Sanding a segmented blank

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Woodchipper

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I noticed that some light maple got into the pores of a darker wood on a segmented pen I made months ago. How do you prevent this? Is there a way to clean out the pores? Compressed air? Brush? TIA.
 
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jrista

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I have a severe and nearly deadly reaction to CA fumes and dust, so I generally try to avoid that as much as I can!! I am not skilled enough with my tools to get the kind of perfectly smooth, shiny finish I like with just some handy toolwork (I've learned to sheer cut, but I can't get a super clean, smooth surface even with that).

So I'm a sander, and I think I've become pretty good at it. I've found two things help when sanding open-grain woods that may be segmented with other materials. The right kind of air nozzle for my compressed air system, and usually I can blow out any dust within the open grain. When that isn't sufficient, I sometimes pull out a bit of tack cloth and use that to try and pull out any unwanted dust. Finally, some cleaning with either DNA or acetone can help as well, and I'll use those just before I start finishing.

I usually finish with either walnut oil + pens plus (from drs woodshop), or your basic wipe on oil based poly. So sealing the wood with CA is usually not an option. These finishes do seem to work with stabilized woods, though...and, stabilization might be another option, as it would fill any voids in the wood and grain anyway. May not be the most cost effective option, though.
 

Woodchipper

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Skew: working my way up to using it more. Just finished watching some YT videos on sharpening a skew and how to practice with it (videos by John Lucas).
Myland Sanding Sealer: I think that Lowe's has it.
Wipe on Poly: How man coats?
 

leehljp

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What KenB said.
A tool, skew, skew turned flat and used as a scraper, or a scraper VERY sharp and barely scraping the segments will clean smears and sanding dust better than anything else. Very little work and very clean segments. Been doing this for 14 years at least. It beats alcohol, erasers, and all others. Turn the speed up and barely touch the scraper to the segments. Amazing results.
 

Woodchipper

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Lee, thanks. 14 years? You started turning when you were 10 years old? I do have a scraper and two skews and plan on practicing with lots of wood in the shop.
 

leehljp

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Lee, thanks. 14 years? You started turning when you were 10 years old? I do have a scraper and two skews and plan on practicing with lots of wood in the shop.
Not hardly. 10 + 51 at the time.

I had a segmented pen design that was terrible in creating sanding dust and smearing the metal separation material between the different colored woods. It was a great design for the time, but the finer the sandpaper - the finer and darker the smearing. Not knowing what to do, I decided to try something different (for me). I was unaware that many bowl turners knew this trick. I spent about an hour or so refining my sharpening technique - in other words I spent most of the time honing my scraper until it would shave the hair on my arm. I wanted to see how smooth I could turn the segmented blank with the tool itself AND to see how that affected the smearing. I was shocked to see that there was NO smearing or sanding dust like there was/is with sandpaper. The blank was as smooth as if I had used 12000 MicroMesh in the final sanding.

After that, I posted my findings here. A few experienced bowl turners affirmed what I had learned by accident. It works.

Different tools - skews and scrapers react somewhat differently to different densities of wood. Scrapers do well on dense and harder woods, but not on soft woods. Skews I have been told do well when softer woods are used, but scrapers don't.
 
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