Woodturning is said to be the safest form of woodworking, that said it can still be dangerous and care should be taken at all times

The methods and procedures I show here are what I do at the moment and feel safe doing, I am not suggesting that you should do things the same way, that is up to you, if you don’t feel safe doing it one way find another way of doing it.

Above all take care and remember if this is your hobby it is supposed to be fun so enjoy it.

BLO = Boiled Linseed Oil

CA = Cyanoacrylate Adhesive or Super Glue

Before I start explaining how I apply this finish a word of warning super glue can be a very nasty substance if not used with care.   It does set very quickly and can bond things together that you don’t want bonded such as your fingers or you to something large and immovable such as your lathe.

Also the fumes it gives of are very irritating to your eyes and breathing, they can cause dizziness and in some cases you can pass out from them neither of which is desirable at the best of times never mind in a workshop with machinery working right in front of you   So be very careful with it and only use it in a very well ventilated area.

BLO is widely available and usually comes in a large container so I put some in a small bottle so I can control it easier, I use medium grade super glue.

The secret to getting a good finish is getting the surface prepared properly first.   The first part of getting this is good tool control then a good sanding technique.   For sanding I use standard sand paper down to 600 grit then micro-mesh down to 12000

Micro-mesh can be brought in lots of places and is now available in double sided sponge pads as can be seen in the picture above.   The pads can be washed after use and when clean are all different colours as can be seen by the chart.

I usually sand at about 800 rpm or lower.   Start with whichever grade you think will get rid of any tool marks and unevenness and continue with that grade until you are happy that the pen is smooth and free of any marks other than sanding marks.   If the grade you have chosen isn’t getting rid of the marks use a coarser grade and remember don’t put pressure on the sandpaper to try and get it to work better as all you will do is heat the wood and the sandpaper up which could result in the wood cracking.   Some parts of the wood will be very thin so only light pressure must be applied.

Between each grade clean the wood either with a piece of paper towel or my favourite brush it with a paint brush.   This is to get rid of all the dust and any grit left behind by the previous grade of sandpaper.

The idea now is to go down through the grits polishing the wood by removing the marks from the previous grade until the pen is smooth and shinny as below.

The picture above shows the pen after sanding down to 12000 with miro-mesh, there is no finish or anything else applied the shine is coming from the wood itself.

We are now ready to apply the finish, I would recommend wearing disposable gloves while doing this to protect your hands from spills etc.   I use paper towel to apply this folded in half one way then in half the other way twice so you end up with a wad like this.

I have the lathe turning at about 1000rpm, I then put 3 drops of BLO on the paper and apply it to one half of the pen moving it from left to right a few times to make sure the whole blank is covered.   I also go over the end of the blank onto the bushings as this helps prevent them getting stuck together.

Then on the same piece of paper put 3 drops of super glue on top of where the BLO was.   I then apply this to the blank slowly moving from left to right then increasing the pressure and speed until it goes shiny.

I then repeat this procedure on each blank alternatively until I have 3 coats on each blank.

At this stage I stop the lathe and examine the pen it should feel smooth and have a bit of a shine.   I then turn the lathe back on and give it a rub over with burnishing cream, this smoothes it off and brings up the shine

If it feels a bit rough or has ridges in it I go back to the micro-mesh and starting at about 4000 sand it up to 12000 again and then use the burnishing cream.

I now give it a coat of wax as this gives it a softer smoother feel.

I give my pens 3 coats of super glue only as I find this gives a good hard wearing shiny surface that will last.   I have found any more coats gives the pen a plastic look.

As with all cloths or paper used for finishing products they should be disposed of carefully.   Although the chance of spontaneous combustion is small it still exists.

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