Glue As A Finish
Glue as a finish, you say? Incredible, but true. CA (cyanoacrylate) glue provides
a beautiful glossy finish on small turned objects. It's perfect for pens because,
unlike other finishes, the gloss doesn't diminish from handling. It may seem counterintuitive
to spread glue all over your nicely turned pen, but it works great! Here's how.
Turn the pen as you normally would, and sand it smooth. As with any finish, the
smoother you make the project, the better quality finish you can get. The rosewood
pen shown in these photos was sanded to 500-grit (Photo 1).
Once the sanding is complete, clean the sanding dust from the pen blank. I use a
drop or two of lacquer thinner on a paper towel, held against the spinning blank (Photo 2).
Using thick CA glue, dribble adhesive onto the spinning blank. Your lathe should
be running at 500 rpm or so. Hold a paper towel below the blank to catch any drips (Photo 3).
Touch the paper towel against the glue to spread it uniformly across the blank.
Hold it there for just a few seconds (Photo 4).
After the first coat is dry, lightly sand the pen using a fine (800-grit) abrasive,
clean the pen again, and apply a second coat. Repeat the process for a third coat.
After the third coat is dry, do one more light sanding with 800-grit, then bring
your pen to an amazing polish using buffing compound on a paper towel. Do the final
sanding and buffing with the lathe at a higher speed, about 1,500 rpm.