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Old 12-08-2017, 10:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Question Recommended finishes for pens

I have just about emptied a large bottle of Titebond Thin CA glue. I plan on getting some more but want to expand my offering of finishes. I have a bottle of Shellawax but was told it is not a curable finish for pens. There was an article on pen finishes in the AAW magazine where spray-on lacquer was used.
Your recommendations, good or bad, based on experience is greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-08-2017, 10:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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One problem with CA and ShellWax is that it kills incentive to try other finishes that take hours and days before they can be polished or handled effectively.

Each finish has its advantages, but the time needed to allow that finish to be its best is where we often fail. I have done a lot of flat work over the years and since joining woodworking forum 20+ years ago, one weakness I have seen among most "at home" woodworkers is allowing time in the finishing stage. I can't criticize because it took me a long time to accept that "great" finishing takes almost as long as the building process. On most pens, the finishing process usually takes much longer than the building/turning set up.

I like wipe on/brush on or "dipping" lacquer. Several here used to or maybe now "dip" their pens in lacquer and hang the blanks to cure. Two or three or more dips over 24 to 48 hours. One fellow spends an average of 30 days per pen for finishing (but he gets thousands of dollars for them.) My favorite flat work finish is tung oil but have not tried it on pens.

I like using holly and blood wood. Amber finishes add an unwanted shade to these two colors but enhance brown/tan woods. So, I use crystal clear finishes when using these two woods and dyed woods.
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Old 12-08-2017, 10:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Right now, my go-to finish is WTF. I've also used BLO, Tru-Oil, shellac, and Minwax Wipe-on Poly. Of those, I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite - maybe the Poly. I plan on doing some experiments with dipped finishing, and even though I'm not a fan of CA, I probably should learn more about how to apply it as well.

My advice, experiment with several and see what you like best.
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Old 12-08-2017, 02:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtriever View Post
Right now, my go-to finish is WTF. I've also used BLO, Tru-Oil, shellac, and Minwax Wipe-on Poly. Of those, I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite - maybe the Poly. I plan on doing some experiments with dipped finishing, and even though I'm not a fan of CA, I probably should learn more about how to apply it as well.

My advice, experiment with several and see what you like best.
When you use wipe-on poly--do you apply at slow speed while turning or do you do it off the lathe?
Thanks,
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Old 12-08-2017, 02:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Earl, up to this point I have always applied finishes on the lathe.
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Old 12-08-2017, 04:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Thanks. I recall seeing WOP at Lowe's. Min-Wax brand, if I recall. May spring for a can of spray lacquer as well to try. I have Tru-Oil but neglected to use it on some pens.
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Please try watco wipe on poly or GF wipe on urethane. I haven't used either for pens, but on flat work the difference over minwax is huge IMO. Winwax is a construction project. Leave it on the floor!
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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That can of wipe on poly is 50% mineral spirits. Buy the regular poly, on your first coat apply 50/50 with mineral spirits. The Mineral spirits evaporates and adds nothing to your finish. On the later coats mix up to 75/25 poly/mineral spirits. You will see a build up of to the final finish a lot faster.

Those percentages do not have to be exact, just close. I like one coat 50/50, dry overnight, another coat 50/50 with a light sand with 600 or finer sandpaper. This gets off any raised grain from the first 2 coats. Third coat about 75/25, dry over night. Fourth coat, 75/25 with maybe a light sand with 1200. At this point, I let it dry overnight, then decide if I want more finish depth or wait for it to cure and buff and wax.

To me this mix has a short shelf life so I mix it as needed. I also make and finish a dozen or more items at the same time. If you do one at a time, your wasted time factor will kill you. I may be finishing bottle stoppers, game calls and pens when I do a finish. I use a small bowl that I pour the stuff in and work out of it, wiping it on with a clean cloth or brush.
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Old 12-09-2017, 10:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Thumbs up Pen finish

Pens plus. Works great for me
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Old 12-17-2017, 11:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
That can of wipe on poly is 50% mineral spirits. Buy the regular poly, on your first coat apply 50/50 with mineral spirits. The Mineral spirits evaporates and adds nothing to your finish. On the later coats mix up to 75/25 poly/mineral spirits. You will see a build up of to the final finish a lot faster.
I'd rather be turning than mixing :)
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