Filling inclusions

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Bope

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Oct 24, 2018
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Western NY
I started making some pens with black palm. It is a nice looking wood but a nightmare to finish. I am using a CA finish. There usually is an inclusion like a small crack somewhere on the blank after turning. This shows up once I start sanding the finish. Once I sand with 1500 grit the inclusion becomes obvious as a shinny line in the finish. I have tried filling the inclusion with thin CA but that just ends up making a broad high spot. This last time I tried a couple more coats of med CA then decided to sand until I got to the top of the CA filling the inclusion. Since this was taking forever with 1500 I tried some 1000. The problem now is the inclusion wasn't filled above the surface of the wood and the swarf settled into the low spot and is now small white dots. Interestingly this never happened with the 1500 grit. How do you fill small cracks or inclusions?
 
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TonyL

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This may not answer your question, but here is what I do if I turn wood with some open grain:
- I sand to 2000 grit at 700 rpms
- Blow-out the blank with compressed air with my dust collector on
- Using a shop paper towel, clean the blank with DNA
- Blow-out the blank again and make sure it is completely dry before apply CA or any friction polish.

I have used a pin/needle to gently removed dust - if needed

Sometimes, I have to repeat this several times to ensure there is no dust trapped in the open grain.

This process doesn't fill the grain, it just allows the finish to adhere/fill the open grain.

I suggest waiting for some better advice from some of the more experienced folks that turn a lot more than just pens. My purview is limited.

Enjoy.
 
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Wildman

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Depends upon size of the crack whether hair line or deep. Hair line hardest to deal with because harder to conceal but I deal with both using same technique. My fillers usually saw dust, coffee grounds (new or used) and teas. I want any filler to blend with wood surface not stand out. Other folk don’t care and use a bevy of contrasting color materials to high light cracks & inclusions.

Have an old coffee grinder to grind those materials really fine. Fill crack with one of those materials, apply CA, let dry and thoroughly sand that area until smooth and crack either gone or hardly noticeable.

Never turned black palm, but would deal with any cracking before applying whatever top coat going to use. On larger turning may leave small cracks if doesn’t stand out. On inclusions may just let them be part of the design of the piece.
 

JUICEDSS

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Mar 5, 2018
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Grand Island, NY
I guess I've just had good luck with palm. I've never had an issue. I do put at least 4 coats of medium CA and then sand up to 12000 so it is pretty thick and covers any imperfections I might have. I also buff them on the wheel when finished. I made this one last night.

As a side note, Bope where in WNY are you located ?
 

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jttheclockman

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Feb 22, 2005
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NJ, USA.
I started making some pens with black palm. It is a nice looking wood but a nightmare to finish. I am using a CA finish. There usually is an inclusion like a small crack somewhere on the blank after turning. This shows up once I start sanding the finish. Once I sand with 1500 grit the inclusion becomes obvious as a shinny line in the finish. I have tried filling the inclusion with thin CA but that just ends up making a broad high spot. This last time I tried a couple more coats of med CA then decided to sand until I got to the top of the CA filling the inclusion. Since this was taking forever with 1500 I tried some 1000. The problem now is the inclusion wasn't filled above the surface of the wood and the swarf settled into the low spot and is now small white dots. Interestingly this never happened with the 1500 grit. How do you fill small cracks or inclusions?
As in all woodworking projects preparing for a finish is key to a good finish. All inclusions and defects should be dealt with before the finish coat goes on.This where you can use various methods and they were mentioned already. Always clean the blank thoroughly before applying the finish and that includes blowing dust out of grain lines or just off the blank. These show up when a clear finish such as CA is applied. Now after the finish goes on and any defects show up that are in need of repair means the best method is to strip finish off and start again. This is a tried and proven method in the finishing world. If you have defects under the finish, no amount of finish added will hide them. We make hand crafted items so they need to be treated that way and repaired that way. Good luck.:smile:
 

Bope

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Western NY
I guess I've just had good luck with palm. I've never had an issue. I do put at least 4 coats of medium CA and then sand up to 12000 so it is pretty thick and covers any imperfections I might have. I also buff them on the wheel when finished. I made this one last night.

As a side note, Bope where in WNY are you located ?
The grain in the palm blanks I have runs the length of the pen not across it. I think I am dealing with issues of how the black tubes interface with the lighter colored part.I am on the east side of Rochester so not that far from you.

These inclusions are small enough that they don't really need a filler. As long as you can get enough finish in so that you can level the finish the inclusion cannot be found. It is like finishing a porous wood. You can use either a matching or contrasting pore filler to speed up the pore filling process or add enough finish to fill the pores so that you can sand the finish flat. That just got me thinking. I do have some clear pore filler. I will try striping the finish with acetone to see if that will help pull the dust out of the divots then use the pore filler and finish.
 

Mortalis

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Aug 19, 2013
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Rochester, Mass
I would recommend that you sand it down and not use acetone. The sanding will leave the bottom coat as filler.
I apply 4 - 5 costs of thin to every body and let each coat dry naturally. I then follow up with 4 - 5 costs of medium. I do not use accelerator. I've never had good success that would tell me to use do it again. After all the costs, I MM sand to finish at 500 rpm.
 

Bope

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Oct 24, 2018
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Western NY
I did use acetone to strip the blank. I could not get the dust out of the small pits and striping allowed the finish float out the dust. I then applied grain filler and let it dry for about 2hrs. I sanded smooth from 150-600. The next day I applied the CA finish and no inclusions. That may be my go to finishing schedule for this black palm. To apply the grain filler I just dabbed a little on a paper towel and wiped it on with the pen spinning.
 

More4dan

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Mar 17, 2016
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Katy, TX
I’ve found stabilizing Black Palm with Cactus Juice solved most (and there are many) of the problems I’ve had with the wood.

IMG_0737.jpg
 

sbwertz

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May 11, 2010
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Phoenix, AZ
I glue-sand open grained wood. I take a piece of 220 sandpaper, and put a stripe of medium CA on it, and start sanding. The sawdust makes a slurry with the glue that fills the open grain. Then using the skew, lightly turn off the excess glue, sand and finish as usual. Wenge especially benefits from this. It tames the splinters!
 
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