Polishing Glimmerz~N~More Resin Pen Blanks
Here's a bit of background information and suggestions that might be helpful to you. We use two different types of Resin in our pen blanks.
1. Our Glimmerz line uses a polyester resin.
2. Our Skinz line uses an acrylic resin.
The Glimmerz line includes three different blanks â€“ Shimmerz, Moonglo & Vibez.
The Skinz line includes a variety of blanks created from beautiful reptile sources.
No reptiles were specifically destroyed to provide these blanks.
Turning the blanks will generally begin with, depending on your level of experience, using gouges or skews and the like to do the initial shaping of the blank to fit the kit of your choice.
The first stages of the finishing techniques are pretty much the same regardless of whether you are finishing the Glimmerz line or the Skinz line; but the final polishing steps differ slightly. We'd like you to have a good experience with our product. Here are some suggestions based on our turning experience.
Pen turning should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Do not let it end up with a trip to the emergency room. Take a few extra moments to make sure that your work area is a safe one.
Eye Protection: This would seem to have a "Duh-factor" of 10; but many folks still don't use eye protection when turning. We strongly recommend using eye-protection (I prefer a full face shield as this protects my entire face) because we recommend that you use a "wet-sanding" technique to finish our resin blanks. When "wet-sanding", the resin being removed mixes with the water. Since the blank is spinning on the lathe, there is a very good chance that this mixture will hit you in the face. The polishing agents use petroleum distillate that you don't want in your eyes. Even when you are turning blanks that do not require wet sanding, pieces of the material will fly at high speed. So, think "safety-first".
Clothing: While this also seems to be obvious, do not wear clothing that can be "grabbed" by the lathe. If you have long hair, put it in a pony or wear a hat. Do not wear gloves. If they are grabbed by the lathe, it WILL cause significant and serious injury. When this happens, it is so quick that you will not have time to react.
Wet/Dry Sandpaper: Here is a list of the wet/dry sandpaper that we use.
1. 100 grit
2. 220 grit
3. 400 grit
4. 600 grit
5. 800 grit
6. 1000 grit
1. 1500 grit
2. 2400 grit
*When finishing the blanks included in the Glimmerz line (Standard, Moonglo, Vibez) we recommend using aluminum polish. We'll give more detailed applications a bit later in this presentation. Aluminum polish is available at auto supply dealers among other sources. We use a paste aluminum polish.
1. Novus 3
2. Novus 2
*When finishing the blanks included in the Skinz line you can create a very pleasing finish by applying the Novus 3 and Novus 2 polishes being sure to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer.
A Polishing Suggestion
In the polishing stages, I use a small piece of paper-towel to apply the polish. There are two reasons for this.
1. If the paper towel gets caught in the mandrel, it will tear out of your hands quite easily protecting you against a potential injury.
2. If you are using a cloth and it gets caught it could pull your hand into the mandrel or it could possibly wedge in between the pen blank and tool rest causing serious injury.
An Organizing Suggestion
Preparation is everything for a satisfying turning experience. I cut my sandpaper into strips (about 1 inch by 3 inches). Place them into labeled plastic bags (like sandwich bags) for easy access when you are sanding your blanks.
Sealing Your Blanks
Sometimes during the finishing tips, the exposed edge of the skin can "wick" or absorb water and discolor the skin. We highly encourage you to seal the skin near the brass tube. The easiest and most effective way is to wipe a light coat of CA glue on it. Another method is to use a candle and "wax" each side of the blank.
Wet Sanding (and how I do it)
Always make sure that the pen blank stays wet. This will minimize scratching. The idea of sanding is to make smaller and smaller scratches until they can't be seen by the naked eye. Let me share the process I use for wet sanding. It might be good to use a spritzer bottle similar to that used for watering flowers and the like.
Using the 100 grit, start with the left blank. Hold the sandpaper in the right hand with your index finger on the bottom of the strip of sandpaper. Spray both the sandpaper and the pen blank. Working from the left side of the pen blank lightly apply the sandpaper to the blank to begin the smoothing process. Do this continuing past the center of the pen blank. Work back from the center to the left side of the blank. Repeat this process until the left edge is almost perfectly flush with the bushing.
Now apply the process to the right side of the blank. Switch the sandpaper to the left hand and repeat the process starting this time with the right side of the blank and working back to a little past the center of the blank.
Test Your Work From Time to Time
Once you are satisfied with the thickness of the pen blank turn off the lathe. Test your work by grasping the pen blank very lightly between the thumb and index finger. Move your thumb and finger back and forth across the pen blank. See whether there are any irregularities in the blank.
Repeat the process until the blanks are smooth. Once you are satisfied with the smoothness of the pen blank then go on to the next stage.
This time we will use the 220 grit. Repeat the process that we discussed. This time the goal is to bring the blank down exactly flush with the bushings. Here are some simple guidelines to remember.
1. A light touch is required. Pressing too hard will result in scratches in the blank.
2. Repeat the process with the 400, 600, 800, 1000 sandpaper.
3. When you are applying the Micromesh you are no longer sanding, you are polishing.
4. Continue with the 1500 and 2400 Micromesh
5. Use as a guideline â€“ the lighter the pressure the better the results.
Aluminum Polish Suggestions
I promised I would provide some discussion of how I use the aluminum polish. Let me remind you that I use a paste aluminum polish. The aluminum polish is applied to the Glimmerz blanks and NOT to the Skinz blanks.
Applying the Aluminum Polish to Glimmerz Pen Blanks
1. Fold a half sheet of paper towel until you have a small pad.
2. Apply a very small amount of aluminum polish to the pad
3. Wipe it evenly across the pen blank. Apply a very light contact with the pen blank and turn the lathe on.
4. Wipe the pad back and forth on the pen blank.
5. Notice that the pad begins to turn black.
6. Turn the pad over and continue wiping back and forth. This side of the pad will turn black also.
7. If necessary, make and use an additional paper towel pad. When you are finished the pad should remain clean when you finish with the wiping process.
8. Repeat the process with the second blank.
9. Once the pad remains clean then it is time to use the plastic polish Novus 2
Aluminum Polish is NOT applied to the Skinz pen blanks.
For Skinz Pen Blanks
1. Instead of using aluminum polish, apply the Novus 3 following the directions of the manufacturer.
2. Follow up by applying Novus 2.
I hope that by sharing some of the techniques that I've gained through experience I've been able to make your pen turning more enjoyable and successful.
Thank you for using our products. We invite you to continue trying our different offerings. Stop back at our web site to see what is new.