The micro mesh pads may be part of the issue with the gritty. I will switch to another set of pads to see if that helps with that issue. Thanks!Early on I settled on the Bob Smith/BSI CA glues because they were affordable and I could buy them in larger bottles than most of the alternatives, so I haven't experimented with nearly the range of brands as some of the people who'll be replying to you shortly, but I've definitely had unpredictable experiences on the occasions I've tried to finish with things like the store-brand tubes of generic "super glue", which seemed to cure unevenly or unreliably.
If you use activator/accelerator, the different brands can have different characteristics, too (I'm partial to the Stick Fast aerosol, because it delivers a finer mist than the others I've tried, but I've seen some people complain that it gives them a white or hazy finish).
That said, I don't think anything I've tried has resulted in a gritty feeling after sanding (although I do seem to remember someone telling a story about their micromesh pads breaking down and leaving grit on/embeded in their blanks - possibly after being used with alcohol?). I'm not clear on you mean by "spotted", though... is it something that would show up in a picture?
I would hazard a guess that those aren't spots in the finish, so much as spots where there isn't a finish (or, more accurately, where the finish isn't uniform), and your sanding dust is getting trapped in them. I've had this happen a lot with coarse-grained woods, and it ends up either taking more coats of CA, or building up a few coats of CA, sanding back to the bare wood (but just barely - the goal is to get to a point where everything's perfectly smooth, it's just easier to eyeball when you hit wood) and then coating for real.When I say "spotty" there are speckles of little white-ish dots in places on the pen. I don't have a picture to show because when it happened earlier today, I sanded away all the CA to start again (which I haven't done yet.)
I've heard the same thing, but I'm so sure I believe it - and certainly not in all cases. There may well be some combinations that don't play nice together, but my regular routine mixed Stick Fast activator with BSI CA for quite a while, and I think I was also mixing 2P-10 activator with Stick Fast CA for a little while without any disasters. I've run into more problems caused by activators with too coarse a droplet size (pumps especially, but I've had some very spattery aerosols, too - I think the 2P-10 was one of them), which seems to cause the CA to set too quickly or unevenly at cause hazing/bubbling/crazing.I have heard that you shouldn't mix the different brands (which I have done, but not on these last couple of pens.)
That's a hard one to answer, since there are a wide variety of CA application techniques, and some will work better with one thickness than another, while others use a combination. Thin and medium are definitely more commonly used than thick.For finishing, is thin, medium, or thick the best choice (or a combination)?
I think I got bitten by that one too (since I know I was still using Stick Fast at the time), except it took a over a year for the cracks to develop on a pen I gave my father.I have tried and used several brands over the years without any problems - except for one batch of Stickfast. Several reported along that time (3 - 4 years ago). It would finish well then a few days later develop a crinkle patter of cracks.
Looks like it is time to order the Beale wheel!!I have used stickfast without issues like cracking. That said I use EZ Bond exclusively now and still do not have issues. As to longevity of the bottled glue, mine is almost always used before it can go bad. I have some bottles of thick that I use for adhering shave brushes and bottle stoppers, it is old, looks and acts great so even then older stuff works.
Consistently doing the same thing and just changing one parameter to get better results is the ticket. I use
4 coats of thin 5 cps EZBOND
Spray lightly with stickfast can
1 coat of thin (pen finish) 50 cps EZBOND
Spray lightly with stickfast can
Repeat 10 times
Let cure for at least an hour
Sand with 400 grit
Buff with the first two wheels on the Beale buff
Admire a perfect finish
I expect and get great results every time using this method