Need advice for special project finish

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Myrddin

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Feb 9, 2016
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I'm pretty new to the forum and pen turning. I've made close to 50 pens and pencils so far with varying degrees of success. I use CA finishes often, Pens Plus on the rest.

I've taken to using the Wood Doctors method of sanding thru all the grits of MM using walnut oil as a lubricant. This works well with most woods, but a few, like thuya Burl, stabilized Buckeye Burl, stabilized Box Elder, and one particular board of figured walnut I've been using become very dark as soon as the walnut oil hits the wood.

I have a couple of customers who want brightly colored dyed woods, turquoise box elder and blue buckeye Burl. I turned the pieces and there were bright piles of sawdust everywhere, but when I started sanding with the WO, I got black background with dyed highlights. Beautiful, but not what the customers want.

Any advice about how to keep these dyed woods brightly colored? Lose the WO and dry sand only?? Seal with something before a CA or Pens Plus finish? I have some EEE Ultra Sine on order, thought it might give me good finish after dry sanding to 1500 grit, and maybe seal the end grains and prevent so much darkening from finish, but I think I would have to use the shellac friction polish. Not sure the CA would adhere to the wax left in the wood grain...

I'd appreciate any constructive advice! Thanks!
 
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jttheclockman

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Michael welcome to the site.

The question you are asking has a few different answers which I am sure you will read. Here is my thoughts. Anytime you add an oil to wood it will darken it. This happens when you use the walnut oil as you mentioned. You will also get cross contamination when different colored woods are used in the same blank such as the case when doing segmenting work. What I always suggest is skip the sanding and learn to use the skew. You can go from a basic blank to a ready for finish blank all with the use of a skew.

I do not use Pen Plus so have no idea what it contents are. If it has an oil base it will darken the wood. You can first treat the blank with a couple coats of thin CA and this will seal the wood so the colors do not run or turn darker. But again not knowing what the contents of the PP finish is I believe it would not be a good finish to top coat the CA with. I am thinking there is Poly in it. I would then just stick to the CA and finish with 4 or 5 coats of med CA.
 

Myrddin

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Thanks, John.

The PP is, I believe, walnut oil, shellac, and micro-crystalline wax. I have applied it over CA before and asked the inventor about the wisdom of doing so. He saw no problems with it. I'm more concerned with the question of putting CA over the wax base of the EEE. I use the skew, always, once I get near the bushings with a roughing gouge. I get decent surface finish with it, but not a satisfactory final finish ready for CA. MAYBE after dry sanding up to 1500 grit.
 

MTViper

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I dry sand through the MM grits. I tried wet sanding and saw no improvement in finish, so I went back to dry. That's just me, you may be different. Like JT said, any oil will tend to darken, the more oil you put on a blank, the darker it will get, especially with a porous blank like Thuya.
 

Joey-Nieves

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I cheat!
Some dye's fade when you work with them, they look great when you dye them but sometimes the center of the blank is to dense and absorbs less dyed stabilizing fluid. So when you finish your work it looks different then what you expected and you feel like you want to die! (sorry just couldn't help myself).

I finish my piece and apply some more dye to deepen the color, then once dry a soft sanding may be required to bring down the grain that may have risen and finish with CA.

Another finish I use is: the secret stuff. I can't tell you that I put mica powder in the CA to make it look like pearl, because I would be reviling my secret.

I use Dr. Kirk's Sanding wax before I apply or reaply CA , rub it in and then burn it out, Found it useful on dark woods because it removes the contaminants from the pours. I believe it is also called renascence wax by other sellers, but not sure.
 

jttheclockman

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Well in my opinion I would never put any type wax under any finish and that includes CA. The wax will form a barrier so that the finish will not adhere well to the blank. Wax should be the last thing applied if you want to use it. Just think about how we as woodworkers use wax throughout the shop and what we strive to do with it. Now I will state the obvious, if your finish is a wax base finish then stick with all wax. If you use wax as your finish it too will darken wood because of the oil within it. Good luck.
 

Myrddin

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Hi, Joey-Nieves, you say you use the Dr. Kirk's then "burn it out". What do you mean by that?

Thanks.
 
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Joey-Nieves

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Hi, Joey-Nieves, you say you use the Dr. Kirk's then "burn it out". What do you mean by that?

Thanks.

You apply a small amount, use an old rag so usually it has some of the wax on it, after you rub it on with the lathe at full speed you burn it out with a clean rag. The thing is not to have any on the pen when you apply the CA.
I apply thin CA first then apply medium or thick CA.
 

Joey-Nieves

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Hi, Joey-Nieves, you say you use the Dr. Kirk's then "burn it out". What do you mean by that?

Thanks.

You apply a small amount, use an old rag so usually it has some of the wax on it, after you rub it on with the lathe at full speed you burn it out with a clean rag. The thing is not to have any on the pen when you apply the CA.
I apply thin CA first then apply medium or thick CA.

Also I finish polishing with a dab of blue magic or mother's. When Using the micro mesh pads, you'll notice that the pens don't shine as much as when the pads are new. That's when the Blue magic helps, Also i use a regular 320, 400 and 600 wet before I start with the MM to help stretch the life of the MM, at $12 a set you want them to last.

When I don't have any MM I just go withe the wet sand paper up to 5000 and finish with blue magic. Remember what were doing with each grit is closing up the pours, so there are many ways to do it but mine works for me.

hope this helps
Joey
 

Myrddin

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Waterford, WI
Thanks for all the suggestions and advice - Test Results

I appreciate the willingness that people have to share knowledge and experience on this site. I'm also amazed at the wide range of techniques that work for different people regardless of the subject!

I received my EEE UltraShine in the mail yesterday and ran an experiment. I partially turned down, just so it was round, the upper and lower barrel pieces of the blue dyed buckeye burl that one of my customers requested. I got the best finish I'm capable of with the skew, then I dry sanded 320, 400, 600, 1500 grits. After that i used the EEE per instructions on the jar for both barrels and wiped the wood clean.

Both barrels at this point had a nice sheen to them. For one barrel, I went straight to the Pens Plus friction polish (3 coats).

The other barrel got a wipe down with DNA to help remove wax residue, then I hit it with just 2 coats of thin and 2 coats of medium CA (with Walnut oil to extend) to test adhesion. I polished with 6000, 8000, and 12000 grit MM pads, then went to my Macguire Fine cut polish. The Macquire is usually my test for CA adhesion. If CA didn't coat part of the wood, the water in the polish will instantly dull the areas that are uncoated.

Results: Both barrels are considerably lighter colored than the original blanks that I sanded with Walnut oil. The blue dye stands out much better. The shine was actually much better with the PP shellac finish, although with this quick test I only used the 4 layers of CA. Normally I'd use more like 10 to 30 depending on the look I'm going for.

My preliminary conclusion is that the EEE works well as a replacement for the higher MM pads without significantly darkening the wood, even stabilized burl. And on top of the stabilized blank, best finish for time invested would be the Pens Plus (or other shellac friction polish). It really gave a great finish without all the coats of CA that would be necesaary.
 
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