Finishing

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I'm still bumbling around learning how to use this site....
I have been following the extensive discussion around finishing and finishing products with interest.

I try and keep it simple,usually CA or a Danish Oil.
I have a query specific to CA.So off down another rabbit hole...
We use it generally in woodworking or turning,and that maybe to stabilise a hairline crack or stick a chip back on,or a mitre...whatever.
When using thin stuff,and we haven't sealed the wood first, that ca soaks in a fair way and takes a lot of removing,depending on the wood density and resin levels.In many cases it may leave a mark even after further turning and sanding.
So,if water thin ca soaks into wood for some distance and hardens and seals the wood why do we need to build up many layers of ca, instead of say a saturation coat followed by 2 or three further coats which can be polished to any level.
My own preference is not to have a finish looking or feeling like plastic but still having the benefits of ca in hardening and sealing the wood and allowing the beauty of the grain to show.
As I understand it ca hardens better in the presence of some moisture or lack of air.If I raised the grain with a touch of moisture during sanding,to get a smoother surface would the ca cure better with that tiny bit of residual moisture.?
 
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PatrickR

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Apr 8, 2017
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I often use CA as a sanding sealer. ultra thin, sanded enough to level the surface and then to the level of gloss I am after.
I see no reason to increase the drying time, actually I want it to dry slowly so that it is absorbed as much as possible.
 

leehljp

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1. Water in the finishing process, moisture in the wood, water in the sanding process often results in cloudy finishes. The problem with this is that someone can get away with this numerous times and then it happens. The user cannot understand why it happened. It happens when one least expects it. And it happens enough to drive many to not use water anywhere in the process. Some have been lucky. Dryer environments do reduce this problem.

2. Two or three thin coats: Two or three coats of thin does not do what most people think they do, and in the end, it creates problems. Every year there are 3, 4, 5 threads started by those who have just started and wondered what happened. Even then the experienced ones say "oh, that is sand-through". Thin coats result in shiny in spots, and dull in other places. The CA has been sanded through and dull spots appear. A second discussion then arises because it is mentioned that it only occurs in spots. That happens because of pressure in sanding and flexing of the mandrel, or use of wrong live center or alignment problems on the lathe, which result in spots being sanded off.

3. CA soaking in - there is a method called "stabilizing" that is much more effective. Many well stabilized blanks polish well and these would probably give you what you are wanting. Stabilizing is done by using pressure and some good "juice" that forced into the wood and then it is cured - 24 - 48 hours or a week or so.

4. Build up - For Protection, toughness and appearance. I personally, deliberately turn the blank down to .005 or .007 smaller than the fittings at the nib end, clip end and center band if it has one. Then I build back up with CA to a tad larger than the fittings, and finish by bringing it to the exact size and perfect smoothness from one end to the other, or within .001" for a perfect fitting. Not everyone does feel for the perfect fit like that, but enough buyers do inspect with that tenacity.

So why so much shine? Plastic/Shine is a cultural thing and an individual preference. If you are doing them for yourself and a few friends, that is fine. But if you were to go into sales for income supplement, you will quickly find that 90% of the world likes SHINE. IF you are good enough and in a large population center, you can build up a clientele that can support a non-shine oil finish pen with substantial sales. Otherwise, shiny by far out sells oily finishes.

Concerning "shiny", woodworkers in general love the feel and tone of oil based woods and use of fine waxes and polishes above shiny. I too have that in my background but as is mentioned a dozen times a year on this forum, pens are not the same as furniture and are not handled the same. That difference results in pens without sufficient finish to look like dirty hands have been on it for some time. oils and waxes do not protect wood like hard finishes.
 
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jttheclockman

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To answer your question Stuart is a matter of choice I believe. You can build the layers to however many you want. Many people use a few coats of thin just to seal the wood fibers and leave the feel of the wood. It makes for a good wood sealer. Others take it further by building layers with thin and then switch to med because thin takes many more coats to get to that smooth finish with no feel of wood fibers or wood grain. Now the amount to get to that point is up to the finisher. I prefer 3 to 4 coats thin and then 4 to 5 coats med. You need more coats because you will eventually sand away some to make it without ripples which you will get when applied, no matter what method you choice to use. Some like the glossy look and some like the satin wood feel look. Again matter of choice. As is other finishes other than CA. No right way or wrong way just a way. Good luck.
 
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