I use only thin CA. . Apply a few (4 or 5) coats with accelerator sprayed after each coat. . Spread accel by hand, then wipe off before next CA.
Then wet sand (lathe off) with 180 grit (lightly) and 240 grit to just take off the high spots. . Abrasive papers from Home Depot or other big box.
Then a couple more coats of CA and sand again.
Repeat a third time.
Now it's getting time to do the sanding seriously: 240, 320, 400, 600, 800 ... aim for smooth CA surface but not glossy
Be careful not to sand through the CA. . You're now trying to level the CA .... ideally getting the highs down to level with the lows ...
Another couple of CA coats then sand: 240, 320, 400, 600, 800
Another couple of CA coats then sand: 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200 (maybe even 1500, 2000). . Getting close to finished ... very smooth
After final sanding, use a couple of grades of cut-polish: Novus 3 (rub by hand and wipe off - do it twice); Novus 2 (by hand - twice).
When you rub by hand, use 50-60 strokes after each application ... all lengthwise to the blank, lathe off turning by hand.
Finish should be nice and glossy all over now.
Finally apply Meguiar's PlastX ... rub by hand 50-60 strokes then polish with cloth. . The cloth rubbing smooth surface will SQUEAK !
This whole process will take upwards of an hour when you get good at it !
It does take practice !!!
Wayne, that's gorgeous pen, a keeper, or will you be selling it? As per the sanding Ca Glue, you can do it either way wet or dry. It is just a matter of choice, either way you get a great finish. I prefer dry sanding, but there's lots maybe even more people wet sand. They claim that the sanding pads last longer. And when I'm satisfied with the shine from sanding, I polish the blank with Meguiar's car wax. The blank really doesn't need the car wax, but I apply it anyway. I usually don't sand over 6000gt, but that is by choice also.
There are as many methods to apply a CA finish as there are members here. This is how I do it. “IF” the wood is oily, like Purple Heart or ebony, I clean it with acetone, you’ll know it’s necessary if the acetone is removing some color. When the wood is dry from the acetone, I then apply 4 to 6 coats of thin CA. Usually I don’t need accelerator on the thin coats. I then use 1000 grit sandpaper to just smooth it out. At this point there’s not much to smooth out. The thin CA for me is just a sealing layer. I then apply 6 to 8 coats of medium CA. I then wet sand with micro mesh working through all the grits. The final step for me is maguiers plastic
polish. I forgot to say I’m a blue towel guy, I’ve tried the little plastic bags and also the craft foam methods, they didn’t work for me, but they work well for others. My advice to you is to just try all the methods you hear about, tweak them as you will and develop your own method. Once you get there, you won’t have to even think about it. Your pen, btw, looks great.