Ancient Bog Oak

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mdwilliams999

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Apr 18, 2011
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73
Location
Glenville, NY
Ok, I need emergency advice!

I have an order for a fountain pen using Ancient Bog Oak. I tried finishing it with CA (this is the standard finish I use on all wood pens) and I had a terrible time with it. The CA is not adhering well on the ends and it is lifting off the wood. I am using CA thin as it normally works best as it soaks into the wood and adheres well. I didn't notice that the bog oak was oily but thought maybe I should sand it down and use some alcohol to rub the wood down, dry it well and re-apply. I did this and had the same result. Also, I do not use any wax on the bearing so that wasn't the problem.

So.....does anyone have any advice as to an alternative finish? I was thinking of trying 2 step friction polish (I have some on hand). I stopped using it because I don't believe it holds up well when the pen is used regularly and want a quality finish that holds up and a happy customer.

The other thing I didn't like about the CA was that it basically turned the bog oak all black and you really couldn't enjoy the grain and multiple shades of black, grey, and brown.

Again, any thoughts on a quality finish that keeps the pen more natural looking? Any advice would be appreciated.

Mike
:at-wits-end:
 
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seamus7227

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Mar 18, 2009
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Wichita Falls, TX
well, unfortunately i dont have any words of encouragement for you. But I have been in the same shoes and had to give up on the CA finish because of the same problems. I ended up going with a friction polish.
 

ssajn

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Feb 3, 2008
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Location
Milwaukee, Wi, USA.
I've used Bog Oak a few times and find that Woodturner's Finish from General Finishes works real well.

I find it also works well on ebony, blackwood, rosewoods and other oily woods.

It leaves the pen with a more "wood" like look and feel rather than a plastic look and feel you get from CA. It also holds up better than any friction polish I've used.
 
Joined
May 1, 2012
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Destin, FL
You can try wiping the blank with CA accelerator prior to applying your CA finish. You can also use Bullseye sanding sealer before the CA. I have had good luck with both.
 

StephenM

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Apr 16, 2011
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535
Location
Webster Groves, MO
Are you sure it's really bog oak? Bog oak sits in a bog for hundreds or thousands of years and the minerals in the peat/water are absorbed into the wood turning it a glossy black. I've worked with a lot of bog oak from Ireland and have never come across an oily piece. Oak itself isn't an oily wood and the bogs by definition, are water, not oil.

I have had some with dark brown veins and have a piece from the core of the trunk that has a large streak of light gray running through it but as soon as any liquid finish touches it, they both turn very dark - not quite black but darn close.

That being said, I've always finished bog oak with shellac and wax. Think of it as french polishing the pen but the lathe is doing the work of your arm. You're basically building up 10, 20, 30 very thin coats of shellac until you get a nice sheen and then finish it up with wax.
 

JD Combs Sr

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Jan 30, 2010
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Location
Owingsville, KY
Are you sure it's really bog oak? Bog oak sits in a bog for hundreds or thousands of years and the minerals in the peat/water are absorbed into the wood turning it a glossy black. I've worked with a lot of bog oak from Ireland and have never come across an oily piece. Oak itself isn't an oily wood and the bogs by definition, are water, not oil.

I have had some with dark brown veins and have a piece from the core of the trunk that has a large streak of light gray running through it but as soon as any liquid finish touches it, they both turn very dark - not quite black but darn close.

That being said, I've always finished bog oak with shellac and wax. Think of it as french polishing the pen but the lathe is doing the work of your arm. You're basically building up 10, 20, 30 very thin coats of shellac until you get a nice sheen and then finish it up with wax.
What Stephen does is nearly the same thing as WTF(wood turners finish) so +1 on WTF, it is loaded with shellac and a solvent as well as some other goodies.
 

alamocdc

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Apr 26, 2005
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7,975
Location
San Antonio, Texas, USA.
I clean oily blanks with a lot of acetone. It seems to help me on them.
Same for me. If you want to try CA wipe them down with acetone before you finish. It should flash off fairly quickly and give you time to get the finish on.

Another option would be a plexiglasss/acetone finish. I think Chris (Wishman) has a tutorial on it. It's quick and it's durable. And it polishes to a high sheen. I'd still wipe the blank with acetone first.

Now, for what I would actually do: I use lacquer on my bog oak... always. The only problem with lacquer is the dry time (about a week, minimum, so you better be serious).
 

jd99

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Dec 14, 2010
Messages
764
Location
Ontario, CA United States
I've turned a half dozen bog oak, and never had any problem appling CA.

My Method:

  • after I square the ends, I soak the ends with thin CA.
  • Turn the blanks to the TBC Bushings.
  • Remove the bushings and put the blank on the lathe between centers.
  • sand down to 400 (dry sand).
  • Clean blank with DNA.
  • Apply 5-6 coats of thin CA, and apply accelerator.
  • Sand with 400 (dry sand) to get the blank smooth or close to smooth, (I only do this with Oak blanks due to the CA soaking into the blank so much)
  • Clean with DNA
  • Apply 5-6 coats thin CA, and apply acelerator
  • Apply 10- 15 coats of med CA, and apply accelerator (I put on 5 coats then apply accelerator)
  • Let cure over night.
  • I sand the ends (I reverse my squaring tool and put self stick sand paper on the back end) to remove excess CA buildup on the ends.
  • Wet sand 400 to 2500, then MM through the grits, then buff with tripoli and white diamond.
Hope this helps.
Note# The Bog oak I have is black any how, even after sanding, the CA finish helps bring out the grain better then friction polish on the stuff I have.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 18, 2004
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Grosse Pointe Woods, mi, USA
If I use and alternative finish to CA, I use Deft brush on lacquer....never had a pen returned for a poor finish. YOu do need a clean brush and environment, though. The trick to doing it is: apply a coat and wipe right back it off with a paper towel while it is still wet, let it sit 20 minutes, hit it with 0000 steel wool, wipe, then apply 2 more coats waiting 30 minutes between them, let dry over night.
 
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