic to CA.
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Old 10-26-2017, 02:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayberry View Post
It amazes me the degree to which many people on this forum swear by CA glue to finish a pen. The only real problem with CA is its plasticky feel. I like my pens to feel like the wood that makes them. There must be another way to go. Here in the UK one of our great pen makers, Phil Dart has put together his method in a short 4 page PDF. This is how he achieves his outstanding finishes, and I agree with him. It is well worth a read.
It is here:
http://www.beaufortink.co.uk/achievi...a%20finish.pdf
Take care
Ray
PS. this may help people allergic to CA.
Thanks Ray for this post.

Using CA, or having the wood "feel" is not as simple as two choices.

1. Those who sell to the general consumer public find that the highly polished CA sells 2 to 1, or 10 to 1 or in some cases 100 to 1 for a highly "CA shine" over "Wood feel".
So does one forsake sales - for the pen makers own preferences? There have been a few people here who felt strongly that wood should feel like wood and they didn't care if they sold many or not, they would not cover the wood with a plastic shine. Recently a fellow said that he had good sales with wood only finish. Most people do not have this kind of success with wood only feel.

2. One of this forum's first members, highly respected (and he past away a few years ago) used to comment on this subject occasionally - it is not about the finish as much as it is the "tactile feel". After reading his post on this subject, I made two pen identical, both highly polished. Then I sanded one back from 10,000 MicroMesh to about 3600 MicroMesh, and there was no shine to it. It was smooth, dull, wood highly visible and it had a tactile "feel" like real wood. He was right. With this tactile feel of wood, and looking like wood, it had a great protection from hand grime.

3. I have been making things (tables, book cases, shelves and other things) out of wood for more than 50 years and I love the feel of wood. I also grew up watching my mom polish the wood furniture in our home almost every week. The purpose was to wipe finger prints and grime off of the furniture that was not touched but a few times a day.

A pen is touched and held several/many times a day, and hand grime builds up. CA (and some other finishes) prevent this. For People who are like my mom and probably like you and Phil Dart, you will take care of your pen and wipe it off daily like my mom did. HOWEVER, most people are not like this. AND believe me, when they pay a few hundred dollars and a few hundred pounds for a pen, they WILL be back when their pen gets grimy, dirty and loses its appeal due to changing color from the dirt and grime. You and Phil (and some others) probably include some instructions on the need to keep the pen clean. High end users will do this, but the masses will not.

I am all for the wood look and feel on some woods, but the wood look and feel come with a price - daily cleaning that most people will not do.

4. Back to the shine - I spent 26 years in Japan and knew some master craftsmen over there. In spite of what an aged master craftsman might make, the culture of Japan LOVES shine.

Wood or CA like shine is not a "Which is best" but rather a choice, with each having its purpose and advantages along with some disadvantages. In some cases wood preference or shine preference is a cultural difference.
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Old 10-26-2017, 03:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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You overlook one thing Hank, if you don't mind me mentioning it. We never spoke of going back to bare wood, we are using a properly and expertly done Melamine Lacquer finish which is eminently similar to a CA finish and very long lasting. Phil makes and sells all his pens without complaint and many pens in the UK are CA finished also. The Melamine gives a long lasting shine and the feel of wood if done properly. CA just gives the shine.

Ray
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Old 10-26-2017, 03:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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His finish process is similar to Frank Whiton's classic gunstock finish. The difference is the choice of finish used. Whiton uses an oil based varnish, while Dart uses lacquer.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayberry View Post
You overlook one thing Hank, if you don't mind me mentioning it. We never spoke of going back to bare wood, we are using a properly and expertly done Melamine Lacquer finish which is eminently similar to a CA finish and very long lasting. Phil makes and sells all his pens without complaint and many pens in the UK are CA finished also. The Melamine gives a long lasting shine and the feel of wood if done properly. CA just gives the shine.

Ray
Ray, I apologize for the misunderstanding. Melamine on this side of the ocean is associated with a plastic coating on top of cheap particle wood in most cases a plastic feel through and through.

Lacquer: Yes, that was what I was referring to as other finishes. Many of the folks here use lacquer and in Japan we had our own version of lacquers.

You were right about the allergies/fumes of CA, but the non fuming CAs eliminate that.

I know that you did not speak of going back to bare wood but letting the bare wood "feel" come through. That is more tactile feel than actual wood feel. Russ Fairfield speaks of this in this post back in 2007: To Shine or Not To Shine

I may be wrong but I think you are referring to having the feel of wood, and with protection while not having a thick build up of finish. That is what many try to do here and that certainly is a good point.

I wasn't trying to rebuff your finish, but to add that there are markets that like some finishes and dislike other finishes. And even then what is necessary is to become proficient in the one you like and the people you sell to - like.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Ray, a question you may or may not be able to answer, or maybe two questions. I for one would like to try this finish but there is a little bit of a language difference. First when Phil mentioned the tissue roll from the kitchen I’m fairly certain he means paper towels. I’m not sure what he means by the center feed tissue he uses to make his rudder. I maybe dense but if you or someone that knows could help me understand what type tissue Phil is talking about I would appreciate it.

The other item he mentioned is “cuppa” he sips on. Could this be a cup of coffee or tea.

Thank you
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Old 10-26-2017, 06:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I use this method.

the tissue is https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ce...w=1280&bih=716 but I use toilet tissue, because it is in handy squares. Phil does a lot of pens, but I find a toilet roll lasts a while.

cuppa is a cup of tea/coffee
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Ray, this may be a place where we are separated by a common language and different products being available. Melamine Lacquer is not a product that is available to me in normal commercial sources.

I am pretty sure it is not a cellulose based lacquer (that i can get) and the description does not appear to be a catalized or pre-cat lacquer which is normally sprayed. (And,I can get those abet at high cost)

There are some "rattle can" acrylic lacquers, but the ones available an tried tend to be soft.

Perhaps this is like Shellawax Glow and is not available on this side of the big ponds.

Hazardous shipping requlations drive costs very high for small quantities, especially where I live.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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The paper I use is what we call the blue roll in the UK which I buy in woodworking stores/shops. A "cuppa" is a cup of tea.

Ray
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Oh, I don't know what is available in Alaska, but I and Phil use Chestnut Melamine Lacquer which is available in some states, I understand.

Ray
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