Slight cracks in ca finish.....

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Ric5

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Jan 22, 2013
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I just started to use CA to finish my pens... when i look close at the finish I see some slight chase cracks below in the finish... I do about 8 to 10 layers. I use accelerator about 10 inches away I put the CA on with a paper towel.
Any suggestions??
I also need suggestions on which companies that you guys use for self centering Drill jig and pen press to purchase. Who has the best prices on these items.

Thanks for the feedback!
 
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Tom T

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Not sure about cracks.
I have a vice from WC and a pen press. It is the press with the big black knob on top. Not the sectioning one. I am happy with both. But they are the only ones I have used.
 

BURLMAN

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What kind of accelerator are you using? There was a recent thread here about cracks when using Stick Fast accelerator, which I think was traced back to a change in formula at the manufacturer.
 
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Hello Ric

In regards to your topcoat finish cracking, can you tell us what type of wood and its dryness state. If the wood that you used for your turnings was green, or moist, I can see the finish cracking due to this. Also keep in mind that CA, or cyanoacrlate, was not designed to be used as a wood finish. Alot of guys are using it for that however, with mixed results. You may want to look into alternative wood finishing methods. There has been quite a bit of talk regarding its durablity. Some nice pictures would be interesting to see.

Take care
 

mikespenturningz

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wood-of-1kind

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use "light" application of thin CA applied with a clean "bounty" towel or equivalent. Apply and "stroke" back and forth a few times. I prefer to wait (say 30-60 seconds) before applying another top CA layer. When I reach say, 5 coats, I will go through the MM series and that usually gives a nice shine. Finally top it off with Plast-X Lens cleaner(wax) or equivalent product and buff off.

If my CA build up is a bit rough or shows high ridges, then I sand back with 1000 Grit dry/wet sandpaper and then start over with my CA build up process. This works for me but others will have their own preferred method(s). Try something new and do not be afraid to experiment.:smile:
 

leehljp

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Cracks: When there are lots of varibles, trying to isolate a single cause is very hard to do, especially from people outside the shop where it occurred. Picts do help sometimes.

Sometimes causes: Cold as in NY
humidity and cold
green wood, or humidity swings
Accelerant in conjunction with any of the above.

The problem with any of these and accelerant is that 6 or 7 of 10 will have no problem. And those with no problem will assume that it is not the accelerant when it could be - that said because Accelerant CAN cause or be a catalyst for cracks. While accelerant works most of the time, it is a varible that has to be factored in with the others.

For me, I know how to use it and I use it sparingly. Keeping finishes simple cut a lot of variables out, and it also makes the finish more predicitable. The two or three minutes accelerant saves is not worth it over the long run for me. I have made pens on two continents, in hot and humid and cold and dry as well as cold and humid.

Humidity swings will cause some woods to move;

CA inside the tubes and then mounted can cause cracks. Most of the time it will happen when pen parts are pressed together, but sometimes it doesn't happen until a few days after putting the pen together.

There have been a couple of times when people have asked about what seemed to be cracks only to find out that it was the grain and the way it showed through the CA.

If you can, post some picts.
 
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Ric5

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You guys are great, I love this site!!

I'm sorry I can't show any pictures because they were very slight and my camera wouldn't have really shown them. I also just gave the pen to a friend, They didn't notice them... They loved the pen.
I have tried the CA on a few more pens and it didn't crack... but one time it did get stuck to my glove and top of my index finger! it also gave me a small burn, NOW I'm very careful and I also open the window over the Lathe... the fumes have to be very bad even with a face mask. But it is a lot of fun! I'm hoping to at least pay for this part of my woodworking hobby by selling some pens. :eat: I just need to see where best to sell them and at what price.
 

walshjp17

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As to the drilling, I recommend getting a dedicated drilling chuck -- PSI has one -- and drill on the lathe. I use a starting, centering bit with the drill chuck first and then drill out the blank. Since I started this regimen I have not had any off-center holes. YMMV.
 

Jjcold

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I had cracking problems when i used accelerant when I don't use it, the process is much slower, but more predictable.
 

Woodo

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CA Glue finish & Moisture

I have CA peeling, and occasional cracking of wood.

I think the cracking is due to too much pressure during assembly using kits, and i intend to sand the fittings a bit before connecting them in my new batch.

Peeling and cloudiness. I engrave my pens before assembly. After engraving i set the engraving with a spray fixative, but wonder if the engraving is still letter in moisture.

Does anyone seal the end of the wood/brass tubes before assembly, maybe this is a source of my moisture.

Finally a friend says that because it is far too hot here that my air conditioner is putting moisture into my room when i finish? Anyone have any comments on the above.

thanks

Peter
 

randyrls

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I also need suggestions on which companies that you guys use for self centering Drill jig and pen press to purchase. Who has the best prices on these items.
Eric; Can't help with the cracking issue, but I do not use a pen press. I use my workbench vise with a set of wood jaws. I have a Paul Hoffman centering vise and it is top of the line.
 

rblakemore

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I have just started to experiment with a CA finish; it makes a nice look and is faster and less messy than I thought that it would be. I have not had any cracks yet.

I use the Milescraft Pen Press and WoodRiver pen vise for a drill press. Have been experimenting a little with drilling on the lathe. I understand that is the better method and will probably move that way.
 

eliasbboy

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I just had 13 pens develop cracks. :( I've made who knows how many with no trouble. I cannot pinpoint anything that changed.
 

Janster

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Not this thread again. :(


Get over it already! Everyone is not as SMART as you, I guess? That is why they ask questions! Also, since you must have traveled that road, perhaps you can add something valuable
and something that is useful instead of discontent? Just "perhaps"? And to now address the question... The problem "could" a bit of CA left on the inside of the tube from the glue up process, which narrows the ID and when pressing in the components, it causes the crack? You may try a light scuff w/sandpaper in the tube before pressing the parts together? Or, wipe down the inside of the tube w/debonder to evacuate and CA. Be well...Jan
 
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eliasbboy

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There was a large thread about this some time ago and if memory serves the culprit seemed to be the accelorator. For my pens that recently developed cracks, I used the same Stick Fast aerosal accelorator and stick fast medium CA for all.

The accelerator is an older can that I've used before with no problem. The medium CA bottle is new however. I am going to stop using that CA for finish and try a new can of accelerator and and new CA.
 

edstreet

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No longer confused....
Not this thread again. :(


Get over it already! Everyone is not as SMART as you, I guess? That is why they ask questions! Also, since you must have traveled that road, perhaps you can add something valuable
and something that is useful instead of discontent? Just "perhaps"? And to now address the question... The problem "could" a bit of CA left on the inside of the tube from the glue up process, which narrows the ID and when pressing in the components, it causes the crack? You may try a light scuff w/sandpaper in the tube before pressing the parts together? Or, wipe down the inside of the tube w/debonder to evacuate and CA. Be well...Jan
I have added many things of great value on this topic, repeat times. This is not about being smart or not it's about what you see circled in this image.




That one link ... yields this, of value.

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f28/ca-finish-issues-117432/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f28/devestated-what-happened-here-117104/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f28/advice-cracks-5-mths-later-118643/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f62/ca-help-120083/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f28/hmmm-ca-finish-looked-great-turned-124596/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f28/ca-finish-cracking-121339/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f14/cracking-acrylics-121311/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f14/messed-up-finish-115696/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f14/finishing-troubles-115394/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f28/ok-educate-me-what-caused-115379/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f28/problem-ca-finish-cracking-115030/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f28/stamp-pen-ca-cracking-106152/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f28/ca-funkiness-105222/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f28/ca-cracking-82151/

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f14/ca-glue-failure-suggestions-35480/
 

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Smitty37

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Milford, Delaware 19963
I have CA peeling, and occasional cracking of wood.

I think the cracking is due to too much pressure during assembly using kits, and i intend to sand the fittings a bit before connecting them in my new batch.

Peeling and cloudiness. I engrave my pens before assembly. After engraving i set the engraving with a spray fixative, but wonder if the engraving is still letter in moisture.

Does anyone seal the end of the wood/brass tubes before assembly, maybe this is a source of my moisture.

Finally a friend says that because it is far too hot here that my air conditioner is putting moisture into my room when i finish? Anyone have any comments on the above.

thanks

Peter
Not likely....Air conditioners are by their nature dehumidifiers not humidifiers...they remove water from the air - they don't add it.
 

Ambidex

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Bristol NH 03222
I'm sorry I can't show any pictures because they were very slight and my camera wouldn't have really shown them. I also just gave the pen to a friend, They didn't notice them... They loved the pen.
I have tried the CA on a few more pens and it didn't crack... but one time it did get stuck to my glove and top of my index finger! it also gave me a small burn, NOW I'm very careful and I also open the window over the Lathe... the fumes have to be very bad even with a face mask. But it is a lot of fun! I'm hoping to at least pay for this part of my woodworking hobby by selling some pens. :eat: I just need to see where best to sell them and at what price.
...
Ric...don't take any sarcastic natured replies as the norm from this site. I remember asking the same questions as you and not really understanding the search feature because we all aren't tenured like some of the venerable sages here...if everyone knew all the answers I'm guessing this site would no longer exist...so do what the smarter people that aren't perfect here do and accept the people that are willing to help and ignore the self-righteous morons that can't remember they turned their first pen too...:biggrin:
 

kingkeyman

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Dec 8, 2013
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Akron
You will have better results if you buy a chuck for the headstock, and a drill chuck for your tailstock to drill your blanks. As for pressing pens together, don't waste money on a pen press, get one of these. I don't even use my press anymore.
 

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eliasbboy

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Well, here we go again.:frown:

I replaced my CA and accelerator. I used thin instead of medium. I tried it with and without accelerator. I tried it with and without BLO. I STILL have pens cracking. All across the board, and different applications. I just went out for the FOURTH time to try and apply a decal for a pen and the ends of the JD oak had cracking. Another pen, from the exact same blank has no cracking.

I literally just turned the lathe off and came in for the night. I'm so frustrated and at a loss for solutions I don't know where to start.

At this point it feels like an exercise in futility to sand everything down yet again to start over.

The material was stickfast CA and accelerator. I would love to not use accelerator but without it dry times per coat for me are 3-4 minutes on average. I've never been able to find anything that cured faster.

There was a large thread about this some time ago and if memory serves the culprit seemed to be the accelerator. For my pens that recently developed cracks, I used the same Stick Fast aerosol accelerator and stick fast medium CA for all.

The accelerator is an older can that I've used before with no problem. The medium CA bottle is new however. I am going to stop using that CA for finish and try a new can of accelerator and and new CA.
 

kovalcik

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Why not just wait the 4 minutes and see if that helps? Even at 4 minutes/coat, that is less than an hour total for 10+ coats. I can always find something to keep me busy while I wait, either drilling blanks or putting some pens together, backpainting acrylics, etc. We turners are really spoiled. If you were finishing a piece of furniture a great finish could take days. We grumble if our CA takes more than a minute to dry.

Another thought is if it is taking so long to dry, use thinner coats. IMO the secret to a CA finish is basically like any other wood finish. Thin coats and let it dry completely between coats.

My only other suggestion would be to ditch the stik-fast brand. It is the only brand that ever gave me any problems (though it was not cracking). I know a lot of people use it without any issues, but that was not my experience. I have had good luck with Titebond medium from Woodcraft, and now EZ Bond medium from exotic blanks (switched because it was much cheaper).
 
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eliasbboy

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Thanks for the advice. I will definitely try that. I was always worried that by waiting I would allow particles to get stuck, but like you say it's definitely cheaper and faster than redoing a pen multiple times. It's just so annoying to not know the exact WHY it's happening.



Why not just wait the 4 minutes and see if that helps? Even at 4 minutes/coat, that is less than an hour total for 10+ coats. I can always find something to keep me busy while I wait, either drilling blanks or putting some pens together, backpainting acrylics, etc. We turners are really spoiled. If you were finishing a piece of furniture a great finish could take days. We grumble if our CA takes more than a minute to dry.

Another thought is if it is taking so long to dry, use thinner coats. IMO the secret to a CA finish is basically like any other wood finish. Thin coats and let it dry completely between coats.

My only other suggestion would be to ditch the stik-fast brand. It is the only brand that ever gave me any problems (though it was not cracking). I know a lot of people use it without any issues, but that was not my experience. I have had good luck with Titebond medium from Woodcraft, and now EZ Bond medium from exotic blanks (switched because it was much cheaper).
 

eliasbboy

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I just came in from finishing a half dozen pens and I am fairly confident I know my problem. Sorta.

Maybe.

I hope.

I think I was not letting the CA dry long enough as mentioned before. I always wait and test with the back of my finger to see if it's dry. Today I checked first with the back of my finger, then checked with the front side, and many times what felt dry to one was not to the other.

Also, I have NEVER had any of the cracking show up on an inlay pen. I wonder if the various joints give the wood some give that is not causing the cracking?
 

Bill Mooney

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I get cracks when I use accelerator so have stopped using it. No more cracks in my finish. When the ca cracked it crazed like crazy paving. I know it wasn't the timber or assembly which caused the crazing because I stripped the pens & refinished them without accelerator & things were fine.
 

eliasbboy

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I timed myself and waited 11 minutes for a thin coat to be 100% dry. At that rate I would be looking at almost 2 hours to finish a pen with 12 coats.

In a previous life I obviously wronged the inventor of glue and am now being haunted and cursed.
 

mrrichieboy

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I finally stopped using Stickfast....have tried a few other "premium" brands, but have settled on Starbond based on recco's here on IAP. I have not seen any cracks with this stuff and have been using it since February. If I use an accelerator it's maybe one shot per pen and only when the CA has gotten tacky when I have one or two coats to go. The following coats of CA dry quickly after the accelerator. Also, I don't use a pressurized can of Accelerator either, there is accelerant in it and I think it affects the CA, I use the Starbond squirt bottle. Most times I don't need to use it at all. Just let it dry like others have suggested here. I found that I can purchase Starbond at Amazon.com. I work in a WoodCraft Store and can get all the Stickfast I want with my employee discount, but it's not worth it if you have to refinish all your pens due to the cracking.---Rich
 

mrrichieboy

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Oh, one last thing. I wait for the CA to cure overnight before I start sanding and polishing. Just because it feels like it's dry and ready to go, it hasn't cured. I feel it makes a real difference.---Rich
 

kovalcik

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If you are waiting 11 minutes for thin CA to dry something is wrong. How much are you using at a time? Is your shop exceptionally cold or dry? Maybe a bad batch.

Try backing off on how much you use per coat. I use 2-3 drops of medium for one coat on a single slim sized barrel. I put it on with a paper towel, so some of that is getting absorbed by the towel. I have never had it take more than a few minutes to dry completely. After 10-15 coats, I let the pens sit overnight before sanding and polishing.
 
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