Hazy CA finish on Pen

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jecinco

Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Leland, NC
Noticed lately that I am getting a haze develop on my pens when using the Stickfast CA accelerator. Looks good until I give a light spray on after the final application of CA. I do 3-4 light coats of Thin, followed by 2-3 coats of the Stick fast pen finish CA. I make sure each coat has cured before the next application (by touch looking for sticky or gummy areas). It looks good until the acclerator. Is it possible that the accelerator (spray can) has a shelf life? I purchased several cans a few years ago (4) and still using it but now starting to have issues.....
 
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jttheclockman

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Feb 22, 2005
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15,724
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NJ, USA.
There have been many threads written here over the years about the dislike of Stickfast CA and accelerator and yet people continue to use it. Yes to your question but is it the answer to your problem can not say. Could be moisture such as humidity. Could be the accelerator. You can do a search here of past threads and read what others have found and done. Good luck.
 

leehljp

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Feb 6, 2005
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Location
Tunica, MS,
Accelerator in general raises the percentages of cloudiness. Sometimes, it is because the wood is still slightly green or has moisture in it; sometimes it is because the ends were not sealed and moisture got in it. Accelerator hastens the curing and causes sudden temperature differences, which like a cold glass of water or tea or cola on a warm summers day, in which the temp difference draw moisture to it and sweats. Air conditioner condensers do this too. Some accelerators have water in it. Some CAs reacts to water and cures faster, and in those cases, it is a double whammy - temp differences drawing moisture into the wood and the moisture from the accelerator entering in the unsealed ends or other areas of very thin CA covering.

Sometimes it is the environmental humidity, and I noticed that you live in a naturally humid area, plus you had a tropical depression come though in the past 3 days.

There will be people who say that they do not have problems with accelerators. And that is true. Some live in very dry arid places; some seal the ends well; There are various reasons why some don't and some do.

And as John said, several have had somewhat more than the normal problems with Stickfast; but a number have not.
 

Dehn0045

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Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
1,521
Location
Houston, Texas
Do you sand/polish after application of CA? IMHO accelerator can cause a slight haze on the surface, but sanding/polishing removes the haze. Also, I find that application of CA on top of prior coats that have this haze does not result in a cloudy finish (either I am not able to see the cloudiness that results, or the haze is just a surface imperfection that subsequent coats of CA fills, or maybe something else).

Note - Basically all CA accelerator contains the same active ingredient (with the exception of gluboost which I believe is a trade secret). Aerosol accelerator uses acetone as a carrier, which doesn't exactly play nice with CA. I switched to the pump-spray type which uses naptha as the carrier. However, the pump spray creates larger droplets that generates visible spots if sprayed on wet CA. I now spray the accelerator prior to application of CA, this gives the CA cure a little boost but isn't nearly as aggressive as the aerosol. I also find that this method results in less haze. Just my experience.
 

Pian

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
27
Location
Florida, USA
I dont use any accelerator. I had that hazy problem alot when I first started and this worked for me. Thin CA usually dries in about 20-30s and I just hand turn the lathe that entire time, after that I apply the next coat. You can tell when it dries by the smell. You can also tell by looking at whatever you used to apply the CA (foam in my case) and when it dries on your applicator it's dry on your pen. Depending on how many layers it only adds like 5min to your finishing time but worth the wait imo. I haven't had any problems since.

Another tip is to spray from further away. Spraying the accelerator close to the blank causes a stronger reaction in the spot that got more of the accelerator causing the haze in 1 spot.

Ive only been doing pens for about a year so someone else might have better advice.
 

jecinco

Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Leland, NC
There have been many threads written here over the years about the dislike of Stickfast CA and accelerator and yet people continue to use it. Yes to your question but is it the answer to your problem can not say. Could be moisture such as humidity. Could be the accelerator. You can do a search here of past threads and read what others have found and done. Good luck.
Thanks, we di have a storm come thru but the workshop is conditioned. Was thinking it may be old accelerator
Accelerator in general raises the percentages of cloudiness. Sometimes, it is because the wood is still slightly green or has moisture in it; sometimes it is because the ends were not sealed and moisture got in it. Accelerator hastens the curing and causes sudden temperature differences, which like a cold glass of water or tea or cola on a warm summers day, in which the temp difference draw moisture to it and sweats. Air conditioner condensers do this too. Some accelerators have water in it. Some CAs reacts to water and cures faster, and in those cases, it is a double whammy - temp differences drawing moisture into the wood and the moisture from the accelerator entering in the unsealed ends or other areas of very thin CA covering.

Sometimes it is the environmental humidity, and I noticed that you live in a naturally humid area, plus you had a tropical depression come though in the past 3 days.

There will be people who say that they do not have problems with accelerators. And that is true. Some live in very dry arid places; some seal the ends well; There are various reasons why some don't and some do.

And as John said, several have had somewhat more than the normal problems with Stickfast; but a number have not.
Thanks for the quick reply. I have some of the Glueboot products here and may just make the with over to them.
 

Stephen

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Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
369
Location
Singapore, 568198.
I do not use accelerator for pen finishes. Just apply the CA at slow speed and run at full speed to accelerate curing of the CA and repeat the process. Of course the humidity on some days in Singapore does not help but the aircon helps on those days..
 

penicillin

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
648
I had similar problems on my early pens with StickFast CA and StickFast Activator. It doesn't take much activator (accelerator). A brief, fine mist sprayed from far away is best. I switched from StickFast to Gluboost and the problems disappeared. GluBoost accelerator is much better for avoiding "haze" or "bloom", but I still stand back and use a brief, fine mist.

I wonder whether some of the problem is Rockler, which sells StickFast. Rockler's starter pen making set includes a small bottle of StickFast Medium, which is intended for gluing pen tubes as well as finish. Pen making classes taught at our local Rockler also use StickFast. I wonder whether beginning penturners who get their start at Rockler also get recommendations to buy StickFast from Rockler employees who don't know any better.

Rockler Starter Pen Making Set:
https://www.rockler.com/starter-pen-turning-kit

StickFast Wood Finish Starter Set:
https://www.rockler.com/stick-fast-ca-wood-finish-starter-kit

Notes:

Rockler also stocks GluBoost Fill 'n' Finish on their shelves, but they don't emphasize it.
https://www.rockler.com/glu-boost-fill-n-finish

Some companies call their product "Activator" and others call it "Accelerator". Whatever the name, it does the same job. The rule of thumb is use the same brand CA and activator/acclerator together. Don't mix brands.
 

jecinco

Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Leland, NC
Thanks everyone for all the quick reply. Make a few Imperial Pens yesterday requested by a local shop and used the GluBoost Red and Blue and not only was it much quicker and easier to apply even with the accelerator it came out much nicer than the Stick Fast CA. Think I'll keep the stick fast for gluing tubes and finish with Glue boost going forward. thanks
 
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
95
Location
Tennessee
I use that accelerator but I use it with Mercury CA glue. I will say, when I’m heavy handed on using it, it always fogs. I’ve gotten away with it not fogging now and then, but only when the glue is mostly dry already and I’ve used thin bursts of spray. But I’ve honestly just stopped using it when trying to do a finish coat and just stick to using it for setting the glue on things like tubes in blanks.

Since I’m in TN and it’s hot and muggy as heck, I stand at my lathe with a fan pointed at me from the side. I have noticed that when I’m doing a CA finish, if I just turn the fan towards the lathe and count to 30-60 between each coat, the layer is totally hard by the time I’m done counting; and that’s with humidity in the 85%+ range. So maybe try a fan that’s aimed at your lathe and skip the accelerator all together. It’s saved me $ (and my lungs because I’m one of those who hate the smell of the accelerator).
 
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