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.

Now we have the turned pen the next job is to sand it and put a finish on it.   Because the pen will be used frequently it has to feel nice as well as look good.   So as with most turning the sanding and finishing is a very, if not the most, important part of making it so take your time and get it right.

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.


So we start of with the pen after turning.

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 this doesnt work.

With acrylics I find it best to sand them wet as this gets a better result than sanding dry.   I put a piece of wood over the lathe to stop the bed getting wet then dip the sandpaper in a bowl of water and sand the piece then wipe it with a cloth between each grade to clean it.

The idea now is to go down through the grits polishing the pen by removing the marks from the previous grade until the pen is smooth and shinny.   Once sanded down to 12000 I then use a buffing compound to put a final shine on the piece.   You can use a purpose made buffing liquid or something like T cut or Brasso this really brings out the shine and colour of the acrylic.

At this stage you have a choice you can leave it as is and move on to assembling the pen or you can put a coat of polish on it.   You can use ordinary polish or a specialist plastic polish or even car polish they all give a good shine.

turning - previous   next - assembly

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