Finish dulled in 5 minutes.

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Fester

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Jan 13, 2010
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Waukegan, IL
I am very new to pen turning, I have only turned one pen so far, I've got about $100.00 worth of products coming mail order tomorrow.:biggrin:

Here's my problem:

I turned a Tycoon pen, used purple heart, which after I had the blanks cut and tubes glued in I was told purple heart doesn't make a very appealing pen. Anyway, I turned it, sanded it to 400 ( it was all I had at the time but now I have micro mesh to 12000 ) I used EEE Ultra shine paste wax, then topped it off with a couple coats of HUT Crystal Coat. It looked very nice.... until I assembled the pen - it turned dull within 5 minutes.

What did I do wrong? What are some of the methods you use to finish a wood pen? I have turned a spare blank and used CA glue to finish it with good results, but did not buff the pen - I'm still in the equipment buying stage and haven't bought a buffer yet.

I really want to get the finish down and I'm not looking to take any shortcuts. I've heard of using steel wool but don't know what to expect - I've read that it can ruin your finish. I'm just looking for a tried and true method with repeatability that I can use. I know the finishing method will be different for Acrylic/plastic pens.

I'm trying to avoid buying many types of finishing supplies and using the old "Hit or miss" method to figure out what works best.

Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
 
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mredburn

IAP Activities Manager
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Great avatar, Did you put the wax finish over a ca finish or just a wax finish on the blanks. Just wax over a wood blank looses its shine quickly. There are 3 or 4 other finishing types most used CA. CA with BLO (boiled linseed oil) Poly /Lacquer finishes and melted plexi glass. There are tutorials on doing them in the library. Im still trying to master the melted plexi glass method but get great results from poly. I havent tried ca methods yet.
 

Fester

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Joined
Jan 13, 2010
Messages
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Location
Waukegan, IL
It was just wax over the blanks - EEE Ultra shine and then HUT Crystal coat. I did one experiment with CA that came out pretty good. Would probably be better if I buffed it though I think.

I'll have to check out the CA with BLO ( I was wondering what the heck BLO was in everyone's posts) :redface:

The melted plexiglass sounds like it would be difficult, maybe I'll hold off on that one until I have one of the other methods perfected!

Thanks for the mention of my avatar! LOVE Married with children, and sometimes I have the same amount of luck as Al Bundy. :smile-big:

Thanks for the reply,

Terry
 

Daniel

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Jan 1, 2004
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Reno, NV, USA.
You need to seal the wood or the wax is absorbed by it. basically resulting in just what you describe. I use a CA slurry to seal wood blanks. I have yet to find a wood that it does not work well with but then again I am learning more every day. I have recently learned that a CA finish is not the best choice for all woods as it may very well develop problems even years later. But so far every pen I have sealed with CA has kept it's glass like properties to the finish. problems under the CA or at least fogging and cracking are another matter.
 

Sberger

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Oct 12, 2009
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Rockport, TX.
The library has many threads on finishes. Everyone has their preferred method. I use EEE if the grain needs some fill, but it seems to dull quickly as a finish. I like Mylands friction polish on a bounty towel, just a couple of drops and then buff with towel at pretty high speed and it will really start to shine, then coat with CA. Same can be done with BLO and CA. Then determine how many coats you want. Try that!
Steve
 

Fester

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Jan 13, 2010
Messages
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Location
Waukegan, IL
You need to seal the wood or the wax is absorbed by it. basically resulting in just what you describe. I use a CA slurry to seal wood blanks. I have yet to find a wood that it does not work well with but then again I am learning more every day. I have recently learned that a CA finish is not the best choice for all woods as it may very well develop problems even years later. But so far every pen I have sealed with CA has kept it's glass like properties to the finish. problems under the CA or at least fogging and cracking are another matter.
How do you make a CA Slurry? CA seems to be pretty popular, I'll have to invest in some accelerator, since my practice run took a day and a half to build 4 coats.
 

Fester

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Jan 13, 2010
Messages
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Location
Waukegan, IL
The library has many threads on finishes. Everyone has their preferred method. I use EEE if the grain needs some fill, but it seems to dull quickly as a finish. I like Mylands friction polish on a bounty towel, just a couple of drops and then buff with towel at pretty high speed and it will really start to shine, then coat with CA. Same can be done with BLO and CA. Then determine how many coats you want. Try that!
Steve
Do you use a buffer? I'm trying to maximize my dollar to equipment ratio to keep the little lady happy. If I buy things and then learn a method that doesn't use that equipment anymore I'll be living behind our house with the coyote.
 
Joined
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A CA finish is the way to go. I don't use a buffer I find you can get a great shine just by wet sanding with micromesh. I would advise not using Boiled Linseed Oil yet I find it just complicates things and can slightly dull the finish. Do 4 coats of CA then wet sand with micro mesh then 4 more and micro mesh again and the results will be great. One more thing, wipe the blank with acetone before you do the CA. BLO= boiled linseed oil
 

dustmaker

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Oct 22, 2009
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Gastonia, NC
Regarding a buffer for CA finish, if you are sanding to 400, then I would recommend getting some MicroMesh. These are pads with uniform grits down to 12000. I use them to wet sand my CA finishes and they look like glass. They can also be used on acrylics and such.
 

cbatzi01

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Sep 16, 2008
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Park Hills, Kentucky
I use the William O. Young method of 1 drop med CA + 1 drop BLO. I do about 8 coats of that, then Novus 2 plastic polish. I am pretty happy with that. I could buff, but I don't. Holding the tiny blank agains a flannel well going at 1200 is more excitement than I need. It works for some people, though. Experiment!

Good luck!
Chris
 

Daniel

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For a CA slurry, once I have a pen turned to final shape I will use 220 grit sandpaper ( I do not want to remove enough material to change the shape) and the lathe on slow speed. I will sand the barrels with the snadpaper on the bottom side of the blanks. I am actually gathering the sawdust on the paper. still holding the sandpaper to the bottom of the blank I apply CA glue tot he top of the blank. the glue combines with the sawdust creating a slurry that fills all the tiny voids or grain in the blank. the CA glue also gets absorbed into the wood itself. This actualy makes the blank a real mess. the Slurry does not apply or dry smoothly. once it dries I then use a fresh piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand it all smooth again. I do not really want to see any trace of CA on the surface of the blank. basically all you did was filled all grain etc and impregnated the wood with acrylic. this prevents the was from being absorbed later.
If I am going to do a CA finish I will actually polish this blank all the way to 4000 mm minimum. recently I have started just sanding to 600 grit and polishing with a buffer.
Just realize that the CA slurry is a process intended for what it is intended for and that is sealing the wood. from there you have many choices in how to finish.
 

JimB

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West Henrietta, NY, USA.
I hope you don't take my advice the wrong way. I suggest you spend a little time reading on here. Go to FORUMS at the top of page. Click on FINISHING. You will be able to read a lot on CA, CA/BLO and several other methods. Also go to the Library. There are several articles and other information on how to do various finishes.

BTW, if it took one and a half days to apply 4 costs of CA (if i read your post correctly) then there is something wrong.
 

Sawdust Maker

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Aug 5, 2008
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Sydney
Just to let you know
the manufacturer of the shellawax paste says it is not intended to be used on pens.
Shellawax glow and burnished in. But will dull with use. I like it sometimes for a more natural finish and tell recipients to occasionally polish with a furniture polish
 

jbostian

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Brownsburg, IN
If you are trying to not spend a lot of money then you don't have to get a buffer, you can just buff the pen on the lathe. After I apply my CA finish and micro mesh through 12000 I use a soft cloth and some plastic polish and buff the pen on the lathe while it is turning. I am new to pen turnign and this is how a local member showed me and it has worked out great for me. I am sure there are some reasons for having a buffer but if you are trying to keep expenses down I think this is a great method. You already have the lathe so all you really need is some soft clothes and polish. The novous polish works well but i have been using some plastic and swirl remover polishes from Walmart and it has been working just fine. I think I spent $15 on the polishes and clothes. Anyway just thought I would give you a low cost alternative to buffing them. If you really want a buffer then you can get that later and it won't upset the misses as much.

Jamie
 

seawolf

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Oct 2, 2007
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Tulsa, Ok., USA.
As you are perfecting you polising just drill the blank with a 1/4 inch bit, put it on the mandrel and turn it round. Sand it then work with different sealers and finishes. Practice with cheep or free wood. This will let you learn several ways of doing them and you can set them aside to see if the finish holds or fails.
 

Fester

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Jan 13, 2010
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Location
Waukegan, IL
I hope you don't take my advice the wrong way. I suggest you spend a little time reading on here. Go to FORUMS at the top of page. Click on FINISHING. You will be able to read a lot on CA, CA/BLO and several other methods. Also go to the Library. There are several articles and other information on how to do various finishes.

BTW, if it took one and a half days to apply 4 costs of CA (if i read your post correctly) then there is something wrong.
Thanks, I will definitely be checking out the library and checking out the articles.

As for the CA taking a day and a half, I didn't have any accelerator and the area I am working in is a little on the cool side at times... between 60 and 65 degrees. Maybe that contributed to the seemingly long cure times for the CA??
 

Fester

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Joined
Jan 13, 2010
Messages
28
Location
Waukegan, IL
As you are perfecting you polising just drill the blank with a 1/4 inch bit, put it on the mandrel and turn it round. Sand it then work with different sealers and finishes. Practice with cheep or free wood. This will let you learn several ways of doing them and you can set them aside to see if the finish holds or fails.
That's what I've started to do. I bought a bulk mixed-bag of blanks, none of which turned out to be very appealing to the eye but they will do just fine for a little practice. Unfortunately none of the woods are marked and the majority of the wood turned out to be a VERY hard wood to turn - it's hard as a rock!! I'm not sure but it sort of looks like bamboo.
 

bitshird

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Aug 27, 2007
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Adamsville, TN, USA.
Thanks, I will definitely be checking out the library and checking out the articles.

As for the CA taking a day and a half, I didn't have any accelerator and the area I am working in is a little on the cool side at times... between 60 and 65 degrees. Maybe that contributed to the seemingly long cure times for the CA??
I'd say you're right about the temperature causing the long cure time, also some woods are oily to begin with so a wipe down with Accelerator or even Denatured Alcohol helps when using CA.
 
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