In my experience, and that of others, too, surface finishes (the Hut and Mylands,
both wax and/or shellac type finishes) on pens just will not hold up. Surface
finishes, be they varnish, lacquer, shellac, wax, etc., will eventually wear off of
pens from handling. Some sooner than others.
We woodworkers have it so ingrained in our minds that a shiny finish is a must on
everything. Well, pens are a rather intimate object. Its owner holds it dare I say
lovingly, not just blindly using it as though it was a cheapie Bic disposable.
These pens get used and cherished for years, and if a surface finish is starting to
look worn after a few weeks of use, the pen's owner will be very disappointed.
I certainly can't complain about your sanding follow through, but I might throw 180
and 400 grit in there. Anyway, if your sanding job has thoroughly removed all signs
of scratches, I would suggest that you use a penetrating finish. I prefer pure tung
1. Really brings out the grain contrast and enhances natural colors, without
obscuring any details.
2. After a few wiped on coats (allow to soak for a few minutes, keeping wet, and
wipe off excess), the wood has some protection from moisture.
3. The oil imparts a nice soft glow, no shiny light reflection to interfere with
looking at the grain of the wood.
4. With time, the wood will develop its own patina from skin oils unique to each
5. Because there is no surface finish to wear off (which is a benefit all by
itself), the wood itself will continue to be buffed by hand contact, getting
smoother as time goes by, but never to lose the oil finish.
If this sounds appealing, Woodcraft sells 100% pure tung oil with its own house
label on the can, in pints, quarts and gallons. Many other catalog sources sell
Behlan's Pure Tung Oil, usually in quarts. A pint might cost you about $9-10, a
quart about $17, from either source. Even a pint will last you a good long time
when making pens, great for other turnings, too. This is my finish of choice for
turnings. For non-handling items (decorative bowls, plates, etc.), I've also been
applying 2 coats of Trewax brand clear/natural color paste wax (got it at Ace
hardware for about $5.50), and I've also been experimenting with shellac as a finish
with a final wax buffing.
Really getting off the topic, if you want to make a homemade oil/varnish concoction,
mix one part pure tung oil, one part your favorite brand oil-based varnish (poly or
not), and one part mineral spirits. This works great for turnings, also. Gives
just a bit more shine and surface film, but I still would not use it on pens. You
can vary the ratio of ingredients in any way, all of these materials are compatible.
Using CA glue for a pen finish sounds compelling, but the fumes coming off of the
glue is enought to knock over a horse. That's another benefit of pure tung oil, no
solvent fumes to mess with your brain cells.
> >I am sure this has been asked, but I have not seen the answer.
> >I am finishing my European style pens with 120, 240, 600, and 1500 sand
> >paper. Then I am applying the two stage hut PPP polish. I then finish the
> >pens with Mylands high build friction polish. The pens look wonderful and
> >shine beautifully. But the shine diminishes after a few days or more after
> >being handled a few days. Is there a better way to seal this shine short of
> >CA glue? Where can I get good instructions on using CA glue to finish pens?
> >Thanks for your expertise!