Pen bushing leaving discoloration on blanks?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by Split posted 03-16-2014 04:05 PM 1215 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Split's profile


33 posts in 1975 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


396 posts in 1767 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


1327 posts in 2347 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.

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

View Kenbu's profile


33 posts in 2116 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


2525 posts in 2370 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


435 posts in 3830 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


1104 posts in 2353 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

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics