Non flammable finishing?

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Brianr

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
9
Location
Pennsylvania
Hi I’m new here and new to turning. Iv been a hobby wood worker for many years and just recently purchased a lathe. Not even set up yet but I plan on starting out with pens and then small bowls.
Anyway my question is what would be a good finish to use that would give a gloss result but the fumes not be of any concern of combustion?My shop is in my basement not the best ventilation but there is some. In the summer I only have to worry about water heater pilot light and I can open up windows. In winter I have some more concerns. With my other projects I take away from any open flame garage usually. But if I want to finish on lathe what can I use that I won’t have to worry about open flame. Not sure if CA finish would cause any issue especially for how little you would use. Looking for suggestions. Thank you.
 
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jttheclockman

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Joined
Feb 22, 2005
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12,639
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NJ, USA.
Welcome to the site Brian. Being a woodworker and have had experience with finishing with other projects, the same rules apply to pens and any projects made on a lathe. You know waterbased films are the best for low odor and safe use from toxic fumes. You know about safety issues if using oil based or lacquer based top coats and spontaneous combustion from dirty rags. Well this safety practice also applies to the use of CA which is the main finish used by many for pens and small turned objects. Many times there are various ways to apply an one popular method is paper towels These can become hot as the CA cures thus the fire potential. Common sense is the key word when talking about any work in a shop. There is a slight trend to find other ways to finish pens and they include dipping the blanks in polyurethane water based or oil based. The use of a new product on the market called GluBost. You can do some searching here on these because it would take too long to explain everyone of these things. People have been known to use spray lacquers such as Deft. There are odorless CAs on the market because the fumes can irritate the eyes for some. Some people are allergic to it so they try other finishes. Some people such as myself use CA with great success and have my dust collector set up so that it captures the fumes and they never are an issue.

Using CA requires a method to smooth and polish it out and this is where MicroMesh comes in and polishing wheels used by some. Some people put a final finish with automotive wax and others use plastic polish. CA will not cause combustion issues with open flames unless you are working right next to one. But as I said heat is generated for a short time as it cures. There are so many threads on this subject here and do suggest you do a search throught the finishing forum to get you started. if you have specific questions then by all means ask away but your initial question is so broad and so many possibilities. I gave you some quick highlights and am sure others will chime in with their methods. But remember what works for one may not for others so you will need to try to learn a few and do not be afraid to try them and fail. This is all part of the learning process. We all do it. Doing a CA finish is a tricky finish and can be very rewarding with end results and yet it can be the demise of a beautiful blank too. All part of the hobby. Good luck.
 

monophoto

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
1,479
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
Brian

Pen turners tend to have their personal favorite finishes, and are very quick to tell you that you are doing it wrong if you use something other than that favorite.

But the fact is that there are a great many finishes to choose from, each with different characteristics. You pay your money, you take your choice.

My shop is also in the basement, so I understand the concern about both solvent odors and flammability. I will say that my wife is far more sensitive to the odor of scorched wood than she is the odor of solvents, but I still get complaints about smells from the shop. And to John's point, I'm pretty anal about making sure that I don't have piles of oily rags lying around that can self-combust.

Water-borne finishes are actually very good - they are tough and long lasting (water-borne poly is actually the finish-of-choice for most hardwood floor installers), and can be buffed to present a great shine. While they take a bit longer to apply than CA, most do cure in a couple of hours, so it's possible to get three or four applications per day. The one issue that I have with them is that they are almost colorless, which means that you need to be selective about the timbers you use - if you use wood that is very pale, the result can appear almost blue. But if applied to a species that is naturally amber, the results can be stunning.
 

leehljp

Member Liaison
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Messages
6,854
Location
Tunica, MS,
Welcome to IAP. CA and water based finishes. You have already seen CA mentioned. It is not flammable but for some, the fumes does cause allergies down the road. Oderless is said to stop that. I use a Dust Collector system and respirator. Back to CA: CA does take some time to master for many, but it is popular because it is hard, protects and mainly because it is QUICK. A decent simple pen can be made - start to finish - in 30 to 45 minutes, including a good protective shine.

The other finishes are just as good, but take longer. Some people speed up the production by doing 3 to 10 pens at a time and letting the finish - Deft, Lacquer, Poly, or other - cure overnight. The effect is that time wise, about the same time per pen as with CA.

And this is just the beginning.
 

Brianr

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
9
Location
Pennsylvania
Welcome to the site Brian. Being a woodworker and have had experience with finishing with other projects, the same rules apply to pens and any projects made on a lathe. You know waterbased films are the best for low odor and safe use from toxic fumes. You know about safety issues if using oil based or lacquer based top coats and spontaneous combustion from dirty rags. Well this safety practice also applies to the use of CA which is the main finish used by many for pens and small turned objects. Many times there are various ways to apply an one popular method is paper towels These can become hot as the CA cures thus the fire potential. Common sense is the key word when talking about any work in a shop. There is a slight trend to find other ways to finish pens and they include dipping the blanks in polyurethane water based or oil based. The use of a new product on the market called GluBost. You can do some searching here on these because it would take too long to explain everyone of these things. People have been known to use spray lacquers such as Deft. There are odorless CAs on the market because the fumes can irritate the eyes for some. Some people are allergic to it so they try other finishes. Some people such as myself use CA with great success and have my dust collector set up so that it captures the fumes and they never are an issue.

Using CA requires a method to smooth and polish it out and this is where MicroMesh comes in and polishing wheels used by some. Some people put a final finish with automotive wax and others use plastic polish. CA will not cause combustion issues with open flames unless you are working right next to one. But as I said heat is generated for a short time as it cures. There are so many threads on this subject here and do suggest you do a search throught the finishing forum to get you started. if you have specific questions then by all means ask away but your initial question is so broad and so many possibilities. I gave you some quick highlights and am sure others will chime in with their methods. But remember what works for one may not for others so you will need to try to learn a few and do not be afraid to try them and fail. This is all part of the learning process. We all do it. Doing a CA finish is a tricky finish and can be very rewarding with end results and yet it can be the demise of a beautiful blank too. All part of the hobby. Good luck.
Thx for all the inf jt. I guess I could have just asked you in SSV forum. Lol. Didn’t know i would run into you here. I familiar with oily rags and dangers of finishing. My go to is BLO and then oil based poly gel. But I can’t use that on a turning unless I take lathe upstairs or outside. Too heavy.
As for my question you answered my main concern of ca fumes Not building up and igniting from a pilot light. Iv watched many vids on the ca finish I know there is a learning curve. I may even hate it who knows but at least I know I can try it without explosion in basement. Thanks
 

Brianr

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
9
Location
Pennsylvania
Brian

Pen turners tend to have their personal favorite finishes, and are very quick to tell you that you are doing it wrong if you use something other than that favorite.

But the fact is that there are a great many finishes to choose from, each with different characteristics. You pay your money, you take your choice.

My shop is also in the basement, so I understand the concern about both solvent odors and flammability. I will say that my wife is far more sensitive to the odor of scorched wood than she is the odor of solvents, but I still get complaints about smells from the shop. And to John's point, I'm pretty anal about making sure that I don't have piles of oily rags lying around that can self-combust.

Water-borne finishes are actually very good - they are tough and long lasting (water-borne poly is actually the finish-of-choice for most hardwood floor installers), and can be buffed to present a great shine. While they take a bit longer to apply than CA, most do cure in a couple of hours, so it's possible to get three or four applications per day. The one issue that I have with them is that they are almost colorless, which means that you need to be selective about the timbers you use - if you use wood that is very pale, the result can appear almost blue. But if applied to a species that is naturally amber, the results can be stunning.
Thank you
Yes I have use water base poly many times usually when I have to in winter. It’s not my favorite but I never used it on pen or bowls. I guess I will have to experiment with it.
 

Brianr

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
9
Location
Pennsylvania
Welcome to IAP. CA and water based finishes. You have already seen CA mentioned. It is not flammable but for some, the fumes does cause allergies down the road. Oderless is said to stop that. I use a Dust Collector system and respirator. Back to CA: CA does take some time to master for many, but it is popular because it is hard, protects and mainly because it is QUICK. A decent simple pen can be made - start to finish - in 30 to 45 minutes, including a good protective shine.

The other finishes are just as good, but take longer. Some people speed up the production by doing 3 to 10 pens at a time and letting the finish - Deft, Lacquer, Poly, or other - cure overnight. The effect is that time wise, about the same time per pen as with CA.

And this is just the beginning.
Thank you I’m definitely going try ca finish out and see how it goes. I just wanted to make sure fumes wer not flammable thx
 

jttheclockman

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
12,639
Location
NJ, USA.
Well Brian now I know who you are and again welcome to another friendly site as with SSV. This is the place to get any info you ever wanted or needed about pen turning. We just got a new site here and the Owner Jeff is just getting started with tweeking and making things even better than our last one which we outgrew. Look around and ask questions.

Back to CA. I use Satellite CA glues and have ever since I started and love them. They have worked very well for me. I always like to send people to their site because they have alot of info there that can apply to not only their product but to CA in general. They have a page and I have included the link that answers many questions. Good luck https://www.caglue.com/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-CA-glue-from-Satellite-City-Instant-Glues_ep_42.html
 

randyrls

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2006
Messages
4,202
Location
Harrisburg, PA 17112
Brian; Welcome! The difference between pens and "normal" woodworking is that pens are made to be handled continuously. So the finish needs to be extra durable. Also hands are oily and dirty. With pens you likely will not have enough flammable vapor in the air to matter. CA is another story. It can cause serious respiratory reactions and these get worse with repeated exposure. CA itself isn't flammable, but the curing process generates heat and can cause burns. I keep a dust collector vent just behind my lathe and this sucks up all the vapors. Picks up shavings and sanding dust too! No problem.

Anyway my question is what would be a good finish to use that would give a gloss result but the fumes not be of any concern of combustion?My shop is in my basement not the best ventilation but there is some. In the summer I only have to worry about water heater pilot light and I can open up windows. In winter I have some more concerns. With my other projects I take away from any open flame garage usually. But if I want to finish on lathe what can I use that I won’t have to worry about open flame. Not sure if CA finish would cause any issue especially for how little you would use. Looking for suggestions. Thank you.
 

Brianr

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
9
Location
Pennsylvania
Well Brian now I know who you are and again welcome to another friendly site as with SSV. This is the place to get any info you ever wanted or needed about pen turning. We just got a new site here and the Owner Jeff is just getting started with tweeking and making things even better than our last one which we outgrew. Look around and ask questions.

Back to CA. I use Satellite CA glues and have ever since I started and love them. They have worked very well for me. I always like to send people to their site because they have alot of info there that can apply to not only their product but to CA in general. They have a page and I have included the link that answers many questions. Good luck https://www.caglue.com/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-CA-glue-from-Satellite-City-Instant-Glues_ep_42.html
Thanks for the link jT.
Looks like a good place to start I will try there finish when I’m ready.
 
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