Help with CA finish please!

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Hi all! I've only made a dozen or so pens so far, and I've done a CA finish for all but my first. I love the gloss and shine so I really want to perfect my technique. I've tried 2 so far using craft foam instead of paper towels in order to eliminate streaks. It works at doing that, but I've had other issues. Today, I sanded to 400 grit and cleaned with DNA. I then applied 8 coats of thin Mercury CA (2 drops into the craft foam, lathe spinning at about 500rpm), then wet sanded to 12000 mm. Once I'd done that, I checked it out, and everything looked great, so I applied OneStep Plastic Polish and buffed with paper towel. Once I did that, I got some white spots that wouldn't buff out.

Any advice on CA finishing techniques would be greatly appreciated. I have some Bethlehem olivewood lined up as a gift for a priest, and I'd ideally like to have it done this weekend, but I'm worried about messing up the finish.

Thanks in advance for the help!

P.S. I have no idea what wood this is; it was $1 per blank at Klingspor Woodwork so I figured it would be good to experiment with, but it's given me more issues than any of the nicer woods I've used - purple heart, pink ivory, wenge, red heart, bloodwood, and black ebony

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John Eldeen

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The wood looks like it is has a very open grain. After you wiped it down with DNA are you sure you let it completely dry. It looks like the haze is coming from underneath. If the DNA was not completely evaporated it will cause the CA to haze. On open grain woods the DNA will soak in deeply and may take some time to fully evaporate.
 

magpens

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Try putting on two light coats of thin CA before you do any sanding. . I find that this avoids some sanding dust getting caught in the pores of the wood and showing as "white" later on.
 

jttheclockman

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I agree that wood looks very porous and after you sanded were all those grain lines filled in and smooth or is that just the photo.? It is hard to tell. Anyway when sanding like that on open grain wood you now have to be extra vigilant in cleaning the blank from sanding dust. You can blow this out use air or you can brush it out using either DNA or acetone. I prefer acetone because it gets rid of all oils before finishing. Yes you must not rush the finish part. need to make sure whatever liquid used is fully dry before applying CA because you will trap moisture underneath it and no way to escape. I too would seal with thin CA before going to med. Making sure each coat is dry. What method you use to apply means nothing.
 

JimsWorkshop

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I don;t have a zillion hours of experience, but I did buy a dvd that gave me this technique and I’ve had zero issues. First sand to 600. Then apply 10 (yes 10) coats of thin CA. Sand with 600 until evenly scratched and no shiny spots remain. Apply 10 more coats. Then wet sand with micro mesh to 12000. The instructor in the DVD used blur Scott towels, so that’s what I’ve been using. I use his technique of wiping the sanding dust off with blue paper towel spritzed with CA accelerator/
 

tomas

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Here's my $.02, for what it's worth. I sand to 600 using Abranet. Then I clean the blank with DNA using a folded Brawny paper towel. Then I apply 16 coats of Medium CA spritzing with Accelerator between each coat using a folded Brawny paper towel. I then wet sand through all colors of Micro Mesh. I have tried thin and thick CA but for me medium works best. A few times I have had the white spots. When this happens. I smooth the blank very lightly with my 2 inch radius (almost square) carbide tool and then clean the blank with DNA moving quickly from side to side using medium pressure. When I do this I add another couple of coats of medium CA and sand with wet micro Mesh.

Good luck!
Tomas
 

randyrls

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Any advice on CA finishing techniques would be greatly appreciated. I have some Bethlehem olivewood lined up as a gift for a priest, and I'd ideally like to have it done this weekend, but I'm worried about messing up the finish.
Gabriel; Olive wood or any "oily" wood should be wiped down with Denatured Alcohol before applying the CA. Be sure to allow it to dry completely. I see you are in Florida with lots of humidity. White spots can be caused by either sanding dust trapped in pores or moisture. Hope this helps....
 

DrD

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I feel your pain, I had some of the same issues when I started back turning a few weeks back.

First, if you get clouding like you show in the photos, I would take 320 abranet and sand until the cloud disappears, and start over using whatever grits you choose.

Next, recognizing there are as many techniques as there are turners + 1, I got the most help from the video on Finishing with CA on the Craft Supplies USA Blog; watched it took notes, and pretty much follow exactly what is on the video. I have pretty good results - I've shared these in 2 recent threads.

Note about using accelerator: I too live in a very humid clime - NE Mississippi. My shop used to be my garage, and it is air conditioned - but poorly air conditioned. After applying a coat of CA I'm in no rush to spray it with accelerator. I take a moment, shake the can, make sure I'm 24" or so away, and just barely tap the nozzle - or whatever you call that thing where the CA comes out. If just a fine mist hits the spinning blank, I'm happy. then I take my time preparing to apply the next coat of CA.

I deviate from the video in the last step. I haven't set up my polishing wheels, so after a couple of coats of 20/20 polish, I apply about 3 coats of Renaissance wax, buffing with an old tee shirt between coats.

One last thing, I have found the light sanding across the length of the blank, turning the lathe by hand has improved the finish I get by 1000%. Do this after each grit, and then wipe with clean cotton cloth.

Best of success,

Don
 

elyk864

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Couple tricks I've used over time.

1. Use foam sheets to apply the CA, gets a more uniform finish and you don't have to worry about fibers from any towels.
2. Spray activator from about 1.5-2 feet away with a light spritz. Prevents it from curing to fast and causing bubbles.
3. Wet sand the CA finish at the end. I do 320 (to get any imperfections out), 400, 600, 800, then a plastic polish.
4. Of course always use DNA before applying a CA finish, you'll want to wipe every direction also, because the grain of the wood can layover a certain way.
 

Woodchipper

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I had some pen blanks that looked similar. I discovered I was using too much accelerator and messing up the CA itself. Now it's just a short blast of about one second, push down and release. I used the air cans for cleaning a computer keyboard. My compressor cleans off the dust in a jiffy.
 
Joined
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Thank you all for your help! I went with your tips and ended up with the best finish I've ever done. I haven't been able to stop looking at it. It's the first that's smooth, streak-free, flush with all parts of the kit, and unclouded. Also my first one with Bethlehem olivewood.
This one's for a priest friend. Combining the concept of 'memento mori' with wood from the birthplace of Jesus. I think it came out exceptionally well.
Again, thank you all so very much for your help!!!


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jttheclockman

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Just a side note for those using accelerator and standing 2 feet away and all that, just a word of caution make sure the CA is not within that distance or else you have a solid bottle of rock. ;)
 
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