Finishing Pens with CA Glue

Finishing Pens with CA Glue
I have been asked several times what my procedure is for applying a C/A glue finish to my pens. This video shows what I do pretty much in real time.
I use a thin C/A glue, once applied to the pen blank it dries in 15 to 20 seconds.
Generally I apply six coats of glue in sets of three coats at a time with light sanding between coats. If the blank if really porous, I will continue to apply more C/A until I get a smooth surface on the pen. the maximum number of coats I have applied is twelve.

Featured Woodworker: Steve French

Finishing Pens with CA Glue

18 thoughts on “Finishing Pens with CA Glue”

  1. I use coffee filters instead of paper towels. Cheap and STRONG. I use them with CA and friction polish. Try it. I apply pressure for friction polish and can tightly twist it to get in tiny areas. You will be surprised how well they work.

  2. Thank you very much for the technique Bob! Just finished my first pen using your technique and it turned out fantastic!! I also used the micro mesh pads. A++

  3. I have been experimenting with a couple different finishes, Mylands high build friction polish and doctors workshop pens plus and both work very well on a c/a finish. I apply the polish after i run through the micro mesh grits on the c/a.

  4. New subscriber here, loved the video and others of yours that Ive watched. I came here looking for help on applying CA finish to pens and this is by far the best Ive run across. I especially liked the sanding part and applying the plastic polish, its really helped my pens shine. I didnt have the One Step, so Ive been using Mequiars Plast-X since its what I use on acrylic and what I had on hand, it seems to be working great. Thank you for taking the time to do the informative videos.

  5. Hey Bob – just got done with my first CA glue finish following your instructions and man, does it look nice. There's a moment there halfway through the grits where it looked like I screwed it up, but I kept going and the pen (mahogany slimline) looks amazing. My only departure from your technique was that I used Meguiar's as a final buffing agent since thats what I use for my acrylics. Thanks for all the helpful videos!

  6. Hi Bob.I've become quite a fan over the last few months while I've been starting my turning journey! I tried my first CA finish last night and lets just say it didn't go great, I ended up with paper towel stuck to my blank and to my hands! I sanded that all back through the grits and tried again, and ended up with paper towel stuck to my hands (no need for sanding)!Today I am going on the hunt for some thinner CA glue but it can be a bit of a lottery here in the U.K. as very few advertise their viscosity on the packet.Wish me luck and I'll report back with the outcome, (I'm also going to watch your videos a few more times!)!Many Thanks Andy C

  7. Thank for all the very helpful videos, I just can't thank you enough. I have a problem with the CA glue. I used your method which I think is great but I'm having a problem getting a smooth finish. I followed your instructions to the letter but after applying the thin CA it always has lumps or uneven lines. It just isn't smooth. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I tried slow and faster speeds, I tried wiping faster. I tried paper towels, rags, and a sponge like material and it's still lumpy. Could it be the brand of CA, I notice you used PSI Ca. Would that make a difference? You make it look so easy but mine is awful. What would you suggest. Thanks

  8. Yep, got a question. I just finished a stopper out of hard, old oak. Sanded it down to a nice finish and applied CA as I see you doing it. Well, that CA went right thru the paper and burned a blister on my finger. What am I doing differently than you ? I know you aren't here.. but, I'm probably not the first this has happened to. Next I trie it with a nitrile rubber glove.. paper stuck to the glove and tore as I removed the paper. Finger didn't burn.. but, as I said.. I'm likely doing something wrong.

  9. I am new to pen turning. I just finished watching your video and your method for ca glue finishing makes sense. I thank you for your no nonsense instructing. Off I go to try it myself.

  10. This was really helpful. I tried applying a medium viscosity ca finish to a pen and screwed it up. You gave some very good tips here such as not reusing the paper towels for multiple coats of glue. I put on too many heavy coats of medium and it ended up adding way too much thickness to the pen as well as not being smooth. I also need to buy the nylon bushings. I made the mistake of trying to use the pen bushings. Rookie mistake but mostly due to laziness and impatience. I'm going to switch over to thin. I have been using Drs Woodshop pens plus but have heard that it's not as durable as ca finish. Is this true?

  11. Thanks for posting this. I found it to be very well made, clearly presented, and a perfect length. It helped give me the inspiration and confidence to try this again after not doing so well at it the first time. I tried your method on an olive wood pen for one of my nieces and it came out beautifully! Thanks again for a really helpful video.

  12. Hi, I am a fairly new pen turner and I'm having trouble with CA finish. Usually, I get a realy good glass finish but if I look at the pen up close, you can actually see very tiny scratches on it and that drives me crazy. I usually go (after turning) 180,220,320,400,600 then I do 3 coats thin CA sand (400 or 600, 800, 1000) apply another 3 to 4 coats of thick CA and then go through my micromesh all the way up to 12000. Any ideas where I'm messing up? They are very tiny scratches that you can only see if you bring it up close to your face but can't see if you hold the pen at an arm's length…. I'm about ready to give up on CA finish. I never had this problem when finishing rings

  13. Very good video. I get white spots/lines (some) on my turned pen. Can U tell me the possible cause?

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