CA job is lousy!

Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

Woodchipper

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Messages
2,875
Location
Cleveland, TN
I have some pens for troops. I noticed upon inspection that some of the CA finishes are really bad. I had applied it while the lathe was slowly turning. The CA is rough and has spirals in it. :frown: I found a magazine article that said to apply the finish of any kind with the lathe off, applying with the grain of the blank and turn the lathe by hand. These Slimline pens are completely assembled. Any suggestions as to reworking the finish to smooth it out? Thanks.
 
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

JimB

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
4,568
Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
CA is applied with the lathe running. You don't give any information about your process so it is difficult to say what what wrong. If it is not smooth and has swirls you need to sand it down. Depending on how bad it is it may need just a light sanding to get rid of the problem or you may need to sand it off and start again. Did you do any sanding after you applied the CA? Unless you are really good at a CA finish you will need to sand/micro mesh after the CA cures. Then polish if desired.

BTW, you will need to disassemble the pen to fix the finish.
 

Woodchipper

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Messages
2,875
Location
Cleveland, TN
BTW, you will need to disassemble the pen to fix the finish.
That will be the challenge. How do I get the twist mechanism out without screwing up anything. Got the set of center punches.
I applied it with the lathe running at the lowest speed. I did use MM. Will see about sanding it and refinishing.
The other method worked out great. BTW, this was from an article by Kurt Hertzog in the AAW magazine.
 

JimB

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
4,568
Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
Remove the ink refill then take the largest punch that will fit through the transmission (twist mechanism) and knock out the tip. Use many light taps not one hard hit or you will damage the tip. Then use the largest punch that will fit into the tube from the tip end and knock out the transmission. Again, light taps. I believe there is an article in the library about disassembly.

Kurt is certainly more knowledgeable than I am but unless the article specifically mentioned using CA as a finish I would bet he was talking about 'regular' finishes, not CA.
 

duncsuss

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2012
Messages
1,422
Location
Wilmington, MA
Kurt has an article on his website specifically about a CA finish. He recommends a speed of 250 to 600 rpm.
At a workshop a few years ago, Kurt demonstrated a CA finish with the lathe powered off, wiping lengthwise and turning the spindle by hand (as the OP described.)

I expect he's written about this method too.
 

leehljp

Member Liaison
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Messages
6,975
Location
Tunica, MS,
One problem with an expert's demonstration is that he is experienced AND skilled in that field. It often takes a long time for the inexperienced to get to that level.

That said, when I started, there were quite a few "methods" for finishing, and while CA was past it's infancy as a finish, there wasn't a consensus as to to what constituted a great CA finish - i.e. a few thin layers of CA without the high polish that most expect and shoot for today. CA can be applied as a "thin" protective layer just fine without turning, but still, without experience that can be tricky at first.

IF, IF a finish method by an expert does not work for you. Use another. That said, few midi - pen lathes went below 500 RPM. CA is applied most of the time running 500RPM and higher. My 2 lathes bottom out at about 600RPM. They work fine and most people will tell you that 600 - 700 RPM is not too fast to apply CA.

As to removing: I put messed up finished blanks back on the lathe and turn it with light touches of a sharp scraper - more often than using acetone. If the CA is thick enough on the messed up blank, I will turn the defects down/off and then apply CA again to smooth everything out.

WARNING: If you don't get all the CA off (either by turning or by acetone) some woods will show a slight color difference, i.e. a light spot - between the areas that were not cleared of CA - and the areas that were. This doesn't happen on all woods but some.
 

JimB

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
4,568
Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
Kurt has an article on his website specifically about a CA finish. He recommends a speed of 250 to 600 rpm.
At a workshop a few years ago, Kurt demonstrated a CA finish with the lathe powered off, wiping lengthwise and turning the spindle by hand (as the OP described.)

I expect he's written about this method too.
I should have mentioned the article on his website does say it is a revised method but he doesn't say what the old method was.

Of course we all know there are many methods of applying a CA finish. The best CA finish is the one that works for you and the only way to know what works best for you is to experiment.
 

Woodchipper

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Messages
2,875
Location
Cleveland, TN
Thanks to all. Will look at the disassembly article in the library.
Edit: Kurt's article was on the February, 2017, issue of American Woodturner magazine.
 
Last edited:

JimB

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
4,568
Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
I see the article you are refering to where he talks about applying the CA to pens with the lathe off. I was looking at an article from about a year ago where he was talking about applying ca with the lathe on but it wasn't specific to pens.
 

Woodchipper

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Messages
2,875
Location
Cleveland, TN
It is interesting that crafters, etc., change their method if they feel that another way is better. Personally, I now use the "lathe off" method described in his article. I just finished a pen with several coats of BLO with the same method. Now, I'm trying to figure out what wood and finish to put on the customer's second pen. It is the Lever Action pen in antique brass. First pen was a Bolt Action pen with unknown wood from the WC "per pound" bin.
If you guys are nice to me, I'll post them for your critique. :wink:
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
Messages
484
Location
Waxhaw, NC
When it comes to finishing of any sort, everyone has to experiment and find what works for them. As I mentioned in one of your other threads, I apply the glue with a gloved finger at 500rpms and it works for me. I've started to add a little wax to my bushings and found that it helps keep them from sticking. Tried those little hdpe plastic finishing bushings but they end up having to be maintained where as this is much easier when you're doing 7+ pens at once. A lot of people like to put a lot of glue on, I've always found that a thin film is best because it's less prone to cracking. Essentially, we all have our opinions and experiences.:)
 

mecompco

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
1,607
Location
Fairfield, Maine
It is interesting that crafters, etc., change their method if they feel that another way is better. Personally, I now use the "lathe off" method described in his article. I just finished a pen with several coats of BLO with the same method. Now, I'm trying to figure out what wood and finish to put on the customer's second pen. It is the Lever Action pen in antique brass. First pen was a Bolt Action pen with unknown wood from the WC "per pound" bin.
If you guys are nice to me, I'll post them for your critique. :wink:
I use Tru-Oil on my Walnut gun-themed pens. This is a finish that is designed for gun stocks, so I think it adds some realism. I use two or three coats of the filler, then two or three coats of the Tru-Oil finish. Dry overnight, then buff on the Carnauba wheel. Once done, it looks and feels like a real rifle stock. You can also laser engrave over it and it looks nice.

If you're looking for a better CA finish, I'd recommend trying Mercury Flex Thin. 5 coats with the lathe spinning, Mercury accelerator between each coat (this CA is designed to be used with accelerator). Sand and finish as you like.

(My personal method is the sand laterally with 000 steel wool, run through the three Dr. Kirk's polishing waxes, and buff w/Tripoli and White Diamond.)

Regards,
Michael
 

Woodchipper

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Messages
2,875
Location
Cleveland, TN
I have used Tru-Oil from my gun stock days. Great stuff. I am having to redo the blank for the Lever Action as I got heavy-handed and went down to the brass. :mad: I'm now using a blank from blue pine as I have a lot of it. Waiting for the CA to set up good.
Still going with the "lathe off" method and making sure that the CA is a thin coat. Seems to work for me as it turned out much better than the other way. Then on to the MM. Don't have a buffing setup as it is out of the budget at this time. Spent a lot of $$$ last weekend at the Georgia Association of Woodturners symposium.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom