Step by Step Acetate Pen Turning #3: Sanding and Polishing

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Blog entry by FrankoManini posted 03-14-2010 06:35 AM 4374 reads 1 time favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Turning the blanks Part 3 of Step by Step Acetate Pen Turning series Part 4: Assembly »

Last we left our intrepid turner, he had completed the major shaping operations. The skew leaves a decent finish, and one can generally move to a relatively fine abrasive such as P240 grit as shown here.

From Red Acetate Pen

To ensure a near perfect surface, it’s critically important to move through the grits of abrasive without missing any grits. Be certain that all the scratches from the previous grit have been removed before moving on, and wipe the pen after each grit to remove loose sanding particles. Sanding through the courser grits can be considered a final, fine shaping process, and it is for this reason that we left the small additional amount of diameter near the bushings. You will waste off this diameter during the sanding process.

From Red Acetate Pen

I generally sand without water, using cloth backed sandpaper until galling appears. Galling will show as small dark streaks perpendicular to the axis of rotation. These streaks are signs of melting, and indicate that a lubricant must be used to remove the swarf. Time to switch to a wet abrasive. In this case, it’s P600 grit.

From Red Acetate Pen

Wet sanding has an additional advantage. It shows the swarf (cuttings) as a coloured paste, or as on finer grits, as a dull film on the surface of the water. That’s a good indication that it’s time to move to the next finer grit.

From Red Acetate Pen

Moving through the grits systematically will start to bring up the shine in your workpice.

From Red Acetate Pen

With acetate pens, and other hard surface products – natural or synthetic, you can sand all the way to 12000 grit, but with softer materials, one encounters diminishing returns. Here, the last sanding step is performed 12000 grit.

From Red Acetate Pen

After sanding, I give acetate pens a high gloss finish by polishing with an automotive product called “Mirror Glaze”. It’s a non-abrasive solvent based product that yields astonishing results.

From Red Acetate Pen

The blanks can now be removed from the mandrel for assembly, but first, be certain to clean the ends. Some grit from the sanding process can get caught at the interface between the blanks and the bushings. Here are the finished blanks, ready for assembly.

From Red Acetate Pen

Next entry, we’ll assemble the pen, and pass it on to the recipient.

-- - If my wife asks, I got ALL of my tools on sale.

1 comment so far

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371 posts in 4358 days

#1 posted 03-14-2010 03:15 PM

Cool, Thanks

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

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