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Thread: CyanoAcrylate Glue Finish for Pens

  1. #1
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    CyanoAcrylate Glue Finish for Pens

    Some one asked me about my comments on the 'Super Glue' Finish, so I thought I would post how I do it. I'm not claiming to be an expert, just thought I'd share.

    I think its one of those things that there are a lot of different ways to do, so if anyone else has done this and has some tips, please chime in! I'm using a variable speed Jet Mini Lathe for any references I make to speed.

    It's kind of hard to capture in a picture what it looks like, but I think this is probably the best example I've got on disk.



    A couple of notes first.
    * This finish has a certain amount of 'voodoo' to it.
    I can't make it work perfectly everytime.
    Sometimes I just sand it down and start over.
    I'd suggest if you want to try it, just just take
    the cheapest piece of wood you have, mount it
    on a pen mandrel, turn it and give it a try.

    * Not everyone likes this kind of a finish. Some folks
    complain that it makes the pen look 'plastic', like
    you might have just used an acrylic blank instead.
    Personally, I like both wood and acrylic pens, and
    I really like the depth of shine this gives the pen.

    * There are probably other ways to get as good a shine,
    but I just dont have any experience with them.

    * CA Glue can give off some nasty fumes, so keep a fan
    blowing or use your dust collector to pull the fumes
    away from the pen.

    * Either use gloves, or be ready to have some super
    glue on you fingers. I use super glue so much
    that it doesn't bother me anymore, but I don't get
    to town all that often...

    Steps:

    1) Turn a pen

    2) I will initially sand my pen using regular
    sandpaper grits of 100/150/220/320/600
    at the slowest speed my lathe can go.

    3) Using the Paper Blue Shop towels, I fold the
    towels over until it's about 2 inches wide
    then cut them into strips about 2 inches wide.

    4) Now I crank up the speed on the lathe to about
    the middle of my middle range. I put one of these
    pads up against one side of the pen barrel and
    put a couple of drops of BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil) on
    the pen and rub the pad back and forth until it covers
    the pen.

    5) Now I use some Medium thickness CyanoAcrylate
    glue and while the lathe is still running and the pad
    still up against the pen, I run a thin bead of CA
    along the pen barrel.

    6) Keeping a close eye on things, I run the pad back
    and forth until the pen has a nice sheen to it.
    Depending on the speed, this may only take
    several seconds.

    7) Depending on how things look, Repeat steps
    4,5,6. I typically do it 3 times

    8) Now it's time to polish. I have a set of micromesh
    pads that I think you can get from woodturners
    catalog. These start at like 1500 grit (I think) and go
    way way up from there. Very fine stuff.
    I will wet sand with alittle spray bottle and a MM Pad
    and will sand on each grit for about 5 seconds or so
    on the Very slowest speed my lathe will go.

    9) Once that's done, it's pretty shiny, but not quite shiny enough.
    I made a buffing wheel for my lathe out of some threaded
    rod and two buffing pads. I put Tripoli compound on one and
    some very fine Diamon compound on the other.
    I crank the lathe up to the max speed on the middle range
    and with the pen still on the mandrel will buff on the tripoli
    first. Then I wipe the pen of real good and then buff on the
    diamond wheel.
    At this point, if all went well, I've got a pen with a perfectly
    clear, deep looking, glassy shine.

    10) If you used gloves, you've probably done a good
    job of not gluing your fingers together.
    If you are like me, you probably now have a thick coating
    of glue on your fingers. I find that working some hand
    lotion into you fingers will help to loosen up the glue after
    a few minutes.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  2. #2
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    Thanks Brent I did not even know this was possible. Where do you get the glue in quantities I would imagine one needs for this sort of excercise. Does it not work out very expensive since the pad probably absorbs a great deal of glue?
    cheers

  3. #3
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    Well, Yeah, you don't want to buy it in the little teeny tiny tubes at Home Depot

    I also do Radio Controlled Airplanes, and the CA glue makes building those balsa wood contraptions a lot faster than the old days.

    Any hobby shop worth it's while will carry different viscosities of glue in different sizes.

    That being said, I've purchased the medium CA in an 8oz bottle before, but I wouldn't recommend that, unless you really go through it fast. It does have a shelf life and there is a trade off in price/quantity. The more you buy, the cheaper it is, but the longer it sits (especially in a big bottle), well, it seems to not work as well...

    So for now, I'm just going down to the local RC store and buying my glue there. It's fresh, and not that expensive in about a 2 ounce bottle.

    I think the rockler and woodcraft stores stock it as well, but on the days I go to town, I like to visit as many of my 'hobby shops' as possible, just for entertainment, and to help the local guys out.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  4. #4
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    Rob, you can buy 1 oz to 4 oz bottles of CA glue from most (if not all) of the woodturning supply places I've seen. A 2 oz bottle lasts me quite a while.

    Brent, I use a similar method for CA finish, but I apply it differently. My method (putting it on heavy with a plastic bag on my finger and using accelerant) tends to leave a fairly "globby" finish that I then have to wet sand out, usually starting at 120 gritor so. I'll give the paper towel trick a shot to see if it saves me some sanding.

    Something I've learned on acrylic pens, and now use on CA finishes, is I can go from 400 or 600 grit wet sanding straight to the tripoli buff, and it looks as good (to me) as the micro mesh/buffer routine. Try it sometime and see if you like the results. If not, you can always put it back on the lathe and go through the micro mesh.

    That's a real pretty pen, BTW.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    That's a real pretty pen, BTW.
    Thanks!

    I'm sending that one off to my Grandma. She still writes letters on something I think people call 'paper'. Not sure what that is. Might have to look it up on Wikipedia...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  6. #6
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    Vaughn,

    I do find that the way I do it seems to put a pretty light coat of CA on the pen, so I go pretty light on the coarser grits. Sometimes depending on my mood and how the pen looks, I'll skip the first couple of MM Grits.

    I have been known to sand completely through the finish and have to start over again...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  7. #7
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    Your technique is similar to what many use. The "plastic" sheen you mention is a matter of taste. On the pen forums many of those who are successful at selling pens state that customers are attracted to pens with a high sheen.
    My only comment on what you said is the "close eye" statement. Using CA with a spinny tool requires some safety measures. Do keep protection over that "close eye". A trip to the emergency room with a big dollop of CA on yer eyeball could ruin the whole day.

  8. #8
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    Ryan at Woodturningz sent me a three step polish that is easier for my students to use and gives a very, very nice sheen/polish to a pen and is reported to be quite durable (more than the Hut friction polish). It is Myland's sanding sealer, Myland's liquid friction polish then I have the students put on four coats of the carnuba wax friction polish. A final run through the carnuba buffing wheel and what a shine!
    How do you stop from gluing the blanks to the mandrel and bushings?
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  9. #9
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    Here you go Frank.
    Quote Originally Posted by Norm
    "Before we use any power tools, let's take a moment to talk about shop safety. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these safety glasses."
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    How do you stop from gluing the blanks to the mandrel and bushings?
    Understand I'm not 'glopping' on a ton of glue, and I'm not using the watery thin stuff.

    If the ends of the pens are trimmed pretty well, it doesn't seem like the glue gets down in between the bushings.

    The bushings can get a buildup of glue on them, but a quick dip in an acetone bath takes care of that.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


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