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CA Glue Finishing



CA Glue Finishing

-Paul Yates-



  • When making a CA glue finish you will need to turn the pen blank a little smaller than the bushing diameter. About 1/32 of an inch to 1/64 of an inch. You do this by using a worn set of bushings first and finishing with a good set or use a caliper to obtain the finish diameter. Be careful to not turn down to the tube!

  • I use a caliper to find the diameter of a new set of new bushings and place the measurements on a 3x5 inch card for future reference. Repeat for each style pen.

  • After the desired diameter and profile is achieved, begin sanding, starting with 150-grit, 220-grit, 320-grit, 400-grit, and 600-grit. Note: prior to using 400-grit and above on light colored blanks, wrap bushings in one layer of scotch tape to keep bushing metal particles from migrating into the wood pores while sanding.

  • After the sanding process is complete, turn off the lathe and change the lathe speed to its lowest setting via the belt or rheostat if so equipped.

  • Remove the bushings and install plastic washers on your good set of bushings to keep the glue from sticking to the bushing. Hand-cut washers made from a plastic milk container works the best.

  • Next, turn the lathe on and apply a light bead of Thick CA glue to the blank next to the washers at each end. Allow to dry.

  • Next, gently remove the plastic washers from the centers.

  • Turn the lathe back on starting at one end of the blank, begin drizzling CA glue across the top of your blank while at the same time using a folded piece of paper towel or put a finger in one of the small plastic bags that come with the pen kit under your blank. Follow the glue across the blank once and back to help even out the coat. Move fairly fast to prevent towel or bag from sticking to the blank. Allow each layer to dry before applying the next.

    • Apply 3-5 layers of thick CA glue or 5-10 layers of thin glue depending on the desired thickness of the finish.

    • Note: use enough layers of paper towel to keep glue from seeping through and burning your finger.

  • Prior to finish sanding, change lathe speed back to the fastest setting.

  • Begin with 220-grit and sand only enough to smooth out the surface to the desired profile, and then stop. Next, switch to the micromesh pads and water.

  • Take the finish through all grits. Make sure you do not over sand the finish down to the wood or you will need to repeat steps to build up the glue layer.

  • Remove sanding slurry between each grit.

  • When desired luster is achieved, stop the lathe and apply one coat of acrylic polish with a piece of paper towel. With lathe running, take a dry piece of paper towel and lightly begin to polish pen blank surface while still wet. (Follow the instructions on the container of polish.)

  • Stop the lathe and remove pen blank and assemble pen kit.