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, fold it over a few times, and add 5-10 drops of CA glue to the folded-over portion of the paper towel. Watch it for 20-30 seconds. If it starts to smoke as the CA glue heats up, you shouldn’t use those paper towels. They’ve failed the test. If it doesn’t start to smoke, then you should be in the clear.


What Paper Towel Brands Are Most Popular?

In my experience, Viva paper towels seem to be the most popular in forums and other pen turning communities. I’ve also had good experiences and have been able to produce consistently great results using Scott shop towels (the blue shop towels you see in auto parts stores). If you don’t have access to either of those brands, pick up a couple of the more expensive rolls from the grocery store and put them through the test outlined in the paragraph above. If it passes, they’ll likely do just fine.


Comment with Questions/Feedback!

I hope that helps! If you have any questions or comments of your own, please leave them in the comments section below! If for no other reason than to let me know that you stopped by.

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  1. i find your website to be the best that i have found. i am a new turner and i often go back to your web site to refresh myself in many different areas.

    Thanks again for you wonderful advice.

  2. Charles H Swift

    Thanks for the advice regarding paper towels. I have been using the wrong paper towels for some time. Couldn’t figure out why the towels I was using heated up to the point of burning my fingers. Thanks again.

  3. Steve Botha

    Your website and tutorial is the best that I could get on the internet and “Youtube”. I am new to “pen turning” and wanted to get he best, most comprehensive “training”. You provided it!! Thank you very much for taking the time to teach others your skills on a craft that you are obviously very passionate about. You should consider publishing a “hardcopy” book on this!

    Thank you for this investment you made in my skills. I am very grateful to have got to you site!

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