CA Pen finish question

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Elmojo

New User
Mike
Hi all,
I've recently begun trying my hand at a few pens.
I like the BLO/CA finish that I saw on youtube, so I've been trying that.
When I finish the pen body on the lathe and apply the BLO/CA, it looks awesome, glossy and wet looking.
However, by the time I get the pen assembled, it appears to have absorbed all the CA. Not only is it not glossy, but it looks like I can see the open grain.
What am I doing wrong?
 

sawduster

New User
Robert
How many coats are ya doin ? I use this technique and I put on about 7 coats , then friction polish

I'm just learning it as well and so far I have about a 75% success rate, and a couple that have cracked after a few days of use :dontknow:
I am interested to hear other's replies
 

Elmojo

New User
Mike
Man you folks are quick!
I'm only doing 3-4 coats of CA, then polish with hut plastic polish.
I wonder if the hut is too abrasive? That just occurred to me.
Hmmm....
Any other thoughts?
 

timf67

New User
Tim
I didn't use BLO on mine, and only did 3 coats of CA and had no issues. I wonder if BLO soaks in over time and leaves voids? :dontknow: I also think the species of wood will have something to do with it as well. My pen was mostly end-grain so it soaked up a lot of CA quickly. I finished by sanding from 120 to 400 - then did the CA coats - then micro mesh through 12000. I finished off with some EEE ultrashine.
 

Trent Mason

New User
Trent Mason
I didn't use BLO on mine, and only did 3 coats of CA and had no issues. I wonder if BLO soaks in over time and leaves voids? :dontknow: I also think the species of wood will have something to do with it as well. My pen was mostly end-grain so it soaked up a lot of CA quickly. I finished by sanding from 120 to 400 - then did the CA coats - then micro mesh through 12000. I finished off with some EEE ultrashine.

+ 1

Also, if it is really cold in your shop you might be having issues with that. :eusa_thin
 

GeorgeL

New User
George
Mike,

You mention that you see open grain. Is this the whole pen or just patches? If you are seeing round or oval patches, you sanded through the CA. More than likely because the pen barrel is slightly out of round.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I watched Alex do 50+ CA finishes. He used to do the CA/BLO finish but gave up on the BLO because it caused the CA to not stick to certain woods. Now he uses only thin CA. He wipes on a few drops, hits it with accelerator, repeats 6-7 times, sands and polishes.

George
 

WoodWrangler

New User
Jeremy
Drop the BLO from the mix (not needed), sand up to 600 grit before putting on the CA (2-3 coats of Medium viscosity usually does it for me), then use MicroMesh to 12000 (or whatever the highest is, making only the first pad do any real work), then a plastic polish to shine it up even further (not really needed, but can make a little difference -- I just use automotive plastic polish from Advanced Auto Parts. I CA finish about 99% of my pens now and 95% of the time no issues (the main issue being I sand too aggressively and go thru the CA)
 

Elmojo

New User
Mike
Thanks for all the tips guys!
Okay, I'll drop the BLO, use thin CA for the first couple coats, and be sure not to sand through.
I'm seeing "open grain" pretty evenly on the whole thing.
My shop isn't exactly toasty, but not freezing either. I have an oil-filled heater that keeps it about 60-ish.
Several of you have mentioned micromesh, but I just can't justify spending so much on what appears to be so little!
I'll stick with my regular papers. I have up to 2000, but anything after 800 seems like overkill, as it's already glossy before I put any finish on it.
Thanks again,
 

WoodWrangler

New User
Jeremy
Trust me ... the MicroMesh is worth every penny. I too couldn't stomach it, but it is worth it if you use the lathe much. It will last a long, long, long time. Can be cleaned with soap and water. Just ALWAYS use it with water and you'll be good! I think I might some "extra" ones around here ... drop me your address and if I can find them I'll send them your way.
 

Kalai

New User
Chris Kalai Allen
I agree about the BLO, I do not use it, I only use 2 coats of thin CA and then 3-7 coats of med. thin CA, I only sand if I need to and I too use micro mesh, I also use a car polishing compound. Aloha.

Chris "Kalai"
 

rcflyer23

New User
Kevin
When you are using the Thin CA how much are you putting on the towel and are you using it with the lathe on or off?
 

timf67

New User
Tim
I don't know about everyone else, but I am running the lathe at a low speed (usually between 150 and 200 rpm). I hold a paper towel (the nicer "rags-in-a-box" type) against the blank from underneath and I drip the thin CA onto the top of the rotating blank moving the paper towel back and forth for a few seconds until the CA starts to get tacky.
 

Elmojo

New User
Mike
I don't know about everyone else, but I am running the lathe at a low speed (usually between 150 and 200 rpm). I hold a paper towel (the nicer "rags-in-a-box" type) against the blank from underneath and I drip the thin CA onto the top of the rotating blank moving the paper towel back and forth for a few seconds until the CA starts to get tacky.

This is exactly what I do, except I run it a bit faster.
 

WoodWrangler

New User
Jeremy
I simply take one of the little baggies that comes with each pen kit to hold the little pieces and put it over my index finder. I place two drops (no more, no less) on the pen while it's on the lathe at a low speed, then wipe fast with the baggy-covered finger right to the point it gets tacky (usually 5-8 seconds). This keeps the glue from "swirling" and evens out the coverage.
 

decibel

Patrick
Corporate Member
well I have to get in on the good discussion here. I haven't tried a CA finish yet but I keep wondering what's to keep one from gluing the bushings on the blank when using CA?
 

rcflyer23

New User
Kevin
well I have to get in on the good discussion here. I haven't tried a CA finish yet but I keep wondering what's to keep one from gluing the bushings on the blank when using CA?


Nothing at all. I have done it several times. Now you can coat the bushings with paste wax and that will stop them from being glued to the brass. Most of the time some very light taps of the bushing against a hard surface will free them up. The most I have had to do is clean up the ends a little with some 400 grit sandpaper and a light touch.
 

WoodWrangler

New User
Jeremy
well I have to get in on the good discussion here. I haven't tried a CA finish yet but I keep wondering what's to keep one from gluing the bushings on the blank when using CA?

1. Keep the glue off the bushings helps (that means 2 drops of glue, and don't push it onto the bushings)

2. Keep them waxed. I use a carnuba wax and it's usually not a problem. If they do glue up, usually a little slap on the bench and it comes loose (CA is very brittle)
 
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