Lesson #23a

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magpens

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Ditto. . But patience is related to thoroughness and that, or the lack thereof, can inhibit doing a completely adequate glue job.

And the requirement for patience, taking your time .... whatever .... will replay throughout your pen-making career.

None of us ever totally learn this lesson, and we all want to see the job completed.

So things like this happen over and over again.

Thanks for the reminder !!
 

MPVic

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Ditto. . But patience is related to thoroughness and that, or the lack thereof, can inhibit doing a completely adequate glue job.

And the requirement for patience, taking your time .... whatever .... will replay throughout your pen-making career.

None of us ever totally learn this lesson, and we all want to see the job completed.

So things like this happen over and over again.

Thanks for the reminder !!
AMEN! Been there, done that!
 

jrich7970

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So its interesting. I really thought I glued it OK, but I just now slipped my thumbnail under the wood and a large piece came off. No glue at all. Don't know how that happened. I do know, though, that I wasn't taking my time. Makes me wonder what would have happened to the pen if that piece had not chipped off and I was able to put the pen together.
 

leehljp

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So its interesting. I really thought I glued it OK, but I just now slipped my thumbnail under the wood and a large piece came off. No glue at all. Don't know how that happened. I do know, though, that I wasn't taking my time. Makes me wonder what would have happened to the pen if that piece had not chipped off and I was able to put the pen together.
Jeff, That is purely normal. A few guys have no problem with CA or epoxy but many, maybe even most do.

Try this: Get a big gob of epoxy, coat the tube well, coat the inside of the blank. Put some putty into INSIDE the tube to prevent the glue from getting inside it. Push and twist the tube in. Let it set and cure.

One would think that the whole thing is coated, but it is not. Probably no more than 60% has solid contact. The reason is air is in there and bubbles form as the glue and tube are pushed in. The guys above and me also over 15 years have learned that you cannot rely on "thinking" it is coated. I have had enough blowouts early on and I examined the blowouts - it was exactly as you had experienced.

Another example: Use thin, medium or thick CA on one - tube and blank. It does NOT make contact with more than 50%. You have learned something early on that is very valuable. Once you get more experience, you may get 60 - 70% at best. Same with epoxy.

There is only one glue that will make 100% contact 99% of the time - polyurethane expanding glue. Messy stuff, but it fills all voids as it expands.

Some other helps: Make sure your tools are as sharp as they can be; keep them sharp at all times; sharpen between every blank. Dull requires more pressure and causes more blowouts. Some woods are more prone than others. Stabilized wood usually has fewer blowouts; segments are more subject to blowouts but knowing that, other precautions are taken in those cases.
 

jrich7970

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Jeff, That is purely normal. A few guys have no problem with CA or epoxy but many, maybe even most do.

Try this: Get a big gob of epoxy, coat the tube well, coat the inside of the blank. Put some putty into INSIDE the tube to prevent the glue from getting inside it. Push and twist the tube in. Let it set and cure.

One would think that the whole thing is coated, but it is not. Probably no more than 60% has solid contact. The reason is air is in there and bubbles form as the glue and tube are pushed in. The guys above and me also over 15 years have learned that you cannot rely on "thinking" it is coated. I have had enough blowouts early on and I examined the blowouts - it was exactly as you had experienced.

Another example: Use thin, medium or thick CA on one - tube and blank. It does NOT make contact with more than 50%. You have learned something early on that is very valuable. Once you get more experience, you may get 60 - 70% at best. Same with epoxy.

There is only one glue that will make 100% contact 99% of the time - polyurethane expanding glue. Messy stuff, but it fills all voids as it expands.

Some other helps: Make sure your tools are as sharp as they can be; keep them sharp at all times; sharpen between every blank. Dull requires more pressure and causes more blowouts. Some woods are more prone than others. Stabilized wood usually has fewer blowouts; segments are more subject to blowouts but knowing that, other precautions are taken in those cases.
Thanks for the advice. Also...I just grabbed for glue...it was thin. I was wondering if that makes any difference.
 

randyrls

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Jeff; Use thick CA, and scuff the brass tube with sandpaper. Brass tubes are "drawn"; sized by pulling them thru smaller and smaller openings called "dies". A "drawing lube" lubricant is used to keep the tube from sticking to the dies. This prevents glue from making a good bond to the brass. Some tubes are "pre-scuffed". Other ideas for plugging tube are good ones.
Hope this helps....
 

jrich7970

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Jeff; Use thick CA, and scuff the brass tube with sandpaper. Brass tubes are "drawn"; sized by pulling them thru smaller and smaller openings called "dies". A "drawing lube" lubricant is used to keep the tube from sticking to the dies. This prevents glue from making a good bond to the brass. Some tubes are "pre-scuffed". Other ideas for plugging tube are good ones.
Hope this helps....
Yeah, I scuffed...but I don't think I got glue on all the surfaces.
 

jrich7970

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I literally just did a video on gluing. Many people blame other issues when it is gluing. Check it out if you like....

YouTube Gluing Video
So, watching this right now, and 3 minutes in you talk about what happened to me in my glue up today, first time ever. I just turned the blank over and smashed it down immediately and got the tube in there before it got to the point where I couldn't move it at all. So, in addition to not having glue everywhere, I also probably (maybe?) broke any glue that had actually stuck in one place or another.

Basically it was a total mess up of the gluing.
 

JohnU

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Switch to 2 part epoxy. It’s thicker, sticks very well and is flexible. Flexibility is a huge benefit when putting stress on a blank while turning. Brittle glue can give out even if you have good coverage. Also, you won’t glue your fingers to the tubes with epoxy.
 

mg_dreyer

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So, watching this right now, and 3 minutes in you talk about what happened to me in my glue up today, first time ever. I just turned the blank over and smashed it down immediately and got the tube in there before it got to the point where I couldn't move it at all. So, in addition to not having glue everywhere, I also probably (maybe?) broke any glue that had actually stuck in one place or another.

Basically it was a total mess up of the gluing.
As John mentions also - try epoxy as I do in the video and let us know if it helps.
 

ed4copies

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I hate to rain on the parade but, if gluing is so important how does it happen that some of us have made pens WITHOUT tubes!!!!!?????

Logically, there is NO glue, so they should disintegrate as we turn them---they Don't!!
 

jrich7970

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So, let's move to lesson #24. Here's my next boo-boo. I guess I messed up the tube with my barrel trimmer. On BOTH ends. Can this be salvaged? I figure I'll just continue with this and use it as a pen to lay around the house. I dry fitted it, and it did not appear to be visible. But might I be able to sand it flush? Or should I just go with it this way. Just a "practice" pen.

20200721_151450.jpg
20200721_151532.jpg
 

More4dan

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I hate to rain on the parade but, if gluing is so important how does it happen that some of us have made pens WITHOUT tubes!!!!!?????

Logically, there is NO glue, so they should disintegrate as we turn them---they Don't!!
I’ve not yet tried turning a Kitless wood pen with wall thickness of only 20-30 thousandths of a inch. Metal and acrylic work and eliminating the tube let’s me use an even thicker wall in the material. With a kit I’m gripping the tube to spin the wood for cutting requiring a good connection between the two. On a Kitless I’m gripping the material directly. I’m sure that may also make a difference.

Danny


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magpens

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@jrich7970

"So, let's move to lesson #24. "

Yes, you CAN sand ..... but ..... after doing that the tube will definitely be shorter than the designed length.

If it is a rollerball ..... possibly no big deal. . (.... depends on how much shorter it is)

If it is a ballpoint twist ..... there might be a problem with refill not retracting fully.

If it is a ballpoint click ..... there probably will be a problem with click mechanism not working properly and/or refill not retracting fully.

IF you have this barrel trimmer problem consistently, then I suggest you find another way to trim. .
Can help you deal with that if you start a conversation with me. . Others can easily help as well and may offer suggestions here.
 

RunnerVince

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So, let's move to lesson #24. Here's my next boo-boo. I guess I messed up the tube with my barrel trimmer. On BOTH ends. Can this be salvaged? I figure I'll just continue with this and use it as a pen to lay around the house. I dry fitted it, and it did not appear to be visible. But might I be able to sand it flush? Or should I just go with it this way. Just a "practice" pen.
Whether it can be salvaged depends on the pen kit you're using. In my experience, full-sized twist pens are generally forgiving. You just have to have enough on the top half of the pen to accommodate the top of the clutch mechanism plus the top of the ink refill. So you can start again with the barrel trimmer and take off enough material so you have a nice clean edge on both ends. You'll just end up with a slightly shorter pen. I imagine if you're extremely careful to keep things level, you could just sand it down to save this one.

Click pens are a little less forgiving because you need to have a solid mechanical connection from end to end. And smaller (e.g., EDC) styles, whether twist or click, are generally as short as they can be already. I've never done a fountain pen, so I can't speak to those.

Question: When in your process did you use your barrel trimmer? Based on your photos, it looks like you turned the blank before your used the barrel trimmer. If so, using it earlier in the process should eliminate the chances of this happening again (i.e., drill blank > glue tube in > use barrel trimmer > turn blank > finish blank > assemble pen).

If you've done a fair number of pens, you may also want to sharpen your barrel trimmer. Use your smallest sharpening solution and just rub the flat side of the blades (ONLY the flat side; leave the bevel side alone). A couple minutes doing this will make your next 30 pens much easier to trim.
 

jrich7970

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It's a ballpoint twist, but with a spring. It's a Wall Street II....sort of like a Sierra or Gatsby.

I did trim it BEFORE I did any turning.

As for which # pen I'm on....this is maybe my 7th...how often do you need to sharpen the trimmer?

This is the first time this has happened. But also, it is the first time I've made a pen this large. All my others were slimlines.

And, I'm thinking I'll just chalk it up to one more thing I have to be careful about, and assemble this thing.
 

RunnerVince

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It's a ballpoint twist, but with a spring. It's a Wall Street II....sort of like a Sierra or Gatsby.

I did trim it BEFORE I did any turning.

As for which # pen I'm on....this is maybe my 7th...how often do you need to sharpen the trimmer?

This is the first time this has happened. But also, it is the first time I've made a pen this large. All my others were slimlines.

And, I'm thinking I'll just chalk it up to one more thing I have to be careful about, and assemble this thing.
I've found that tools are never really sharp straight from the factory, and my trimmer seemed dull after the first few pens. So I sharpened, and then did probably another 30 before it needed sharpening again. Obviously what kinds of blanks you use will affect how long your edge lasts, but my experience says sharpen soon after buying, then again when it dulls "factory sharp."

I guess how you proceed really depends on your circumstances. Timewise, you've got maybe a few hours in drilling/gluing/turning/finishing, but you haven't yet committed the kit to that particular blank. Brass tubes are cheap and easy to replace (and I often turn the blank off the tube if I've really screwed up), so if your blank isn't anything special, chuck it and start over. If you're more worried about saving the blank, then you have to choose whether you want to assemble with the risk of it maybe not looking great (but definitely working), or re-trim/sand with the risk of it not working in your kit (but looking better). Tough call.
 

jrich7970

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I've found that tools are never really sharp straight from the factory, and my trimmer seemed dull after the first few pens. So I sharpened, and then did probably another 30 before it needed sharpening again. Obviously what kinds of blanks you use will affect how long your edge lasts, but my experience says sharpen soon after buying, then again when it dulls "factory sharp."

I guess how you proceed really depends on your circumstances. Timewise, you've got maybe a few hours in drilling/gluing/turning/finishing, but you haven't yet committed the kit to that particular blank. Brass tubes are cheap and easy to replace (and I often turn the blank off the tube if I've really screwed up), so if your blank isn't anything special, chuck it and start over. If you're more worried about saving the blank, then you have to choose whether you want to assemble with the risk of it maybe not looking great (but definitely working), or re-trim/sand with the risk of it not working in your kit (but looking better). Tough call.
The blank essentially is a waste piece of walnut that I had laying around. However, it took me time to cut it to 3/4 x 3/4 x 3, since it was truly a piece of scrap. As for the kit, well, you're right, that probably cost $7.50 or so. So, there is that. I'll give it one more try. :)
 

RunnerVince

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The blank essentially is a waste piece of walnut that I had laying around. However, it took me time to cut it to 3/4 x 3/4 x 3, since it was truly a piece of scrap. As for the kit, well, you're right, that probably cost $7.50 or so. So, there is that. I'll give it one more try. :)
When the blank is nothing special, sometimes the value is the learning opportunity, but no matter which way you go, there's something to learn.
 

jrich7970

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So I started over with a new blank. Turning it worked much better, but I haven't (except for this time) had an issue with that. My main issues (so far) have been with finishing. And this time was no different. Either I get swirls (diagonal lines because of the combination of spinning blank and me moving across the blank), or I get chunks of glue at the ends.

I was using thin glue for two or three coats, then moving to medium glue for the rest.

So, I tried sanding the glue off and it wasn't going that well. So I opted for turning it off, being careful to not take any more wood off (although that did happen). I was able to get most of it off, and what I couldn't get off turning (at the ends, I was worried about hitting wood), I just scraped off with an X-Acto knife.

This time I decided to just use thin glue. I did about six coats and it came out much nicer. Micro-mesh up to 12000. Then some car polish (since I don't have any other stuff yet). My question...is thin CA OK? I imagine after years it might chip or wear off, but, given I have so much apparent issues with medium glue...is there any problem with sticking to thin?

Here's a pic, by the way. Nothing special, but for me, it turned out better than others. I'm going to try Padauk for the next one.

20200723_105352.jpg
 

magpens

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That looks really nice !!! . Congratulations on your finish !!!!

To answer your question about thin CA ..... that's all I ever use ..... sometimes about 6 coats but more usually 10 coats or so. . I never use medium CA or thick CA ..... only thin.
I find I get better final results if I sand LIGHTLY after every couple of coats. . This takes off the high spots and lets the low spots build up which is what I want. . And then after the final coat I do the "proper" sanding and polishing ..... whatever "proper" means ..... LOL !

I have been doing this for 6 - 7 years and have not noticed any degradation or chipping over time.

You seem to be making quite rapid progress with the finishing compared to myself ..... I would say you are doing extremely well !!!

BTW .... for gluing in the tube(s), I use 5-minute epoxy ..... ALWAYS !
 
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jrich7970

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That looks really nice !!! . Congratulations on your finish !!!!

To answer your question about thin CA ..... that's all I ever use ..... sometimes about 6 coats but more usually 10 coats or so. . I never use medium CA or thick CA ..... only thin.
I find I get better final results if I sand LIGHTLY after every couple of coats. . This takes off the high spots and lets the low spots build up which is what I want. . And then after the final coat I do the "proper" sanding and polishing ..... whatever "proper" means ..... LOL !

I have been doing this for 6 - 7 years and have not noticed any degradation or chipping over time.

You seem to be making quite rapid progress with the finishing compared to myself ..... I would say you are doing extremely well !!!

BTW .... for gluing in the tube(s), I use 5-minute epoxy ..... ALWAYS !
Thanks. And when I make it to the hardware store I'll be buying some epoxy. I forgot to mention, at one point (perhaps after the third coat of CA), I did do some light sanding with 220.

What do you mean by a "proper" sanding? I mean, what do you do?
 

magpens

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Thanks. And when I make it to the hardware store I'll be buying some epoxy. I forgot to mention, at one point (perhaps after the third coat of CA), I did do some light sanding with 220.

What do you mean by a "proper" sanding? I mean, what do you do?
Good question .... I knew you would ask it !!!! . LOL !

But, to a certain extent, everybody's CA finishing process is a little different ..... and that means everybody's advice is a little different too, LOL !

By "proper" finishing, I guess that I mean my "usual finishing procedure that I use for all pens, regardless of whether they are wood coated with CA, or whether they are resin materials like Alumilite or AA or PR, or some other material that I usually don't put CA on".

So my "proper" finishing consists of the following :

I first of all ascertain that the surface is smooth .... has been sanded with 180 grit and or 240 grit to remove all high spots and, in the case of CA, any glossy spots (with a CA coating, I assume that any glossy spots indicate it is not yet ready .... probably because it is still a low spot).

During this preliminary stage (ascertaining whether the surface is smooth and touching up the smoothness with 240 grit) I rotate the lathe slowly BY HAND .... not by the motor.

[ . In all the following steps, I rotate the lathe only BY HAND; left hand rotates, right hand does the back and forth rubbing either with the abrasive paper (320 grit up to 2000 grit) .... or .... with the skin of my fingers ( Novus 3 and 2 and PlastX) for the initial 60 strokes then polished with a dedicated cloth for each liquid (Novus 3 and 2 and PlastX). . ]

I then start sanding with 320 grit followed by 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000 (I am quite "religious" about this, although I acknowledge that some folks would regard this sequence as unnecessary beyond about 800). (The process goes fairly quickly so I do all grits .)
(for what it's worth, I use only standard abrasive paper; I do not use Micromesh or Abranet )
After that sequence of sanding (usually about 60 "strokes" for each grit) I progress to liquid polishing with Novus 3, then Novus 2, then Meguiar's PlastX. . I do two applications of Novus 3, and two of Novus 2, but only one application of PlastX. . Each application is rubbed about 60 times, back and forth while rotating the lathe BY HAND.

By this stage, I am usually happy with the glossy shine. . However, Alumilite and some other materials don't turn out so glossy.

I think that's it .... please ask further questions if you wish.
 

jrich7970

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Good question .... I knew you would ask it !!!! . LOL !

But, to a certain extent, everybody's CA finishing process is a little different ..... and that means everybody's advice is a little different too, LOL !

By "proper" finishing, I guess that I mean my "usual finishing procedure that I use for all pens, regardless of whether they are wood coated with CA, or whether they are resin materials like Alumilite or AA or PR, or some other material that I usually don't put CA on".

So my "proper" finishing consists of the following :

I first of all ascertain that the surface is smooth .... has been sanded with 180 grit and or 240 grit to remove all high spots and, in the case of CA, any glossy spots (with a CA coating, I assume that any glossy spots indicate it is not yet ready .... probably because it is still a low spot).

During this preliminary stage (ascertaining whether the surface is smooth and touching up the smoothness with 240 grit) I rotate the lathe slowly BY HAND .... not by the motor.

[ . In all the following steps, I rotate the lathe only BY HAND; left hand rotates, right hand does the back and forth rubbing either with the abrasive paper (320 grit up to 2000 grit) .... or .... with the skin of my fingers ( Novus 3 and 2 and PlastX) for the initial 60 strokes then polished with a dedicated cloth for each liquid (Novus 3 and 2 and PlastX). . ]

I then start sanding with 320 grit followed by 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000 (I am quite "religious" about this, although I acknowledge that some folks would regard this sequence as unnecessary beyond about 800). (The process goes fairly quickly so I do all grits .)
(for what it's worth, I use only standard abrasive paper; I do not use Micromesh or Abranet )
After that sequence of sanding (usually about 60 "strokes" for each grit) I progress to liquid polishing with Novus 3, then Novus 2, then Meguiar's PlastX. . I do two applications of Novus 3, and two of Novus 2, but only one application of PlastX. . Each application is rubbed about 60 times, back and forth while rotating the lathe BY HAND.

By this stage, I am usually happy with the glossy shine. . However, Alumilite and some other materials don't turn out so glossy.

I think that's it .... please ask further questions if you wish.
Wow. I'll have to digest this.
 

More4dan

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Independent of the medium you use to sand/polish, when you change grit, you need to change direction. Spin and sand for one then sand lengthwise next alternating to the end. Each progressive grit should fully remove the scratches left by the previous grit. If not you may have to back up a few steps until it does. If not sure, a quick Buff or polish will clearly show the leftover scratches. Lessons learned from years hand sanding metal knife blades.

Danny

Danny


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cmiller

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Problem #23: Find that piece on the floor and glue it back on!
Problem #24: Use a fine grain file on those ends. It takes a while but you can flatten them out.
I've used both of these methods, they work.
 
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