Month: October 2020

Finishing the Blank

Finishing the Blank

Finishing the pen blank is regarded as the tedious from the tasks. The process involves sanding and applying the finishes. There are several finishes since there are pen-makers. Here, I list more common finishes that I use.

Sanding the Blank

Depending about the smoothness from the pen after turning, I pick the right sandpaper. When using softer woods, the pen blanks can be smooth as soon as the last skew cut and I might only use 600 grit to three,000 grit sandpaper, very lightly to end the pen. With harder woods and acrylics, I tend to commence with courser grits but finish with similar grit sandpaper. In each case, I stop the lathe to inspect the surface from the blank before sanding and commence with the proper sandpaper. After each sanding, I also stop the lathe and sand the blank on the grain. This helps get rid of the “lines” as a result of lathe.

With some woods, I use sanding sealer prior to last sand to get a better finish.

Finishing the Blank

There are a few ways of finishing the blanks, after sanding. I am continually trying new ways, particularly as some folk prefer satin (rather than gloss) finishes. Some of my customers have asked for the “rough” finish! I use the lathe for many finishing processes. After sanding and before any finishing, I clean the blanks with alcohol to clear out any dust and also other foreign matter that can cause problems. Below are four in the common finishing techniques that I use.

Apply several coast of wax (EEE-Ultra Shine) and at the least two coats of friction polish (Shellawax Cream). Both goods are Australian made products and provide a shiny finish, or
Apply multiple layers (around 10 coats, depending for the wood) of CA glue (super glue) for the blank. Then I sand the blank with wet (water) micromesh (micromesh is a term sandpaper) around 12,000 grit for the high gloss finish, or
Apply 2 or 3 coats of Oganic Burnishing wax. Then using sandpaper, sand the wood, leaving a pleasant satin finish, or
Acrylic blanks are wet sanded to at the very least 4,000 grit, sometimes nearly 12,000 with micromesh and handle with a friction polish to offer a shiny finish.

I have tried other finishes, like spray on lacquer, wipe on polyutherane and beeswax. They all have an exceptional finish. I am sure that new services will be offered by time to time.

Once the blanks are finished, they’re ready for assembly.

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