Pen finishing

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Forum topic by Woodcut1 posted 04-29-2016 07:55 PM 970 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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34 posts in 1060 days

04-29-2016 07:55 PM

Right now I use EEE, then Mylands cellulose sealer Then Mylands frictions polish, then Renaissance wax. My finish looks goof but it seems soft and loses some lusture by the time I get the pen assembled. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to use, what steps to use and should there be drying time from one step to another?

4 replies so far

View JADobson's profile


1329 posts in 2348 days

#1 posted 04-29-2016 08:03 PM

I sand to 600 and then use CA glue applied with a blue shop towel. I usually do around 6 coats. Using an accelerant I can have that done in 5 minutes or so. I then put on a coat of paste wax and buff. I’ve been meaning to get the little sanding pads from LV that go up to 12000 grit to further polish the glue before the wax goes on but I think the finish is acceptable the way I’m doing it now.

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

View rickf16's profile


392 posts in 3818 days

#2 posted 04-29-2016 09:34 PM

Here’s how I do it: After turning the stock, I clean it with denatured alcohol. I use a small section of paper towel folded and apply a puddle of medium CA glue. Use a thick line of glue, not a circle. I start in the middle and go left and then all the way to the right. Stop. Just walk a way! Let it dry for about a minute. Then repeat the process again. After the second coat dries, fully, I sand with 320 to smooth it out. After each sanding I clean it with the alcohol again. You can use a stronger grit, but I don’t go lower than 150. After it’s smooth, repeat the coating process again. I will generally put about 8 to9 coats on sanding smooth between every two coats. Before I sand though, I will loosen the knurl nut and break the bushing free. Re-tighten the the nut and you’re ready to go. After all the coats have been applied, I sand as normal for acrylic all the way to 12000. I have been able to polish my pens like acrylic. I don’t use an accelerator. Hope this helps.

-- Rick

View Wildwood's profile


2526 posts in 2371 days

#3 posted 04-30-2016 05:23 PM

Using EEE Ultra Shine Paste Wax +Mylands cellulose sealer+ Mylands frictions polish + Renaissance wax pretty expensive finishing materials. Advertising hype more fiction than fact.

Sanding sealers an option never really necessary contrary to ads. Cellulose sanding sealers only compatible with lacquer as a final finish. You never want to use sanding sealers on open grain woods to fill pores. Only reason to use nitro cellulose sanding sealer is to get a faster build up of finish on closed grain wood when using lacquer as final finish. Because many cellulose sealers contain zinc stearate not compatible with anything other final finish other than lacquer!

Thinned oil film finishes lacquer, poly, un waxed shellac, (Zinsser seal coat or mix your own), Varnish better at filling pores because they dry hard. Too much sanding sealer and finial finish will be soft.
No sure what Mylands friction polish all about!

Renaissance wax save your money and buy neutral shoe polish or Johnson’s paste wax. Applying EEE Ultra shine paste wax before applying final finish doesn’t make sense to me. I only apply wax after final finish!

CA finish on pens one of the easiest one to apply, not sure any more durable than any other finish. While never had a problem apply a CA finish stopped using it do to health problems. Not sure a day or week goes by over at IAP somebody asks for help.

Have use CA, lacquer, shellac, poly on pens normally wet sand/polish with micromesh

-- Bill

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34 posts in 1060 days

#4 posted 04-30-2016 11:19 PM

I agree the products I mentioned are expensive and based on what you say they may not be necessary. I started using than when I first started pen Turning. They were what the pros where using on their video instruction tapes. I think I will try the CA method although it looks like that can be expensive also. I probably do over do it with the sanding sealer. The method I use brings the wood to a brilliant shine but I lose it just by handling the pen.
Thanks everyone, I learned a lot from all of you and will go back to the drawing board using the information you gave me.
Anyone else that has ideas to share I am more than interested.

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