Non stick bushings

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I've been working with some Holly recently and one of the problems I'm having is after turning the pen to profile when I sand it the wood picks up some of the "stain" from the metal bushings. It also happens if you use a different wood species of another color as the Holly picks up some of the fine saw dust in the open grain. It really detracts from the whiteness of the Holly and is driving me nuts. Does anyone have experience using these Non Stick plastic cones for doing a CA finish? Do you think there's enough gap between the cone and the outside diameter of the turned blank? My thought process is to turn the blank to profile and then use the plastic cones to finish sand. I've also been told to stabilize the Holley as a solution. Has anyone done that? Any ideas, suggestions or help is greatly appreciated.
 
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penicillin

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I use the plastic bushings for the same reason. Some early pens of mine had darkened ends, caused by sanding tiny bits of steel from the bushings and embedding them in the wood. These days, when I am done turning and ready to start sanding, I switch to the non-stick plastic bushings. Here are a few hints:

* Plastic bushings let you sand the pen blanks from end to end and finish them. That's a good thing, but you must be careful to avoid letting sandpaper wrap around the end and round it over. That would ruin all the hard work you did to match the metal bushing diameter, eh? The important point is that if you accidentally touch a plastic bushing with sandpaper or finish, nothing bad happens.

* The plastic bushings fit inside most pen tubes, which exposes the ends of the pen blanks nicely. They are essentially flush on the thinnest slimline pens, but it doesn't matter.

* Before sanding or finishing, I give the blanks a quick spin on the lathe to make sure the pen blanks are well seated in the plastic bushings with almost no wobble. If they wiggle much, I give the bushings and blanks a few twists to reseat them and test again.

* In addition to sanding, I use the plastic bushings for all pen finishing, whether CA or friction polish.

* After a CA finish, the plastic bushings are much easier to remove from a pen blank than the metal bushings.

* The plastic bushings can leave hard CA rings at the ends of the finished pen blanks. I hold the pen blank vertical against sandpaper on a flat surface to sand it off. Be patient, gentle, and careful.

* CA glue/finish can build up on the plastic bushings. I use a fingernail to pick off the hard CA coating, and the bushings are as good as new. Sometimes I wax the plastic bushings with Renaissance Wax or Johnson's Paste Wax. The wax improves the non-stick feature of the bushings and makes it easier to pick off the CA build-up.

* Buy a spare set of plastic bushings. The plastic bushings are small. They like to hide in the sawdust or get sucked up in your shop vac. More than once I have sifted through the sawdust in the dust separator to fish out a plastic bushing. I have a spare set of plastic bushings just in case, but I have not had to open them yet. Somehow my original set of four plastic bushings have survived for over 70 pens. A miracle perhaps, but trust me, my luck won't hold out.
 

mmayo

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I too make bushings using Delrin rod. Buy it from Amazon in different diameters. Drill on the lathe! I just finished making two sets of new bushings for almost all of the kits I make. I use one set to sand after turning blanks using TBC bushings. I use an older set to hold the blank when buffing on the Beale buffing wheels. If you use metal bushings on the wheels the wheels will be ruined.
 

campzeke

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After turning your blank to the size and shape you want, try wiping on 1 or 2 coats of thin CA before sanding. Let it dry without using any accelerator. Then sand and finish as you normally would. The thin CA penetrates and seals the wood fibers preventing the bleed over you are getting. I use this process frequently to prevent the problems you are having. I also do this before laser engraving to prevent the smoke from contaminating the wood around the burn.
 

John Eldeen

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I will have to agree with campzeke on this one a couple of coats of thin CA and then sand. With that said there will always be times when sanding is the right answer to begin finishing but most of the time a good cut with a sharp skew eliminates the need to sand at all.
 

John Eldeen

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I just realized i gave you my two cents on your problem but not an answer to your question. As for the non stick bushings I used them alot in the beginning for applying the ca finish but never for the sanding of the fear the after all of the hard work to get to that point I would ruin the blank by sanding it out of round or rolling the end over. I don't use the nonstick bushings at all now. I put a little plastic polish all over steel bushings before I put the in the prepared blank. The CA when I get to finishing doesn't stick to the polish and the bushings come out nice and easy.
 

Jim Nugent

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Great idea to use the plastic polish to keep the bushings from sticking! I'm using the plastic bushings as well,but I'll try the wax and see how it works! Thanks, John!
 

leehljp

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Quit fighting it. There is an easier way if you spend a little time preparing; once learned it is easy every time with holly, metal spacers, and other colored wood too.
Look at these:

Those silver dots smear like pencil lead with ANY sanding. The key is as Ken mentioned above. If you have a carbide scraper, or HSS scraper, spend a few minutes sharpening the HSS and then a few minutes honing it. Hone it well. The above pen did not have a piece of sandpaper touch the wood and metal parts. With the HSS scraper or carbide (fresh new carbide) turn at about 3000 rpm and touch and let it graze by. When you get very close to the size you want, turn the carbide to a new side or freshly hone the HSS scraper and do your final touches. Smooth as a Baby's behind. Don't play around with the CA. Add three or four GOOD layers of CA before you decide to sand the CA. You do not want to sand through the CA to the wood or it will be visible once you re-coat it with CA. Well, some people don't pay attention to it but to a good eye and good critic, it will be noticeable.

As to bushings, I use TBC. With TBC, there is a thickness difference between the centers and the blank. So you won't be touching the centers as you turn it. You can use the bushings to get it near to size but take them off, put it between the centers (TBC) and use calipers to determine the final sizing with using the Carbide or HSS scraper. IF you are proficient with the skew (I am not) you can do the same with it. Just make sure you have honed the HSS scraper before final turns.

For your information, I have worked with holly and bloodwood for about 12 years. I love those contrasting natural colors. I have tried stabilizing holly but after considerable tries, I finally came to the conclusion that Holly does not need stabilizing. Bloodwood can stain holly if acetone is used to clean a segmented blank. DAMHIKT.

In case you are trying to figure out how it is going to look:
I "Think" that was before CA was applied and see how clean the divisions are of dust. It works.

Last, and another subject altogether: Scrapers (HSS and carbide inserts) don't do as well with soft wood unless they are stabilized. On soft woods, skews will do better. On hard woods, scrapers will do fine. (Some people use a skew like a scraper, on its side. In that case the skew IS a scraper.)
 
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randyrls

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* CA glue/finish can build up on the plastic bushings. I use a fingernail to pick off the hard CA coating, and the bushings are as good as new. Sometimes I wax the plastic bushings with Renaissance Wax or Johnson's Paste Wax. The wax improves the non-stick feature of the bushings and makes it easier to pick off the CA build-up.
To Join the thread; I keep a quart metal paint can with about 1" of Acetone in the bottom. Just dunk the bushings in there and soak for a day or so. Seal the can when not in use. I also do this for clogged CA nozzles.


* Buy a spare set of plastic bushings. The plastic bushings are small. They like to hide in the sawdust or get sucked up in your shop vac. More than once I have sifted through the sawdust in the dust separator to fish out a plastic bushing. I have a spare set of plastic bushings just in case, but I have not had to open them yet. Somehow my original set of four plastic bushings have survived for over 70 pens. A miracle perhaps, but trust me, my luck won't hold out.
I made some sevderal sets of delrin bushings that have a 1/8" taper and are about 3/4" long, instead of the sharp taper on the cone bushings.
 

leehljp

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Tom, a thought just occurred to me. You don't have to change your current method of turning, just add a small step to it. If you sand your blank or touch the bushings and the bushing metal/sanding dust contaminate the blank, use a very sharp HSS scraper or new carbide insert tool to remove a minuscule layer off of the blank. That is all that is needed. A scraping action does much better than a wipe action with damp cloth,

The scraping action is what removes the smeared sanding dust that contaminates a beautiful blank. Doing this as the last step before applying CA will help a lot. Just practice with a sharp edge and light touches. Apply enough CA thickness that you will not sand through once you start sanding the CA. I use my scraper to smooth out the CA and then do the fine polishing.
 
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Tom, a thought just occurred to me. You don't have to change your current method of turning, just add a small step to it. If you sand your blank or touch the bushings and the bushing metal/sanding dust contaminate the blank, use a very sharp HSS scraper or new carbide insert tool to remove a minuscule layer off of the blank. That is all that is needed. A scraping action does much better than a wipe action with damp cloth,

The scraping action is what removes the smeared sanding dust that contaminates a beautiful blank. Doing this as the last step before applying CA will help a lot. Just practice with a sharp edge and light touches. Apply enough CA thickness that you will not sand through once you start sanding the CA. I use my scraper to smooth out the CA and then do the fine polishing.
Thanks Hank, I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the advice. I use HSS tools but have seen you mention a carbide tool. Which one do you use?
 

JimB

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There is another option in addition to the great advice already given. Eliminate the bushings completely. Mount the blank directly between a dead ( drive ) center and live center. Don’t over tighten or you will flair the brass tube. There will be plenty of space between the dead/live centers and the blank to be able to sand or apply a ca finish without making any contact with the 2 metal centers.
 

leehljp

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Thanks Hank, I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the advice. I use HSS tools but have seen you mention a carbide tool. Which one do you use?
I mentioned "carbide cutters" because I was not sure which one you used and didn't want to lead this down a "which is better" conversation. I have both, and in general, I use carbide inserts to get started on hard stuff and switch to HSS for getting down to size and finishing. I have two that I made and bought one several years ago from Rick Herrell. For the most part, I use my HSS scrapers and hone it about every minute or so by swiping it across a hone a couple of times quickly and then back to turning.

Carbide cutters are basically "scrapers" and I have used Scrapers since I started turning in 2004. (I tried several times and spent days practicing with a skew used properly as a cutter, but can't get the hang of it consistently.) The Magic Bob (Jackson) is a carbide insert tool that is turned 45° to the turning blank and is a cross between a scraper and skew. I don't have one but those that do like it.
 

mark james

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I rarely sand at all anymore. Usually finish up with a skew or a spindle master. I’m doing a lot more segmenting hence more varying wood types in each blank. My best advise is to keep practicing with a skew until you are very proficient with it.


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The spindlemaster is a seldom acknowledged tool - I have one, and every time I use it I reflect that "I really should use this more."
 

KenB259

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The spindlemaster is a seldom acknowledged tool - I have one, and every time I use it I reflect that "I really should use this more."
I am not as proficient with mine as I would like to be but it really could replace a skew in the hands of a skilled turner. I have the same thought as you whenever I use it.


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