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Old 04-19-2011, 06:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Default sanding concerns

I have recently turned a pen using oak and yellow wood. In both situations I used the same standard pen turning sandpaper (150 - 600) and found that the grain on the wood kept getting a grayish or brownish dusting into the grain that made the pen look like crap. I have not noticed this problem on darker woods. It almost looked like maybe I was sanding to hard and to high a speed and was almost "burning" the saw dust which was then sanded back into the grain of the wood. I also noticed that the darkest areas was closer to the bushings and thought that maybe I was hitting it with the sandpaper and some of the metal dust was coming onto the wood and getting pushed into the grain. Anyone have this issue and a solution?
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Old 04-19-2011, 06:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The paper you are using is leaving abrasive particles in the wood. Most of the "pen turning" sandpaper offered use either red or black/dark gray abrasives. Norton's papers use a very light grit and also seem to stick better to the backing. That solved a very similar problem for me. No, that was not my idea. I posted the sme question and someone gave me this advice. For me, it worked. YMMV
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Old 04-19-2011, 06:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You figured it out. It is the bushings. You can prevent it by sanding towards the bushings and not from them. You can put some thin CA on the blank before sanding, that will fill the pores in the wood and seal out the metal.

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Old 04-20-2011, 10:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Another way to avoid the bushing dust is to turn between centers (TBC). Lots of great articles on this.

Another option is to cut some "washers" from a tub butter lid and turn them with the blank. This will give you a very small buffer zone but it does help.
Hank Lee

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Old 04-21-2011, 08:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes, probably the bushings and metal dust. I did the same thing on my first few pens.
I now use delrin bushings for any sanding and CA finishes. My bushing is just a "cone" shaped piece at each end. I buy a stick of delrin and cut what I need.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I don't sand with the correct bushings on ... I use slim line bushing so I never contact the bushings while sanding. I use these thin spacers I got with my mandrel for slim lines. Just don't get carried away with sanding or you'll go too far.

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Old 04-21-2011, 09:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'll join the throng; Before you start sanding, wrap a layer of tape over the bushings.
Randy S.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I like tape, too. I put it on before turning, as it also helps protect the bushings. This does, however require the use of calipers to get blanks to perfect size.
Andy Little
entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. The popular interpretation of this principle is that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. -Occam's Razor
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