CA finish cracked

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Bope

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I have a rollerball pen that is a couple years old with a Hybridz blank that is buckeye burg and whatever plastic he uses. I noticed the other day that the CA finish on the burl parts has spider web cracks all through it. At the time I was probably using Stick Fast CA. If it was expansion and contraction of the wood I thought I would have seen it in other pens. Any idea what might have caused this?
 
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leehljp

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Yes, this (cracking) seems to have a relationship to the Stick Fast brand. Over the past 4 to 5 years, the "cracking" and "Stick Fast" have a very common relationship. There are many stick fast users in which it does not happen, so it isn't consistent. Also, it rarely happens with other brands. Most of the time, it happens in the first few weeks.
 
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Agree with Hank. Adding one other thing: I believe that there is a "shelf life" to CA. I had the same issues a couple years ago with some "older" CA (Stick Fast). I got a new container and the issue disappeared. I've since switched brands.
 

Bope

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Thanks for the replies. I am glad I have moved away from Stick Fast. I hope I can get the pen apart and refinish it now.
 

egnald

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I have had that kind of problem before and yes, I am a Stick-Fast user. I use the product labeled as "CA Wood Finish Thin" and not their product labeled as just "CA Thin". I think there is a slight difference in formulation, most likely additives that extend the curing time slightly. The cracking/crazing problem that I have experienced was almost always on burl wood. Whenever it has happened, it has usually been only a few weeks after the finish was applied. I clean my blanks with denatured alcohol before finishing and allow a little more time for the blank to dry out before applying the finish and then I allow a little more time between coats. At least for me, these changes have appeared to fix the problem. I think the extra porosity of the burls was causing me to trap some alcohol in the blank when I started to apply the finish.

Good luck getting the pen apart and refinishing it.

Regards,
Dave
 

KenB259

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I have had that kind of problem before and yes, I am a Stick-Fast user. I use the product labeled as "CA Wood Finish Thin" and not their product labeled as just "CA Thin". I think there is a slight difference in formulation, most likely additives that extend the curing time slightly. The cracking/crazing problem that I have experienced was almost always on burl wood. Whenever it has happened, it has usually been only a few weeks after the finish was applied. I clean my blanks with denatured alcohol before finishing and allow a little more time for the blank to dry out before applying the finish and then I allow a little more time between coats. At least for me, these changes have appeared to fix the problem. I think the extra porosity of the burls was causing me to trap some alcohol in the blank when I started to apply the finish.

Good luck getting the pen apart and refinishing it.

Regards,
Dave
Dave quick question for you. Was the burl wood, that you experienced cracking on, stabilized ? I have never had the cracking issue but I’ve also never used unstabalized burl. Just curious.
 

egnald

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Dave quick question for you. Was the burl wood, that you experienced cracking on, stabilized ? I have never had the cracking issue but I’ve also never used unstabalized burl. Just curious.
Ken,

No it was not stabilized but it appeared to be very hard and it turned well. I will most likely buy some fresh Cactus Juice one of these days and stabilize a batch or two of the burls that I have in my stash though. I am pretty sure that if it would have been stabilized I would not have had the problem either.

Dave
 

DavidD

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I have had the same issue on a whole batch of those hybrid blanks from Ankrom Exotics. About 10-15 pens all did this. I only use titebond CA. Was clearly an issue with the blanks for me.

One thing to look at... is the cracking above the resin or only the wood? I suspect only the wood... (this would indicate problem is not glue)

Good luck!
David
 

leehljp

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I have had the same issue on a whole batch of those hybrid blanks from Ankrom Exotics. About 10-15 pens all did this. I only use titebond CA. Was clearly an issue with the blanks for me.

One thing to look at... is the cracking above the resin or only the wood? I suspect only the wood... (this would indicate problem is not glue)

Good luck!
David
David,
There is far more things involved in cracked finishes than mentioned above, but in the OP's case above, it does seem that the cause is probably older Stick Fast.

Back in 2008 - 2009, a then active pen turner showed a cracked finish and even wood. In his case, it wasn't green wood per se, but that fact that his pens were by a window and the sun showed through for an hour a day. That is all it took.

In other cases, there have been wood blanks that were within 5% to 8% moisture when sold. In open shops where humidity changes for 30% to 75%, the blanks, UNLESS Stabilized, will equalize the humidity inside to 12% or more, which that in itself will cause expansion and contraction enough to cause cracking. In fact that could be contributing to the OP's problem to some extent.

CA's differ from kind to kind as Dave Lange (egnald) mentioned here: "I use the product labeled as "CA Wood Finish Thin" and not their product labeled as just "CA Thin"." A few CA's advertise flexibility, and different amounts of INFlexibleness probably contribute to more of the cracking during humidity swings or "in the direct sunlight for an hour or two" that we probably give credit to.
 

DavidD

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David,
There is far more things involved in cracked finishes than mentioned above, but in the OP's case above, it does seem that the cause is probably older Stick Fast.

Back in 2008 - 2009, a then active pen turner showed a cracked finish and even wood. In his case, it wasn't green wood per se, but that fact that his pens were by a window and the sun showed through for an hour a day. That is all it took.

In other cases, there have been wood blanks that were within 5% to 8% moisture when sold. In open shops where humidity changes for 30% to 75%, the blanks, UNLESS Stabilized, will equalize the humidity inside to 12% or more, which that in itself will cause expansion and contraction enough to cause cracking. In fact that could be contributing to the OP's problem to some extent.

CA's differ from kind to kind as Dave Lange (egnald) mentioned here: "I use the product labeled as "CA Wood Finish Thin" and not their product labeled as just "CA Thin"." A few CA's advertise flexibility, and different amounts of INFlexibleness probably contribute to more of the cracking during humidity swings or "in the direct sunlight for an hour or two" that we probably give credit to.
Lee,

There are indeed a million reasons why a finish could crack. Thanks for listing three of them. In terms of diagnosing the problem, it seems useful to understand whether the finish cracked above the resin or just the wood, which may be better than speculating about sunlight or finish or humidity.
 

Bope

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It was only cracked over the wood sections not the resin. This one came apart easily and I got it stripped and finish applied this weekend. Hopefully tonight I can level and polish it. It got some Gluboost this time since I had some laying around from testing it earlier this year.
 
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