Starting my first serious production run on Cigar style pens

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RVA_Tyndall

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Mar 14, 2019
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The most pens I have ever tried to make at the same time was five. I am attempting a few more this time and really trying hard not to mess up the grain patterns, tube lengths, or end squaring (all steps I have messed up in the past when I try to work on more than one pen at a time)!

I am thinking that I will apply a BLO/CA finish on this batch of pens. How long do you folks who use this finish allow the BLO to dry? Over night or do you just add some and then CA over it? I have seen some videos where people add the CA on the paper towel they were using with the BLO and move straight through the process. I can’t tell if that is the magic of video editing or real time time lapse. IMG_2737.JPG
 
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JimB

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If that is the only marking you are placing on your blanks then you are going to get your sets mixed up. Each set needs a unique mark.

I only use CA for a finish now but in the past I did a CA/BLO. It was one right after the other, repeating until I had my desired number of coats. You should only use very, very little BLO, one drop was all I used, and wipe off excess.

Once all coats were applied I would wait 24 hours before doing anything else to the finish.
 

edicehouse

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Hey I will do L1-S1, L2-S2, and so on for each one, even if they are very different blanks. If I am doing different kits I will go CS1 (cigar short 1) SL1 (slimline one).
 

RVA_Tyndall

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Good advice. I will number the blanks. They are all the same kit this time, but adding the kit to the blanks is probably a good idea too
 

Brian G

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If you have a board and some finish nails, you can keep upper and lower blanks organized. I have 5 "racks" (A to F) with various numbers of sets. I label the blanks with the "rack" and set (e.g., A1U & A1L; A2U & A2L. . . etc). I have corresponding drinking cups that I put the components into, along with the cutoffs.

 

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RVA_Tyndall

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Mar 14, 2019
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If you have a board and some finish nails, you can keep upper and lower blanks organized. I have 5 "racks" (A to F) with various numbers of sets. I label the blanks with the "rack" and set (e.g., A1U & A1L; A2U & A2L. . . etc). I have corresponding drinking cups that I put the components into, along with the cutoffs.





Brilliant! I appreciate the tip!
 

PenTurnerJohn

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Dec 21, 2004
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Greenville MI, USA.
Cigar production run

If you have a board and some finish nails, you can keep upper and lower blanks organized. I have 5 "racks" (A to F) with various numbers of sets. I label the blanks with the "rack" and set (e.g., A1U & A1L; A2U & A2L. . . etc). I have corresponding drinking cups that I put the components into, along with the cutoffs.


Brian, I like your organized approach to batch production. Could you take a pic of your related drinking cups [labeled] and show how you store them efficiently? Thanks for the idea. :)
 

sbwertz

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I put a few drops of BLO and an equal number of drops of medium CA on a paper towel together, then applying it to the blank. Usually 3 drops of each. Works for me. Been doing it that way for about 7 years. I usually put the BLO on first then add an equal amount of medium CA on top of it. Rub it back and forth vigorously. You will see the finish go dull, then watch the shine come back up....watch for the reflection of the lights on the blank. When you get a thin sharp line in the reflection, add another coat. I usually do about six coats. My carry pen has this finish and I've been carrying it for almost 7 years and it still looks good.

It will build up enough to make a stone inlay perfectly smooth, or even to build up a blank that is a little bit overturned. I've even used it to put those holographic stickers on a pen. It will completely cover the edge so you cannot feel the edge of the sticker.
 

Brian G

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John, I apologize for the delayed response.

The drinking cups are simply 8 oz paper cups that I wrote on with a Sharpie. I stack them in each other and put them on a shelf. Nothing special. I used to use yogurt cups, but they take up more room on the bench.
 

John Eldeen

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Apr 3, 2019
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I use a process similar to Brian G. the only real difference is I start with a white board that is fairly self-explanatory. That gives me a number to assign to the blanks. The blank organizer is made with 4 x 1\4 inch machine screw with a thin peace of aluminum on top. It is long enough to put every sized blank even an upper and lower on the same screw. That is important to me because after it is turned the is no marks for grain orientation. I also put a piece of blue tape the to write the number of the pen from the white board just to keep it al strait. Then all the kit pieces minis the tubes go in a zippy bag that has a number on it that refers back to the white board then in a little bin. In conclusion for me the white board is the key to the hole thing. Just as a side note nothing get erased from the board until the pen is finished and either of to the customer or posted on the Etsy store.

Good luck,
John
 

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donstephan

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Jul 24, 2016
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Cincinnati Ohio
A suggestion I was offered here was a similar nail board but rather than lie flat on a table the nail board is two pieces of plywood forming an L, with the nails in the vertical portion. Two columns of nails close together, a space, two more columns close together, a space, and so on as many nails and columns as you desire. The left column in each pair is labelled clip, the right column in each pair is labelled nib. Using 3/4" blue masking tape, I also labelled columns for the pen styles.

After removing the wax plugs from the tube-glued-in pen bodies, another suggestion I was offered here is to make a ring on the nib end of the lower body's tube with a colored sharpie (I use red), and a similar ring in the clip end of the upper body's tube with a different colored sharpie, (such as blue). Every time a pen body is handled, check the color coding and renew if needed. I turned and sanded the pen bodies in stages, marking the meeting end of the pen bodies with a pencil each time they were removed from the lathe, except after final sanding.

I was very happy with General Finishes' Wood about Finish on the last batch, applying it off the lathe with a folded bit of paper towel. I turned 3" of a 6" 3/8" dowel to fit inside the tube for each diameter I was using. Sliding a body onto the dowel, I held it by the last 1/2" at the fat end of the dowel and wiped finish on the majority of the body, rotating the dowel as I did so. After going around the body twice, I wiped the last half inch of the body into the fat part of the dowel, again going around twice. Taking advantage of the nails in a vertical piece of plywood, it was easy to carefully slide the body onto the correct nail using a fingernail without touching the wet finish. I was working on about 30 pens, a mix of Slimline, Elegant American, and Cigar, (three different pen tube diameters) and by the time I had applying a fresh coat of finish on the sixtieth pen body the first was dry and ready for another coat. After five or six coats I let them dry for an an hour, then level sanded on the lathe using 600 or 800 grit, can't remember, the finest grit appropriate. Then another 5 or six coats and repeat. Can't remember if I had to level sand a 2nd time, before working through the finest of the four sanding pads.

I completely assembled one pen at a time, again confirming the nib and clip ends with the color codes.
 
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