Pen scratches

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Forum topic by noviceturner78 posted 03-25-2015 10:25 AM 570 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 577 days

03-25-2015 10:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: pen scratch cigar pens pens scratches lathe turning

Hello fellow wood turners, I just started turning a few weeks ago and started with turning cigar pens. The issue that I have right now is that once I am done turning the pen I always seem to leave scratch marks on the finished product (after I use sand paper). I start with 150 grit and work my way up to 2000. Am I starting off with to low of a grit? If so, at what grit should I start with. Thank you for your help

4 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


1848 posts in 1552 days

#1 posted 03-25-2015 11:08 AM

I use sharp tools (roughing gouge, skew) to turn pens and normally start sanding with 320 grit paper. I use quality sandpaper turn lathe speed down to lowest speed for sanding. May not go above 400 grit paper depending upon wood or finish going to use. Will wet sand/polish after finish applied with micromesh.

Before applying finish will take pen barrels (wood or acrylic) outside in daylight looking for sanding scratches or any damage did while turning. My eyes are old, and even with shop lighting have missed a scratch or damage!

-- Bill

View Woodbum's profile


714 posts in 2483 days

#2 posted 03-25-2015 01:11 PM

Welcome to the world of pen production. As was said, use sharp tools and sharpen as many times as you need to in order to maintain the fine edge on your tools. Are you finishing wood or alternate materials? If wood, are you using a CA finish? If you are, then you can finish wood the same way as you would acrylics etc. Try Abralon pads or Micro Mesh after you get to 600-800 grit. Do not skip grits, and only sand enough to remove the scratch marks from the previous grit on the blank. Use only a heavy enough starting grit to eliminate tool marks if any. If your scratches are circular around the pen, slow the lathe down, or even shut it off and sand parallel to the barrel IF NECESSARY, turning the lathe handwheel by hand. Use a liquid scratch remover as your final step, as it will remove those irksome tiny scratches that seem to remain no matter what you do. Look at your finished pen barrels with a raking light source, scratches show up much better than with a direct light source. Practice and experimentation will get you where you want to go. Have fun. And oh by the way; once you really get into this addictive hobby, you will have to take out a second mortgage on your home to support it.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View Kenbu's profile


28 posts in 1298 days

#3 posted 03-25-2015 04:17 PM

In addition to the excellent advice given so far, I suggest 1) wiping off the piece between grits, with your hand or a dry rag, to remove any traces of sanding material, 2) don’t forget to sand perpendicular to the piece’s rotation before changing grits, and 3) use a light touch.


View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

3538 posts in 1979 days

#4 posted 03-25-2015 04:43 PM

Welcome Novice

If you can tell us how you sand and what grits you use would help us a lot. Then we can tell you what can be done to help a lot better.

-- Please help me help other Vets click..> is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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