Melamine Lacquer?

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jttheclockman

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Feb 22, 2005
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NJ, USA.
It looks like just any other wipe on lacquer but with a different name for the UK. Lacquers and polys are alternative finishes that get overlooked with pens because people love their CA. Polys are more durable than lacquers but lacquers will give a great shine with less work. Just my opinion of course.
 

jrista

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Aug 12, 2021
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Colorado
I have used Myland's Melamine lacquer. It was in fact my earlier go-to finish, however it was always a bit of a chore to apply, sand back, apply another layer or two, sand back, polish, etc. It is probably more durable than the Pens Plus I use now, but the PP is much easier to apply, and delivers a vastly superior gloss.

As John mentioned, Poly is also a viable option for pens. I've recently started exploring just a wipe on poly for pens. Still getting the hang of it, its a multi-day job as you need to cut back each coat with a bit of light sanding after letting them dry for 24 hours. But, overall, it seems to be less work than lacquer. The only drawback is the greater yellowing of poly... I stick with Pens Plus for the least color-shift finish, then the Mylands Melamine, then finally the poly.
 

jttheclockman

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Feb 22, 2005
Messages
16,769
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NJ, USA.
Each new finish that comes out is really not new but a formulation of what is already available. Lacquers are a great furniture finish and used alot but it is a different type of lacquer. Right now I am using wipe on poly for all my new woodwork and doors I am installing. They are all red oak and it is the easiest way to finish and cleanest. Yes you need to knock dust spots off between coats but that is so easy to do with these nonwoven pads today. So doing a little pen blank is a matter of a couple minutes but need a clean drying place. I believe poly does nt get enough play in the pen making field. As far as yellowing, just waterbased then if that is a problem but with most woods you never will see yellowing.
 

ramaroodle

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Feb 15, 2018
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Seattle
Silly me. Actually, my first thought was that it was something that laid down a white “melamine” film, which would have been cool.
 

wm460

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Joined
Mar 26, 2008
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470
Location
Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, Australia,0860.
I have used Myland's Melamine lacquer. It was in fact my earlier go-to finish, however it was always a bit of a chore to apply, sand back, apply another layer or two, sand back, polish, etc. It is probably more durable than the Pens Plus I use now, but the PP is much easier to apply, and delivers a vastly superior gloss.

As John mentioned, Poly is also a viable option for pens. I've recently started exploring just a wipe on poly for pens. Still getting the hang of it, its a multi-day job as you need to cut back each coat with a bit of light sanding after letting them dry for 24 hours. But, overall, it seems to be less work than lacquer. The only drawback is the greater yellowing of poly... I stick with Pens Plus for the least color-shift finish, then the Mylands Melamine, then finally the poly.
What is Pens Plus ?
 

jrista

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Aug 12, 2021
Messages
1,150
Location
Colorado
What is Pens Plus ?
A friction-polish like blend of DNA, Shellac, Pure (and very clear with very minimal color changing effect on the wood) Walnut Oil, and the real magic ingredient that differentiates it from being "just another friction polish": Micro-crystalline Wax

The wax is the same as in Renaissance Wax: Cosmoloid 80H wax. Compared to carnauba, bees, or other kinds of more commonly used waxes, this microcrystalline stuff is exceptionally clear and shiny, and highly fingerprint resistant. I actually made the mistake early on in my use of Pens Plus of buffing it with carnauba, which totally decimated the glossy shine I'd originally achieved. Once the carnauba was on, there was no way of getting rid of it. The key difference with the microcrystalline is that it has small, very regular crystal sizes and shapes. Carnauba, bees, other natural waxes have large and irregular crystals, which aren't as capable of producing the same kind of shine and transparency.

Anyway, some examples of what it can do:

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Pens Plus is not a hard coat. So, its not like CA where you have a hard, plastic finish in the end. If you really NEED that kind of durability, then the only option is probably CA. (For me, I'm basically anaphylactic shock allergic to CA...so I avoid it if I can, which is how I ended up finding Pens Plus and using it as my goto finish.)

I have not yet really been able to determine which is better durability wise between Pens Plus and Poly. Poly so far just hasn't achieved the same level of glossy shine, however in that it actually has an advantage when I want more of a satin sheen! Poly certainly seems durable once its all said and done...but, it is a multi-day application process with sanding between each layer. I am not yet an expert at applying it, and I haven't yet tried dipping which may be a superior means of applying it. Some people seem to get pretty glossy results with dipping, so I intend to try it at some point. Still, I think most of the time I'd be using it for that more satin sheen anyway.

So far, the Pens Plus, on a small key-ring piece, has withstood the most punishing environment I could put any pen-like thing through: my pocket with keys! :p Where the key ring folds over and directly contacts the wood, I've ended up with a little dent and some scuffing. However, the rest of the wood, and its a softer wood being flame box elder, is still shiny and as far as I can tell, scratch free. I also have a couple of pens that I ended up screwing up in one way or another (notable non-concentricity on one, fitting on a part got stuck during construction and then suddenly released, resulting in a bit of mushrooming on the blank) that are finished in Pens Plus. Been using one of them most days since I made it, which at this point is probably 10 months ago. Still as clean, smooth, crystal clear and shiny as the day I made it. Now, its not being tossed and kicked around a construction site, and doesn't need to survive a nuclear holocost, so I don't know where the durability of these pens might end... :p But, they so far seem plenty durable enough.

I actually have been doing some experiments with Pens Plus. One of the reasons to use CA that often comes up is that it can handle being left in a hot car all day without the finish melting or smearing or anything like that. I was making a pen, a "New Series" (which I bought a handful of kits of, then ended up finding I really didn't like the kit!! Its kind of cheaply made, metal on metal threads that don't fit tight and loosen in your pocket, no plastic sheath to protect the nib when capping the pen, etc.), and right as I was doing the final passes of Pens Plus, a chunk of the blank just flew out. I guess there must have been some hairline cracks or something, as it seemed the fragment followed some notable grain lines near the end of the blank. Anyway, the pen was a bust, and I had no interest in selling any pens with that kit (just not up to my own standard of quality). So, I decided to use this one in particular as a "put it through the ringer" test pen. I left it outside for two days last weekend, in 100+ degree direct sunlight. The pen kit parts were blistering hot. The blank itself was hot, and when initially picking it up, I thought the was had indeed melted and was smearing. However after looking at it, even though it felt kind of unusual, it wasn't smearing, picking up fingerprints or anything. I even spent some time scratching at it with my fingernails, to see if I could mar the finish or the wood. No luck. :p In fact, it still looked as good as the moment the finished blanks came off the lathe. This is after that little test:

Ringer Pen 1 - 100 deg Sun - Two Days-1.jpg



Ringer Pen 1 - 100 deg Sun - Two Days-2.jpg
 
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