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Old 07-28-2018, 05:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default LOTS of questions

Being a newbie, I have lots of questions. Some of them have probably been answered previously but I can't seem to find the answers I need. I apologize in advance if this is the wrong place for this but I could not find another forum that looked appropriate. Some of them may seem silly but it all goes into becoming a better pen maker, so here goes:

- how do you keep the CA glue off of your hands? I have been using nytril gloves, but the gloves get glued to the blanks and/or the insertion tool and just rip to pieces, then the glue gets on my hands.

- I notice that many of you use CA for the finish. Why is that? I haven't tried it but I've been told that it is difficult to master with only a marginal improvement in the final product.

- I have seen several different finishes on acrylics. Some are easier to apply than others but all seem to end up with smooth, glassy finish. Is there any one that is much better than the others or is it just a matter of personal choice?

- what is the most cost-effective way to buy kits and blanks? There are a couple of brick and mortar suppliers within driving distance, but I have a feeling I am paying a premium for buying off the shelf.

- some of the pen kits are beautiful but very expensive. Is there a fair return on that investment? Some of the kit/blank combinations would have to sell for a lot of money to recover the investment in dollars and time. Is there a market for that?

- do you use a brad-point bit on acrylics or a common twist bit? I have seen it done both ways.

- I am officially confused about the group buys. I see one for exotic blanks but I did not find a spreadsheet or any way to see what you're buying. It also says it is the last one for this year. Is that correct, and if so, why? When will there be another group buy for pen kits? This is all for future use; I need to increase my skills exponentially before I start on the expensive stuff.

- what is the best place to market pens? Craft shows? How about gun shows? Seems to me some of the pens would sell well there.

One comment that I would add here is that I am seeing some absolutely gorgeous work in some of these posts. It is inspiring but at the same time it is a little intimidating. I can only hope to someday do work as good as what I am seeing here.
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Old 07-28-2018, 06:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StanBrown View Post
Being a newbie, I have lots of questions. Some of them have probably been answered previously but I can't seem to find the answers I need. I apologize in advance if this is the wrong place for this but I could not find another forum that looked appropriate. Some of them may seem silly but it all goes into becoming a better pen maker, so here goes:

- how do you keep the CA glue off of your hands? I have been using nytril gloves, but the gloves get glued to the blanks and/or the insertion tool and just rip to pieces, then the glue gets on my hands.

Alot of the answers will come down to doing and getting experience. I like to use epoxy to glue my tubes in but that is for another day. Basically most people will glue one half of the tube at a time as they insert it and roll it around in the blank to make sure good coverage is happening. Use med to thick but never thin. You do this to give you more open time and also will help take up some gaps if there are any. This is why I like epoxy because of that.

- I notice that many of you use CA for the finish. Why is that? I haven't tried it but I've been told that it is difficult to master with only a marginal improvement in the final product.

Many use it because it has been proven to be reliable and strong finish because of fingerprints and oils in the hands from everyday use. There are many many ways to apply and different CAs used. there are also other finishes that people use such as polyurethane and others.

- I have seen several different finishes on acrylics. Some are easier to apply than others but all seem to end up with smooth, glassy finish. Is there any one that is much better than the others or is it just a matter of personal choice?

Finishes on acrylics are basically always just polishes because there is no need to build up a finish like CA on acrylics. There are examples that may not be the case but it comes down to a small case number.

- what is the most cost-effective way to buy kits and blanks? There are a couple of brick and mortar suppliers within driving distance, but I have a feeling I am paying a premium for buying off the shelf.

Being you joined here, there are vendors that sell kits and other supplies. Look in the vendor section of the forum. Also there at times group buys that are going on and this helps buyers because you can take advantage with numbers and get better rates. Exotic Blanks seems to have a sale every couple weeks so look for that. Nothing wrong with brick and mortar stores. We are trying right now to get a membership card deal going that maybe able to be used at these stores to get a better rate. Remains to be seen how that plays out with each vendor.

- some of the pen kits are beautiful but very expensive. Is there a fair return on that investment? Some of the kit/blank combinations would have to sell for a lot of money to recover the investment in dollars and time. Is there a market for that?

This is one of those questions that gets asked alot and it depends on alot of factors but the biggest one is location of sales and client you are selling to. This comes with experience and how good of a salesperson you are. People do web sites and ebay and etsy too and have various results.

- do you use a brad-point bit on acrylics or a common twist bit? I have seen it done both ways.

I think most people including me will tell you never drill any blank with a brad point bit. This topic too has many avenues that can be travelled down such as type of bits, how to drill, how to keep bit clean and cool (very important) and also brands so will leave it alone.

- I am officially confused about the group buys. I see one for exotic blanks but I did not find a spreadsheet or any way to see what you're buying. It also says it is the last one for this year. Is that correct, and if so, why? When will there be another group buy for pen kits? This is all for future use; I need to increase my skills exponentially before I start on the expensive stuff.

Can not answer this one

- what is the best place to market pens? Craft shows? How about gun shows? Seems to me some of the pens would sell well there.

All good places as well as jewlery stores, consignment stores, ebay, web sites, etsy and on and on. Again lots of info within this question it would take too long to answer.

One comment that I would add here is that I am seeing some absolutely gorgeous work in some of these posts. It is inspiring but at the same time it is a little intimidating. I can only hope to someday do work as good as what I am seeing here.
This one is a mind thing. Once you start doing your own pens you too will be producing beautiful works of art. Trust yourself and learn from each pen you do. Do not be afraid to try new things and fail. Learn from the failures and always ask questions.

Stan welcome to the site first and foremost.

Yes this is actually the wrong place for this questions and maybe the moderator will move the entire thread to proper place where it may get more and better answers.But being you asked alot of questions, I will do my best to answer in some sort of way and others can add to them..I will put my answers in red under your questions to make it easier.


One other thing I would add is look around and get familar with the site. Learn about the library here. Many members have contributed to long hours of compiling the info there. learn to use the search features here and above all jump right in and ask as many questions as you want. They will get answered. Good luck and happy turning and again welcome.
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Old 07-28-2018, 09:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Welcome aboard Stan.

I don't keep CA glue off my fingers. When gluing tubes into wood using CA, I usually get a little on a few fingers. Only once have I had to peel one off painfully. When applying a CA finish, I use the small plastic bags that components come in. Usually don't get much that way, but had one leak today--covered the full tip of my index finger. But--the skin oils that JT referred to do a great job of removing any glue after a day or so.

CA on parts of a few fingers have become a normal part of my life. Because of how I hold the finished barrels when I buff, I also usually have a very highly polished left thumbnail--adds a touch of class I think!! Like a 10% manicure.

Turn a few, and you'll be making art as well. Best wishes.
earl
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Old 07-29-2018, 06:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Most has been answered and I will add in a few comments in detail.

1. The amount of CA on the fingers is due to experience. I too use nitrile gloves and I too USED to get it caught on the drying/curing blank. But experience taught me the "feel" of when and how much pressure to apply and how long to apply and when to back off and not push it.

2. People who do not like CA for various reasons will use comments like you mentioned - "marginal improvement". That "term" is marginal at best. Advantages of CA:

• FAST/Quick compared to other finishes. In my observation here over 12 years, people turn a pen in 30 minutes (much longer on segmented and casts and special material) and then rush a finish with urethane or different lacquers or waxes or others and then have complaints 6 weeks to 3 months down the road. JT alluded to this. Pens are NOT furniture. Pens are put into sweaty pockets or crammed purses enduring all kinds of bumps and pressures, sweaty palms, goes from cold to hot - furnitures finishes are NOT made for that. Waxes and most finishes don't handle that. Once aware of this issue, better care will make the alternative pen finishes last longer.
...If you spend the same amount of short time on other finishes that CA requires, the other finishes will come up WAY SHORT. Other finishes just take time to cure as compared to CA. Some of these other finishes are good, but they take more time - 24 to 48 hours to cure in order to be handled in all kinds of environments. Some people get around this by making 10 or 15 pens and finishing all at once in a single day or two, making the comparable time equivalent to finishing one-at-a-time with CA. There is one guy that posts picts of his work here that spends 30 days on average for the finish of each pen, but he makes 6 to 10 or so per day. He also gets $500 to $2000 per pen in overseas markets.

• Hard and protective compared to most other finishes. CA is very hard, and water proof if done right. CA will be hard within a few minutes to one hour, but needs 6 hours or more for real curing to handle.

• Difficult to master: Yes and no. I don't think anyone is going to use a brush to paint the pen for the average finish, therefore other finishes require techniques different than applying to wood on furniture anyway, so there is a learning curve for all. I like lacquers, but they require different techniques for pens. While not as quick to grab the nitrile gloves, they require more patience and wait time, and then there is the usual learning curve of "dang, I got too much on it and now I have to wipe it off because it is sagging". This is not a major problem with CA.

From experience, I like lacquer, but I know I have to take more time with lacquer. I like making one pen at a time, so lacquer requires 24 to 48 hours. I could cut the time down by doing 10 at a time, but I don't make them to sell on a daily basis, so for me it is one at a time, therefore 24 to 48 hours on a single pen.
Back to mastering CA: Within a couple of months of making my first pen, I decided to learn how to master CA vs just making a pen. I cut a bunch of blanks out of a short piece of 2x4 pine. I spent an hour turning about 15 or 20 blanks round and then spent the day practicing the CA finish. Worked great. However, I learned how to apply CA with the temp and humidity of that day. I still learned more - as temps got hotter and humidity swings. Temp changes and humidity swings change curing times and applying techniques - the same as with other finishes too.

• Easier Finishes: Waxes are the quickest but also the least protective. They will work well for those who understand how to care for wax finishes, but most people will not take the time to do that. CA is the second easiest in terms of quickness and also in terms of forgiveness and refinish - simply because it can be turned down to the wood quickly if mess-ups occur. Messed up urethane or lacquers will gum up if one accidentally touches it 5 minutes after application.

3. Why Some do not LIKE CA: CA fumes are notorious to some for causing allergic flu like reactions. I used CA for 2 years without a problem, then one day a slight sniffle within a couple of hours; next time - cold like symptoms for a couple of days; then the next time several days later - full flu like symptoms for 3 to 4 days. I use a full respirator and a dust collection system at the lathe now. A strong fan blowing across helps some. ODERLESS CA has solved this problem - so I have been told. I have odorless CA and have used it but out of fear of the allergies, I still use the full respirator and DC EVERY time.
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Old 07-29-2018, 07:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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For CA on your hands, Acetone is your friend! I now always have an OPEN can of Acetone within reach when working with CA. Nothing more embarrassing than glueing yourself to your bench without a way to get free. A roll of paper towels within reach helps too. Just try to wipe the CA off while itís still wet and use Acetone when it drys.


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Old 07-29-2018, 09:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I will toss in my thoughts to your questions.

- how do you keep the CA glue off of your hands? I have been using nytril gloves, but the gloves get glued to the blanks and/or the insertion tool and just rip to pieces, then the glue gets on my hands.For me, I do not worry about glue on my fingers. It peels off in the shower and the use of a pumice stone works wonders. I do not like using acetone on my skin so that is not an option for me. The more you make the better you will get at working around to keeping the glue off your fingers. I find the insertion tool ... no, I can't find mine. I have no idea where it is. Used it once and now is it lost in my shop and I have not missed it.

- I notice that many of you use CA for the finish. Why is that? I haven't tried it but I've been told that it is difficult to master with only a marginal improvement in the final product.I like the shinny glossy look of CA glue as a finish. Difficult to master...not really. Those who do not like CA as a finish will find lots of negatives to spout about it. There are too many "how to" videos" and methods for applying it. Look at several and pick one you think you can do and start using it.

- I have seen several different finishes on acrylics. Some are easier to apply than others but all seem to end up with smooth, glassy finish. Is there any one that is much better than the others or is it just a matter of personal choice?Most plastics, acrylic, and resin blanks do not need a finish. I assume you used the word finish to mean some type of polishing product. There are many and again, most are quite similar. I sand to 600 sandpaper. Then I use MIcroMesh. Others use wet automotive paper. After the MicroMesh I use HUT Ultra Gloss Plastic Poloish. If I need to I use a scratch and swirl remover such as Meguiar's Scratch remover. The I buff. The NOVUS polishes are also good.

- what is the most cost-effective way to buy kits and blanks? There are a couple of brick and mortar suppliers within driving distance, but I have a feeling I am paying a premium for buying off the shelf.The brick and mortar stores are most likely Woodcraft or Rockler. Both sell kits from one of the major suppliers and can be purchased cheaper online. For example, Woodcraft resells mostly Berea Hardwood kits and they are cheaper from other Berea resellers. There are several

- some of the pen kits are beautiful but very expensive. Is there a fair return on that investment? Some of the kit/blank combinations would have to sell for a lot of money to recover the investment in dollars and time. Is there a market for that? I do not actively sell pens as in art shows or craft fairs so I am not much help on this question. Others are more qualified to answer this question. I do know that location is a big factor as is the selling venue.

- do you use a brad-point bit on acrylics or a common twist bit? I have seen it done both ways.I do not like brad point bits for any materials. I suppose bit choice is a personal preference. When my bits need sharpening I use a drill doctor and the split point option. Many of my bits are from the more expensive set from Harbor Freight and they have served me well. Most of these 135 bit sets do not go past 1/2 inch so purchasing the larger bits individually is necessary.

- I am officially confused about the group buys. I see one for exotic blanks but I did not find a spreadsheet or any way to see what you're buying. It also says it is the last one for this year. Is that correct, and if so, why? When will there be another group buy for pen kits? This is all for future use; I need to increase my skills exponentially before I start on the expensive stuff.Group buys happen when someone decides to organize one. That person puts out an order sheet and then collects them from the participants, collects the $$, orders the kits and mails them to those who participate. The one for Exotic Blanks means that only Exotic Blank kits can be ordered. Craft Supplies is another source that gets group buy activity. Group buys are popular because of price breaks for purchasing larger quantities. IO think the "this is the last one for the year" is the last on this particular person will run. Someone else may choose to run another group buy. As far as I know anyone can run one if the forum rules for group buys are followed.

- what is the best place to market pens? Craft shows? How about gun shows? Seems to me some of the pens would sell well there.As mentioned previously, I do not think myself qualified to answer this question.

Check the library for a list of pen kit vendors. Also, the classifieds is an excellent place to look for vendors selling stuff.

Do a good turn daily!
Don


Do a good turn daily
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