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Old 04-14-2019, 09:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Thin vs. Medium CA finish

I just finished reading the 2014 "CA My Way" by Harry Anderson. Very interesting and informative article. However, it left me with a question. In the article Harry states that he uses 6 coats of thin CA and 10 coats of medium CA. A couple of sentences below that he states that Martin Beauford suggests using 20 coats of thin CA only. I've also read other ideas from turners here on this forum that suggest the thin then medium CA finish technique.
Is there an advantage to using the thin/medium technique or is just personal preference? Is there a difference in the "quality" of the finish using either technique? Should an accelerator always be used between coats of CA? Thanks in advance for your help and ideas.
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Old 04-14-2019, 10:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Ask a 100 pen turners their method and you get 200 answers. No there is no difference in using either. It takes more coats to build up thin CA than it does med CA or combination of. I find that 3 to 4 coats of thin CA will seal the wood both on the surface and also the ends which is important. Then about 6 coats of med will get the final thickness. If you are using more than that then you need to plan for this when you turn down the blank. Now if you are constantly adding cA and then sanding flat you waste time and material. Thin will dry faster than med. I do not use accelerator because I feel it makes the CA brittle and cracks form later. Won't go into which CA is better because that is again a matter of opinion. I have been using Satellite CA since I started and have no problems. How to finish is again another personal preference an there are many videos of this out there. Find your own method and stick with it. There have been alternatives to CA being developed and more to come so if you prefer to keep experimenting have at it. Good luck
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Old 04-14-2019, 10:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Thanks John. I was hoping to hear from you on this.
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Old 04-15-2019, 01:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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This stopper was sanded, finished, sanded and buffed to what you see in 15 minutes after turning. It received four thin coats of CA followed by accelerator, then eight coats of pen finish CA with accelerator after each coat. The pen finish is quite a bit thinner than medium CA and is easier for me to sand.

Your mileage may vary...
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Old 04-15-2019, 01:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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As hard as it is to figure out CA at the beginning, it is a very forgiving finish too. Just look at all different the ways people use it, apply it and polish/sand/buff and it still comes out looking good, regardless of the method.

I like thin at the beginning of some blanks to get down into the cracks or soak in. Then medium to thick. I personally do not count "coats/layers", rather I go by thickness measured with calipers. A finely tuned/sharpened HSS scraper (and skew) and a very steady hand with light touches will leave the finish flawless in some cases - and not needing sandpaper at all.
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Old 04-15-2019, 03:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leehljp View Post
I personally do not count "coats/layers", rather I go by thickness measured with calipers.
Hank, I'm curious what thickness you typically shoot for?
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leehljp View Post
I personally do not count "coats/layers", rather I go by thickness measured with calipers.
Hank, I'm curious what thickness you typically shoot for?
I turn the blank about .006 to .008 (sometimes oops to .01) below the CB, clip end, or nib end and fill up with CA. I usually add enough so that it is proud by about .005 or so - and use a scraper with light touches to smooth it out and bring it down to perfect.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I use two coats of medium if the wood is porous then several coats of thin on that.
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