10-12-2014, 11:47 AM
#1
  • Kavik79
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  • Albany, NY - USA
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I finally got around to making my first acrylic handle on the lathe Biggrin

[Image: MoltenCopper1_3_x4.jpg]

[Image: MoltenCopper1_1_x4.jpg]

Overall I'm pretty happy with the way it came out for my first try, but there is a little bit of an issue with the finish.
I left some faint sanding marks (sanded up to 1500 grit then used some plastic polish on a cloth. I need to get some micromesh polishing pads), but there are also a few tiny little pinholes that I can only assume were air bubbles in the material.
Really small, as if I just poked it with a small needle, but they show up as light pink specks, the color this stuff turns when it's sanded.

I'm going to see if I can get the dust out with some water pressure, then I was considering doing a CA finish for the sake of filling those holes.

My question is, will those 1500 grit sanding swirls still be visible after the CA coating? Or will they disappear and I just need to do a better job polishing the CA, kinda like filling swirls on a cars finish with wax?
(the scratches are visible in the second pic as horizontal lines at the edges of the light reflection)

Honestly, they're hardly even visible to the naked eye. But they looked bad when I put this bright light directly on the handle and zoomed way in for the pics.


My other disappointment was a few major air bubbles on one end that made me have to shorten this more than I had planned, so now it's not big enough for the knot I had planned for it.
Guess that means I need to buy a smaller knot for this one and make another handle for that one Biggrin

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 10-12-2014, 12:06 PM
#2
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Can't answer your question - completely clueless, in fact - but that's a stunning design!

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 10-12-2014, 12:20 PM
#3
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I can't answer the question either but that is a stunning handle - almost looks like wood in the pictures.

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 10-12-2014, 12:27 PM
#4
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Congratulations on your first acrylic brush, Daryl. Excellent first attempt! First off, you need to get rid of all sanding marks before attempting to apply any sort of finish. Glossy finishes, like CA exaggerate even the smallest defect; so I would start by wet sanding down to 12,000 grit using either micromesh, as you suggest, or one of the acrylic sanding kits offered by Penn State Industries or any other woodturning supply house that specializes in pen making. Finally, I would buff it with a good acrylic pen polish to get that "high shine."

I've not tried CA on acrylic. It should work, but I'd try it on a scrap piece first, if you have one; otherwise, you're experimenting with your good work. And, as you probably know, CA finishes can be tricky to say the least! So there is a risk.

At this point, however, I'd not bother with any kind of finish on this brush. You did a great job; so take this as a learning experience and move on.

Going forward, I would look for another supplier. I've had good luck with the acrylics from TGN and even the "bottle stopper" blanks from Penn State. Another thought might be to consider TruStone blanks from an outfit like R and B Crafts. Personally, I find the results with TruStone to be much more satisfactory than acrylic since you're not having to constantly remove "dross" from the workpiece. Start with one of the softer stones like White Turquoise. Don't be intimidated by the "hard to turn" rhetoric. It's not much more difficult than turning ironwood or goncalo alves. Just keep your tools sharp and make light cuts with the lathe running as fast as you're comfortable with.

If you have any other questions, feel free to call.

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 10-12-2014, 01:15 PM
#5
  • Kavik79
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  • Albany, NY - USA
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thanks for the compliments guys! In person it's more of a metallic reddish copper, not wood-like at all in color, just in the swirl/grain appearance....but a very difficult color to photograph and show on a screen.


Brad,
Thanks for the input. This was actually a bottle stopper blank I bought from Rockler, made by a company called RhinoPlastic. I'm not thrilled with it, but I have 4 more bottle stoppers and two 1.5"x1.5"x6" blanks to use up here.
The reason I thought CA was because the acrylic pen finishing kits I was looking at use the micromesh sanding pads followed by a thinned down CA, then some polish on a cloth.
I'll have a look at what Penn State Industries has to offer, thanks for the tip. I'm still really new to this, so I haven't figured out yet all the best places to get different things.

I'll be picking out a few knots from TGN shortly, I'll pick up a couple of their turning blanks while I'm at it to see how they compare

I haven't drilled for the knot yet though, so I can just set this aside for now and thread it back onto the lathe and continue sanding once I get some higher grits Cheers

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 10-12-2014, 01:40 PM
#6
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(10-12-2014, 01:15 PM)Kavik79 Wrote: thanks for the compliments guys! In person it's more of a metallic reddish copper, not wood-like at all in color, just in the swirl/grain appearance....but a very difficult color to photograph and show on a screen.


Brad,
Thanks for the input. This was actually a bottle stopper blank I bought from Rockler, made by a company called RhinoPlastic. I'm not thrilled with it, but I have 4 more bottle stoppers and two 1.5"x1.5"x6" blanks to use up here.
The reason I thought CA was because the acrylic pen finishing kits I was looking at use the micromesh sanding pads followed by a thinned down CA, then some polish on a cloth.
I'll have a look at what Penn State Industries has to offer, thanks for the tip. I'm still really new to this, so I haven't figured out yet all the best places to get different things.

I'll be picking out a few knots from TGN shortly, I'll pick up a couple of their turning blanks while I'm at it to see how they compare

I haven't drilled for the knot yet though, so I can just set this aside for now and thread it back onto the lathe and continue sanding once I get some higher grits Cheers

Good approach, Daryl. You've clearly got the hard parts down pat; so now it's just a question of refinement. That will come sooner than you might think. One thought: you might consider drilling for the knot as step 1 while the blank's mounted on the lathe, then drill your mandrel hole underneath the "knot hole." That way everything runs true when you do the exterior shaping. Bring the tailstock up for additional support. I find that the plastic and TruStone handles have a tendency to go flying off unexpectedly which, as I'm sure you're aware, can be somewhat entertaining. Dodgy

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 10-12-2014, 01:58 PM
#7
  • Kavik79
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  • Albany, NY - USA
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Thanks again Brad! I'll give that a shot in the future, but these came pre-drilled/tapped for the bottle stopper piece, so I just kinda went with it and figured I'll make up for it by being extra careful lining up on the drill press

I need to pick up a good self centering chuck. I hate the independently adjustable 4 jaw one I have (partly because I don't have a dial indicator and can never get things centered properly, partly because it was cheap and is hard to make fine, accurate adjustments to it), so I do most things between centers when I can.
This one though, I did with just a cut off bolt in a drill chuck on the drive side.
(yes, with the tailstock up till I was ready to finish the bottom...I learned that lesson once LOL)

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 10-12-2014, 02:16 PM
#8
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I admire your ingenuity. I'm sure you'll use a Forstener bit to drill for the knot along with a drill press vise clamped to the table.

In terms of a chuck, I'm sure you know this, but the only chucks I'd consider are either the Oneway or Vicmarc. There are others, but frankly they're a waste of money, IMHO. If you're planning on making a lot of brushes or any other smaller turnings, consider a set of extension jaws. They help keep things away from the headstock and pay for themselves very quickly in terms of knuckles not skinned, etc. Personally, I much prefer Vicmarcs. They're pricey, but have perfect registration, will hold better than any other chuck out there--and last forever.

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 10-12-2014, 02:58 PM
#9
  • Kavik79
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  • Albany, NY - USA
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Yup, I bought a forstener bit to go with the knot I have, but will need to pick up some other bits for other sized knots. I don't have a specific drill press vice yet, but I can usually get by with a vice bolted to a board and the board clamped down. A better set up for that is high up on my wishlist though.

Do you drill acrylics at a low speed? Or high speed and moving the press down very slowly? (I can google it, but if you feel like answering it might be beneficial to others as well)


I've found it hard to justify the cost of the "good" chucks up to this point. I got into this as just a hobby, not a business, I never thought I'd be doing anything with it that would make any of the costs an investment, so I was trying to keep costs down. I'm working with a cheap, 18" harbor freight lathe that I got on sale for something like $150, and so far all the extras are costing more than the main piece of equipment LOL

I'll take a look at the two you mentioned, but we'll see what happens...Extension jaws would be a huge help though

Now that I'm finally getting past just practicing on junk and a actually making some finished pieces, I'm really starting to enjoy it more.
If the budget allows (or if I start making things to sell instead of just to keep or give away Rolleyes) I'd love to get a lathe that I can adjust speed on without having to shut it down and move the drive belt, along with the quality chucks, and maybe a longer bed

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 10-12-2014, 02:59 PM
#10
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Cant offer advice but thank you did a fantastic job on that handle! You should be proud of yourself

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 10-12-2014, 05:03 PM
#11
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I have only just begun turning acrylics this past week, but I found out that using the point of the spindle gouge or too much pressure will cause some deeper gouges that need turned or sanded down. Not usure if that is a possible cause or not.

If you are not already make sure you are using the side of the gouge (sharp) and try to take less off than wood.

I am buying from http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com , woodcrafters, or penn state as Brad suggested.

As to your question, you drill acrylics at low speed.
You might consider a PSI micro jaw system of you don't plan to turn bowls....

It looks great though!, good job!

Eta, I didn't make it 9 months before I got a variable speed lathe!!

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 10-12-2014, 06:20 PM
#12
  • Kavik79
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  • Albany, NY - USA
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thanks Josh, I guess I kinda am Biggrin


Mike,
Reading in a couple places recommended scrapers over gouges or skews when starting with acrylics, so this was done with 2 round nosed scrapers and a parting tool only. The small gouges in the finish are definitely from the sanding, not the tooling. But I'll keep that in mind in the future when I'm comfortable moving past the scrapers with this material.

I've got a shopping cart full of stuff at woodturnerscatolog right now, including a few of their acrylic blanks Biggrin

And that micro chuck at psi might be exactly what I need for now! I've been a little worried about mounting anything too heavy on this cheap lathe, and the majority of what I'm interested in turning is smaller stuff (brushes, rolling pins, japanese style kitchen knife handles). With a 10% off coupon for signing up for their email newsletter, I might decide on buying it tonight even

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 10-12-2014, 10:07 PM
#13
  • Johnny
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  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Daryl, that is going to be one good looking brush when you are finished with it. Can't wait to see the finished product.

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 10-13-2014, 11:05 AM
#14
  • Kavik79
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  • Albany, NY - USA
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Thanks Johnny Smile
I'll be sure to update here when it's done, after i get the rest of the sanding/polishing supplies and decide on a knot

It's going to be on the smaller side...20 or 22 mm, somewhere around 42-47mm loft....i dunno, i need to do some measuring to figure out which. I was thinking picking up something from TGN, but then i had an idea last night.....i love my Omega "mixed midget", but often wish it had a larger handle. For how cheap they are, I'm thinking of picking up another one of those, steaming the knot out and transplanting it into this one.

There's always too many options lol

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 10-13-2014, 11:41 AM
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Daryl, that is a wonderful-looking handle! I can just see it with a big, luscious 2-Band knot that would look lovely in photos! Biggrin

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 10-13-2014, 11:46 AM
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Thats a beautiful handle. What knot do you plan on putting in there?

Chris

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 10-13-2014, 01:52 PM
#17
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I can't offer any advice on the technical aspects of finishing the handle, but it is definitely beautiful and amazing for a first attempt.

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 10-13-2014, 06:39 PM
#18
  • Kavik79
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  • Albany, NY - USA
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Thanks guys.....as I mentioned it's not going to fit a very big knot after turning down past the air bubbles
I'm deciding between transplanting a badger/boar mix from an Omega brush (if I recall it's a 20mm knot, 42mm loft), or a 20-22mm 2-band from TGN

In another turn of unfortunate timing....the battery in my digital calipers is dead LOL I'll figure out what will fit after I replace that


I think I've decided that that micro chuck is too limiting....and, to what I'm sure will be Brad's disappointment, I'm not ready to fork out for the Vicmarc's. I'm looking at the Barracuda2 from PSI, around $100 cheaper, comes with multiple jaws, and gets a lot of good reviews

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 10-18-2014, 10:54 AM
#19
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First, very nice looking handle!

I'm using 25-year-old CNC lathes to turn acrylic handles. Haven't been at that very long, and I've never turned one by hand (except sockets, in a sense).

Your experience sounds similar to one I had a couple weeks ago with some polyester Alternative Horn stock. Very small pockets that I didn't notice when I first took the handle off the lathe -- but which my son did when I showed it to him in better light -- were afterwards suggested by someone else I asked possibly to be bubbles. But I ruled that out after trying some changes and turning more handles from the same piece of stock, none of which repeated the effect.

I wasn't able to confidently diagnose the issue because, not wanting to waste more stock than avoidable, I changed more than one thing before turning the next handle (i.e., I didn't run a well-controlled experiment). That said, I'm pretty sure the pockets were attributable to tool sharpness, possibly in combination with cutting speed. In my limited experience sharp tools are a huge factor in surface characteristics off the lathe. And dialing in RPM and feed rates for a particular material can be critical as well (e.g., polyester wants relatively high RPM). Also, I've learned to make sure my inserts are screwed in very tight. That doesn't directly apply to what you're doing, but it probably translates into the importance of a steady hand to avoid any chatter.

This isn't to say your result wasn't due to bubbles. But again, it sure sounds a lot like what I encountered.

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 10-18-2014, 12:49 PM
#20
  • Gordy
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Where do I send my money?? ️ that is just simply stunning!!

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