First attempt at CA

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Pinkster

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Be kind,,, its my first time trying a CA finish. I watched a few wee videos on YouTube then just kinda done my own thing.
Any tips of where I could improve will be very kindly recieved.
Taylor Mirfield Epsilon pen kit in polished chrome with Irish Wych Elm blank.
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magpens

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With all due respect to you and your efforts, I think you really should tell us more about your method.

All you say is :

" I watched a few wee videos on YouTube then just kinda done my own thing.
Any tips of where I could improve will be very kindly recieved. "

I have done 1000 or so CA pen finishings, with, I would say, good success.
I am not sure that I can help in any way, but I know that I cannot help without further information.

Please provide as many details as you can think of .
 

Pinkster

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Thankyou Magpens, I don't know what I was thinking,,, not putting in a description of my method.
After turning the blank down to the bushings, I cleaned with DNA and gave it a bit of time to thoroughly dry.
I then spun the blank while applying the thin CA over the length of the blank. I applied accelerator between ea H coat, of which I done 6 coats.
I let this cure for about half an hour.
There were quite a few ridges in the CA, so sanded back with 600 grit, cleaned again with the alcohol, then started with the Micromesh pads, 1500 through 12000.
Thats basically it.
Assembled the pen and polished with a microfiber cloth.

P
 

mmayo

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Tehachapi, CA
Nice job on a first CA pen. It look much better than my first one.

It looks like there might be some radial scratches leftover from sanding before CA. I never sand radially like putting sandpaper to a spinning lathe after turning. I sand text to right in alignment with the pen tube. I also start sanding and end sanding with 400 grit. I hope this helps you continue to get better-nice start.
 

magpens

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Thanks .... that's a start. . You also need to explain your method of CA application ... do you use blue shop towel ? ... plastic baggie ? ... brand of CA ?

I am not sure about the DNA step. . I don't do that. . Also, I have no idea about possible reactions of DNA residue with CA.
I am not a chemist or a materials scientist.
I just blow off the dust and then wipe with a dry cotton cloth before beginning the CA application.

For starters, I would suggest that you try omitting the DNA.

In my own experience (and also reading the experiences of others here on IAP) it seems that a person's success with CA is highly personal.
I don't think anybody uses a process that is totally the same as anybody else.
It also takes time and many trials to develop a process that works for you, and the reason(s) for success are not always clear.

You should practice your method on a rounded blank ( 4 - 5 inches long ) of about 3/4" diameter.

I can tell you what I do, but there is no guarantee that it will work for you in your environment.
I am not even sure that I even know what elements of my method are responsible for success or otherwise.

So, with those "excuses" I'll tell you some aspects of my CA method for pens. . I use only thin CA. . Brand name is BSI.

I "spin" my shaped pen blank on the lathe at VERY low speed .... something like 50 RPM or a little less, but not more.
I drip the CA slowly onto the top side of the blank .... maybe 1 drop every 2 seconds .... starting at one end of the blank.
I rub the lower side of the blank, either with blue shop towel or with a little baggie from a pen kit or with a small piece of plastic bubble wrap.
I do the rubbing very rapidly back and forth (lengthwise to the blank), in the area of the most recent drop.
I move the area of dripping and rubbing towards the other end of the blank, expanding the extent of the rubbing as more CA is applied.
(by the time I am dripping on the other end of the blank, my rubbing extends to about half of the blank's length).
After the last drip, I rub once or twice over the whole length, but no more than that .... avoid overdoing the rubbing.
That whole process takes about 20 seconds .... I am not quite sure as I haven't actually timed myself.

I then leave the blank rotating for a minute or so, and then spray with very light mist of accelerator .... 3 shots over the length of the blank.

I again leave the blank rotating and wait about 2 minutes, by which time the first coat has "hardened" to the touch so I can wipe it off to remove all excess accelerator.

That first coat is somewhat glossy, has no major bumps but may have very tiny ridges, mainly in a lengthwise direction, slightly spiralled.

I repeat the above process 5 or 6 times. . I then lightly sand with 240 grit to remove the high spots of any ridges.

(These next statements apply to ALL my sanding operations on pen blanks.
When I am sanding, the lathe is OFF and my sanding strokes are ALL LONGITUDINAL ( along the length ), NEVER AROUND the blank.
I turn the lathe chuck by hand and count the sanding strokes .... about 40 medium to light strokes with each grit of sandpaper.)

I then apply 2 more coats of CA.

Then I sand (320 grit) to get a uniformly smooth surface. . Inspect to be sure I have not sanded through to the wood.

I then proceed to sand with finer and finer grits ... 400, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000 ... not too aggressively with any grit.

Inspect to look for sand-through and any remaining ridges. . A "good" surface should be matte with no glossy spots and smooth.

Then polish with Novus 3 then Novus 2 then Meguiar's PlastX (I think that's the name) automotive polish. . Result is now high gloss.

Let me know if you have any questions. . I hope I have got this "right", but I think it is pretty much complete.
 
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Pinkster

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Application is by paper towel,,,, can I ask the advantage of the 'baggie' or bubble wrap.
The CA I use is own brand from B&q, Diam I think its called..... I slowly drip it over the length of the blank while very gently rubbing along the length of the blank.
From what I read of your method, I think mine is similar but it was my first attempt, so will be improved upon.
I also let it rotate on the lathe to dry. I am not unfamiar with the use and properties of CA glue,,, using it pretty extensively for the last 15yrs as a shopfitting joiner, so understand how long it takes to harden etc.
I think my problem lay in applying too much at a time and not building it up in thin enough coats. Again, something new learned.
I have not used any polish on the blank after the application of the CA,,,, Is this always necessary?
What kind of polish should I be using if it is?
Thankyou for your time on this,,, I am sure I will get the idea at some point, hahahaha.

P
 

Pinkster

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Nice job on a first CA pen. It look much better than my first one.

It looks like there might be some radial scratches leftover from sanding before CA. I never sand radially like putting sandpaper to a spinning lathe after turning. I sand text to right in alignment with the pen tube. I also start sanding and end sanding with 400 grit. I hope this helps you continue to get better-nice start.
Thankyou mmayo, I do need to learn to sand laterally more.

P
 

magpens

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Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Application is by paper towel,,,, can I ask the advantage of the 'baggie' or bubble wrap.
I have not used any polish on the blank after the application of the CA,,,, Is this always necessary?
What kind of polish should I be using if it is?
Thankyou for your time on this,,, I am sure I will get the idea at some point, hahahaha.

P

Baggies or bubble wrap for applying CA is currently being experimented with, mainly because I don't like that the blue shop towel absorbs a lot of the CA.

With regard to polishing the CA, as stated before, (but there are a variety of polishes available) .....

" Then polish with Novus 3 then Novus 2 then Meguiar's PlastX (I think that's the name) automotive polish. . Result is now high gloss."
 

Pinkster

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Baggies or bubble wrap for applying CA is currently being experimented with, mainly because I don't like that the blue shop towel absorbs a lot of the CA.

With regard to polishing the CA, as stated before, (but there are a variety of polishes available) .....

" Then polish with Novus 3 then Novus 2 then Meguiar's PlastX (I think that's the name) automotive polish. . Result is now high gloss."
I have ordered a set of the polishes and will have a practice with some dowel etc, using the method you shared and also use the polish.
Thankyou for your very concise description.

P
 

jcimm2000

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Jun 14, 2020
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Location
New Jersey
Thankyou Magpens, I don't know what I was thinking,,, not putting in a description of my method.
After turning the blank down to the bushings, I cleaned with DNA and gave it a bit of time to thoroughly dry.
I then spun the blank while applying the thin CA over the length of the blank. I applied accelerator between ea H coat, of which I done 6 coats.
I let this cure for about half an hour.
There were quite a few ridges in the CA, so sanded back with 600 grit, cleaned again with the alcohol, then started with the Micromesh pads, 1500 through 12000.
Thats basically it.
Assembled the pen and polished with a microfiber cloth.

P
If I'm reading this correctly, you're not sanding after turning and before CA application? That could be a problem.
 

leehljp

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I suggest for new pen turners to use calipers to determine the diameter rather than the bushings. Bushing dust from sanding will reduce the size in a dozen pens or so.

AS to using applicators of baggies or bubble wrap or similar - The vast majority of the CA goes onto the turning pen. With paper towel, 75% or more absorbs into the paper towel. I can add a thicker layer of CA with two or three applications with baggies than most people can with 10 applications using PT.

How one starts out - dictates how he ends up.
 

Pinkster

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Messages
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Location
Hamilton, Scotland
I suggest for new pen turners to use calipers to determine the diameter rather than the bushings. Bushing dust from sanding will reduce the size in a dozen pens or so.

AS to using applicators of baggies or bubble wrap or similar - The vast majority of the CA goes onto the turning pen. With paper towel, 75% or more absorbs into the paper towel. I can add a thicker layer of CA with two or three applications with baggies than most people can with 10 applications using PT.

How one starts out - dictates how he ends up.
I have a veritable bubble wrap mountain, due to the amount of fishing related stuff I buy so will definitely be trying it out.... Only question,,, do I get to pop the bubbles first? Hahahaha.

P
 

mmayo

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I am sanding,,,,, 150 - 600 grit before applying CA. Then sanding after application with 600 to smooth out the CA, then MM pads to 'polish'.

P
Whoa - save that 150-225 grit for other projects. The 150 caused those scratches for sure. Turn as you have been doing until you get close to size. Stop, rest and start again VERY CAREFULLY taking almost nothing until you reach the correct size. Sand with 400 laterally with good sandpaper like Norton 3x or Abranet. Clean with alcohol and let completely dry. Now apply thin and other viscosity CA. Let it cure. I use accelerator but very, very carefully. I wait at least two hours before sanding and buffing. It works every time.
PS - I too use blue paper towels and have tried bags, craft foam etc. CA is cheap compared to failure or crappy pens returned from customers.
 

leehljp

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PS - I too use blue paper towels and have tried bags, craft foam etc. CA is cheap compared to failure or crappy pens returned from customers.
What has bags and craft foam got to do with crappy pens? Crappy pens are technique problem.
 

mmayo

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What has bags and craft foam got to do with crappy pens? Crappy pens are technique problem.
Sounds a bit much...

The issue “I” had with craft foam and plastic bags was the amount of CA was a lot. I ended up sanding too much to level the CA ridges, so I went back to blue paper towels and a thin/medium 50 cps CA. As with everything we do we have to find out what works in our own shop. True, methods work for some, but not all. If you like alternatives to towels, you should use them People that keep changing to someone else’s suggestion without really giving it some careful thought and testing are doomed to posts talking about alternative methods to CA. A wood turning club I belong to buys CA in bulk. CA is now cheap - $16/16 oz.. My pens sales say my “technique” works and works quickly and reliably, thus I share it with others like you. My comment about crappy pens in no way was to to say it from craft foam, only my luck with that method. Now that I don’t use foam or bags “I” don’t get crappy results.

I sincerely hope the person posting finds some method to help him get better results.
 

KenB259

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Sounds a bit much...

The issue “I” had with craft foam and plastic bags was the amount of CA was a lot. I ended up sanding too much to level the CA ridges, so I went back to blue paper towels and a thin/medium 50 cps CA. As with everything we do we have to find out what works in our own shop. True, methods work for some, but not all. If you like alternatives to towels, you should use them People that keep changing to someone else’s suggestion without really giving it some careful thought and testing are doomed to posts talking about alternative methods to CA. A wood turning club I belong to buys CA in bulk. CA is now cheap - $16/16 oz.. My pens sales say my “technique” works and works quickly and reliably, thus I share it with others like you. My comment about crappy pens in no way was to to say it from craft foam, only my luck with that method. Now that I don’t use foam or bags “I” don’t get crappy results.

I sincerely hope the person posting finds some method to help him get better results.

I tried the craft foam method once too and just made a mess. Experimentation though is good. I use blue towels and have no problems. Is my way right? The only thing that matters is that it is tight for me. This is one of the more controversial subjects in pen making. That’s why I rarely comment on these posts. My advise is experiment, find what works for you and you won’t have to worry about it again. I don’t care what you come up with, you will be doing it wrong, in another’s eyes.


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wouldentu2?

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Oak Creek WI
When using Craft Foam apply one or two drops of thin CA at a time, at 1100 rpm, lightly wiping quickly back and forth, stop when you feel a slight drag as the CA sets. you will be surprised how long it takes to get tacky. The finish is smooth and shiny, you could almost eliminate the sanding and polishing but not quite.
 

bekeeper

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I sand at below 800 RPM until I get past 600 grit. I then switch to CA thin BUT I use a blue paper towel folded to about 1 1/2 inch with. For wood pens I first put 2 drops of the oldest Boiled linseed oil a 2 of the CA on the paper towel. I pick the speed up to 1800 rpm and apply this back and forth quickly. after a couple of times the towel has a glazed surface and the friction heat cures the Linseed oil (which goes into very tough linoleum flooring) With this glazed surface I can stop the "Taylor rings from building up. Each application takes seconds and as soon as you feel any résistance stop and go to the next application. About every third I add another drop of linseed oil
I the wet sand to 15000 and use the Plastic polish.

One last tip, use a coating of Renaissance Wax on wood or synthetics. It really helps keeping finger prints down and gives the pen a better "hands" And I like the smell, ha ha. Apply it low speed then buff and higher speed with a soft cloth.
 

Alchemist

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My lathe has 3 speeds. I do the drilling at the lowest speed and everything at high speed. I use a shopsmith. I’ve tried the plastic baggy, different towels, etc...

So far, even as a new pen turner, I use bounty paper towels. I like them. They work for me. Maybe I’ll try the blue towels. I haven’t used those yet.

I’ve heard a lot of the members mention sanding longitudinally. I haven’t tried this. I think I will. Nothing is more disheartening than find swirls in a pen and having to restart the sanding again.

I also start with 400, 800, 1500 then micro mesh. Anything grittier cuts to deep.

CA glue... I’ve become fond of Starbond lately. Wood blanks get two coats of thin rubbed on with the lathe off. Then I’ll decide thick or medium CA till I’m finished. I don’t count layers. As I’ve read and tend to agree, it’s better to get a good coat then it is to run 40 coats of thin. I just apply with the paper towel back and forth making sure I get it coated.

Lately, I’ve been letting the CA get lapped up by the blank instead of pressing it on.

I’m new and learning.

Your pen looks very nicely done for a first time. My first CA finish was very messy... second and third and forth.

Wood also gets boiled linseed or danish oil before the first coating of CA and then i apply a little more after the first coat. It really does bring the grain out!


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jttheclockman

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All the above are good answers and my only input is too heavy on the thin and ditch the accelerator. Not familiar with your CA but thin is just that, thin. It needs to be applied thin and will easily dry on its own if not applied to heavy. The application method is a personal choice. I use blue towels and works well and do not agree with Hank on the amount absorbed but that is small potatoes. The key I found is not to play with it. Put a small amount on spinning blank and wipe one way and then back and walk away. The more times you go back and forth you add ripples and just not needed because you are not adding any more and trying to smooth out is a waste of time. Always run lathe at slow speed or it will sling the CA. I use 3 coats of thin and about 4 coats of med CA. Never used accelerator. I think it makes CA too brittle because it dries the CA out side in instead of inside out like a finish is suppose to. Just my thoughts.
 
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