Advice on repairing a finish

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FGarbrecht

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Aug 22, 2019
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I just finished a pen (or I thought I just finished a pen) and noticed a tiny circumferential scratch around the blank. After sanding the blank to 600 grit with Abranet, I put on 10 coats of thin CA and went through all the micromesh pads and then buffing before I noticed the defect. Its hard to tell how deep the scratch is (doesn't look very deep but I'm not sure if it goes down to the actual wood.

I was thinking I would just start with an Abranet pad, say 400 grit and see if I can get rid of the scratch with gentle sanding, and then go through the whole CA application and micromesh and buffing process again. Does this make sense or is there a better way to fix this? Thanks
 
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jttheclockman

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Being you are looking for advice, I will impart mine free of charge. if the scratch is bothering you to the point you think it needs fixing then the thing to do is start over. I believe it probably is a tool mark and not a sanding scratch especially if it is perfect in circumference. Won't get that with sanding. Weather you take it down some layers or all the way down the amount of work is the same. Good luck.
 

raar25

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Sand gently with the 400 dry until the entire surface around the scratches are an even dull matt finish. When there is no more shine the scratches should be gone. Then go through all of your grits wet sanding.
 

FGarbrecht

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Being you are looking for advice, I will impart mine free of charge. if the scratch is bothering you to the point you think it needs fixing then the thing to do is start over. I believe it probably is a tool mark and not a sanding scratch especially if it is perfect in circumference. Won't get that with sanding. Weather you take it down some layers or all the way down the amount of work is the same. Good luck.
I was afraid someone would suggest this :(. I'm a bit OCD so pretty much any noticeable imperfection is going to bother me, and my goal is to get to the point that I can make a really beautiful pen that I am proud of. I go over my CA finish ligthly with a carbide scraper before I start the sanding process, and I may have put the scratch in at that point so I'll probably try sanding down a bit before I throw in the towel and start over.

Lesson learned number ten thousand: keep a stock of extra brass tubes around!
 

leehljp

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Starting over is a good idea. How to get the old CA off is the net question:

1. Acetone, desvolve and wipe off

2. Carbide insert or Sharp Scraper and scrape off.

3. Skew - if proficient.

Sometimes, with some woods, when you sand down and sand through the CA to the wood, a very slightly light spot will appear. If you are OCD and have good eyes, you will notice it. For that reason, taking it back down to the wood totally is beneficial all over. And don't worry about it. I think most of us have done that before and it still occasionally happens to even the most experienced ones. This is one of those learning experiences that is not so much preventative as it is practice for future know-how on repairs.
 

TonyL

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I was afraid someone would suggest this :(. I'm a bit OCD so pretty much any noticeable imperfection is going to bother me, and my goal is to get to the point that I can make a really beautiful pen that I am proud of. I go over my CA finish ligthly with a carbide scraper before I start the sanding process, and I may have put the scratch in at that point so I'll probably try sanding down a bit before I throw in the towel and start over.

Lesson learned number ten thousand: keep a stock of extra brass tubes around!
I am very OCD, I would have to disassemble and refinish. I am then am very comfortable using it, dropping it, tossing it on my desk, etc. I own several lighted jeweler's loupes which ensures that I can't see any radial scratches under 20x magnification. I understand how you feel.
 

magpens

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Hey, wait !! . I don't think it is necessary to remove the CA. . Just add a little bit more to fill the offending scratch.

The objectionable scratch is circumferential and will most likely fill up nicely by doing a couple more applications of CA.

Also, you need to think about how that circumferential scratch got there !! . In my opinion, it's likely from circumferential sanding !!

I do all my CA sanding with the lathe off, and doing all sanding strokes lengthwise. . I never do any sanding of CA circumferentially.

It helps if you can get your CA application technique up to the point where there are minimal lumps and bumps on the surface.
A few streaks are OK because they will sand out with your longitudinal sanding.

My CA application technique is now fairly good, and I can usually start my longitudinal sanding with 320 grit, going up to 1500 grit.
I turn the lathe headstock by hand and count the strokes, doing first of all about 100 strokes for the coarser grit and working down to about 50 strokes with the fine grit. . For one revolution of the blank, it works out to about 10 longitunidal strokes, applying the sanding pressure mainly with the cushion of my thumb.

I think we all must be OCD ! . I am very fussy about the sanding process. . With the coarser grit (320 grit), I like to get the blank very smooth with no shiny spots showing. . If there are any shiny spots, they indicate surface irregularities (ups and downs) and I don't want any of those. . Of course, you never want to sand through the CA down to the wood. . If you do, then you might have to take off the CA and start again. . But that is a very messy job and you want to avoid it.

After the fine sanding, I use a Mequiar's coarse automotive "cut polish" .... again using longitudinal strokes. . I then progress to Novus 3, then Novus 2, and finally PlastX. . Things are now looking pretty nice with a glossy shine all over. . I don't use any rags or paper during all this polishing, just the fingers and thumb of my right hand as I turn the headstock with my left.
 
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FGarbrecht

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I am very OCD, I would have to disassemble and refinish. I am then am very comfortable using it, dropping it, tossing it on my desk, etc. I own several lighted jeweler's loupes which ensures that I can't see any radial scratches under 20x magnification. I understand how you feel.
The jeweler's loupe is a good idea. I know I have one around here somewhere....

I took the CA finish off and that got rid of the scratch, but when I refinished it again I had the dreaded CA cloud spots in a couple of places. I guess its time to buy some replacement tubes and start over. It's a shame because the rest of the blank looks fantastic.
 

jttheclockman

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The jeweler's loupe is a good idea. I know I have one around here somewhere....

I took the CA finish off and that got rid of the scratch, but when I refinished it again I had the dreaded CA cloud spots in a couple of places. I guess its time to buy some replacement tubes and start over. It's a shame because the rest of the blank looks fantastic.
You never ditch a blank because the finish is messed up. You take the finish down to raw wood again and start over. When I said start over I meant the finish. because like i said weather you sand down a little or alot you now have to add CA back to build it up again so where did you save time. My eye is my loop. If I can not see scratches with my naked eye it is good to go. The first time someone uses that pen there will be scratches added. It is pristine for the time you finish it to the time you sell it or give it away and that is for all pens. To me the OCD should be used in the fit to the components and the shape of the pen. yes nice to do a great finish but there is a thing of getting carried away. Again from time of finish to sold. That is it. Rest of the pen forever!!!!!.

Cloud spots is a whole other story and no matter weather you get a new blank you could end up with the same things. So many steps in between taking finish off and redoing and if you skipped them thus the clouds.
 

Dalecamino

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If you got clouds in your second finishing, I suspect you may have been applying CA over a still wet coat.
Take the CA off yet again, and slow down when you are applying your layers of CA. Let it dry before going to the next coat.
You haven't mentioned accelerator, but if you are using it try only using it on every other coat.
If you still think you want to buy more tubes, consider turn off everything down to the tube you already have. They don't go bad.
Unless you damage them. Keep after it! Make it work!
 

Brotherdale

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I have taken finish back down to the wood many times in the couple of years I have been doing this. I did one pen 4 times before it looked good to me. Just keep going until you are happy with the finish.
 

FGarbrecht

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If you got clouds in your second finishing, I suspect you may have been applying CA over a still wet coat.
Take the CA off yet again, and slow down when you are applying your layers of CA. Let it dry before going to the next coat.
You haven't mentioned accelerator, but if you are using it try only using it on every other coat.
If you still think you want to buy more tubes, consider turn off everything down to the tube you already have. They don't go bad.
Unless you damage them. Keep after it! Make it work!
Yeah, I was getting impatient and I was probably putting the coats of CA on too fast (blame it on YouTube videos where they put on 20 coats in about 1 minute). I put that blank away and will give it another shot tomorrow. I think I can get away with at least one more attempt before I have to turn it all the way down to the tube!
 
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