What exactly is a CA finish?

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Weim

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Up till I read a couple of other posts here about different types of finishes, I thought the only type of finish was Myland's Hi speed fricton. Anyways would appreciate more infomation on CA finishes and any other finish people pefer. The next questions would be What finish would last the longest?
 
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Dario

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CA is more commonly known as super glue. It is a very hard finish to master but well worth it IMHO. Beware...you ask 50 people how they apply their CA finish and you might get 50 different answers.

Other regularly used pen finish that last are lacquer and enduro.
 

dntrost

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Daniel

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CA (superglue) is actually an acrylic once it dries. As far as I know it is the most durable finish but has it's flaws. one being that it cannot be patched if it does wear or get damaged.
Shellac is considered one of the all time best finishes for wood in general but has an Achilles heel (Alcohol) which is supposedly about the only thing that can harm it. it is patchable also.
tons of other stuff has been tried even successfully. Opinions concerning them are varied and very much a personal preference type thing. everything from tong oil to dissolved Plexiglas. But CA stands out as the single most used finish for pens.
 

musky

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I tried several different CA finishing methods before someone on here suggested that I try CJ's method. It was by far the easiest and I have had 100% better results that any CA or CA/BLO finish I tried before. I do not use as many coats as the man in the video and you may not be able to understand the man, but here is the video.


http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com...ad.php?t=71268


Hope this helps, it sure has helped me.
 

jkeithrussell

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Get a pack of cheap blanks -- plain cherry or maple or walnut or whatever -- and round them out (just between centers). Then practice with the various methods of applying CA as a finish. If you're like me, you'll spend countless hours and still not come up with anything that works very well. I've started to have some limited success with a couple of procedures, but it can be very frustrating. When you see the results that you can get, you'll want to stick with it and make it work. Good luck.
 

woody350ep

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Just FYI. I had a process of CA/BLO that worked for me, and then all of a sudden it had problems left and right. I started using the method posted by musky, and lemme tell ya, SIMPLE and FAST and CONSISTENT. I would recommend trying that out for sure.
 

Rudy Vey

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The method posted by Musky is in principle what I do - just much less coats of CA - check out my post "CA Finish- the new way". This guy must be applying 12 -15 coats - his whole process last some 25-30 minutes, way too long for me.
 

rherrell

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Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, I WISH I could put a CA finish on in 25-30 minutes. My method takes me about 20 minutes per barrel, 40 minutes total. TO ME the finish is THE most important part so it doesn't bother me AT ALL to spend 40 minutes on it. In fact, 40 minutes is just the time I spend actually working on it, I let all my CA finishes sit overnight before the final buffing process.
 

jkeithrussell

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I've finally produced a few pens with CA/BLO finish that are respectable. My method takes about a half hour if I do both blanks at the same time (slims or euros on a mandrel) and maybe 45 minutes if I'm using the C2C method. I've found that I'm getting better results when I use more and more CA and a very light touch on the sanding.

I did a simple slimline last night with some cedar that I picked up from Roger and it looks great this morning. I'm working on getting some pictures up.
 

its_virgil

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I just don't understand how it takes as long to get a good CA finish as several have reported here. I finish a pen with 4 or five coats of CA and I'm done in 10 minutes tops. I don't wait between coats...they go on one after the other. Even when I do a CA slurry for sealing the wood I still get the finishing done in 15 minutes or less. I very seldom us accelerator when using CA as a finish. I very seldom sand between coats. I actually don't consider the CA finish a difficult finish to master. It does take a little practice to learn how the products work and what works for each of us. Oh well, as has been said, ask 50 people how it's done and you'll get 75 answers. So, here is how I do it:
http://www.redriverpens.com/pdf files/CA finish.pdf
Do a good turn daily!
Don
 
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I follow Don's method almost exactly and also get good results. Just to check whether using CA alone might work as well and to eliminate the BLO because of color changes of the wood, I tried again yesterday.

The BLO/CA surface is smooth and becomes glossy with the EEE.

The CA alone has areas of granularity and required sanding with Micromesh.

Larry
 

Rudy Vey

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I just don't understand how it takes as long to get a good CA finish as several have reported here. I finish a pen with 4 or five coats of CA and I'm done in 10 minutes tops. I don't wait between coats...they go on one after the other. Even when I do a CA slurry for sealing the wood I still get the finishing done in 15 minutes or less. I very seldom us accelerator when using CA as a finish. I very seldom sand between coats. I actually don't consider the CA finish a difficult finish to master. It does take a little practice to learn how the products work and what works for each of us. Oh well, as has been said, ask 50 people how it's done and you'll get 75 answers. So, here is how I do it:
http://www.redriverpens.com/pdf files/CA finish.pdf
Do a good turn daily!
Don
Don, same here!!! I finish a pen with my method in 5-10 minutes, including the final sanding with MM and Novus polish - next time I will actually stop the time and report it here (never measured it, but I know how many pens I do in a certain time). I also question why many need so much time to do their finish. What is the benefit for having the CA'ed barrels sit over night?? As I said in my contribution "CA-Finish - the new way", I have made hundreds of pens with this method and had never any problems. I see some of my pens regularly at customers and they look great. Really, I do not understand what the problem with CA finish many of us here have.
This video was not bad showing the technique, but way too long, some 3-5 coats is enough. I think he put over 15 coats on each barrel -this sure takes time.
 

Daniel

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Don, That was sort of my motivation in starting the thread "The Old way" I have watched a lot of people struggle with it, and wondered why. with so many variations on how to do it there is no way I am going to get familiar with all of them and see for myself what is possibly more or less complicated.
Rudy as for letting it set over night. I have had problems with the CA damaging the plating on a pen as it still gasses out. I believe the idea of letting it air began as something to help prevent that. But for me it is more just don't put the pen in a plastic bag for 24 hours. otherwise I assemble it immediately but will not put it in a box or anything for a day.
 

Rudy Vey

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Don, That was sort of my motivation in starting the thread "The Old way" I have watched a lot of people struggle with it, and wondered why. with so many variations on how to do it there is no way I am going to get familiar with all of them and see for myself what is possibly more or less complicated.
Rudy as for letting it set over night. I have had problems with the CA damaging the plating on a pen as it still gasses out. I believe the idea of letting it air began as something to help prevent that. But for me it is more just don't put the pen in a plastic bag for 24 hours. otherwise I assemble it immediately but will not put it in a box or anything for a day.
Dan, that happens sometimes if you have a capped pen and maybe glue a piece in and then close the pen - if I do this, I always let the cap off over night to have the CA gas out. The CA on the outside finish of a pen with aerosol accelerator does not gas out anymore, at least I haven't seen any problems in several hundred pens I finished this way.
 

BRobbins629

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Its a pen finish you use when you want to glue some of your fingers together, lose some skin in the process, burn your fingers when you make the paper towel too thin, want to keep resanding your blank because there is some paper towel that stuck to the wood, resand again because of some orange peel surface, cough a few times and want to rub your eyes but you can't for fear of shutting them permanently because you forgot to turn on the dust collector and about 10 minutes to an hour later depending on your skill level and technique have one of the nicest pen finishes that all will admire.
 

leehljp

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Originally Posted by its_virgil
I just don't understand how it takes as long to get a good CA finish as several have reported here. I finish a pen with 4 or five coats of CA and I'm done in 10 minutes tops.
Several variables started me into thicker applications, which take more time.

The pen turners here are a varied group and trying to understand them "ALL" in one time frame of finishing will certainly lead to head scratching!

1. Some create as quickly as possible (with quality) for mass sales. Time is money, the more you create the more money too.

2. Some are intent on magnifying glass inspection of each pen; it is not the number of pens created but the specific quality of each. More time needed and more time spent on babying the finish.

3. For me - A: Originally I had OORs by .007 or .008 and sand throughs. It takes thicker coats of CA to prevent sand throughs. With all of the problems associated with mandrels, finding the right culprit was often difficult. Thicker CA helped some. Longer time needed. (This can lead to lots of discussions, so I cut it short on purpose. Problem of OOR is solved!)

3. B: I made several pens of soft wood (huon pine being one) and with the 10 to 15 minute application. (The fellow that gave the huon to me watched me make some for his family who were visiting from Tasmania.) There was enough CA for a very good finish / shine, but the paper thin coating allowed dents. Within a week, the man's wife showed me several dents on her pen that had been in her purse. My wife pulled out a couple of pens from her purse with thick coatings and no visible dents. Thicker coats protect better but do require more time.

IF I had taken more time with the original huon and put on thicker coatings, I would have spent less time than re-doing the huon the second time. Paper thin on soft woods = more dents and dings.

10 - 15 MINUTES VS 30 MINUTES OR MORE:

We are talking two different purposes here. Time is money (and still having quality) vs protection from what some consider normal abuse as well as soiling.
 
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rherrell

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I suppose if I used thin CA or BLO I could finish a pen in 10 minutes too, but I don't, so I can't. When I was learning how to do a CA finish I tried them all and by far the best finish I got was when I used medium CA by itself. As far as taking more time, we're talking MINUTES not DAYS, a small price to pay if you like the results. On waiting a day for it to cure before buffing, read my first sentence. Using CA by itself requires more waiting, period.
 

woody350ep

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Rudy - I agree about that video. He was doing WAY too many coats using Thin CA and taking too much time for me. He obviously likes his method, and I like it for getting my method 100% squared away. I do 5 coats of Medium CA on each blank. This has been sufficient in not having a sand-through, and thickness of finish. I am like you in that it probably takes me 5 minutes for CA app and final sanding, including final polish. No more than 10 minutes for sure. And, these pens are the best I have made yet as far as finish goes.
 
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Although I use 2 coats of medium or 3 coats of thin CA with BLO, adding additional coats using this method should not take much time. No sanding is needed between coats or later.
I don't change the paper towel; just add a drop of BLO, spread, and immediately add 1 or 2 drops of CA as the blank continues to spin. Very little time between the coats are needed.

I'll try more coats the next time I finish a pen.

Larry
 

Darrin

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This is gonna sound dumb, but what Is BLO? I have never used a CA finish and would love to try it as I have been making higher end pens as of late and they deserve a lasting finish.
 

marcruby

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The amount of time I take is intentional. I don't trust my judgement if I try to rush out a pen. I prefer to do things in shifts. Drilling out the blanks and fixing the tubes is phase one. This may include painting the blank if needed. Then I let everything sit a day and then turn the blanks to size, a little sanding and then another stop. Now I'll spend time checking the shape and looking for flaws like cracks. Do any repairs. Then I'll take non-wood pens out to polish and assemble. Wood pens new enter a phase where I alternate between coats and sanding. The point is to remove any coat flaws and prep each layer for the best adherence with the next. Somewhere between coats 4 and six a bell goes off in my head and I polish the pen out.

I probably spend less than an hour on each 'basic' pen. If I decide to do a finial or some other fanciness it can be quite a bit longer. Anyway, that hour or so gets spread over a week, which is why I try to make a number of pens at a time. I'm sure I could make pens faster, but then a lot of the pleasure and satisfaction I get would evaporate.

Marc

I just don't understand how it takes as long to get a good CA finish as several have reported here.
Don
 

Munsterlander

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Rudy & Musky - I cannot say THANKS enough - have been struggling with CA/BLO for so long and your thread on "CA Finish the New Way" plus the vido of the guy from Australia has finally given me something that consistently WORKS!!!!!!!! I don't think I'll be opening my BLO anytime soon...

I'm compromising between the two - the guy in the vido didn't use 10-15 coats, he used 20. I find it doesn't take me more than an extra minute or two at the most to go up to say 10-12 (which gives me a little more margin for error in my final sanding) - I just used two folded strips of paper towel like the guy in the video and just put as many coats on as I have paper towel for.

I am struggling a bit now with the CA tearing out or lifting a little when I snap off the bushing - have seen other say that implies to much CA (it's hard to do just 2 or 3 drops with the thin CA, the stuff tends to gush out) - so am anxious to try finishing between centers instead of on the mandrel with bushing - but as yet I haven't found the right center for my head stock (no problem finding live centers for the tail stock).

Anyway - hallelujah!! A finish that finally works consistently and looks absolutely fantastic!!!!!
 
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woody350ep

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somebody on here was selling dead centers a couple weeks ago. I bought a live center and dead center. Can't remember who it was, but I think I paid like 30 with shipping for them both. Search and ye shall find I bet. I use them both all the time and they are great.
 

Munsterlander

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Shannon pointed me to littlemachineshop.com in CA - they had a very good price, but with expedited shipping (which I needed to finish some Christmas gifts) it wound up being a little less expensive to go with Grizzly. Live and dead center arrived today, finished about 6 or 7 pens and it was just perfect - so nice not having to worry about getting lift or tear-out when I snap the barrel off the bushings. Just cannot stress how helpful this thread and the other one I mentioned has been! If you're struggling with CA finish, read these two threads and go watch the video!

Incidentally, I had to sand 2 or 3 barrels back to the wood because I had finished them on the bushings using techniques discussed above/CA Finish the New Way - but with about 15 coats (2 strips of paper towel) - and got some lift/tear-out. I couldn't believe how thick the CA was when I was sanding back to wood (which I'm sure, as some of you said, is why I got the lift/tear-out) so on the pens I finished today I cut it back to 8-9 coats (however many I could get with 1 strip of paper towel) and that works great - probably still more than I need, but I still like having the extra margin for my sanding (I don't get as smooth a surface before my final pass with MM as some of you more experienced folks get). Also picked up the Kit polish/scratch remover from Walmart and it does work great as well.

I'm supposed to get a camera for Christmas, specifically so I can take photos of my pens - so I hope to post a few soon - thanks to this thread I won't be embarrassed...
 
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