Pen turning questions (finishing)

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by Cecil Clonrt » Fri, 04 Aug 2000 04:00:00



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!

Cecil

 
 
 

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by Grusser » Fri, 04 Aug 2000 04:00:00


For what its worth, the following is how I finish pens.

Writing instruments and other personal items are subjected to a harsher
environment than any other turning.   Various sources have described the "best"
finish as a friction polish, lacquer, shellac, CA glue, and other materials.
All will look good when new, and some will wear longer than others, but all of
them will succumb to the wear, abrasion, and constant contact with body acids
with daily use. Most of these finishes will not outlast the 24k plating on the
fittings, and none will outlast the Titanium-Gold plating on the premium
fittings.

Consider that the best finish for these personal items may be none at all.  The
natural wood will develop a patina and a polished oil finish from use and
exposure to our body oils.  The finish will never wear away, instead it is
maintained and enhanced by daily use and handling.  I use Perfect Pen Polish
(PPP) as a temporary protection on the highly polished natural wood surface.
The wax is removed by wear and replaced with body oils after a short time of
regular use, and the transition is unnoticeable.

Turn and sand the pen barrels as described by the parts suppliers literature,
but sand through at least 1500-grit. I usually sand dry to 320, and then wet
sand withto 2000-grit, using Watco Liquid Finishing Wax as a lubricant. Since
we aren't going to apply a finish the presence of silicones or other
ingredients is no problem and household waxes such as Johnson's Jubilee are
also good for this purpose.

PPP is then applied as directed on the package with the lathe at full speed.
You will now have a highly polished natural wood surface that has a temporary
wax protection.  It may not have the most surface gloss now, but it will be the
best looking after months of daily use.

There are many acetate acrylic materials, such as crushed Velvet, available for
turning pen barrels.  These plastic materials require somewhat different
turning and finishing techniques from wood because of their low melting
temperatures.  It is an absolute requirement that NO heat can be generated
during the turning, sanding, or finishing of plastics.  Judging from the poor
quality of finish that I often see on these materials, many are not aware of
this difference between wood and plastic.

Use a very sharp tool for turning, and watch the chips that are being formed.
The chip should curl off the tool in a continuous flowing unbroken ribbon.  If
it is breaking up into little balls, it is getting too hot in the cutting area
and the plastic is melting.  Use a slower lathe speed or take a lighter cut
with a tool that is honed to a keener edge, sometimes both are needed. If the
problem persists, wipe the surface with kerosene before pass of the tool across
the surface. The smoke that is generated will make you think that you are in a
machine shop.

Wet-sand the barrel, using kerosene as a lubricant, at a slow lathe speed no
faster than about 500 RPM.  Finish with 600 grit.  Then run the lathe a bit
faster, but not over 1200 RPM, and wet-sand with Crocus Cloth, again lubricated
with kerosene.  Keep the cloth and the surface very wet to prevent any heat
from ruining the surface finish. Crocus Cloth has a 1200-grit jewelers rouge
abrasive on a cloth backing.

Wipe the surface clean.  If it isn't highly polished, or it has circular
sanding-type rings, the surface got too hot.  Start over at a slower lathe
speed, and use more kerosene.

Wax is an optional step to give some temporary protection to the surface. If
you wish to use a stick-wax product, use only the white (or light colored) PPP.
The abrasives in the dark wax  aren't needed after using the crocus cloth.  DO
NOT use a hard carnuba wax stick such as Libron, regular Hut, etc. They are too
hard and their melting temperature is so high that they can melt and "drag" the
plastic surface.  The PPP has a lower melting temperature that will not damage
the plastic.

The wet sanding with kerosene as a lubricant also works extremely well on
Ebony, Cocobolo, and similar hard woods.

 
 
 

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by Fred Holde » Fri, 04 Aug 2000 04:00:00


Hello Cecil,

I don't turn pens so really can't answer your question, specifically. I have,
however, used CA glue for a finish on some punky woods in the past. You must
treat it very carefully to ensure that you are not glued to your workpiece, or
you don't get the stuff in your eyes, or you don't get it all over your glasses.
For finishes, the thin stuff is the best. It soaks into the wood and makes the
surface of the wood very hard. When used as a finish, do not use accelerator
since that will cause it to froth up. You want it to soak in and set on the
surface of the wood. Wait a couple of minutes or more to allow the stuff to
cure.

Now, there was a thread on this topic on the newsgroup some time back. With a
bit of searching, you may be able to find it in the archives at DejaNews. Go to
<http://www.deja.com>, at the top of the page select "Search Discussion Groups,"
then select "power search". At that point, put in rec.crafts.woodturning as the
forum and try "CA glue as a finish" for the topic. Then experiment with the
topic from there until you find the thread. There were quite a few posts on
using the stuff as a finish, but I don't remember the name of the thread.

Good luck,

Fred Holder
<http://www.fholder.com/>


says...

Quote:

>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!

>Cecil

Fred Holder
<http://www.fholder.com/>
 
 
 

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by BKral » Fri, 04 Aug 2000 04:00:00


I'm REALLY an ameteur, and I'm sure someone will tell me that what I'm doing is
wrong (mainly because its so simple and no one has ever mentioned it before),
but here is what I do.

I take regular old polyurathane and dip a cotton cloth into it--no more than a
few drops of the poly remain on the rag.  I then apply it to the spinning pen
parts and "friction rub" it in --it dries very fast.  I put three coats of this
on--again--very thin, then I put two coats of PPP for a "showroom glow."  The
pens stay protected though like any wood that's handled, it does lose a bit to
the "new pen shine", but its cheap, easy, and effective.

 
 
 

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by Grusser » Fri, 04 Aug 2000 04:00:00


Finishing seems tp be a complex subject to the novice because there are so many
different ways to accomplish the same thing. If a technique works for you, and
you are pleased with the results, then there is nothing wrong with it.

I always present my techniques as something that "works for me", and encourage
everyone to use this as a safe base for a start to experiment and develop their
own favorite finish. .

 
 
 

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by Grusser » Fri, 04 Aug 2000 04:00:00


I somehow deleted the CA step in the description of my pen finish when I posted
it.

I make CA applicators from synthetic batting attached to a strip of 1" masking
tape about 2.5" long, and then wrap a strip of tape around its middle. I now
have a handle with a 3/4" long piece of batting sticking out on either end. I
use the synthetic batting because the cellulose in both cotton and paper acts
as a catalyst for a faster reaction of the CA glue.

After sanding the wood to 400-grit, I apply a couple drops of thin CA glue, and
work it into the wood grain while it is still wet. Wait a minute for it to
cure, but this can be accelerated with a paper towel against the spinning
piece.

I want the CA to be a filler and hardener, rather than a surface film finish on
the wood. I go back to 320-grit to remove all of the surface CA, and then
proceed through 2000-grit as described in my earlier posting..

Russ Fairfield
Silverdale, WA

 
 
 

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by Steve Tiedma » Fri, 04 Aug 2000 04:00:00


Cecil,

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
oil.  Advantages:

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
individual.
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.

Good luck,

Steve Tiedman

---------------------------------------

Quote:


> says...

> >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!

> >Cecil

 
 
 

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by Bill Nobl » Sat, 05 Aug 2000 04:00:00


on a hard oily wood, for example cocobolo, you don't need any
finish at all - just sand to 320 or so and then burnish with
the wood shavings from the pen blank until it is shiny.  Wtih
no finsh, there is no finish to wear off.


Quote:
> Cecil,

> In my experience, and that of others, too, surface finishes

(the Hut and Mylands,
Quote:
> 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
Quote:
> pens from handling.  Some sooner than others.

> We woodworkers have it so ingrained in our minds that a

shiny finish is a must on
 
 
 

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by Grusser » Sun, 06 Aug 2000 04:00:00


The short answer to your question is, NO, "danish oil" is not a substitute for
pure Tung Oil.

As a straight oil finish, Tung Oil develops a hard durable surface that is
waterproof, isn't damaged by acetone and other solvents, doesn't turn yellow or
darken with age, and doesn't discolor the wood; but it doesn't penetrate the
surface very well, it takes forever to dry, and is more expensive than other
oils. We can solve thepoor penetration and slow drying problems with the heat
generated by spinning the work on the lathe.

It must be labeled as 100% Pure Tung Oil. Many commercial finishes have some
small amount added so they can be labeled as a "Tung Oil Finish". Many of them
contain no Tung Oil at all. None of them retain the properties of pure Tung
Oil.

"Danish Oils" have no resemblance to Tung Oil. They are blended from Linseed
Oil, soybean and other vegetable oils because they are far less expensive. They
contain a lot of solvent for better penetration and metalic drying agents for
faster drying, but they have none of the properties of Tung Oil. They turn very
dark with age, many become rancid, they are not durable, and they must be
periodically renewed.

Russ Fairfield
Silverdale, WA

 
 
 

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by Steve Tiedma » Sun, 06 Aug 2000 04:00:00


Hi, Dave

In my other post on this topic, I gave a recipe for making a homemade
oil/varnish blend wiping finish.  Danish oil is considered a wiping varnish,
not a oil/varnish blend like I described.  It is a similar recipe, but
formulated/mixed up (cooked or something) to somehow make it different,
acting more like a regular varnish in a sense, but that is neither here nor
there.  (Bob Flexner's book "Understanding Wood Finishing" explains this
stuff a lot better than I.)  Keep in mind that every finish labeled "tung
oil finish" has questionable ingredient content, most likely lacking pure
tung oil altogether, and is considered a wiping varnish, in the same
category as Danish oil.  Pure tung oil is just that and marketed as such.
Woodcraft sells 100% pure tung oil in a house-labeled bottle, in pints,
quarts, and gallons.  Behlan's sells their Behlan's Pure Tung Oil in many
catalogs that carry Behlan's products.  (This is what I use.)  Two sources
are Garrett Wade and Klingspor's Sanding Catalog.  Let me know if you can't
reach these companies, I can forward contact info to you.  Other catalogs
list it, too, along with Behlan's Danish Oil and Behlan's Salad Bowl
Finish.  (I think Behlan's Danish Oil and Salad Bowl Finish must be
fraternal twin brothers, but that is only my opinion.)

Anyway, for all ease Danish oil has, it still imparts a surface layer that
is going to where off, not much of one, but a surface layer none-the-less.
It takes several coats to build up a surface finish with Danish oils.

Danish oil is essentially some kind of penetrating oil (depending on the
manufacturer it could be linseed oil, tung oil, or even a modified vegetable
oil), a heavy percentage of a solvent, mineral spirits or similar, which
makes it nice and thin for wiping, and a small percentage of a varnish resin
which creates the surface film.  This is in the same realm as the recipe I
described, just with ratios you control, less solvents (add more to my
recipe if you want for thinner and easier wiping), and no fancy cooking
process or chemical dryers that do something to the way molecules of finish
react to each other.  Danish oil being a "wiping varnish" does offer a bit
more protection to the surface of wood vs. an "oil/varnish blend", but
whether the differences could be noticed is unknown.

That being said, Danish oil still leaves a surface finish which on a pen is
going to wear off.  Danish oil is great on furniture and any other
woodworking that doesn't get the abuse of a pen.  But I can't think of any
other piece of woodworking that receives as much tender loving wear and tear
to the finish as the continuous hand contact a pen receives.  A wood pen
receives as much hand contact wear in one day as, dare I say, a coffee table
receives (hand contact) in an entire year.  I cannot be convinced of any
other kind of finish for wood pens other than a purely penetrating finish,
and pure tung oil will always be my only choice in this matter.

What about linseed oil, you ask?  Raw linseed oil is worthless for a
finish.  Boiled linseed oil cures quickly, like regular varnish (raw takes
weeks to cure), cures a darker color than tung oil, and is the inferior oil
(raw or boiled) compared to pure tung oil.

I apply pure tung oil, keeping the wood wet with oil for a good 5 minutes or
so, wipe off the excess and buff with a cotton rag with the lathe spinning
(not real fast, maybe 1000rpm).  If you can wait a day between coats and
buffing, great.  But I have applied all the coats in the matter of an hour
or so, waiting 15-20 minutes between application/buffing as described and
the next coat.  Works fine this way, too.

Hope this helps.  Let me know if you have any other questions about it.

Take care,

Steve Tiedman

-----------------------------

Quote:


> > I would suggest that you use a penetrating finish.  I prefer pure tung
> oil.

> -------------------------------
> snip ----------------------------------------

> As one who is still learning about such things, could Danish oil be
> substituted for tung oil?

> Dave Aitchison?

 
 
 

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by Dave Aitchiso » Mon, 07 Aug 2000 04:00:00


Quote:

> I would suggest that you use a penetrating finish.  I prefer pure tung

oil.

-------------------------------
snip ----------------------------------------

As one who is still learning about such things, could Danish oil be
substituted for tung oil?

Dave Aitchison?

 
 
 

Pen turning questions (finishing)

Post by Dave Aitchiso » Mon, 07 Aug 2000 04:00:00


After reading about the merits  of Tung Oil, I now ask the question of the
Aussie turners on this NG - where can I get Tung Oil in Australia. Looked
through the latest issue of Australian Woodworker but can't find any.

Please help

Dave Aitchison