What Paper Towels Should I Use for a CA Finish?...

Dec 1, 2013 by

The type of paper towels that you use when applying a CA finish can make a BIG difference in your final results. I didn’t know this when I attempted a CA finish for the first time, and boy did I pay the price. Here are a few of the issues you can encounter if you’re using the wrong type of paper towel: Hazing Uneven finish Flakes/lint embedded in finish Paper towels getting stuck while applying CA glue finish Don’t panic though, it’s easy to figure out if the paper towels you have in the house will cut it.   How to Test Paper Towels for CA Glue Finish So how do you know whether or not a certain brand of paper towel will do for applying a CA finish? Just take your paper towel,...

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Lathe Speed: Turning Pens

Nov 23, 2013 by

I wondered what the correct lathe speed was for turning pens for YEARS before I found all of the right answers. The optimal lathe speed for turning pens varies throughout the different stages of the process. No need for you to go digging – I’ll write out everything I’ve pulled together and tested over the past few years in this post.   Lathe Speed for Drilling Pen Blanks – Low Obviously this section ONLY APPLIES if you drill your pen blanks on your lathe. If you drill them using a drill press, feel free to skip over this section. If you drill your pen blanks using a chuck on your mini lathe, it’s best to use a pretty slow speed. For me, that’s the lowest speed on my 5-speed lathe – 750 RPM, but...

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What is a CA Glue Finish?

Jun 4, 2013 by

The CA in “CA glue” stands for cyanoacrylate which is a family of rapidly curing adhesives. In pen turning, CA glue is what you most likely use to glue the brass tubes into your drilled pen blanks.   This same glue can also be used to create a glass-like, durable finish which essentially coats your pens in a layer of plastic, protecting them for decades or generations to come. This is referred to as a CA glue finish, or a CA finish for short, and it looks something like this once it’s cured and sanded:   The whole process is a little tricky and it takes some practice, but once you’ve got it down it will make every pen you make a head-turner.   If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at CA...

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What is Pen Turning?

Jun 4, 2013 by

I know from years of doing this that people just don’t understand what you do when you say that one of your hobbies is pen turning.   So what is pen turning?   It’s pretty simple actually. Pen turning is the process of taking a few raw materials, like this:   And turning them into a beautiful, handmade, one-of-a-kind pen, like this:   This is a several step process that includes preparing the pen blanks for the lathe (a “blank” is just the material you’re using for the pen), turning the pen blanks, sanding the pen blanks, adding a finish, and assembly. If you’ve never created something by hand it’s quite a rewarding thing, especially when you get complements on your little pieces of art. These pens can be turned using just about any...

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