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Workshop operational tips. #23: CA-Finish “layers counter” for Pen turners.

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Blog entry by LittleBlackDuck posted 10-21-2020 02:28 PM 1618 reads 0 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 22: Threaded MDF (POC). Part 23 of Workshop operational tips. series Part 24: Does your chalk get "Un-Plastered"? »

Boys and Girls,

If you’ve never turned a pen and I don’t mean on a lazy susan,

or never intend to turn one, there’s nothing here for you and recommend you exit.

If you do indulge in pens and never used or intend to use CA finish, pretend you never intend to turn one and go to the previous sentence.

If you hate reading as much as I do, skip to the last two pictures, though you may never know what this crap is all about.

For all you CA finishers…

and I don’t mean automobile without its r’s… how many times have you lost track of the number of layers you put on?

If you only lay down 1 or 2, which is bugger all, pretend you don’t use CA finish and go to sentence 2 above.

For those thrilseekers that wish to continue, don’t forget you can always end your sentence on the current line and simply exit.

When finishing a pen blank,

I usually apply 20 layers of my CA and BLO concoction,

To 4 drops of CA on some paper toweling, I add 1 drop of BLO.
This I apply to the blank (initially sanded to 400 grit) with the lathe running at around 1,800rpm… and tear the “infected tip” off the strip of toweling after application. I usually apply 5 layers and then go for a vino break to give the CA time to cure… Not for too long, but enough to lose count… especially after a few breaks and vinos.

Now for a history lessons… I used to depend on finger counting when I started pen turning and only applied around 5 layers, but as I got more adventurous I upped my layers quota and quickly ran out of fingers.
Initially I used a “blackboard” and chalk to keep trace,

Then I graduated to a “whiteboard” and chalk. I found I couldn’t read the white chalk so I replaced it with a green whiteboard marker,

but that was a long walk in the workshop for each layer (purple dotted)

so I graduated to a small “whiteboard” at the lathe,

The problem I had was that I was always picking the marker off the floor,

I then progressed to these counters that I purchased from Bunnings…


I initially thought of buying 20 of them and moving each one to a new pile as a progress marker, until I realised it had a lever and pressing that lever I could record the new layer by incrementing the counter. When the display reached 0020,

I reached my target and was finished… just don’t forget to look at the counter regularly or that 20 may have inflated.
One of the beauties of this counter was that you could keep an accurate count even in the dark, as long as you could find the lever and don’t accidentally push it when searching for it… accidentally recording a “missing” layer.
One thing I also found was that if you missed your mark and laid down 21 (or 22), you didn’t have to press it 9997 (or 9998) times to get to my accurate destination of 0020, but just clear it and cheat by only quickly pressing it 20 times (sshhh!).

Unfortunately, I often forgot to press the lever with each layer, so by the time I was finished (gut feeling and CA shortage), the counter only registered 3 or 4 layers. I needed a better counting method!

Consequently, to solve my math’s issue, I now simply drop the torn off piece of applicator into a receptacle/tray… this is where you impatient buggers should have skipped to (last 2 pictures)…

and when I have a pile of 20 I’m done… just ensure you use the same basket all the time and you don’t get a flash of cleansies and empty it out before you finish applying all the CA layers.

For all you readers that skipped as suggested, you should be glad, but you won’t know why… And for all the others that didn’t, don’t you wish you did?

Keep safe.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD



27 comments so far

View pottz's profile (online now)

pottz

12217 posts in 1896 days


#1 posted 10-21-2020 04:47 PM

20 layers ducks,so you start with a slim line and end up with a cigar pen ? i always love the journey’s you take us on from the start to the finish,always a wild ride.so when this began i though you were gonna give us a tutorial on ca pen finishing,but no, merely a long tale of how to count layers.i should have listened and skipped to the end as recommended-lol.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View sras's profile

sras

5642 posts in 4041 days


#2 posted 10-21-2020 05:33 PM

I don’t make pens, probably won’t. I also don’t follow directions so I read the whole thing. Actually it’s a pretty good idea – I hope I can find a reason to use it!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

7512 posts in 3115 days


#3 posted 10-21-2020 10:05 PM

OMG that looks like a fountain pen! .......where is my slide rule!

Its a clash of technology fountain pens and CA glue

1.The Romanian inventor Petrache Poenaru received a French patent on May 25, 1827, for the invention of a fountain pen with a barrel made from a large swan quill.
Lucky Ducks dont have such big feathers eh!

2. Super Glue, also known as cyanoacrylate, was originally discovered in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover. Coover was attempting to make clear plastic gun sights to be put on guns used by Allied soldiers in WWII.

3. In 1958, super glue entered the market and was initially called “Eastman 910” before coining the name “super glue” shortly after, the product was licensed to Loctite who renamed it to “Loctite Quick set 404” followed by a slightly altered version they branded as “super bonder”.

Want a special RC tip? sneak into the wife’s pantry, (that’s pantry BTW) and get some Baking Soda it is a strengther and filler for CA glue.

wait there is more:- ....... you might need to cut back on the Purple Haze a little bit, your leaving trails all over the w/s floor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjwWjx7Cw8I

-- Regards Rob

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

5951 posts in 1732 days


#4 posted 10-21-2020 10:20 PM

I still have to use my calculator pottzy... to count the discards.

Start making pens sras and you won’t need an excuse.


OMG that looks like a fountain pen! .......where is my slide rule!
- robscastle

Yep… both in low demand nowadays,

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View pottz's profile (online now)

pottz

12217 posts in 1896 days


#5 posted 10-21-2020 10:27 PM

id still like that tutorial on ca pen finishing though,id like to see your technique,mine is good sometimes and not so good others ! im surprised at the 20 coats,ive only done 5 or 6 usually.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

5951 posts in 1732 days


#6 posted 10-21-2020 10:30 PM



id still like that tutorial on ca pen finishing though,id like to see your technique,mine is good sometimes and not so good others ! im surprised at the 20 coats,ive only done 5 or 6 usually.

- pottz


I only do 20+ coats on Slimlines... Wouldn’t waste my time on my 22carat gold Emperor fountains.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

5951 posts in 1732 days


#7 posted 10-21-2020 10:39 PM

pottzy, the 20 coats really depends on the quality of the pen and the type of blank used. ALso the intended use by known recipients may add a layer or two for that added durability…

I have been known to lay as low as 19 layers… depends on the blank

Personally 5 or 6 could be a tad “wasted”... If you lay it on thick, it’s hard to keep smooth and if you lay it on thin you could sand through with the finishing sanding run… I also like those added layers as I use those acrylic foam pads up through the grades before the final car cutting/polishing compound “layer”... I’ve found that with that technique there is less chance of a blowout, even after a few glasses of vino…


OMG that looks like a fountain pen!
- robscastle

Just wait for my next project post.

PS. Can’t cut back on the purple haze… it is painted on the shop floor so I know the path to my big whiteboard.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View pottz's profile (online now)

pottz

12217 posts in 1896 days


#8 posted 10-21-2020 11:17 PM

yeah thats one problem ive had was the finish got too rough and then id sand through trying to fix it.gotta go for more coats i guess.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

5951 posts in 1732 days


#9 posted 10-21-2020 11:24 PM



yeah thats one problem ive had was the finish got too rough and then id sand through trying to fix it.gotta go for more coats i guess.

- pottz


Ditto with me… I learnt the hard way… also if you don’t already, use thin… dries quicker and doesn’t build up as much… hence so many layers… but I still take a few minutes break between each set of 5’s… just long enough for a pitstop to the dunny and the cask… but you yanks don’t have dunnies (you have la-de-da bathrooms) so you’ll have to double up on the vino visits.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View pottz's profile (online now)

pottz

12217 posts in 1896 days


#10 posted 10-22-2020 12:46 AM

yeah from most tutorials ive seen they always recommended thick for the first coat then thin.i think your way is better.wait,what,what did i say that,i meant…......retract, retract…...damn!!!!!

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2927 posts in 1515 days


#11 posted 10-22-2020 01:05 AM

Or….you can switch to GluBoost and just do 2-3 coats each of the blue and orange and be done without fear of it boiling or developing white spots. You can skip all of the Micromesh and just use EEE and plastic polish once you develop your technique. Easy peasy!

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

7512 posts in 3115 days


#12 posted 10-22-2020 02:02 AM

You can get CA as a gel too you know, don’t be confusing it with Vasso though!

-- Regards Rob

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

5951 posts in 1732 days


#13 posted 10-22-2020 02:27 AM



Or….you can switch to GluBoost and just do 2-3 coats ...
- Andybb

Thanks for the heads up A’bb...

... a tutorial on ca pen finishing,but no, ...
- pottz

As pottzy alluded to, I had no intention to advocate any particular way of finishing pens… It was solely aimed at other scatter brains like me that put on heaps of CA layers and have issues keeping track of how many.
The last step is my latest way… and only works if you use tear of paper towel… would be a bugger if I re-used a large rag… who knows what I do tomorrow (in reference to below statement).

I have never heard of GluBoost (or seen here in Australia). Have taken you recommendation on board and ordered a tube of each and the accelerator… I’m a sucker for trying new things.

I think you’ve just dobbed yourself into a write up about it here for other ignoramuses like me here at LJ.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2927 posts in 1515 days


#14 posted 10-22-2020 07:03 AM

I think you ve just dobbed yourself into a write up about it here for other ignoramuses like me here at LJ.

- LittleBlackDuck

No need. A few of mine and a lot of other Glu-Boost topics here at IAP. It was originally used by luthiers for repair and assembly of stringed instruments so it’s actually a better finishing product than regular CA. I like it because I can go from tubed blank to finished pen in 30-45 mins. If you make pens and don’t already know about IAP you should join. It’s the lumberjocks of pen turning.

PM me when you get the Glu-Boost and I’ll do a quick video of what I do. Pens are fun cuz I doubt that any 2 people use CA the exact same way and everybody gets great results with what works for them.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

5951 posts in 1732 days


#15 posted 10-22-2020 07:54 AM



...
No need. A few of mine and a lot of other Glu-Boost topics here at IAP....
- Andybb

Unfortunately, you’re not getting off that easy…

  • Looks like people need a logon to enter the site… which would limit visitors.
  • Lot of LJ members would not go visiting that site.

I’m against just “pointers” to another site/blog… however, a few paragraphs suck them in and redirect members from here to get educated elsewhere justifies an post. You can lead a horse to water, but first you have to put a ring in his nose.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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