Hopefully One Of Many

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mgoetzke

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Aug 10, 2021
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Many years ago I turned maybe 3 pens and then got interested in bowls. Few days ago I found two USPS small boxes of pen blanks in my garage/shop and thought it's time to turn some pens. One box was a verity of exotic wood and the other has great figure but it looks to me now like splated maple. I purchased 15 pen kits for practice and prepared blanks for all of them.

So excited I bought a few new toys to make these including a Colwin Way Signature skew. Ha - don't think I ever used a skew because of all the bad things I heard about them. I loaded the first blank in my new turn-between-centers mandrel and couldn't believe it I made a perfectly good piece only using the skew. Loaded the second piece and oh-no I see longitudinal cracks. Laid a little CA in them but don't know if I should try to turn it or not. So I go to another blank set. This was called "unidentified" Brazilian wood. Once again I surprised myself with the skew.

I sanded the blanks and they looked terrific! I purchased a Glu-Boost kit to finish the pens. I saw two different ways to use the two sealants - 2 coats thin/orange followed by 2 of the pro/blue and the other just the opposite. I went orange then blue but wondering if this was a mistake? After the two applications of thin the pen looked gorgeous but then when I applied the blue the surface got textured/bumpy. I still went ahead and used my three step Beall buffing wheels.

It came out pretty good but hopefully I will learn a little on the others before I use more expensive kits.

(Please be critical - I'm here to learn from the pros!)
 

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magpens

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Feb 2, 2011
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Canada
The Cigar pen you show above looks very nice !!

Don't be afraid to sand the Glu-Boost (or CA) to remove any surface bumps that may be present.
Just be careful to not sand right through to the wood.
To prevent that happening, I usually sand lightly ( to take the peaks off the bumps ) after every 2 or 3 coats of Glu-Boost or CA.
I usually apply a total of about 8-10 coats. . After than, I sand a LITTLE bit more aggressively to get a smooth surface, and then polish.
The 4 coats that you used are - in my opinion - probably not enough. .
But every person has their own unique experience with Glu-Boost ( and CA ) application.
So everybody has to work out the details for themselves.
 

Dehn0045

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Mar 19, 2017
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The shape and fit look real nice, well done. The finish, as you note, does look a little rough. It's definitely not bad, but is where you want to focus for improvement. I agree with Mal. I'll add that a *very* sharp skew with a very light scraping cut can get in the neighborhood of 1000 grit sandpaper equivalent (my personal experience anyway). I usually do skew then 800 thru 3000 sandpaper followed by micromesh (skipping the first few pads). I'm guessing you could go right to buffing from 3000, but I don't buff and I don't use gluboost.
 

sorcerertd

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Sep 30, 2019
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North Carolina, USA
I think the wood grain and color are very well suited for a cigar pen. The finish is a personal preference, but I think you did well go to with the GluBoost. Sometimes I purposely go with a satin sheen instead of a super glossy plastic look, though you do want to at least get the bumps out. The only way to get a good finishing technique is to do it, a lot. Use a scrap piece of wood to practice, or try finishing before you get to the bushings. Carve it off and do it again.

As far as blanks with cracks in any direction, filling with CA usually does the trick, but the main thing is to not be too aggressive with your cuts. It does help to sand the corners down so you have a roundish shape to start with. That and keep the skew sharp. Very sharp. Learning to sharpen properly has been one of my biggest challenges in turning. I suppose you have some practice since you have been turning bowls already.
 

montmill

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Jan 26, 2008
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13528 Old Hwy. G Montfort, Wisconsin
I've heard it doesn't matter which you use first. I've found the thick tends to clump up faster esp. if you go back and forth. One swipe with the lathe stopped and quit. When done I use fine steel wool and go along the blank all the way around until the surface is smooth, then use Zona dry through the grits and finish with HUT polish. To repeat what has been said practice and develop your own method. This is a great site and I've benefitted too. Don't be afraid to contribute either, feedback is good.
 

mgoetzke

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Aug 10, 2021
Messages
46
Location
Chicagoland
Thanks for all the great comments!

  • Probably benefit from more finish coats so I can smooth it out better.
  • When I applied the Glu-Boost I had my lathe running as slow as it can go and applied it with a portion of a thick white paper shop towel. Now That I think of it the thicker pro finish did start getting bumpy the longer I rubbed it in - will need to experiment with this.
  • I didn't realize I needed to sand out the finish. Thought only needed to knock down nibs between coats.
  • Ha - just like my flat work I wanted to get the finishing done ASAP. Will spend more time on the others.
 
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