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View Sharryn's profile

How to get a glass-like finish for pens?

by Sharryn
posted 05-10-2016 01:29 AM


28 replies so far

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1448 posts in 2711 days


#1 posted 05-10-2016 02:15 AM

CA glue is your best bet. I use the medium viscosity glue and it seems fine. Sand your blank to 600 and then apply the glue with a blue shop rag. I usually put on 5 or 6 coats but I’ve heard of people going up to 12. Then use micro mesh pads to sand to 12000 and finally finish with a plastic polish.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View gwilki's profile

gwilki

330 posts in 2074 days


#2 posted 05-10-2016 02:33 AM

CA does work very well and it holds up, too. I use thin, but medium works very well, too. Dipping in wipe on poly produces a long lasting, shin finish as well.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View Notw's profile

Notw

740 posts in 2353 days


#3 posted 05-10-2016 02:51 PM

I second what James said but I have had better results with the thin CA, I also clean my blank before I put the first coat of finish on with denatured alcohol just to make sure no oils from my hands get in the finish.

View Sharryn's profile

Sharryn

15 posts in 2566 days


#4 posted 05-10-2016 03:50 PM

Thanks a bunch guys! CA it is then. Where can I find the larger bottles of CA glue? I’ve looked on PSI and they only have 2 oz. size. Is there any one brand that works better than others? I can’t wait to have a nice shine on my pens. Then it’s on to learn to turn bottle stoppers. Never in a million years would I have thought using a lathe would bring me so much joy and satisfaction. Thanks again everyone!

-- -Sharryn

View Bill7255's profile

Bill7255

428 posts in 2885 days


#5 posted 05-10-2016 07:11 PM

I do the same as Notw. I only use thin and usually 10-12 coats. You need the micro mesh. I would use a good grade CA such as Zap or BSI. there are other brands also that a are good and can be ordered from Amazon. PSI has their own label and not sure how good it is.

-- Bill R

View Notw's profile

Notw

740 posts in 2353 days


#6 posted 05-10-2016 07:52 PM

2 oz of CA glue will last you a lot longer than you think, it is only a few drops for each coat, I can get a lot of pens done out of 1 bottle. The micro mesh is a must, CA will give you the gloss but going through all the micro mesh grits will smooth everything out and make it really shine. Not sure how close you are to the Woodcraft in Harrisburg but they should have the CA glue and the micro mesh pads there.

View putty's profile

putty

1292 posts in 2207 days


#7 posted 05-10-2016 08:03 PM

Hobby Lobby has CA glue in different viscosity’s also.

-- Putty

View Sharryn's profile

Sharryn

15 posts in 2566 days


#8 posted 05-11-2016 12:41 AM



I do the same as Notw. I only use thin and usually 10-12 coats. You need the micro mesh. I would use a good grade CA such as Zap or BSI. there are other brands also that a are good and can be ordered from Amazon. PSI has their own label and not sure how good it is.

- Bill7255


I have two sets of micro mesh and used them on the wood pens, but then I saw where it was for the resin pens so I got some of those sandpaper strips in rolls and have been using them to 800. Do you mean to sand the wood or the CA with the micro mesh?

-- -Sharryn

View Bill7255's profile

Bill7255

428 posts in 2885 days


#9 posted 05-12-2016 12:32 PM

I sand

I do the same as Notw. I only use thin and usually 10-12 coats. You need the micro mesh. I would use a good grade CA such as Zap or BSI. there are other brands also that a are good and can be ordered from Amazon. PSI has their own label and not sure how good it is.

- Bill7255

I have two sets of micro mesh and used them on the wood pens, but then I saw where it was for the resin pens so I got some of those sandpaper strips in rolls and have been using them to 800. Do you mean to sand the wood or the CA with the micro mesh?

- Sharryn

I sand the wood to 400 regular sand paper and clean with denatured alcohol. You could use micro mesh to sand the wood. I then remove the pen blanks so I can put paste wax on the bushings to help keep the CA from sticking to them. If I have old bushings I use them. I then put back on the lathe and start applying the CA using the blue shop paper towels. CA doesn’t stick to the blue ones as well. I cut them up into small strips. With the lathe at the lowest speed put a drop of thin CA on the pen/towel. I do use rubber gloves. I like to let air dry each coat 10-12, but after the final coat is dry I spray a little accelerator just to be sure. Then I sand the CA with the micro-mesh 1500 thru 12000. Then use Renaissance wax. This is the technique I use, others may do something different.

The micro mesh will last for years. I clean with my shop vac and have even washed them in the washing machine.
Edit: this is the micro mesh I use.
http://www.amazon.com/SANDING-SHEETS-INTRODUCTORY-Peachtree-Woodworking/dp/B000H6HIK2/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1463056520&sr=8-3&keywords=micro+mesh+polishing+kit
I have not used the pad type.

-- Bill R

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1658 posts in 2330 days


#10 posted 05-12-2016 05:44 PM

e pen/towel. I do use rubber gloves. I like to let ai

Finally, someone pointed out the most obvious suggestion. Another thing not mentioned yet is do not breath the fumes….... That crap will kill you if you breath too much of it. It almost got me about 2 years ago, and I still use it, but am very aware of staying out of the fumes, especially when the it cooks off….. Wispy trails of smoke coming off the piece is fumes looking for a victim. ............... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View Sharryn's profile

Sharryn

15 posts in 2566 days


#11 posted 05-12-2016 07:57 PM

This is the micro-mesh that I have: http://smile.amazon.com/Micro-Mesh-Assortment-Pack-18-Pieces/dp/B00HJC156U?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00

So if I let dry for about 10 minutes between coats, I should be good? Then use the micro-mesh and wax. Sounds like a good method to me.

Thanks everyone!

-- -Sharryn

View Bill7255's profile

Bill7255

428 posts in 2885 days


#12 posted 05-12-2016 07:58 PM



e pen/towel. I do use rubber gloves. I like to let ai

Finally, someone pointed out the most obvious suggestion. Another thing not mentioned yet is do not breath the fumes….... That crap will kill you if you breath too much of it. It almost got me about 2 years ago, and I still use it, but am very aware of staying out of the fumes, especially when the it cooks off….. Wispy trails of smoke coming off the piece is fumes looking for a victim. ............... Jerry (in Tucson)

- Nubsnstubs

I should have also said I run my DC. I have a big gulp behind the lathe.

-- Bill R

View bigJohninvegas's profile

bigJohninvegas

721 posts in 2062 days


#13 posted 05-12-2016 08:32 PM

Try craft supplies for the larger bottle of CA glue. https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/p/15/6242/Insta-Bond-Thin-Premium-CA-Glue

-- John

View Notw's profile

Notw

740 posts in 2353 days


#14 posted 05-13-2016 07:11 PM



This is the micro-mesh that I have: http://smile.amazon.com/Micro-Mesh-Assortment-Pack-18-Pieces/dp/B00HJC156U?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00

So if I let dry for about 10 minutes between coats, I should be good? Then use the micro-mesh and wax. Sounds like a good method to me.

Thanks everyone!

- Sharryn

Thats the same micomesh I use, I use it wet, just a light dip in water before running it across the pen. If you get a bottle of the accelerator to spray on between coats you only have to wait about 10 seconds between coats.

View Sharryn's profile

Sharryn

15 posts in 2566 days


#15 posted 05-14-2016 08:24 PM


Thats the same micomesh I use, I use it wet, just a light dip in water before running it across the pen. If you get a bottle of the accelerator to spray on between coats you only have to wait about 10 seconds between coats.

- Notw

So how long should I wait without the accelerator? What kind should I buy with Zap CA?

-- -Sharryn

View Sharryn's profile

Sharryn

15 posts in 2566 days


#16 posted 05-15-2016 05:40 PM

Okay, so I turned a bottle stopper today (first one that turned out okay), and tried the CA finish. I put three drops on a piece of shop towel (blue) and ran one coat from one end to the other. I allowed it to dry for about 30 seconds, and then did multiple coats the same way. After each coat was completely dry, it turned dull. What the heck am I doing wrong? I just don’t get it, and my frustration level is about peaked out.

-- -Sharryn

View Bill7255's profile

Bill7255

428 posts in 2885 days


#17 posted 05-16-2016 05:17 PM

Once the CA is on then you need to go back and sand the CA with the micro mesh starting st 1500 through 12000. Are you saying it is dull after you did that?

-- Bill R

View Bill7255's profile

Bill7255

428 posts in 2885 days


#18 posted 05-17-2016 12:21 AM

A couple of more things, don’t sand all of the CA off. It will look dull/cloudy after the first few grits, but in the end it will be shinny.

-- Bill R

View Sharryn's profile

Sharryn

15 posts in 2566 days


#19 posted 05-17-2016 01:24 AM



Once the CA is on then you need to go back and sand the CA with the micro mesh starting st 1500 through 12000. Are you saying it is dull after you did that?

- Bill7255

I watched a number of videos on YouTube on how to do it but when they are done applying the glue it looks shiny even before they sand it. I haven’t sanded it yet so I will go through the micro-mesh and see how it ends up. Thanks for all your replies!

-- -Sharryn

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1472 posts in 3361 days


#20 posted 05-17-2016 02:46 PM

Being a long time user of cyanoacrylic glue I can tell you this.

You will notice the “acrylic” in the name. This glue is an acrylic plastic and can be treated as such when hard. I surmise the “cyano” means it is formulated with cyanide which is why you shouldn’t breath the fumes. The truth is the fumes are so foul smelling that you want to get away immediately, though a whiff doesn’t seem harmful. I’m alive an healthy after years of use.

To get a mirror finish on acrylic you need to polish it the same as you would rub out a car finish after painting, working through “wet” sanding with 600 grit wet sanding paper (the black stuff) or higher. Some people use finer grits, but 600 grit works for me. Wet sanding avoids the clogging of the sandpaper and keep the surface of the acrylic cool. Dry sanding creates heat and the immediate surface can become a bit gooey. also dry sanding keeps the sanding dust embedded in the sand paper and this dust can adhere to the gooey surface. Wet sanding allows the dust to flow away. When the pen surface is properly smooth, begin rubbing the pen with automotive rubbing compound (a fine abrasive you can get at Pep Boys or any similar automotive retailer). Use a soft cloth and rub in one direction to avoid swirl marks. Rub until the cloth is dry and then keep lightly rubbing until you get the shine you want. It is the dry cloth with some of the abrasive in it that really brings out the shine. This is not a quick process so take your time.

By the way, this same process is how you get a mirror finish with lacquer or most other painted on wood finishes. The paint/varnish/etc. must be absolutely dry and hard before polishing.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Sharryn's profile

Sharryn

15 posts in 2566 days


#21 posted 05-17-2016 03:09 PM

Planeman, thank you so very much for taking the time to explain this to me. It makes a whole lot of sense now. I can’t wait to get back to work and see how it turns out. Thank yo!!!

-- -Sharryn

View moke's profile

moke

1473 posts in 3376 days


#22 posted 05-17-2016 05:30 PM

I have also been using CA for a very long time, but I am in the process of transitioning to poly as both gwilki and planeman suggested. I believe the CA is not nearly as strong as poly, but also has other issues. What I would do, sharryn is get used to CA and get a good understanding of how it works then try poly as mentioned. Poly has different issues though….it runs….there are fixes for it, but I feel the pens will have a much longer life with poly.

try youtube for other ideas on CA…there are as many methods for applications as there are turners. When I started, everyone used CA and Boiled Linseed Oil together….saying that the CA went on smoother with an application of BLO prior to the CA, but now I don’t think many use BLO, mostly because you ultimately sand anyway. Try different things and ideas.
Good luck—-
Mike

-- Mike

View JoshDean's profile

JoshDean

2 posts in 1339 days


#23 posted 05-17-2016 05:37 PM

Hi Sharryn,

I use CA on all of my rings and have been VERY happy about the finished look. I sand the wood to 1000 grit and clean it as mentioned in other posts. Then I build up with about 10-12 coats of CA using the accelerator every 3 coats or so. I wet sand the CA to 1500 grit and then using a car polishing compound and VERY light pressure I polish to a mirror finish. (I find that old (but clean) white cloth diapers works great for the polishing compound. All this is done with the lathe spinning on the lowest setting to get a very smooth and even finish. I hope that the comments here help! Happy Turning!

View JoshDean's profile

JoshDean

2 posts in 1339 days


#24 posted 05-17-2016 05:41 PM

PS Note that I said Polishing Compound… not Buffing Compound. There is a difference, with polishing for very fine “scratches” and the buffing for larger ones. I can’t say that it works any better than the buffing compound but it stands to reason for me that if I have already wet sanded to 1500 then the only thing left should be very fine scratches. But everyone’s technique is different so play around with them and see what works best for you.

View DPWoodworking305's profile

DPWoodworking305

42 posts in 1346 days


#25 posted 05-17-2016 05:54 PM

Has anyone tried “Doctor’s Woodshop Pens Plus” turning polish? Any thoughts on it?

-- D.Pesic

View Jmpugsley's profile

Jmpugsley

3 posts in 1417 days


#26 posted 05-18-2016 09:09 PM

I’ve put CA on without accelerator, and I usually waited 2-3 minutes between coats. Don’t have the Micronesia yet. My pens are still turning out pretty good.

View Sharryn's profile

Sharryn

15 posts in 2566 days


#27 posted 05-21-2016 09:34 PM

I DID IT!!! I turned two bottle stoppers and finally got the finish to turn out like glass. I’m so tickled about this. I think the first time through it wasn’t drying fast enough, so I sanded it all down and began again. This time I waited like five minutes between coats and it turned out absolutely beautiful. Then I received my accelerator yesterday so I turned another one today using the accelerator about every three coats. That really made the difference. I sanded both the wood and the CA down with micromesh and finished with Renaissance wax and that sent it over the top.

THANK YOU to ALL of you for your patience and wonderful help in getting me through this problem. I am now confident that I can get a glass-like finish on all my projects now. Gosh I can’t thank you enough.

-- -Sharryn

View Bill7255's profile

Bill7255

428 posts in 2885 days


#28 posted 05-22-2016 01:50 PM

Congrats. Your stoppers look beautiful. Dont be afraid to try things now that you can do it. You will eventually individualize what you like to do. For instance some wet sand, I don’t but sand at a very slow speed. I also straight sand (after lathe sand) up to 3200 grit.

-- Bill R

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