There's gotta be an easier way

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wolf creek knives

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Wolf Creek Montana
Need some advice on an easier way to scuff up brass tubes prior to gluing them. I got an order for 30 pieces and spent way too much time with a piece of 150 grit sandpaper scuffing up the brass tubes. Thought about using my DP but thought I might over tighten the chuck and bend/squish the tubes. Tried my belt sander but that just shot pieces all over the place. Any suggestions are welcome.
 
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Terredax

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Place between centers, with light pressure, and touch sandpaper to the tube while it's spinning. Only takes a second or two.
 

TonyL

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I use a cordless Dremel ($25 from Walmart or wherever) and their 80 grit drums using the slower speed. I don't the the grit or speed make much difference - that is just what I do. I hold a tube by the ends and sand lengthwise (I don't think the direction makes a difference either). I then wipe the sanded tube with DNA and let dry for a few seconds.
 

Jarod888

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Make your self a tapored spindle. Similar in design to a round chop stick. 5-6 inches is long enough. Put it in your pen chuck, lathe on low speed and slide the tube on as the lathe is running. Run your sand paper over the tube in the direction of the headstock, "pushing" the tube into the larger area of your spindle. This will "drive" the tube. Scuff it up, slide it off, slide on the next one, rinse and repeat. You should be able to get all the tubes scuffed in no time. Clean with mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol, use rubber gloves to touch the blank so you don't transfer oil from you fingers and glue in with your favorite adhesive. I use 5 minute epoxy, plugging the tube ends with dental wax. After 24 or more hours, I square the blank with a disk sander and jig that uses transfer punches to hold the blank square to the sander.

If you use a lot of different kits with different size tubes, you'll need to make a spindle for each tube, but it's good spindle turning practice.
 
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mark james

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Place between centers, with light pressure, and touch sandpaper to the tube while it's spinning. Only takes a second or two.
I don't even turn the lathe off between tubes. I extend the tailstock quill, then move towards the tube and headstock, tighten the tailstock to the bed, and simply retract the quill between tubes. About 10 seconds per tube.
 

thebillofwrites

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I have a wire wheel mounted on an old bench grinder. But you could just as easily chuck up a small wire wheel or a flap sander in a drill press. Put the tube on an old mandrel rod or similar and give it a quick, light pass. ( As always, wear eye protection and be safe)

Takes no time at all if you have many to do.
 

jttheclockman

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Today's mentality at work again:smile::smile::smile: Everyone is in a hurry you see it everyday on the roads. 30 tubes takes what 4 maybe 5 minutes. Couple twists with 180 grit paper and each side is done. It does not have to be completely dull. Just give it some tooth for glue. I would get more board spinning the same kits over and over. Have no easy way to dull tubes that will make your time go faster. Sorry. :smile::smile:
 

Timber Ripper

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Ok all, First let me just say this is just a fun idea. OR is it? I haven't actually done this but I am considering giving it a go.
What if you took a pair of snug fitting cotton gloves (gardening type) Apply a thin coat of epoxy to the finger tips of the thumb and index finger of both gloves. Then immediately dip into sand and set aside to cure.
These gloves can be dedicated for scuffing up your tubes.
Yes, No? Anyone think this can work?
This is strictly the Macgyver side of me :biggrin:

If anyone tryes this, please post the outcome.
Also, I would suggest wearing latex or nitrite gloves under the cotton gloves. I wouldn't want to be responsible for someone epoxing gloves to their hands.

-Anthony
 

donstephan

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With left half of a tube between my left thumb and first two fingers, I bend a piece of 150 grit over the right half of the tube and pinch against opposite sides of the tube. Using both hands, rotate the tube back and forth 3 or 4 times against the sandpaper, reverse the tube and repeat. No machine setup and takedown, no electricity, less than 5 seconds per tube.
 

jttheclockman

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Ok all, First let me just say this is just a fun idea. OR is it? I haven't actually done this but I am considering giving it a go.
What if you took a pair of snug fitting cotton gloves (gardening type) Apply a thin coat of epoxy to the finger tips of the thumb and index finger of both gloves. Then immediately dip into sand and set aside to cure.
These gloves can be dedicated for scuffing up your tubes.
Yes, No? Anyone think this can work?
This is strictly the Macgyver side of me :biggrin:

If anyone tryes this, please post the outcome.
Also, I would suggest wearing latex or nitrite gloves under the cotton gloves. I wouldn't want to be responsible for someone epoxing gloves to their hands.

-Anthony
Now here is an interesting idea:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

People way ahead of you:smile::smile::smile::smile:


www.amazon.com/Peel-Stick-Sanding-Single-Glove/dp/B06XG46CF4/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1547412207&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=sandpaper+gloves&psc=1
 
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jttheclockman

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I am not a tube scuffed. Have had no problems from glue failure. Am I the only "non-suffer"?
Do a good turn daily!
Don
I am not a suffer either:smile::smile::smile:

I am a scuffer but my reasoning is an ounce of prevention has never hurt. It also gets rid of the oils from manufacturing these. It takes just a couple seconds and is probably the quickest part of making pens. :smile::smile:
 

dogcatcher

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A 5" long tapered shaft mounted in a cheap hand drill, I clamped the drill in a vise, turned it on slow speed, shoved a tube on the tapered shaft, sand, pulled it off, and repeated until finished. It was a cheap drill from HF, it's only job was to hold the tapered shafts for sanding tubes and polishing rifle brass.
 

Curly

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Saskatoon SK., Canada.
Ok all, First let me just say this is just a fun idea. OR is it? I haven't actually done this but I am considering giving it a go.
What if you took a pair of snug fitting cotton gloves (gardening type) Apply a thin coat of epoxy to the finger tips of the thumb and index finger of both gloves. Then immediately dip into sand and set aside to cure.
These gloves can be dedicated for scuffing up your tubes.
Yes, No? Anyone think this can work?
This is strictly the Macgyver side of me :biggrin:

If anyone tryes this, please post the outcome.
Also, I would suggest wearing latex or nitrite gloves under the cotton gloves. I wouldn't want to be responsible for someone epoxing gloves to their hands.

-Anthony
I wouldn't do it mainly because unless you have a very underpowered lathe and you get caught up in the machinery you could end up with very bad injuries.

If you meant it as a hand only sanding it wasn't clear and someone not experienced could read it and get hurt.
 

bsshog40

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Luckily I only do a couple pens at a time and then I don't do that many. I have used a small piece of 150 grit from day one, scuff by hand taking me about 20 sec a tube and all is good. of course if I needed faster results, I guess I could take out my Dremel and a little drum barrel and rough them up with that.
 

WriteON

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On the lathe with bushings I put a few on the pen mandrel and hit them with a piece of course paper while spinning slowly. Takes a few seconds to roughen the surface.
 
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tomas

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Rio Rancho, NM
I am not a tube scuffed. Have had no problems from glue failure. Am I the only "non-suffer"?
Do a good turn daily!
Don
Thanks, Don. I knew there was another reformed scuffer out there besides me. I remember a thread about this several years ago but am too lazy to look it up. I used to use extra fine sand paper but after the above mentioned discussion, I decided to stop scuffing at all. I use medium CA or 5 minute epoxy, if I am more paranoid than usual. y very rarely ever have a tube/glue failure.

Tomas
 

Timber Ripper

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Messages
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Burlington, NJ
Ok all, First let me just say this is just a fun idea. OR is it? I haven't actually done this but I am considering giving it a go.
What if you took a pair of snug fitting cotton gloves (gardening type) Apply a thin coat of epoxy to the finger tips of the thumb and index finger of both gloves. Then immediately dip into sand and set aside to cure.
These gloves can be dedicated for scuffing up your tubes.
Yes, No? Anyone think this can work?
This is strictly the Macgyver side of me :biggrin:

If anyone tryes this, please post the outcome.
Also, I would suggest wearing latex or nitrite gloves under the cotton gloves. I wouldn't want to be responsible for someone epoxing gloves to their hands.

-Anthony
I wouldn't do it mainly because unless you have a very underpowered lathe and you get caught up in the machinery you could end up with very bad injuries.

If you meant it as a hand only sanding it wasn't clear and someone not experienced could read it and get hurt.
Absolutely by hand only!
I have only been turning pens for only a year and until reading this post i would never imagine that folks actually spend more time attaching a pen tube to a mechanical device just to scuff it some.
I meant for the tubes to be twisted between the thumbs and index fingers.. NEVER USE GLOVES AT A LATHE OR DRILL PRESS!!!

Thanks Pete for pointing that out.

-Anthony
 

wolf creek knives

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Lots of good info here and thanks for everyone's response and time. I never imagined I would get this many ideas on how to scuff the tubes. Some are very interesting to read.
For those who are non-scuffers, everything I read when I first started making pens was that the tube needed to be scuffed up a bit. Sounds like maybe that's not 100% true. I also scuff the handle material on my knives before attaching the scales with a dremel. Between the brass pins and the epoxy I've only had one failure in almost 200 knives and the failure was due to abuse.
Thank you all for responding and giving me some great ideas.
 

Woodchipper

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I scuff the tubes, sort of a habit in building fishing rods and lightly scuffing the graphite blank for better adhesion of the epoxy. I'm not a production turner so time isn't a factor even though scuffing only takes a few seconds. I'm more concerned about cleaning the tube with DNA. There are many ways to build a pen.
 

dogcatcher

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I scuff the tubes because a person that is in the adhesive industry and is a trouble shooter for large corporations that have gluing problems recommended it. Do I have to? maybe, maybe not, but I trusted his explanation from years ago, and I will continue to do it.

When the brass tubes are manufactured, oil is used in that process. The manufacturer cleans them before packaging, but what if that tube in that $200 pen is the one that has just a touch of oil on it and you are the unlucky one to have got it. The sanding will provide the extra grip to overcome the oil on the tube.
 

leehljp

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Tunica, MS,
Lots of good info here and thanks for everyone's response and time. I never imagined I would get this many ideas on how to scuff the tubes. Some are very interesting to read.
For those who are non-scuffers, everything I read when I first started making pens was that the tube needed to be scuffed up a bit. Sounds like maybe that's not 100% true. I also scuff the handle material on my knives before attaching the scales with a dremel. Between the brass pins and the epoxy I've only had one failure in almost 200 knives and the failure was due to abuse.
Thank you all for responding and giving me some great ideas.
I had enough blowouts early on in pen turning - from delicate blanks. Because of that, I started close scrutiny of what I was doing and why this happened for me. Several things were involved that others may have or may not have done. From that I started scuffing as a part of the solution, but now I don't usually do that.

Here are my observations:

How much adhesion area?
1. When observing the smooth glue adhesion on the inside of the blank that pulled away from the tube (aka blowout), I noticed how much glue was inside the blowout but not in contact with the tube. This can be deducted by the smoothness in the contact areas, and the ripple in the non-contact area. (Its Obvious) This told me that I was not getting full or in some cases even 50% of contact with the glue between the tube and inside of the blank.

This was especially true of CA - medium to thick. Then I started using epoxy. Still on occasion, I had blowouts. ON the Epoxy, I noticed again how much or little adhesion area I had. Usually 50%. This didn't make sense to me as I loaded the inside of the blank with epoxy and wiped the tube with epoxy, and placed putty inside the tube to prevent epoxy from getting inside the tube. When inserting the tube and twisting, that did not give as much area contact as I thought it should. The Resulting occasional blowouts (mostly weak burl wood) revealed that overloading with epoxy did not guarantee full area contact between the tube and blank with epoxy. Too many mini-caverns.

Polyurethane solved the area adhesion:
2. I finally solved the above issue by doing what many pen turners do not want to do. I started using polyurethane glue - meaning overnight wait as poly foams and expands. The area contact either increased or the poly glue adhesion was far superior - probably both. (New users beware, poly - as it expands can and will push the tube out if you don't add something to prevent it from sliding out as the glue expands.)

Back to blowouts and CA/Epoxy lack of adhesion.
3. Why do people like Don (aka its Virgil) not scuff and have great success Probably several reason or possibilities.
a. Don has been turning for ages. Experience (sharp tools) and technique (feel). Long time turners have developed a feel for sharpness, wood grain type and cut and make adjustments. In turning, they do not put the pressure on the tool and let the tool do the cutting with minimal pressure - called "feel". It is pressure from dull tools and the high speeds that pen turners often turn.
Carbide tools are sharp. Inserts are sharp but they are NOT as sharp as a finely tuned HSS blade. I can feel the difference. This minute' bit of extra pressure from dull blades or even sharp carbide that is not as sharp as honed HSS will work against the forces that keep a burl or segmented blank together.

PLUS: Speed.
I noticed shortly after joining IAP that a few bowl turners coming here (as they started making pens), chastised pen turners for turning too fast. After all, bowl turners turned in the 200 - 1000 RPM max. (BTW - I read an article last year of some bowl turners criticizing the new lathes with digital readouts - as not necessary. - The point being that what one starts with is what they see as the norm). Back to the high RPM, higher RPM places much more stress on weak burls where there is not glue in spaces in contact between the wood and the tube. So - less sharp blade, higher forces (RPM) make for more blowouts, (but in some instance too slow can do the same.)

b. Environment:
Does your tubes have a minuscule of film on it?
Do you ever get in the car and notice how clear the sky is, or the scenery? Then at certain angles you notice a very slight haze or film on the inside of the windshield? Haze and film develops in the kitchen cabinets too, on long unused plates, cups and glasses. This happens - in the shop too. A minuscule amount of haze or film that is unseeable can be just enough at high RPM and too much pressure to cause a blowout even in areas that have full contact. Do you keep your tubes in a pouch or out of the ambient air? A minuscule film can weaken adhesion contact points.

c. Time: waiting is patience, sharpening, feel, instinct. Rushing to get through - causes weak areas to reveal themselves. Old long time turners (no disrespect meant) in general are more into the journey rather than wanting to get to the end result. These experienced turners feel or have instincts in which they treat one blank different than the other one. They have a feel for when the tool is sharp and when it is microscopically getting duller, and back off.

4. What scuffing does:
Scuffing Causes more adhesion points, but that alone does not fill the spaces. I wipe tubes with a clear cloth or drag it once or twice with a scuffing pad. As John T said (and others) it doesn't take but a second or two. Now as to a clean tube having good adhesion, Different forms of CA are or were used to stick rear view mirrors onto slick glass and some stayed on 50+ years. That alone says that Scuffing is not necessarily necessary on slick(smooth) objects. What is necessary: 1. Clean, 2. ALWAYS sharp tools, 3. "feel", 4. understanding the forces of speed and strength/weakness of the wood. If you ignore any of these, then learn to use polyurethane adhesive. :biggrin:

Eagle, who was a member here long ago (he passed away several years ago), taught me to learn to "read" a blank, especially segmented blanks and be observant as to each individual blank's need - inn order to keep it intact as I turned. I used to wind string around a segmented blank and CA the dickens out for it to hold it together. (Eagle did this). Today, gauze does the same thing as string, and a lot easier.

Experienced turners do a lot of these things instinctively. There is no ONE thing that is a cure all, but disregarding any ONE of those suggestions with the lack of experience can cause disaster.

The one easier way: Polyurethane Glue + Time, otherwise, a combination of several things mentioned above!
 
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jttheclockman

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You can look at many ways and everyone has their way but to say you do not have to is absolute wrong Just as saying you have to scuff them is wrong. No right or wrong but and there is always a but there are more points or arguments for than against scuffing. Just like smoking in my eyes there are no reasons to smoke and there is no reason not to scuff the tubes. There are plenty of reasons to not smoke and plenty of reasons to scuff.:smile::smile::smile:

A pen when being made goes through a few tough times while construction and one is when turning and finishing and this is when heat is a possible cause for failure. (not getting into glue types) A pen is more susceptible if it is a segmented pen blank and even more if it has metals in it. They will draw in the heat. This is when glue factors in. Now if it is a 2 piece pen with a cap then that stress goes away and there is basically no way the tube is coming loose. But if the pen is a twist pen such as a sierra or cigar then there is always stress that can loosen the tubes because of the action of twisting to extract the nib. Hope this makes sense and this is more for the beginners than the old pros who have their set ways and trying to teach new tricks is not easy.

Will give you another example. Tile work why do you think they use a trowel with teeth?/ Carpentry why do they scuff a finish when adding coats or gluing joints so the glue gets in the grain for teeth. Many examples like this where adhesives just grab and hold better in the material that has some tooth to it.

So for me it is a simple ounce of protection that takes just a couple of seconds and to have device to sand them is in my eye not necessary. Also remember we have no idea what happens to our pens after they are sold. Yes maybe one or two will come back with a problem but maybe the buyer fixed them themselves and you never knew. So those that say they never had a problem, how do you really know. Good luck all. :smile::smile::smile:
 

sbwertz

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Today's mentality at work again:smile::smile::smile: Everyone is in a hurry you see it everyday on the roads. 30 tubes takes what 4 maybe 5 minutes. Couple twists with 180 grit paper and each side is done. It does not have to be completely dull. Just give it some tooth for glue. I would get more board spinning the same kits over and over. Have no easy way to dull tubes that will make your time go faster. Sorry. :smile::smile:
I just fold a piece of 150 grit sand paper around the blank and give it a couple of twists.
 

Curly

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If my Dremel is down, I find a couple that was "Just Married" and tie a bunch of tubes to the back of their vehicle. :)
I've been waiting for a someone to come up with a method I haven't seen before and "Just Married" is it. :wink:

I'm still waiting for the mad scientist among us to come forward and show us how to stopper the ends and acid etch the tubes. The shooter that tosses them into a brass tumbler/vibrator. And the car mechanic that grit blasts them in a blasting cabinet.
 

Swagopenturner

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I have a 12"X 12" piece of 3/4" MDF sitting on my turning bench. On it I glued a sheet of 100 grit AO sand paper. Anytime I want to sand something or just take off a burr, the sandpaper is right there and flat. I just swipe the tube over it a couple of times to ruff it up and press on!
 

sbwertz

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If my Dremel is down, I find a couple that was "Just Married" and tie a bunch of tubes to the back of their vehicle. :)
I've been waiting for a someone to come up with a method I haven't seen before and "Just Married" is it. :wink:

I'm still waiting for the mad scientist among us to come forward and show us how to stopper the ends and acid etch the tubes. The shooter that tosses them into a brass tumbler/vibrator. And the car mechanic that grit blasts them in a blasting cabinet.
OH! OH! I have a soda blaster!!!!!
 
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Chasper

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Indiana
Amazing, 39 ideas about how to quickly scuff tubes. i might as well add another. I've used this method more than 25,000 times on individual pen sections over the past 10 year, it has saved time and I've never had an adhesive failure.

My method is: Don't bother scuffing the tubes, glue them up just as they come.
 
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