First Gatsby. Cloudy Finish

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Todd in PA

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Feb 16, 2021
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Port Matilda, PA
I made my first Gatsby pen over the weekend. Acacia wood, and I put in two Alumilite stripes (also a first) just to see if I could do it. I tried to get a more finished surface using a skew as a scraper, then sanded 320 to 800. Then I followed the instructions in the library for CA finish ("CA My Way"), and then put 3 coats of One Step plastic polish.

This is 100% the best finish I've gotten so far (prior to that I just had some Shellawax cream to go over the sanded wood). But it's obviously flawed and has vertical cloudy stripes. So I'll ask advice from the community.

I don't have any accelerator, so I just waited between coats of CA. The early coats dried in a minute or two. The later coats took as many as 10 minutes. Perhaps I rushed. I also wet sanded and applied the OneStep straight away, when perhaps I should have let it cure an hour or a day? And lastly, I may have had the lathe speed to high and burned the OneStep. I actually got a whiff of smoke off it in one spot and stopped right away. If anyone knows why this happened, I can avoid it again.

PS. I have some CA with accelerator ordered from Amazon arriving Wednesday. Thanks for your help and advice.

~Todd
2021-02-21 First Gatsby 001 (1024x768).jpg
2021-02-21 First Gatsby 002 (768x1024).jpg
 
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egnald

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Jun 9, 2017
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Columbus, Nebraska, USA
Greetings from Nebraska,

I am guessing that your air dry issues with CA are probably related to the relative humidity. CA glue cures because of the humidity in the air so in the winter time with the humidity low because of the cold weather and when it is exacerbated by running our furnaces, CA glue can take much longer to cure than in the more humid spring and fall months. The accelerator you have on order should help that significantly.

Dave
 

KenB259

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Be careful with the OneStep finish. I have found it to be more abrasive than I imagined. I have actually ruined finishes with it from being to aggressive.
 

magpens

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Feb 2, 2011
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Coquitlam, BC, Canada
That is a nice looking pen !!

As far as the CA goes .... it takes a while for CA to "get to know you" .... eventually it does and you'll wonder "why" and "what took so long" !!!

CA is temperamental, but it comes around to your way of thinking sooner or later.
 
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Dehn0045

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Mar 19, 2017
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What brand/viscosity CA are you using? I find that thin (I use BSI brand) is able to cure in under a minute or two in most ambient conditions without accelerator. If thin is curing extremely slow then it may be getting old.
 

jttheclockman

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Not a fan of polishing within 24 hours of last coat of CA. Needs to cure. Accelerator will harden the outer skin but not within. This is my understanding. I do not like accelerator for finishing. For gluing parts is fine.
 

Todd in PA

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Joined
Feb 16, 2021
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29
Location
Port Matilda, PA
What brand/viscosity CA are you using? I find that thin (I use BSI brand) is able to cure in under a minute or two in most ambient conditions without accelerator. If thin is curing extremely slow then it may be getting old.
It was Loctite liquid CA from Lowe's. It was only about a month old, but I was the bottom of the tiny container (0.7 oz). I noticed and cleaned crystals off the outside of the tip before I got started.

Any suggestions for storing it? I read that some vaseline on the cap threads help, but decided that would be a mess and unnecessary on such a tiny bottle. Of course now I'm reconsidering that opinion.

Todd
 

KenB259

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My workshop is in the basement, I would guess between 60 and 75 degrees year round. I store it in a cabinet and I never have any issues with it. Everyone has a preference on the brand they use, personally I have tried a lot of brands, never had an issue. I use accelerator, again, never had an issue. Bottom line is whatever works for you, works for you.
 

jttheclockman

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Noted.

Who knew I'd need so much patience. Resin in the pressure pot. Gluing segments. Gluing tubes. Sometimes painting barrels. Curing finishes. Since joining IAP, making a pen has grown from an hour in the woodshop to a 4 day process. 😜
Absolutely if you want to produce a product that stands out and can be appreciated for what it is. That is why we do this stuff. Pens are made by the thousands on assembly lines but we are not that. You are making a piece of art to be enjoyed and cherished hopefully. Good luck.
 

Dehn0045

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Mar 19, 2017
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It was Loctite liquid CA from Lowe's. It was only about a month old, but I was the bottom of the tiny container (0.7 oz). I noticed and cleaned crystals off the outside of the tip before I got started.

Any suggestions for storing it? I read that some vaseline on the cap threads help, but decided that would be a mess and unnecessary on such a tiny bottle. Of course now I'm reconsidering that opinion.

Todd
I would be a little skeptical of the big box store CA glue, my guess is that their inventory turnover is pretty slow and not well managed. I tend to stick to larger online outlets for CA (I buy Bob Smith from Amazon, they used to ship directly from BSI for shelf-life management, but now I think they distribute. My understanding is that some of the major manufacturers like BSI, Mercury, etc try to keep tabs on inventory shelf life, but I'm sure this can vary depending on many factors.) The CA will degrade slowly unopened, but the rate increases after opening. I shoot for about 9 months open time with thin CA, it starts to cure very slow after that. For storage I just cap and leave on the bench, I don't think it is worth the effort to do any more than that. Unopened you can store in a fridge, but once it is open the heat cycles actually do more harm than good. My guess is the Lowe's Loctite is probably a medium viscosity. I find that even relatively new medium viscosity requires a little bit of accelerator - the coats tend to be thicker and the nature of higher viscosity CA is that it cures slower.

I recommend getting digital calipers and measure the thickness of your CA finish prior to and after polishing. I shoot for about 0.010" total build-up and then remove about 0.003" (this is for the diameter, so divide by 2 for thickness), so the final finish thickness is 0.0035". This depend of how close to my target thickness I get off the lathe and how smooth the finish is after applying CA. Sometimes I have to build-up a lot more if I do an "oopsies" while turning, but haven't had problems with the finish cracking.

I like using the most pure CA I can find, this is why I settled on BSI thin. Medium/Thick/Flex CA all have additives that increase viscosity, increase work time, cure with more flexibility/etc. I feel that these additives are an extra variable that I don't want to deal with. I know that the thin CA will cure hard and brittle compared to the others, but that is a tradeoff that I accept.

Lastly, aerosol versus pump spray accelerator. I started with aerosol and find it to be rather aggressive. The pump spray, however, will leave little dots on the finish if applied directly to uncured CA. I have started applying pump spray to the blank prior to the coat of CA, this gives the cure a little boost but is a little more subtle.
 
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