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CA glue for finishing pens?

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Forum topic by Tooch posted 12-07-2018 03:25 PM 710 views 0 times favorited 64 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tooch

1821 posts in 2079 days


12-07-2018 03:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: pen turning finish ca glue

So I’m new to the pen turning game, and was looking for some advice on finishing. I’ve been using Shellawax so far, with the intent of adding EEE to the process as soon as I can get to the store to buy some.

I saw a YouTube clip that showed using CA glue to finish while the pen is still on the mandrel. My questions are:

Is CA glue really worth using?

Will using CA glue bond the turned blank to the bushings?

How do you prevent that from happening?

Any help is appreciated!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails


64 replies so far

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pottz

3576 posts in 1187 days


#1 posted 12-07-2018 04:19 PM

ca glue makes a great finish ive used it a lot.as far as sticking to the bushings they make special plastic end caps but ive never worried about it and never had one i couldn’t pop off.stick fast makes a line of products just for pen finishing,glue,buffing compounds and polish.check out you tube there are many video’s with great tutorials.for people that actually use pens a lot it a much more durable finish than the wipe on finishes like shellawax.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1288 posts in 2314 days


#2 posted 12-07-2018 04:43 PM

Yes the bushings stick but they pop off easy enough. I usually run a razor blade around the intersection just to ensure a straight break but I’ve never had any trouble. The finish is very durable. Mine has been in my pocket or bag for years and is holding up just fine.

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

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Andybb

1517 posts in 806 days


#3 posted 12-07-2018 06:54 PM

You are going to love pen turning!! First go to International Assn. of Penturners and join. Everything you need to know and every question you might ask has been addressed there. I’d suggest you spend a few days watching youTube vids to give you an idea of what people do. Some of my favorites are RJB Woodturner, I think Bob has close to 400 vids posted, Tim at Wooden Whimsies and Ed Brown of Exotic Blanks. They all have good quality instructional vids from beginner to advanced and they also show their screw ups. You can even pick up the phone and call Tim or Ed and they will answer the phone and answer questions and they can sell you what you need. Awesome customer service from them both. You will then get sucked into the thousands of vids that are on youTube.

Watch a lot of vids. There are many ways and techniques to do everything so I’d spend a week just watching videos and reading the forums on IAP before deciding what will work best for you. i.e I bought a barrel trimmer before realizing that I liked the disc sander method better.

I did the same thing and got the EEE and Shellawax thing before I realized that they are only for pens that you don’t intend on putting CA on. You can make Shellawax at home. Don’t buy the EEE yet. It’s expensive. Learn the CA technique first. Haven’t used either in 2 years. It’s the way to treat bare wood instead of using CA. 98.325% of people use some form of CA. :-)

Feel free to PM me and we can chat.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Dustin

597 posts in 943 days


#4 posted 12-07-2018 06:55 PM

CA all the way. I used to use the BLO/CA method, but found that multiple coats of thin CA gave me better results. Once I separate them from the bushing, I carefully run the ends over some 320 grit sandpaper on a flat surface to make sure any gunk is scraped off and the ends are flush.

The other perk is that CA buffs up really nicely. I just finished these rings with StickFast thin CA, and used the Beall Buffing system (just the tripoli and white diamond wheels), and they came away shining (pics don’t do them justice).

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

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JADobson

1288 posts in 2314 days


#5 posted 12-07-2018 07:09 PM

I use these micro mesh sanding pads to get the shine: http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=62127&cat=1,250,43243,43245

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

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RobHannon

190 posts in 734 days


#6 posted 12-07-2018 07:15 PM

I am a fan of CA on wood then buffed with Hut PPP. Wear gloves if you are messy like me. Thin CA is water thin and will go everywhere. Face shield too if you are applying it with the lathe on. Glue on your face makes for a rough shave the next morning.

Do be cautious with friction polish on CA. Too heavy handed and you can burn it. Gets a milky/mottled look to it and you are stuck with sanding back down to the wood and starting over.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

2636 posts in 1590 days


#7 posted 12-07-2018 07:32 PM

Here is a good starter set for giving it a try. It comes with polishing compound to achieve a really nice finish. I finished my beer mug projects as my first attempt and it is works well for larger items finished on the lathe as well. Definitely get some nitril gloves and a face shield.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View pottz's profile

pottz

3576 posts in 1187 days


#8 posted 12-07-2018 07:44 PM


Here is a good starter set for giving it a try. It comes with polishing compound to achieve a really nice finish. I finished my beer mug projects as my first attempt and it is works well for larger items finished on the lathe as well. Definitely get some nitril gloves and a face shield.

- Lazyman


+1 its what i normally use.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1517 posts in 806 days


#9 posted 12-07-2018 09:08 PM

Thin CA is water thin and will go everywhere. Face shield too if you are applying it with the lathe on. Glue on your face makes for a rough shave the next morning.
- RobHannon

I’m relatively new at it myself but the lathe shouldn’t be running fast enough for CA to spray when it’s applied. 300-400 rpm max. Otherwise in addition to spraying all over it will leave lines in the CA as it spins requiring more sanding work. Then, after you get good at the regular CA technique try this. After you get good at the basics try using a skew for the last part of the turn. It will leave as smooth a surface as 400 grit paper saving you a lot of time and reducing catches and tearout. I got a Benjamin's Best from Ed. Best $13 investment going. Here is the thread on IAP that I started to ask that question.

On CA I use plastic polish.

So, as is evidenced by the replies there is no right or wrong way. They all work. Play around and you will find what you like.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8559 posts in 2531 days


#10 posted 12-07-2018 09:27 PM

CA is my go-to pen finish because it is so darn easy and results are good. Is it the bestest, shiniest ever? I don’t know because I m no turning wizzard. But it is dirt simple to get right.

I use whatever cheap CA I can get my hands on. Usually little tubes of Crazy Glue purchased in 10 packs on sale at Home Cheapo.

I go through the grits to super fine micro mesh, blow off with air, wipe with laquer thinner and let dry a couple minutes.

I cut up cheap paper towels into patches, fold up into small dabbers ~1”x2” and then at 300 rpm I put several generous drops on the dabber, then immediately apply a line of CA to the pen and wipe it in. You’re only wiping to prevent build up ridges, so just go back and forth two or three times.

Here s the most important part…. let it dry a solid 5 to 10 minutes before doing the next coat. If it’s still tacky when you do the next coat, you just ruined it and will have to re-turn the pen to remove the finish and do it again. I do about 5 coats and then let it dry 20 min. and remove from the lathe. As noted, it will stick to the bushings, but it’s not a strong bond and will easilly pop.

Because you re finishing on the lathe, it can hold up production, so I set about prepping blanks and assembling pens in the intervals when I m waiting for the CA to dry solid. I can finish about 4 pens with one of the small tubes.

I’ve used medium and thin viscosity CA glue and much prefer the thin. I have activator, but don’t use it. Don’t like the way it feels or smells and it’s expensive.

Note… CA glue burns your nose and/or eyes if you get to close to it while it’s curing (i.e. to inspect the finish close up). Keep your distance.

I don’t use gloves, I just use each little dabber one time and then throw it in the trash. I alway managet to get a drop or two on the tip of my index finger and thumb, but that’s not really a big deal to me.

Try it, you’ll like it.

- Mainiac Matt

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8559 posts in 2531 days


#11 posted 12-07-2018 09:31 PM



CA is my go-to pen finish because it is so darn easy and results are good. Is it the bestest, shiniest ever? I don t know because I m no turning wizzard. But it is dirt simple to get right.

I use whatever cheap CA I can get my hands on. Usually little tubes of Crazy Glue purchased ind 10 packs on sale.

I go through the grits to super fine micro mesh, blow off with air, wipe with laquer thinner and let dry a couple minutes.

I cut up cheap paper towels into patches, fold up into small dabbers ~1”x2” and then at 300 rpm I put several generous drops on the dabber, then immediately apply a line of CA to the pen and wipe it in. You re only wiping to prevent build up ridges, so just go back and forth two or three times.

Here s the most important part…. let it dry a solid 5 to 10 minutes before doing the next coat. If it s still tacky when you do the next coat, you just ruined it and will have to re-turn the pen to remove the finish and do it again. I do about 5 coats and then let it dry 20 min. and remove from the lathe. As noted, it will stick to the bushings, but it s not a strong bond and will easilly pop.

Because you re finishing on the lathe, it can hold up production, so I set about prepping blanks and assembling pens in the intervals when I m waiting for the CA to dry solid. I can finish about 4 pens with one of the small tubes.

I’ve used medium and thin viscosity CA glue and much prefer the thin. I have activator, but don’t use it. Don’t like the way it feels or smells and it’s expensive.

Note… CA glue burns your nose and/or eyes if you get to close to it while it’s curing. Keep your distance.

I don’t use gloves, I just use each little dabber one time and then throw it in the trash. I alway managet to get a drop or two on the tip of my index finger and thumb, but that’s not really a big deal to me.

Try it, you ll like it.

- Mainiac Matt


-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View pottz's profile

pottz

3576 posts in 1187 days


#12 posted 12-07-2018 10:19 PM

no need to let dry 5-10 minutes just a spray of activator and its ready for the next step in 5-10 seconds,i run through all the steps and have a finish in 5 minutes.ive never had a problem this way.a can lasts a long time and will do dozens of pens.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1517 posts in 806 days


#13 posted 12-08-2018 12:22 AM


no need to let dry 5-10 minutes just a spray of activator and its ready for the next step in 5-10 seconds,i run through all the steps and have a finish in 5 minutes.ive never had a problem this way.a can lasts a long time and will do dozens of pens.

- pottz


Yes, but go light on the activator as it will cause the glue to frost up.

That’s what I mean when I say there is no right or wrong way. One person says “let it dry”, another says “use activator” another says “use activator then let it dry” and another will say “use activator and let the whole thing dry over night”. Some people love BLO under their CA and some say it ruins the pen. Believe it or not all of those methods work just fine. :-)

P.S. As much as I love ljs, the site to be on for pen turning is IAP. That’s all they do over there. Most of the pen turners here on ljs are on IAP also.

Good luck and welcome to the club.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Mrowell's profile

Mrowell

231 posts in 1343 days


#14 posted 12-08-2018 02:41 AM

I’ve used EEE, shellawax and CA glue all with good results. I think it really depends on the look and feel your going for. CA tend to leave more of a plastic feel but is highly durable and can provide a high gloss glass like finish.

As others have said CA can stick to bushings but usually comes apart easily by running a razor blade along the seam between the bushing and blank. You can also get finishing bushings that don’t stick, I’ve got a couple pairs and love them. You can get them many places but here is one link to them so you know what your looking for (https://www.woodcraft.com/products/hold-fast-non-stick-bushings-for-ca-pen-finishing?gclid=CjwKCAiA0ajgBRA4EiwA9gFOR4ijpicRK2S8n9vDAFJ_hPL-jWhmrcfvjUOuiGFErZKV-IKL-YwjchoCB4IQAvD_BwE)

-- Matt R

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Andybb

1517 posts in 806 days


#15 posted 12-08-2018 02:44 AM

+1

Or, you can make them yourself as they are just HDPE which is melted down plastic milk bottles or a dollar store cutting board.

I’ve been shaving 1/2” slices off of my wife’s big cutting board for the last 2 years and she still hasn’t noticed. Although a few months ago she was wondering why it all of a sudden was able to fit in the dishwasher. :-)

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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