New turner in Killeen

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eranox

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
322
Location
Killeen, TX
I've been making kit pens for about a year now, and am just starting to get into more fancy stuff. I'm always looking for new tips and tricks, and I'd love to come to the next meeting.

To get things started, I'll say that I'm completely inept at applying CA finishes. I've read every article and watched every video, and apparently I was born without the part of my brain that allows me to use a CA finish. I have developed (or probably reinvented) a nice three-part sand-free finish that I'll gladly share in exchange for an examination of where I'm going wrong with my CA finish.

I'm not sure what else to say about myself without making this sound like a dating site profile. I'm looking forward to meeting you guys, and eager to share my experiences, however limited.

-Dave B.
 
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jedgerton

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Joined
Sep 28, 2006
Messages
943
Location
Austin, TX, USA.
Dave,

There are a lot of people on this forum who can help you with the CA issue. I learned how to do it from some of those folks and would be glad to pass on what I know. I'm way down in South Austin but if you were interested in venturing down here, I would be glad to show you what I know and I think it will get you on your way to producing those glass like finishes we all see on this site.
 

Joe Burns

Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2011
Messages
380
Location
Temple Texas
Dave,

Hello from Temple Texas. CA as a finish can be tough sometimes. Some pens it works perfectly for me. Others I have to fight it the whole way. For me it was a steep learning curve.

There are many on here that are masters at it and will help and answer any question you may have. Try placing a post in the finishing forum asking for advise. You should get lots of replies.

Joe
 

eranox

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
322
Location
Killeen, TX
Dave,

There are a lot of people on this forum who can help you with the CA issue. I learned how to do it from some of those folks and would be glad to pass on what I know. I'm way down in South Austin but if you were interested in venturing down here, I would be glad to show you what I know and I think it will get you on your way to producing those glass like finishes we all see on this site.
I appreciate the invite, and I may just take you up on it. I travel quite a lot for work, but if I get some free time, I'd sure appreciate learning your technique. I can see from your web site that you have a pretty good handle on it!

-Dave
 

eranox

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
322
Location
Killeen, TX
Dave,

Hello from Temple Texas. CA as a finish can be tough sometimes. Some pens it works perfectly for me. Others I have to fight it the whole way. For me it was a steep learning curve.

There are many on here that are masters at it and will help and answer any question you may have. Try placing a post in the finishing forum asking for advise. You should get lots of replies.

Joe
Thanks for the encouragement, Joe. I'll browse the archives, practice up, and probably ruin a few more finishes, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it sooner or later. Hopefully I'll get it and have something to show by the time the next meeting rolls around.

-Dave
 

eranox

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
322
Location
Killeen, TX
Welcome to the group from Wichita Falls!
Whoa! I didn't know I was living down the road from the famous Seamus Rooney! I have a book with some of your pens in it, which kind of blows my mind. I'd sure like to see the Tru-Quarter inlay process in action sometime. Thanks for the welcome!

-Dave
 

plano_harry

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
1,935
Location
Plano, TX 75093
Dave, can you describe the process you are using and where the trouble shows up? Is it in applying the CA or in the sanding process where you are having difficulty?

Harry
 

eranox

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
322
Location
Killeen, TX
Welcome Dave B, I'm a Dave B also and I lived in Killeen in the 80's (good old Fort Hood).
Anyhow, LOTS of good information here.
Nice to make your acquaintance, Dave. You'll be happy to know that we've kept Killeen's sprawling ghetto motif intact and thriving.

I notice your profile says Berea, Kentucky. Any relation to the Berea Hardwoods company?

-Dave
 

eranox

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
322
Location
Killeen, TX
Dave, can you describe the process you are using and where the trouble shows up? Is it in applying the CA or in the sanding process where you are having difficulty?

Harry
Harry,

It's just general confusion as much as anything. I hear many different things from different folks, and I haven't found the magic combo yet. I hear about what kind of paper towel to use, whether to sand or not between coats, accelerant or no accelerant, BLO or no, etc.

Currently, I'm using the blue shop towels on a roll, Duro brand CA in the little tubes from the dollar store, and so far, no accelerant. First coat goes on okay, but the 2nd or 3rd gums up, and I get blue paper towel bits in a very lumpy finish. I have gone so far as to allow 24 hours between coats.

My thought is that I may be applying too much CA per coat, and the solvent in the excess CA is softening the previous coats. Also, I'm probably guilty of using the same spot on the towel to apply subsequent coats. I've dabbled with using a plastic bag as an applicator with similar results. I don't think I have yet tried sanding between coats.

I think my next step is to lock myself in the garage, turn a fresh blank round, and have a knock-down, drag-out where I try various techniques until I either get it right or I end up with a bare brass tube. I know this really isn't the thread for this, but if anyone has any suggested formulae, I'm all ears...or eyes.

-Dave
 

plano_harry

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
1,935
Location
Plano, TX 75093
Let me offer some suggestions in your process of developing your own technique:
Harry,

It's just general confusion as much as anything. I hear many different things from different folks, and I haven't found the magic combo yet. I hear about what kind of paper towel to use, whether to sand or not between coats, accelerant or no accelerant, BLO or no, etc.

Currently, I'm using the blue shop towels on a roll, Duro brand CA in the little tubes from the dollar store, Blue shop towels are fine, but I would drop the Duro. I started with the Stick Fast system and it works very well.

and so far, no accelerant. First coat goes on okay, but the 2nd or 3rd gums up, the Duro is probably not set, but just getting sticky by the time you come back with coat 2 and it is all over.

and I get blue paper towel bits in a very lumpy finish. I have gone so far as to allow 24 hours between coats. Should be set by then, so it could be too much time in the application.

My thought is that I may be applying too much CA per coat, and the solvent in the excess CA is softening the previous coats. Also, I'm probably guilty of using the same spot on the towel to apply subsequent coats. Try using a fresh spot - two approaches a) 2" squares folded to roughly .5x.5, or b) a half inch wide strip 4-6 inches long and you snip off the end that has the CA after each coat. I do both, but I think b) might be more efficient.

I've dabbled with using a plastic bag as an applicator with similar results. I don't think I have yet tried sanding between coats. You don't need to sand between coats if you get your application technique down.

I have tried thick/medium, thin/medium. Summer and winter require some adjustment. Probably the biggest cause of rough finishes, assuming a good CA product in the right viscosity, is over-working the application. If you have ever watched a pro do sheetrock (drywall) they lay on the mud and one pass with a trowel and leave it alone. Most of us amateurs go back over and over trying to get it smooth and just mess it up more.

I have tried various combinations, here is what works best for me:

  1. wipe the blank down with denatured alcohol to remove any grease and natural wood oils, also takes sanding dust off and absorbs moisture.
  2. I use a thin CA with about a 5 second cure time. Stick Fast or EZ Bond are a couple of IAP favorites. Hobby Lobby has a decent brand called "Extreme Power Thin" if you run out of the good stuff.
  3. 400 rpm
  4. 2 drops on my towel and a fast wipe down and back - about 1 second in each direction - 1 pass you don't need to smooth it out
  5. alternate starting from left end/right end
  6. no waiting necessary with the thin. by the time you snip your towel and get two more drops, you are good to go.
  7. quick blast of aerosol activator after every 4 coats to harden
  8. 20 coats - takes about 7 minutes once you get it down. As you get better, the finish will be so smooth you can probably drop to 16 coats because you won't need to sand very much.
  9. I like to hit a double shot of activator when I finish. If I have the patience, I let it sit for 20-30 minutes before I start sanding to get really set.
  10. start with 400 abranet wet (CA doesn't like the heat of dry sanding) After sanding longways, you should be level with no shiny dips. If not, give it as little sanding as possible to eliminate the shiny spots. Then repeat with 600 and on to micromesh pads wet. Sanding longways with the lathe off between each grit and wiping the grit off before moving on.
  11. If your finish was level after the 400 - use minimal sanding since you are only taking out the longways scratches of the previous grit. Common mistake #2 is over-sanding through to the bare wood.
Thanks to Martin Beauford for getting me to try 20 thin process -- no more ripples and ridges! If you have a blank with lots of open pores or grain, you can do a coat or two of medium to help fill in the holes.

Sometimes the towel wants to stick to my nitrile gloved finger. I found that the smallest poly pen component bag will stay on my index finger and the glue won't stick to the poly, so you only need 1 bag per pen.:)

There - I saved you a road trip
:biggrin: Good luck Dave!

I think my next step is to lock myself in the garage, turn a fresh blank round, and have a knock-down, drag-out where I try various techniques until I either get it right or I end up with a bare brass tube. I know this really isn't the thread for this, but if anyone has any suggested formulae, I'm all ears...or eyes.

-Dave
 

theidlemind

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
506
Location
Berea, Kentucky 40403
Welcome Dave B, I'm a Dave B also and I lived in Killeen in the 80's (good old Fort Hood).
Anyhow, LOTS of good information here.
Nice to make your acquaintance, Dave. You'll be happy to know that we've kept Killeen's sprawling ghetto motif intact and thriving.

I notice your profile says Berea, Kentucky. Any relation to the Berea Hardwoods company?

-Dave
Nope, no relation to Berea Hardwoods, just a happy coincidence. No idea how they picked that name but it would be cool if hey were local! SWMBO wouldn't be real happy though.......

I take it that the pawn shops, buy here pay here car lots, and cash advance places are still a part of the Killeen landscape?
Gotta love military towns........

Take a look at the casting forums, we need more addicts to commiserate with.
It's a cheap, easy to walk away from, fun thing to get into.:biggrin:
 

eranox

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
322
Location
Killeen, TX
Harry, thank you very much for the heroic tutorial. I can see that I was likely going wrong in a number of ways. I'm hopeful that those details will lead me out of the woods.

-Dave
 

eranox

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
322
Location
Killeen, TX
Dave, you could build an entire town out of all of the payday loan places in Killeen now. I honestly don't know how they stay in business--I'm pretty sure they outnumber the soldiers these days.

I'll give the Stick Fast System some investigation. I went into pen making with the idea that I could save money by looking at what the suppliers sold, and then trying to imitate that through various Ebay purchases and Harbor Freight substitutions. I think I'm starting to notice a pattern, and maybe that plan isn't such a good idea after all.

I think I'll take one last stab at to using the Hobby Lobby CA that Harry recommended, and if that doesn't pan out, I'll bite the bullet and buy the stuff I should probably have started with. Thanks for the help, I'm eager to get this challenge licked!

-Dave
 
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eranox

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
322
Location
Killeen, TX
I did it!

It took three tries, but I pulled it off. Using the advice given to me, I used only 2 drops per coat per barrel, and a quick side-to-side application. Applying the coats was actually the easy part.

Here's where I went wrong initially: first, I sanded through the finish in one spot. It was bound to happen at least once, and the fix was to get more practice applying CA. No problem.

To help reduce the risk of sanding through again, I decided to employ some One-Step plastic polish. After all, CA is acrylic, right? I had just received my first bottle of One-Step and was itching to use it. Like a good boy, I followed the instructions, including the part that read "apply pressure until a mild heat buildup." As I was using the remainder of the multi-fold CA applicator, "mild" was somewhat difficult to discern. Melted the CA, and made a very interesting pattern of embedded blue paper towel fibers. I turned the fouled CA away, re-sanded, applied fresh CA, and did the whole thing again, this time getting it right with the One-Step.

The final result is not quite glasslike, but is certainly my best finish to date. A little fine-tuning and I think I'll have it. Thanks for all the help! I'very been trying to accomplish this for months! :biggrin:
 

plano_harry

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
1,935
Location
Plano, TX 75093
The purpose of the 400 is to get rid of any ripples, especially the longways sanding. You can make the ripples shine with any good polish, but you won't get what you are looking for until you get the finish level with the 400 first. While you are developing your technique, wet sand lightly, pausing often to cross sand and look at where the trouble spots still remain. I think most people oversand when starting out.
 

Hoover015

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
22
Location
Harker Heights, Texas
Hi Dave

Dave,
I have a small shop in Salado on Old Town Road (across from the civic center on Main St.). I work quite a bit with the CA finish. Stop by some time and visit. I am closed on Tuesday and Wednesday and am in the shop other days between 10-5 (except Sunday 11-3).

Gary
 

seamus7227

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
6,216
Location
Wichita Falls, TX
Whoa! I didn't know I was living down the road from the famous Seamus Rooney! I have a book with some of your pens in it, which kind of blows my mind. I'd sure like to see the Tru-Quarter inlay process in action sometime. Thanks for the welcome!
-Dave
funny, i was just going through old posts and found this. Dave im sorry i never saw this. Im hardly famous but i appreciate your kind words. Hope all is well!
 
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