Reply by Andybb

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Posted on Pen Turning Finish Problems

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2831 posts in 1450 days

#1 posted 02-16-2018 02:35 AM

Brand new to turning but this is what trial and error has taught me over the last week. Got my best results just last night. Two things have to be smooth. The wood and the CA. If the wood isn’t baby butt smooth neither will the CA be. Then smooth the CA. No amount of CA will make bumpy wood smooth. Like the old photographic analogy, you can’t get a clear picture from a fuzzy negative.

Sand from 80 to 600 using abranet. Don’t skip grits.
Apply 3-4 coats of thin CA to fill any spaces (I might try Med CA for this part next time)
Sand back to 320 or wherever you need to to get rid of anything that is still shiny from the 1st coats of CA. Then you know it’s smooth.
Sand back up to 600.
Wipe with slightly damp paper towel.
Apply 4-8 coats of thin CA. (some advocate for med CA for the final coats but I find it to be too hard to smooth out) Sand the CA to 600 again then use wet microfiber pads through 12K (I’ve found that the micro fiber pads won’t smooth the CA enough so that’s why I go over it with the 600)
Use EEE ultra shine abrasive wax (2x’s if needed) (I tried using auto polishing compound but it didn’t work as well as EEE)
Apply friction polish (DIY mix instead of $32.95 for Shellawax) The “friction” part is important. It needs to get hot.

Like I said, I am real new to turning but this worked well for me. Looking at my first 3 pens you can see that the top one is not as smooth as the two on the bottom after improving my technique. Hope that helps.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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