Feedback on Pen Videos

Just tripped over some discussions about my recent Pen Turning videos (Part 1 – Preparing and Turning and Part 2 Finishing and Assembling) on a site called and thought I’d provide some responses here:

Firstly, thanks for the comments (both positive (and not so positive – they make some good points))

I wouldn’t have minded if you’d told me where you thought I’d gone wrong – I’m still learning like everyone!

To the specific points raised:

Speed I was turning (and sanding) at – not sure – fast! (A tip I picked up from Robbo, who is an amazing professional turner)

Chisel – yeah – the gouge is way too big for the job.  I definitely have my eye out for one that is a more appropriate size.  The one I used did the job, but it is 2-3 times larger than it should be for such a small item! Also, toolrest to workpiece distance – good point (I’m still learning this turning caper)

To Harry’s comments – yes, I didn’t work up through anywhere near as many sandpaper grits than I used to (I used to head up to 1200+), but found it doesn’t seem to make any difference to the result under a CA finish.  Perhaps I could get an even better result if I did.  As to skipping micromesh grits – no – didn’t skip any – sorry if I didn’t make that clear.  However, nor did I clean off the residue between grits, and that is a very good point – thanks for that pickup – will change my practices accordingly.

Too much accelerator? I’m positive that I was, and that stuff isn’t cheap so I will definitely scale back my use of it. The only time I have gotten a milky finish is when I forgot to use the accelerator, (or when I tried one before I had some, and didn’t leave enough time for the CA to set properly).  I tend to think the milky issue is caused by a micro-shearing of the CA finish on a layer that wasn’t set hard enough (that layer slipping).  However, it will also be interesting to monitor the pens over time to see how they are affected down track.  At this stage, the first pens I did with CA are now over 2 months old, and are as pristine as the day they were made (and have been used every day since then too).

The use of accelerator is just that – to speed up the process.  If you are willing to wait an hour or so between coats, then yeah- there is no need for the accelerator.  Like any glue, there is a time to when the glue sets and therefore you can remove the clamps, but then there is a much longer time for the glue to cure and achieve full strength.  Superglue is the same – it may seem to dry in seconds, but it will take a good hour or so to cure properly.  The accelerator, well, you can surmise from its title what it does!

Thanks for the discussion though – hopefully I’ve helped a bit, clarified a bit, (and I’ve learned a bit as well!)

One Response

  1. Thank you for providing the videos. I think that going past 800 grit paper, and then starting with 1800 micromesh would be a duplication of effort, if not counter productive. I agree completely with your thoughts on accelerator and glues. I’m retired and I’m not trying to make a living off of my pens, so time is not that important to me. If you haven’t already, you’re always welcome to register and post over on the Zone. There’s not enough discussion there on pen turning, but you might find some other area of woodworking that interests you.

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