Pen Sanding and Finishing Process

Buffed with White Diamond compound and ready for assembly.
Buffed with White Diamond compound and ready for assembly.

To get the best finish possible, my pen sanding process includes sanding, polishing, and buffing to remove any tooling marks leaving a glassy smooth pen.

All sanding should be at low speed to reduce heat build up which could cause your blank to melt, or discolor. Always wear personal protection (PPE) equipment while using the lathe. Since I primarily work with resins, I sand wearing with both eye and lung protection. Some woods are irritants and shouldn’t be turned without protection either, you can find a list of hazardous woods at The Wood Database, if interested . I suggest everyone get in the habit of wearing eye and lung protection whenever sanding.

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Funline with bulge

No-flashI turned another Funline pen today. After watching some videos on YouTube I thought i’d try a 1/3-2/3 approach on this pen. That means a bulge 2/3 up the body of the pen for visual interest and grip. The blank I chose is a black and orange crush blank from Penn State Industries. This blank came with the 30 Funline Pen Kit and Funline Pen Blank Special. I chose a gunmetal finish that went well with the blank. I considered a copper finish but didn’t like it as much as the gunmetal when I compared the two.

I also tried to buff the pen according to the way Zac Higgins from NV Woodworks does in his video on Buffing Acrylic Pen Blanks with the Beall 3-On system. This pen turned out much glassier than my previous pens. I was happy with the finish on my previous pens, but Zac’s method resulted in a vast improvement.

After turning the pen to size I realized there was a bubble in the blank which resulted in a hole all the way down to the tube. I filled it with medium CA and used a scraper with a really light cut to shear off any excess glue once it dried. The finished result isn’t bad at all. Continue reading “Funline with bulge”

Finished More Pens

I’ve finished three new Funline pens. This will be a short post just showing my progress. 

Lessons Learned

  1. My mandrel saver isn’t as good at keeping the mandrel concentric as the nut is. So I’m using the nut and live center and getting good results again.
  2. Finish shaping with 150 grit isn’t working for me. It shapes fine but some of the scratches are so deep that I can run through all the grits and micro-mesh grits without removing all the scratches. I recommend finishing with tools and then going straight to 220 grit.
  3. Paint your tubes. These pens are so thin that the brass tube is clearly visible if the resin has any transparency at all.

Gun Metal Funline in Light and Dark Green Acrylic

Gun Metal Funline with Aquabright Light and Dark Green
Gun Metal Funline with Aquabright Light and Dark Green

I completed this Funline pen today. This is an Aquabright Light and Dark Green blank. I liked the first blank turned more but I forgot to true the blank and chipped the end when I tightened up the tailstock.  There is a slight eccentricity on the nib end of the pen. I believe this is due to the mandrel being too short. The mandrel saver is resting on the threaded portion of the mandrel when two blanks are on installed. I did do the majority of shaping this time with only a single blank at a time. That the blank is still eccentric means i’ll have to do some research and measurement to make sure the lathe and mandrel are in good working order. Continue reading “Gun Metal Funline in Light and Dark Green Acrylic”

Lessons Learned #1

Do not mix your resin in small cups. Give yourself room to stir or you may end up with an inadequate mix which will ruin your resin. This is especially important with fast setting resins like Alumilite.