Pen bushing leaving discoloration on blanks?

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Forum topic by Split posted 03-16-2014 04:05 PM 444 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Split's profile


33 posts in 396 days

03-16-2014 04:05 PM

I turned a pen blank the other day and used the bushings for the first time all went well until I started finishing. The wood was a really light colored maple. I went to apply a drop of boiled linseed oil as I usually do but upon working it into the blank with a towel moving side to side I noticed a problem. The bushings were somehow dis coloring my wood with a grey color. I am guessing it was fine metal from the last sanding. I was wondering if anyone has had this problem? Should I clean new bushings with break cleaner or always make sure to wire everything down with tack cloth?


6 replies so far

View TechTeacher04's profile (online now)


172 posts in 189 days

#1 posted 03-17-2014 03:14 PM

I agree with your thought. The color change is from a reaction between the metal filings and the wood/finish.

View JADobson's profile


304 posts in 768 days

#2 posted 03-17-2014 03:28 PM

I’ve had this problem before too. If anyone has a solution that more than one person would appreciate it.

-- James

View Kenbu's profile


18 posts in 538 days

#3 posted 03-17-2014 03:45 PM

After experiencing this myself a few times, I invested in a set of plastic cone-shaped bushings that I now use for all my finishing.


View Wildwood's profile


1040 posts in 792 days

#4 posted 03-17-2014 06:52 PM

Stop sanding your bushings! Cleaning bushing with brake cleaner not going to help anything if continue sanding them.

If pick up a dead center, can sand and finish without bushings. You need dead center in headstock & live center in tailstock. Can only do one barrel at a time.

Hit the pen barrels & bushings with compressed air before finishing.

Wipe off pen barrels & bushings with paper towel before finishing.

Some turners wipe off with solvent, acetone, alcohol (DNA), mineral spirits before applying finish.

-- Bill

View Darell's profile


421 posts in 2251 days

#5 posted 03-17-2014 07:10 PM

I wrap the bushings with quarter inch masking tape before finishing. No problems. I have been considering those plastic bushings that Kenbu uses though. They’re a good idea.

-- Darell, Norman, Ok.

View TerryDowning's profile


1004 posts in 774 days

#6 posted 03-19-2014 11:28 PM

You can even turn your own finishing bushings. If I can do it anyone can.

Just find some cast acetal rod (Delrin) because nothing sticks to it. Urethane Rod works well too.
Drill a hole the same size as your mandrel. I used 1/4” drill bit.
Mount to your mandrel and shape the cones. The angle is not critical, it just needs to be even and accommodate multiple tube diameters.

When your ready to sand and finish your turned blank, swap your metal sizing bushings for the finishing bushings.

I have even skipped the metal bushings and used the plastic finishing bushings from the start. Just sneak up on the diameter measuring with calipers as I get close. Use the mating hardware as your reference measurement for each tube end.

-- - Terry

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