Do you treat stabilized wood blanks like wood or acrylic or...

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Scraper_1

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I just got done reading some great threads in the "finishing" forum and my greatest fears have been realized: there is no one right answer, it seems. After reading and watching vids I am going to treat one of my stabilized burls like wood, and the other like acrylic.

My wood finishing routine, if interested, is dry sand through 1200 grit - sanding each grit lengthwise after high speed lathe spinning. I always had circular scratches without sanding along the grain. Then I go to the "beall system" which is 3 buffing wheels on a mt2 mandrel. The routine is brown rouge on wheel #1, white diamond compound on wheel #2, and hard carnuba wax on the final flannel wheel. Then I friction polish with hut crysral coat. I can't vouch for the longevity/durability of the finish, but it is scratchless under a loupe. Not bragging at all, it's just that scratches are like daggers in my eyes - just can't handle them - you know what I mean 😾.

My acrylic routine, if interested, is wet sand with micro mesh through 12,000 grit, pausing and sanding lengthwise between each grit. Beall sells a blue acrylic finishing bar that I use on a lathe chuck-mounted flannel wheel. Then I go to Hut plastic friction polish. I'm happy with the results.

This subject looks like it's been discussed to death, but let's beat this dead horse up a little bit more, what do you say? 🤠 I am interested in whatever you fine folks have to say about the subject. I know you guys have tricks up your sleeves so let's hear some stabilized wood war stories!

I don't do ca because I can't. 😺 That's my next pursuit.
 
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PBorowick

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I treat stabilized wood blanks like wood. Even the hybrid wood/resin blanks are treated like wood.
I find that I don't get the shine that I prefer without using CA.
On wood I do the Beall system, but I do CA first. I also but don't go to the carnuba wax step. I've found that when the wax wears off it changes the look of the shine and customers are not real excited about having to rewax a pen. I do offer to wax it for them but more often than not they leave it as is. If they have me do it I actually strip off all the wax and buff it up so it won't happen again.

If I use the Beall system on acrylic I don't do the Hut polish, just up to the white diamond compound.
Depending on how it's looking with the acrylic after the MM there are times where I will skip the buffing and just do the Hut polish and it looks great.

Just my 2 cents on the subject. I'm still learning a lot every time I put a blank on the lathe.
 

hokie

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I too treat stabilized wood like wood. I understand there are several different impregnating resins out there, but my only experience is with Cactus Juice. It doesn't fill in grain as much as it stiffens/stabilizes the existing grain structure, so polishing that on its own to a high gloss the same way you would acrylic is probably a difficult or impossible task. Someone might chime in and say their professional stabilizing service using XYZ proprietary resins does plasticize wood to the same degree as working with acrylic, but that hasn't been my experience.
I turn to final size, sand to about 400, then apply CA the same way I always do with wood. I can then treat it like an acrylic as far as sanding/polishing/buffing goes.
 

howsitwork

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I’m a novice on this but I question the value of carnauba then effectively sanding it with the polishing compound? You’re not going to sand up the carnuba , just strip it back partly surely?

With plastics I go to 12000 wet and might try fine polish afterwards but as yet have not so cannot comment. At 12,000 they glow to my eyes. Not tried using a loupe though so that statement maybe invalid .

With stabilised wood I have so far got upto 600 grit and am trying CA but as yet not totally happy with the result but early days for me as yet.
 

Scraper_1

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I treat stabilized wood blanks like wood. Even the hybrid wood/resin blanks are treated like wood.
I find that I don't get the shine that I prefer without using CA.
On wood I do the Beall system, but I do CA first. I also but don't go to the carnuba wax step. I've found that when the wax wears off it changes the look of the shine and customers are not real excited about having to rewax a pen. I do offer to wax it for them but more often than not they leave it as is. If they have me do it I actually strip off all the wax and buff it up so it won't happen again.

If I use the Beall system on acrylic I don't do the Hut polish, just up to the white diamond compound.
Depending on how it's looking with the acrylic after the MM there are times where I will skip the buffing and just do the Hut polish and it looks great.

Just my 2 cents on the subject. I'm still learning a lot every time I put a blank on the lathe.
Thank you for sharing this great information! I have not sold one pen and I really appreciate the info.
 

Scraper_1

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"I’m a novice on this but I question the value of carnauba then effectively sanding it with the polishing compound? You’re not going to sand up the carnuba , just strip it back partly surely?"

I'm a novice myself. Your logic makes sense.I didn't realize until you pointed it out that polishing compound has grit - where carnuba does not. Thank you!
 

TonyL

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There are as many right ways as there are pen turners. Each turner has their own set of unique skills and experience (which is likely to change over time), tastes, perception of "finish", patience, budget, etc..

Years ago, I would view the pictures of pens that I liked and asked the turner about their process. If it appeared to be something that I was willing to try, I gave it a shot. Like many folks, I also asked lots of questions (just as you are doing) and again, tried what I thought was reasonable for me. This is just how I approached it.

Eventually you will find the right balance of process and outcome. Some folks state that they are performing the same process for years (maybe a decade or more), others try a new process or tweak their current one with greater frequency. There's no right or wrong. Establish an outcome/finish that you want to achieve and pick and stick with a process - but give it a chance. It is a journey, but a fun one. You are surrounded by wonderful, knowledgeable folks that are eager to share their experiences.

FWIW. Enjoy!
 

Scraper_1

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Thank you, Tony! This makes sense. I just got worried when I saw that $7.50 chunk of cash on the lathe 😨. I treated it like wood and it didn't turn out too bad. Will continue learning today 😀
 

howsitwork

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When you stop learning you stop enjoying life ! As Tony says try it, if you like it adopt it, if not move on and try something else.

Im trying CA finish currently but not vastly impressed with my results thus far ! but it takes time and practice before you can evaluate whether it works for you and I haven’t given it enough trial as yet to be able to comment. Some people on here get FANTASTIC results with CA and other finishes so it can be done.

Enjoy the journey and have fun.
 

TonyL

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Thank you, Tony! This makes sense. I just got worried when I saw that $7.50 chunk of cash on the lathe 😨. I treated it like wood and it didn't turn out too bad. Will continue learning today 😀
I will not tell you about all of the "$7.50s" that I have blown :). I don't smoke, drink or fool around with bad women; I got to have something!
 
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