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Thread: Question for pen turners

  1. #1
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    Question for pen turners

    I'm trying to make my first "decal" pen. After some trial and errors I have two pens turned from "holly" wood. I added two light coats of CA on the turned blanks, sanded and let sit overnight. Tonight I got the decals on and had good results getting them laid flat. So now I'll let them dry overnight. Tomorrow I'll need to put several more coats of CA to protect the decals. My question is....Do I apply the CA with the lathe running or stopped?. I'm using thin CA on a towel to apply. I have been told both ways. How do you do it?
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  2. #2
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    I always did it with the lathe running. I apply at least 10 coats and usually use medium CA.

    Here is a nice tutorial on how one guy does his:

    http://content.penturners.org/librar...ecal_blank.pdf
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  3. #3
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    Paul, that tutorial is the one that has me questioning which is best because he says in that tutorial to wipe it on with the lathe OFF first.
    I have asked this on IAP but getting mixed answers there too.
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  4. #4
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    I don't use a towel, I use a paper towel. If you meant a regular towel it will leave lint. First let me say I have not ever done a decal. With any CA finish, I apply with the lathe on. Otherwise it will puddle and drip off of the bottom (also cover your lathe with a rag/towel below the blank). Slow speed, apply at the bottom edge of the blank and go back and forth across. Mack does a lot of CA finishes, if he doesn't respond, pm and ask him direct, you won't go wrong with his information. Look forward to seeing the blank completed.
    Jon

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  5. #5
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    It will work either way, I like to do it with the lathe on because that is how I have always done it. To me the CA would go on smoother with the lathe running. I use CA as my finish and have always applied it at a slow speed, pour some on my towel and run it across the blank. Just the way I learned from watching Youtube videos when I started making pens. Try it one way on one blank and the other way on another blank and see which you prefer. Do some practice blanks.

    I meant paper towel and I usually use the blue shop towel type. I cut it in strips and double it, apply the CA then tear the piece with CA on it and do it again until I use up the strip of towel. I also cover my finger with blue painters tape to keep the CA off. Use to use the stretchie gloves but I like the tape better. I have also used that thin white foam stuff you wrap things with to pack them. It work great. Mack should speak up here. He has probably made more pens than I have.
    Last edited by Paul Douglass; 12-04-2013 at 03:23 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    I don't use a towel, I use a paper towel. If you meant a regular towel it will leave lint. First let me say I have not ever done a decal. With any CA finish, I apply with the lathe on. Otherwise it will puddle and drip off of the bottom (also cover your lathe with a rag/towel below the blank). Slow speed, apply at the bottom edge of the blank and go back and forth across. Mack does a lot of CA finishes, if he doesn't respond, pm and ask him direct, you won't go wrong with his information. Look forward to seeing the blank completed.
    Jonathan, I too use paper towel. I got lazy and didn't type it all out. I have used CA as a finish and always do it with the lathe running with good results. My concern here is now that I have a decal on the blank I need to add several coats of CA over it. I've read that the decal can be very fragile until it has a coat over it so I'm just wanting to do it correctly so I don't screw up the decal.
    I'll post photos of the finished product IF it turns out ok. LOL
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Baugues View Post
    Jonathan, I too use paper towel. I got lazy and didn't type it all out. I have used CA as a finish and always do it with the lathe running with good results. My concern here is now that I have a decal on the blank I need to add several coats of CA over it. I've read that the decal can be very fragile until it has a coat over it so I'm just wanting to do it correctly so I don't screw up the decal.
    I'll post photos of the finished product IF it turns out ok. LOL
    Okay, that sheds new light on the situation for me. When I turn the laser cut blanks I coat them with CA glue with the lathe off from time to time to insure the little pieces (like the keys on the keyboard and the spacer between the scope and barrel) stay where they are supposed to stay. I use the thinnest glue I have and turn the lathe by hand. Oh, I use the little plastic baggy from the pen kit for my pointer finger to keep CA glue off. So you could apply this with the lathe off but turning the wheel by hand and rubbing the CA onto the blank insuring you get one coat over it without disrupting it from the blank. I assumed the decal was permanently affixed and no worries.
    Jon

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

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    (also cover your lathe with a rag/towel below the blank).
    Harbor Freight sells a stack of 10 half-inch diameter magnets for about $2. Two of these on the tailstock and two more on the headstock do a great job of holding paper towels in place beneath your pen blank while you're applying multiple coats of CA. Keeps you from knocking it off or having it blow off. I leave them there all the time so I don't lose them.

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=Jonathan Shively;386485]I don't use a towel, I use a paper towel. If you meant a regular towel it will leave lint. First let me say I have not ever done a decal. With any CA finish, I apply with the lathe on. Otherwise it will puddle and drip off of the bottom (also cover your lathe with a rag/towel below the blank). Slow speed, apply at the bottom edge of the blank and go back and forth across.
    Mack does a lot of CA finishes, if he doesn't respond, pm and ask him direct, you won't go wrong with his information. Look forward to seeing the blank completed.
    Mack has yet to do any CA finishing over a decal. But all of the CA finishes that he does is with the lathe in motion!
    Mack C. in Brooklin ON
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  10. #10
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    I have one customer that loves decals. I pour a flat blank apply the decal and wait a day to dry. I start with 2 coats of thin just to get it sealed then medium until it's smooth. All my CA is applied with a paper towel. Hope that helps.
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