Preferred wood finish

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which finish do you prefer


  • Total voters
    33

GuyOwen

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Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
49
Location
Minneapolis Minnesota
i have been reading around and it seems like people really like CA finishes and when they talk about them they say they add a lot of layers of CA up to 6 layers. but i dont hear alot of people using oils and wax or other finishes then that. my knowledge is kinda lacking on wood finishes and i usually use a single layer of CA finish and i dont know any other ways of finishing other then a CA or Wax. any info would be great leave a comment if you think something is wrong with the pole
 
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KenB259

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Joined
Dec 24, 2017
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1,955
Location
Michigan
My opinion, 1 layer of CA will not be enough. I generally use 4 coats of thin followed by 6 coats of medium. If you're not paying attention, you can still sand through.
 

FGarbrecht

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Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
618
Location
NY
The argument against oil and wax finishes is that they get dull over time and wear off. I've done a lot of pens with all kinds of finishes (CA, wax, BLO, lacquer), and my preference now is either BLO for super hard woods (like African Blackwood) or urushi. CA is OK if you are going for a moderately durable glossy look, but I think CA pens that are actually used a lot tend to get banged up, scratched, etc., and are not easy to restore at that point (correct me if I'm wrong on this point). Wax and oil finishes are very simple to touch up if needed, and I like the natural appearance of a wax or oil finished piece of wood. Urushi is probably the most durable finish. If you are doing a Fuki Urushi finish (multiple extremely thin layers of translucent Japanese lacquer), the deep warm semi-matte finish is the best (just my personal preference). The downsides of urushi are numerous however - it's not east to get (you have to import from Japan generally), it's expensive, it requires a furo (humidified box) for curing, it takes a long time (usually 24 hours between coats), coloration is quite hard to control if you are going for anything other than a natural translucent finish, and it causes a very nasty rash if it comes in contact with your skin (don't ask me how I know).
 

howsitwork

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Joined
Jul 9, 2016
Messages
1,587
Location
Thirsk
I like melamine lacquer to avoid the fumes etc from CA ( plus it seems to glassify ( ok I know that’s not a word ) the wood ). Melamine allows the grain to show through and still gives a great hard finish.

Not tried danish oil on pens but I have just buffed Lignum Vitae pens as the natural oils would preclude most finishes.
 

penicillin

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
625
CA:
I use mostly CA finishes. I don't like the hard plastic feel, but I like the durability. I sand/buff them with up to all nine Micro-mesh pads. I have learned that if you stop short of buffing with all nine pads, you can get a pleasing matte finish. Just look at the pen between each pad to decide when to stop. I have tried a few different CA brands, and found that GluBoost yields the most crystal clear finish of the ones I tried.

Wax / Friction Polish:
CA can turn dark woods black. Examples are dark "purple-y" rosewood and Irish bog oak. For those pens, I use an alcohol/shellac/wax friction polish. I have Hut Crystal Coat, but do NOT recommend it. I want to try something else when it is used up or gets too old. Perhaps Mylands or Shellawax.

Plastic blanks (aka "acrylics"):
The plastic blanks I have used do not require any finish. You can buff them up to a high shine with Micro-mesh or other buffing products. Micro-mesh works well for me. I tried applying wax to "shine" up a plastic blank, but the wax takes away some of the natural shine.

Sanding and Polishing on the lathe:
When you sand and polish on the lathe, remember to stop the lathe after each step and sand/polish along the length of your pen blanks to remove any scratch rings. Use a clean cloth to wipe off the grit between every sanding or polishing step, to avoid leaving larger scratches as you use the next finer grit.

Something to think about:
Not all plastic blanks are acrylic, but many are acrylic or a similar plastic. CA stands for "cyanoacrylate." What remains in a CA finish is acrylic. It stands to reason that you would polish your CA finishes in a similar way to how you polish your plastic blanks.
 

MRDucks2

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Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
2,475
Location
Washington, IN
I use CA the most but have used wax finishes more often as time has passed, especially on certain woods.

I spent a lot of time a couple of years ago trying to decide what other finish I may be interested in trying and settled on the Melamine option. Haven’t tried it yet, though.
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
2,595
Location
Wolf Creek Montana
I chose "other" but my go to is Wipe On Poly, not water based. Minwax has a WOP that I find to be superior on both pens and knife scales. Never had a complaint from any customer. Just a bit of advice for some of the newer turners. CA when heated for finishing creates a noxious odor that in some people can lead to headaches and even bloody noses, I get both without proper ventilation. So if CA is your choice make sure to have proper ventilation or a good respirator that will contain the fumes. Just my thoughts.
 
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