Category: Wood


Finishing Wood Pens: How I Get That Beautiful Finish.

Most turners use Cyanoacrylate glue (CA glue) for finishing wood pens. It makes a beautiful, very hard and long lasting finish for things that will be handled a lot. It is expensive though so it is usually used only on the small turnings.

I have found that by using some boiled linseed oil along with the CA glue makes a nicer finish though. The linseed oil works as an accelerant to speed up the curing of the CA glue, but also helps to spread it more evenly as it cures.

First off the raw turned wood or acrylic must be as fine a finish as I can make it. I sand my pieces to 12000 grit sandpaper so they basically look like they have a finish on them already.

Then I wet a paper towel with some boiled linseed oil and hold it around the piece, with the lathe turning slowly, I apply drops of CA glue along the wood. I run the paper towel up and down the piece as quickly as I can to spread the glue. Then I turn the speed up on the lathe and move the paper towel up and down again as fast as I can. This buffs the surface with the dried glue that is on the paper towel. I do this eight times giving a beautiful long lasting finish.

Lastly I buff the object with three different buffing wheels to privide a mirror like surface.

turned pen
This is how the pen looks after it has been turned, but not finished
sanded to 400
This pen has been sanded to 400 grit.
sanded 10 12000 grit
It has now been sanded to 12000 grit.
This shows what it looks like after buffing for the first time. No finish has been applied yet.
The CA glue finish has now been applied.
finish buffed
The pen has been buffed again and is now ready for assembly.

Finishing wood pens is not as simple as it looks, but you can be sure that the turning projects from Crafter’s Nest will last for many years.



Beautiful Woods

Beautiful Woods I Use In My Turnings

I am a firm believer in letting the Beautiful Woods show how beautiful they are without too  many embelishments. I try to highlight the grain patterns and colours with the shapes I create. There are so many to choose from, but I find these to be some of my favourites.

Beautiful Woods-macassar-ebony

Macassar Ebony (Diospyros celebica)

This tree from southeast Asia grows to heights of 70 feet and 1.5 feet in diameter. Heartwood is dark brown to black, streaked throughout with darker and paler bands, stripes, and splotches.

More information at The Wood Database.

Kingwood (Dalbergia cearensis)

This tree from Brazil rarely grows larger than 30 – 60 feet tall and 10 inches in diameter. Beautiful heartwood is of various colors with a violet-brown background. Streaks of yellow, violet, and black provide a very distinctive appearance.

More information at The Wood Database.

Beautiful Woods-kingwood
Beautiful Woods-blackwood

Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon)

A small tree from Africa attaining a height of 45 feet, trunk diameter rarely above 14 inches. Heartwood is dark brown with predominant black lines which give an almost black appearance. Sapwood is pale yellow, giving a pleasant contrast.

More information at The Wood Database.

Nigerian Ebony (Diospyros crassiflora mespiliformis)

A rather small tree from Africa that reaches heights no taller than 60 feet and no larger than 2 feet in diameter. The heartwood is jet black, very hard, and very dense.

More information at The Wood Database.

Beautiful Woods-nigerian-ebony
Beautiful Woods-honduras-rosewood

Honduras Rosewood (Dalbergia stevenonii)

A medium sized tree that usually grows no larger than 20 inches in diameter and 50 – 100 feet high. Heartwood is light red or reddish brown with distinctly darker grain lines, heartwood also is yellowish with darker grain lines in some trees. The color does darken with exposure to sunlight.

More information at The Wood Database.

Rapala Lacewood (Roupala brasiliensis)

A medium sized tree with a height of 45-60 feet and a diameter of 18-28 inches. Heartwood is deep orange-brown with a broad rays creating a flamed pattern. Paler brown sapwood.

More information at The Wood Database.

Beautiful Woods-rapala-lacewood

Olivewood (Olea europaea)

A long lived tree from Europe and eastern Africa with a short bole often with numerous holes and cavities and gnarled. The tree grows about 45 feet tall with a diameter of about 12 inches. Heartwood is light brown to dark brown with irregular streaks of grey, brown and black giving a marble like appearance.

More information at The Wood Database.

Canarywood (Centrolobium paraense)

From South America, the tree grows 65 – 100 ft tall and 2 – 3 ft in diameter. The heartwood is yellow or orange, typically streaked with “rainbowhued” colors, often mixed with shades of red or brown. Sapwood is yellow.

More information at The Wood Database.

Beautiful Woods-canarywood
Beautiful Woods-bocote

Bocote (Cordia spp)

This tree from Mexico, Central and South Anerica grows 65 – 100 feet tall with a diameter of 3 – 5 feet.

With its striking, zebra-like contrasts, and bold figuring, Bocote can be a very eye-catching wood. It has a yellowish brown body with dramatic dark brown to almost black stripes. Color tends to darken with age.

Excerpt from and more information at The Wood Database.

Goncalo Alves (Astronium spp)

Goncalo Alves is commonly referred to as Tigerwood. It grows from Mexico to Brazil. Its heartwood is typically a medium redish brown with iregularly spaced streaks of dark brown to black. Colour tends to darken with age.

Excerpt from and more information at The Wood Database.

Beautiful Woods-goncalo-alves

With so many beautiful woods it is hard to choose what to use. I have found these to offer not only great grain patterns, but they finish beautifully. Something you can treasure.