Creeping up on that perfect fit

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Tiger

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Feb 15, 2009
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Just wondering what others do when they are finishing a pen but you realise that you are 3 or more thousandths of an inch proud of where you want to be. Do you use sandpaper and if so what grit, making sure that you don't go too far? Do you mainly rely on a particular tool?
 
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mark james

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Abranet - highest available. DON'T Push in, a light touch, let the mesh do it job. It will still take material off, so don't get aggressive. :)
 

JimB

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Sandpaper (or abranet) is your friend when you have so little to remove. Use the finest grit you have so you don’t remove more than you want to.
 

Tiger

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I have found on occasions that even though I was careful that 320/400 grit would take me too far and I have to then reapply the CA. I try higher grits like 600 to 800 and it takes too long or I'm too impatient.
 

TonyL

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I leave mine over so slightly proud with a very slight radius leading to the hardware (parts). However, if too proud, I may hit it with a freshly sharpened skew or some 400 to 600 Abranet.
 

Tiger

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Is there any reason why you guys suggest Abranet over conventional sandpaper? Do you find it softer? I find it doesn't seem to cut all that well.
 

thewishman

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I don't care for Abranet, but lots of people do. I use Norton 3X sandpaper. Not sure what brands you have in Australia, but spending money on great sandpaper will save you a lot of trouble and money.:)
 

Dehn0045

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When I use sandpaper (course grits for shaping) I usually use a solid piece of wood as a backer. Otherwise I tend to get an uneven surface. Some blanks are more forgiving than others. Usually I try to over turn with the skew by a couple thou and then build back up to size with CA.
 

Woodchipper

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I have found the find sanding sponges from Harbor Freight work OK. Just need to keep a light touch. If it is real critical, I go to finer grit sandpaper. Good idea to use a piece of wood as a backer to keep the surface consistent. BTW, I'm on my second dozen of sanding sponges.
 
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Wolf Creek Montana
I use 1000 grit sandpaper with a very light touch. Then I use what I call the fingernail test. If my fingernail glides over the transition with out catching I stop and apply finish. It's worked every time for me and the pens always seem to come out fine (or at least no one's complained).
 

jttheclockman

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Never trust a bushing for sizing. Always use a good quality calipers. remember that if it is a wood blank that you are adding a film finish on it so you need to take that into consideration when sizing. No need to be too particular. When you get to those numbers it gets pretty much a feel thing. I am a skew user so I do my fine detailing with a tool and not sandpaper. Good luck.
 

ivel

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If I'm over, I knock the nib out, sand and refinish. Sucks to have to start over but that's what I do. I've got a nice Bloodwood Mogal I have to redo.
 

leehljp

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I have my favorite tool, my home made scraper and the experience of being able to shave a "thousands" of an inch off, or two. I don't worry if I over-turn down .005 or even .008. I just build it back up with CA, if I am going to CA the blank.

This comes with experience. By the way, HSS scrapers (as are carbide inserts) do better on hard wood and stabilized wood but if you have soft wood, skews do better. If you are doing segments, sandpaper/abranet will work but cleaning up can be a pain. With segments, the tools do a better job of making clean cuts/scrapes than sandpaper does.

Until you develop this ability, use sandpaper (or abranet) as others have mentioned, and light touches. And as JT said, use a good quality caliper.
 
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Tiger

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Thanks for all the responses, I should have said that I mainly do CA finishes. I am a fan of the skew and I do use it to take the CA finish down however my last attempt I also took off some timber so obviously went too far. Although I use a straight grind on my skews, I am thinking of using a curved grind ala' Alan Lacer.
 

jttheclockman

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Thanks for all the responses, I should have said that I mainly do CA finishes. I am a fan of the skew and I do use it to take the CA finish down however my last attempt I also took off some timber so obviously went too far. Although I use a straight grind on my skews, I am thinking of using a curved grind ala' Alan Lacer.
Makes absolutely no difference in pen turning. You do not want to use a skew when the blanks is CAed You want to micro mesh. You will not get a great finish if you use a skew. That is to take the blank to the point a CA finish is applied and then you set the skew aside.:)
 

Tiger

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Thanks for all the responses, I should have said that I mainly do CA finishes. I am a fan of the skew and I do use it to take the CA finish down however my last attempt I also took off some timber so obviously went too far. Although I use a straight grind on my skews, I am thinking of using a curved grind ala' Alan Lacer.
Makes absolutely no difference in pen turning. You do not want to use a skew when the blanks is CAed You want to micro mesh. You will not get a great finish if you use a skew. That is to take the blank to the point a CA finish is applied and then you set the skew aside.:)
I think there's been a slight misunderstanding, I do use micro-mesh or progressive sanding until 2000 grit for the final finish, it was more about when you're a few thousandths over, so the step before doing the final sanding & polishing.
 
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