New Turner, Titebond CA Aggrivation

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BlackGoatWW

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Apr 11, 2021
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Grrrr

I am new to pen turning and I am trying to get my CA finish down because I just want to have that nice shiny appearance. I just bought some BRAND new titebond thin and medium from woodcraft yesterday. I went to apply some to an acrylic blank today and a few drops of thin dried in 1-2 seconds (lathe off) sticking my paper towel to the blank and causing me to have to scrape it off and re-sand. Second time I tried, same issue. This was a first coat so there was no left over accelerator or anything. I just cant seem to get a good finish with CA, every single time Ive tried I have had some sticking or hazing issues.

Titebond and/or stickfast CA glue
Stickfast accelerator

I gave up and ordered some gluboost but no idea how long it will take to actually get it.

Just wanted to vent and see if anyond had any wisdom or if this is just part of the normal learning curve.
 
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jeff

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Here's a thread you might find interesting:


I sand/micromesh to a high grit, then buff with a plastic polish. Except for wood/acrylic hybrid blanks, I've never found it necessary to use a finish on acrylic.
 

BlackGoatWW

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Here's a thread you might find interesting:


I sand/micromesh to a high grit, then buff with a plastic polish. Except for wood/acrylic hybrid blanks, I've never found it necessary to use a finish on acrylic.

Thats great info! Thank you! Wish I would have known that 4 hours ago...🤣
 

magpens

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Coquitlam, BC, Canada
I have never found the need to use CA on non-wood blanks.

When I want a really shiny "plastic" pen, I use Rhinoplastics material .... avail. from their website, or from ExoticBlanks and other vendors.
Rhinoplastic material is not the easiest to turn ... it is rather hard and brittle. . It is necessary to take of small amounts to avoid chipping.

You can get quite a good shine from the usual "Acrylic Acetate" blanks (AA).

Also, when using CA on a wood blank, I no longer use the "blue paper towel" method that has been quite commonly mentioned.

I use a small piece of that plastic packing sheet (bubbles on one side) . . I drip the CA slowly from a little distance above the blank (turning VERY slowly on the lathe), while rubbing the plastic on the underside of the blank to distribute the CA. . You only need 4 or 5 droplets of CA to cover the length of a 4" blank in this way for one layer. . I apply 6 or 7 layers, allowing to solidify (with help of accelerator) and I usually sand lightly after every other coat. . I use only THIN CA. . After the 6 or 7 layers, I carefully sand off any bumps and irregularities.
And I then apply another 6 or so layers to get to the final thickness of CA. . At that time, a slightly more vigorous sanding is OK and you can get a pretty nice finish after the polishing with Novus 3, Novus 2, and a final polish with an automotive paste or liquid.
 
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JohnU

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Jan 31, 2008
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Ottawa, Illinois
Stick with the GluBoost. It’s made to be a finish not just a ca glue. I use it over some “plastics” like urethane resin blanks to get a better shine than what you get from the resin by itself. Also, if the resin has an object in it like gator bone, acorn caps, pasta, or pine ones, you will need to seal the blank with GluBoost to get a smoother surface and equal shine and finish. There are several YouTube videos out there along with the how to videos at Exoticblanks that will show you how to apply it. You no longer need to build up layers and layers just to sand them down for a finish.
 

studioseven

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May 6, 2014
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I haven't had issues with stickfast CA however I have had issues with the stickfast accelerator. I prefer the NCF brand.

Seven
 

Lew

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Oct 28, 2020
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Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas
The only time I have had issues with a CA finish is when I have a blank made up of both wood and acrylics. For whatever reason, for me acrylics just don't seem to get along well with CA. I have resorted to masking off the acrylic part of the blank to get the finish I want on the wooden part. Of course, this means that I have to allow for the variation in dimensions between the acrylic without CA and the wood with CA. I'm new to the art of turning pens, so I may be doing it completely wrong.
 

guitarchitect

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Toronto
I second @JohnU - i'm a gluboost convert. I saw Mark Dreyer's video on youtube and after a few headaches with Starbond i took the plunge. People rave about the finish when i post the pens so I think that's a result that speaks for itself!

The challenging thing with CA, that is often overlooked, is that thin/medium/thick are totally different from one manufacturer to the next. The way the CA is formulated is different which is why all the accelerators are different, and viscosities vary across-the-board, with some Mediums being thicker than other manufacturer's mediums, etc. This is all down to the way the viscosities are formulated with different additives.

All of that is to say - gluboost was designed specifically as a finish for musical instruments + repair, so it's intended to be flexible. I can't speak to whether or not it's better than the nearest equivalent, Mercury Flex, but I'm happy to not have to experiment any more! Even the design of the bottle is good - you don't have to squeeze hard to get it out, the cap has a little needle which means it's always "open", and I've done about 30 pens with it being used judiciously and I can probably do 15 more. Only downfall is that i've needed 3 bottles of accelerator, so that's a technique that I need to refine!!
 

egnald

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Hello all, here is my 2-cents worth - I started with regular no-name CA then turned to the Stick-Fast Wood Finish and Activator. I don't know if or what the difference is between the Stick-Fast "CA Glue" and "CA Wood Finish", but I have always been successful with the "Wood Finish" labeled product. The only time I have had an issue with it was due to my own impatience in not allowing enough time between cleaning with denatured alcohol and applying the finish.

Also, as many have already commented, I do not use CA with plastic blanks, only with wood or hybrids that contain wood. For plastic blanks and after CA applications on woods (CA is essentially a plastic), I dry sand with 400, 600, and 800 grit with emery and the lathe on at about 1000 RPM then laterally with the lathe off for each grit. This is followed by wet sanding with the MicroMesh grits, again at 1000 RPM and then laterally. On a rare occasion if the final MicroMesh does not produce a shiny enough finish I will take the blank to a blue rouge sewn copper buffing wheel followed by a loose flannel polishing wheel. I used to use a liquid polish but found that it augmented the occasional pinhole in the blank or finish by becoming a white dot. Since abandoning the liquid polishes and going to a buffing system I haven't had any more white dots.

Good luck in developing a regimen that works well and provides you with consistent results.

Regards,
Dave
 

BlackGoatWW

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Apr 11, 2021
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Gluboost showed up today. I'm lucky to live semi close to Penn State Industries so its usually only 1-2 days. I can see how I might need a little more activator. Im sure this will take some learning curve. But Wow! What a better finish all around. the combination is great. Attached is the resulting bottle stopper.

Do you use blue shop towels to apply or something else? I know someone said bubble wrap but just wanted to get a general idea of whos using what.
 

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egnald

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I am still using up the last of my stash of Viva Vantage paper towels. It was discontinued quite some time ago. So far I have tried the Viva Signature Cloth. It works OK, but I think it is much more absorbent than the Vantage so I have to adjust my application technique a little more. I also have a pack of Viva Multi-Surface, but I haven't tried it yet. Although the "blue shop towels" are often referenced, I have heard that certain brands are more reactive with the CA than others. I think the key is to find something that works for you and then become brand loyal so that the applicator doesn't become a variable in your regimen. - Dave
 

penicillin

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Feb 27, 2019
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I use 9 x 12 inch craft foam sheets, 2 mm thick. Cut off 3/4 x 1 inch pieces for pen finishing. CA glue does not soak into them, and they make application easy. Two drops per application, no more. I don't need to wear gloves.

Kids cut and glue the flat pieces together for simple craft projects. I bought the craft foam sheets for 88 cents each at the local Walmart. One sheet can do a lot of pens.

I looked on Amazon, and they are called EVA Foam Sheets.
 

egnald

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When I tried the craft foam I could never seem to get a thin enough and even enough coat so I always had to start by dry sanding with either too low of a grit or for too long to get the high spots knocked down - I frequently suffered from what is known as "sand through" where in a spot or two is sanded all the way through the finish.

The paper towel applicators is what solved the problem for me, and yes, more CA goes into the trash because of absorption into the paper towel than goes onto the blank, but the process gives me consistent thin and smooth coats - no more dry sanding necessary, I simply start wet sanding with MicroMesh as soon as the last coat is dry and I have sanded off the ridges (fingernails) on the ends. - Dave
 

mmayo

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Jan 12, 2013
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Tehachapi, CA
My 2 cents

I have tried five different CA glues but not Gluboost. I get very saleable pens, bottle stoppers and shave sets every time with EZ Bond CA. I’ve stopped switching and kept to a rigid routine. I think everyone that can’t get finishing to work changes too many things with each attempt.

Stop it!

Try changing only one thing for a while. Think about it every time until you get it right. Be precise and extra careful until you get good results. Stay with that even if someone in IAP has the new Kool Aide. For them it works, you maybe not so much. Resist and make great pens consistently. Change is not always good.

Proof! - the photos below.

EZBond thin 5 cps four coats
Stickfast accelerator LIGHT! Spray
EZ Bond 50 cps or medium 8-12 coats
Stickfast accelerator LIGHT spray after each coat
Let cure for one hour or overnight
Sand with 400 grit
Buff with the first two wheels in the Beale Buff
Admire your work and sell it
 

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