Chaos Casting! | Alumilite Clear Slow | Live Stream 7.21.2020

Last night, I cast some chaos cutoffs I purchased from RJBWoodTurner when he had his chaos blank sale. I had a lot of fun with this live stream as it was fun to cast the blanks and the audience interaction was good throughout the show. I have learned that good live streams are born from good audience interaction. I haven’t quite figured out how to consistently get good interaction, but I’m working on it. I have had good interaction during resin casting live streams and pen turning live streams, but I’ve also had relative silence and very little participation during some of those same types of live streams.

Last Week’s Project: Last week I turned my first Leveche fountain pen. This was a fun turn and while there were a lot of pieces to the kit, it wasn’t difficult to assemble since I organized the part and laid them out according to the diagram on the instructions. I had a small issue placing the clip, but with a punch, I was able to loosen the cap finial and set the clip into place. After that, the rest of the assembly went smoothly, even if it took me a minute to make sure I had everything it the correct place and orientation.

This Week: This week I went back to the resin casting bench to cast some chaos cutoffs. Bob from RJBWoodTurner makes amazing chaos blanks out of wood where he glues up various pen blanks, cuts them up, then glues them up again in a different orientation, and continues the process a few times. This creates the “chaos” effect. I purchased a blank from his last sale, but I also purchased a box of the cutoffs that weren’t big enough to be pen blanks. I took those cutoff pieces and cast them in Alumilite clear slow to make worthless wood blanks.

The process for casting Alumilite clear slow is to pour the A and B sides in a 1:1 ratio. I first started by using three cups (for three colors) and I poured 90 grams of the A side into each cup. Then, I added my colors to each cup (Caster’s Choice cobalt blue, lime green, and platinum silver). Once I added the colors, I explained that if more color is used, the blanks will be more solid. If less color is used, the more translucent the blanks will be. It all depends on what effect is trying to be achieved. I then stirred in the color. Once the color was stirred into the A side of the resin, I zeroed out my scale and added 90 grams of the B side (hardener), since Alumilite clear slow is a 1:1 ratio as mentioned above. Once I got the B side added to each of the three cups, I stirred them until they reached about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This is when good color separation happens, so once the resin got up to temperature, I poured the resin into my HDPE block mold from PTownSubbie. When I finished pouring the resin into the molds, I put them in the pressure pot and let them sit under pressure for the next four hours. I poured more than one block would hold, so I poured the extra in other molds I had ready as overflow molds. The pressure pot allows the bubbles to get shrunk down to a size that the naked eye can’t see and makes for a blank that cures properly.

Here is the result is last night’s live stream. The first blank is alumilite clear slow only, and the rest are chaos cutoff blanks.

These blanks were cast during the live stream on 7.21.2020.

Supporting The Channel: A huge shout out goes to my top tier patrons, Mark and Angi! If you are interested in becoming a patron at any level, you can simply click the link here: Become a Patron!

You can also support the Cross Cut Creations shop in other ways. Participating in live streams and commenting on videos are a great FREE way to support what I do. If a monthly subscription to Patreon isn’t for you, that’s not an issue. There is a donate button on the right hand side of this website if a one time donation is a better option. Another way to support what I do is to buy something from my online store, also found on this website. Finally, a last way to support what I do without spending anything extra is to use my Amazon affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link (found in the description of YouTube videos AND under the Tools I Use tab on this website), anything you purchase using that link will give me a small commission and add NOTHING to your total. All you pay for is the items you put in your cart and purchase. You don’t even have to buy the tool that you click on.

Thank you to all those who interacted during the live stream. I appreciate all of you and appreciate everyone who watches the replay as well. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll get back to you. If you want to check out the replay of the live stream, you can watch it below:

Casting With Alumilite Clear Slow | Live Stream 7.7.2020

Last night I cast a few blanks with Alumilite clear slow using Caster’s Choice Mica Powders. In total, I was able to cast three dye-stabilized elm burl blanks, four ring blanks, and a few other resin only blanks. It was a productive casting session and I am pretty excited about the results. If you see any blanks on my website, or social media platforms, feel free to reach out to claim the blanks.

Last Week’s Live Stream: Last week I refinished two pens. One pen was a mini bolt action pen and the other pen was a Zen rollerball. These pens were refinished and look like a million bucks now that they have a proper CA finish on them. I’m proud of how they turned out and am very pleased with the result.

New Tool: I was able to acquire the Ryobi AC 4 volt quick turn screwdriver. This will make screwdriver applications just a bit faster. I can’t wait to put this tool to use. An amazon affiliate link is on this website under the “Tools I Use” tab.

This Week: This week I cast three dye-stabilized elm burl pen blanks and the extra resin went toward other pen blanks and ring blanks. To prep the burls, I put a dab of hot glue on the bottom of each burl piece so they wouldn’t float in the mold. The three colors I used were from Caster’s Choice and they were gold, lime green, and white pearl.

I mixed 90 grams of A and 90 grams of B into each of the three colors. Once the resin got up to about 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit, I poured the three colors into an old sports drink container to give the colors a chance to mix and form a fun pattern. When I got all of the colors poured into one cup, I then poured the resin from the single cup into each of the molds I had ready to go. Because I used Alumilite clear slow, I left the blanks in the pressure pot for four hours so they could properly cure.

These pen and ring blanks were cast during a live stream on 7.7.2020. Caster’s Choice colors were used and the hybrids are made from dye-stabilized elm burl.

Supporting the Channel: Huge shout out to my top tier patrons, Mark and Angi! If you are interested in becoming a patron at any level, you can simply click the link here: Become a Patron!

You can also support the Cross Cut Creations shop in other ways. Participating in live streams and commenting on videos are a great FREE way to support what I do. If a monthly subscription to Patreon isn’t for you, that’s not an issue. There is a donate button on the right hand side of this website if a one time donation is a better option. Another way to support what I do is to buy something from my online store, also found on this website. Finally, a last way to support what I do without spending anything extra is to use my Amazon affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link (found in the description of YouTube videos AND under the Tools I Use tab on this website), anything you purchase using that link will give me a small commission and add NOTHING to your total. All you pay for is the items you put in your cart and purchase. You don’t even have to buy the tool that you click on.

Thank you to all those who interacted during the live stream. I appreciate all of you and appreciate everyone who watches the replay as well. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll get back to you. If you want to check out the replay of the live stream, you can watch it below:

Refinishing Pens | CA Finish | Live Stream 6.30.2020

During last night’s live stream, I showed off last week’s project, which was a tiny giant that was dressed in a DiamondCast blank. After that, I did an unboxing/mail call that included items from TShadow & Co. Some of the items came in handy right away as  I used the smock and disassembly vice jaws on the live stream. Other items will come in handy later, like the magnifying glasses, braid, CA non-stick bushings, and Zona Paper.

Patreon: Thank you to my top tier patrons, Mark & Angi! If you’re interested in becoming a patron at any level, check out the link here: Become a Patron!

Supporting Cross Cut Creations:

If you’re interested in supporting the Cross Cut Creations shop, there are a number of different ways to do that. Here are a few:

  1. Watch (and participate in) Youtube live streams and videos on my channel (to help with watch time). This is a completely FREE way to show support for the channel.
  2. Patreon is a way to support me monthly. There are four different tiers and support at any level is appreciated. Use the link above to check out patreon.
  3. My online store has hand crafted items as well as logo apparel. Buying something from the online store is a great way to show support.
  4. Amazon affiliate links are another awesome option for showing support. When using an affiliate link, as soon as one of the links is clicked (on my YouTube videos (in the description) or on my website under the “Tools I Use” tab), anything bought using that link will give me a small percentage back no matter what is bought. If a link for a tool is clicked, but that tool isn’t purchased, that’s okay. If shopping is done, no matter what the item(s), as long as the link is used, I get credit. The great thing about this option is that it costs NOTHING EXTRA! There is no additional fee for using affiliate links.
  5. The donate button on the right hand side of my home page allows for a one time donation if a monthly patreon pledge isn’t of any interest. This is also a great option in lieu of a super chat on YouTube live streams. I can’t do super chats on live streams since I don’t have monetization enabled (because I don’t have the required watch time yet).

Refinishing Two Pens:

I started by using a set of punches and the pen disassembly jaws from TShadow & Co. to take apart the pens. Once I had the blanks by themselves, I was ready to put them on the lathe and get to work.

Sometimes a CA finish cracks or spiderwebs over time and the pen needs to be sanded down and refinished, so I did that with two pens, a zen and a mini bolt action. I refinished the pens on a mandrel, so I was able to refinish two pens at the same time, which was efficient.

The first thing I did was take some 120 grit sandpaper and sanded down the blanks to take off the existing, cracked finish. Once I was down to the raw resin and wood, I dry sanded with Abranet from 120 grit up to 400 grit. Since these pen blanks were hybrids, I wiped some denatured alcohol on the blanks to clean the dust off in preparation of putting on a CA finish. To put a CA finish on pens, I use Mercury Flex Thin CA glue. I apply seven coats and I spray activator between each coat. Once the final coat of CA was applied, I used Micro Mesh (1,500 grit – 12,000 grit) to wet sand the high spots in the CA finish. After Micro Mesh, I used Novus 3, 2, and 1 to polish the blanks. Finally, once the Novus was applied to the blanks, I took the pens over to the assembly table for final assembly and they were ready to go again.

Pressing the mini bolt action pen was pretty straight forward. I did loosen the set screw in the cap so I could adjust the bolt and reposition the clip, but then pressing the cap and nib into the blank went smoothly. After assembling the mini bolt action, I assembled the zen. The zen was super easy to assemble as all that’s required is to press the cap into the one end and a threaded grommet into the other end. I put the ink in the pen, threaded the nib onto the pen, and our assembly of our fixed pens was complete! Seeing the difference between the old, cracked finish, and the refinished pens was amazing! Here’s how the pens look after being rejuvenated with a new CA finish:

These pens were refinished on the live stream from 6.30.2020 and given new life.

If you’d like to watch a replay of the live stream, you can catch it here:

 

Turning a Tiny Giant | Live Stream 6.23.2020

On the live stream, I turned a DiamondCast pen blank. It was one of the blanks from a cutoff box that I purchased from the Mid-Ohio Pen Turner’s Gathering back in September 2019.

Recap of last week: Last week I turned a cigar pencil and dressed it in a Buckeye Nation blank from Divine Island Design. This pencil was a fun turn once I got the bushings oriented correctly. I mentioned that I didn’t like turning cigar-style pens/pencils. This was because it takes me a little bit to make sure I have the bushings oriented correctly, but that is a small issue in the grand scheme of things. Other than that, I love how large the pen/pencil is and the style looks great, too.

This Week: DiamondCast is available at Tim McKenzie’s website, https://www.mckenziepenworks.com. They are also available at Turner’s Warehouse, Classic Nib, a couple other retailer’s over seas, and possibly a couple others I’m unaware of at this point.

TBC Bushings: Turning between centers is how I turned the blank in the live stream. I started by explaining that I was nervous about changing over to TBC bushings because of the cost, but one way to get into TBC bushings is to buy the adapters for mandrel bushings and those will turn mandrel bushings into TBC bushings. My recommendation would be to slowly change over to TBC by buying one or two sets of bushings at a time and switch over gradually. The adapters will go a long way, but start by purchasing the TBC bushings of the pen you turn most, and continue to build your TBC bushing collection one set at a time as funds allow. While bushings don’t cost a lot, they do add up over 15-20+ sets of bushings.

I turned this DiamondCast pen blank between centers at approximately 3,500 RPMs with the TShadow NRS. This tool is becoming one of my favorite tools to turn with in the shop. The turning was pretty uneventful as there were no major catches that impacted the overall appearance of the blank. I did get a small, minor catch at one point, but I was well above the bushings and the catch was able to be turned and sanded away without issue.

After turning, I sanded down to the bushings, then ran through my dry sanding regiment (120 grit through 400 grit) (approximately 500 RPMs). From there, I wet sanded with Micro Mesh (1,500 grit-12,000 grit) (approximately 1,400 RPMs) and finished up the blank with the Novus polishing system. Novus 3 is a heavy scratch remover. Novus 2 is a fine scratch remover, and Novus 1 is a polish.

Assembling the tiny giant was super simple. All that is required for assembly is two presses. The closed end gets pressed into the blank, then the nib/section gets pressed into the other end. Once those two pieces get pressed into the blank, the nib/section gets unscrewed so the ink refill can get put into place and the pen is done as soon as the nib/section gets screwed back onto the pen.

Here is a picture of the finished Tiny Giant:

This tiny giant is dressed in a DiamondCast blank I got in a cutoff box from the Mid-Ohio Pen Turner’s Gathering.

During this week’s live stream, I got a lot of good interaction with those that tuned in. For that, I wanted to say thank you. It’s a lot of fun to do a live stream when interaction happens naturally and the conversation takes place on a two-way street and isn’t so one-sided.

Patreon: A huge shot out goes to my top tier patrons, Mark and Angi! Thank you for your support. If you’d like to become a patron (at any level), you can check it out here:Become a Patron!

Another way to support the channel and Cross Cut Creations shop is to use the Amazon affiliate links on my website or in the description of YouTube videos (costs nothing extra). You can also buy merchandise or if you don’t want to make a monthly donation via Patreon, you can donate one time using the Donate button located on the right handed side of home page on this website. I appreciate your support and even the viewership on the live streams and interaction is amazing and appreciated. There is absolutely no pressure to donate, but any support is appreciated, even if that comes in the form of commenting on a video.

Here is the video of the live stream I did last night:

Turning A Cigar Pencil | Live Stream 6.16.2020

On last night’s live stream, I started with some show and tell as well as announcements. Last night’s project was certainly a fun one and assembling a cigar-style pencil for the first time was an experience. I’ll definitely be doing more of them in the future.

Support: Patreon is one way to support the Cross Cut Creations shop. Your support allows the live streams and projects to continue. I want to give a huge shout out to my top tier Patrons, Mark & Angi! If you’re interested in becoming a patron, you can click the link here: Become a Patron! Another way to support the shop is to buy logo merchandise or hand-crafted items off my website. If you would like to make a one time donation, the donate button on the home page is a great way to do that. Finally, I have amazon affiliate links. This is the best way to support the shop without spending anything extra! Anything you purchase using my links to get to Amazon will kick back a small percentage to help support what I do.

Show & Tell: Last week I cast sweet gum pod handle/call blanks! These blanks were done in blue and pink. I also cast a couple pink pen blanks to reveal that my wife and I are having a GIRL! We are due in October and super excited! Finally, I turned a Tiny Giant from one of RJBWoodTurner’s chaos blanks. This pen will be a video and part of my 1,000 subscriber giveaway!

Turning: I turned a cigar style pencil from a Divine Island Design Buckeye Nation pen blank. If you would like to purchase a Buckeye Nation blank, you can do that using this URL: https://divineislanddesign.com/collections/divine-blanks/products/buckeye-nation-7-8-x-7-8-x-5. When turning the blank, because it’s a cigar pencil, I take extra time to make sure the bushings are oriented correctly. The four bushings all have slightly different diameters, so it’s crucial that they get put in the right place when turning, or the pen/pencil won’t press together correctly.

When I started turning the blanks, I turned one at a time since I was turning between centers (TBC). Turning between centers means that I turned one blank at a time. I started with the cap portion of the blank and turned and polished the cap (top portion) from start to finish. I turned this pen at about 3,600 RPMs and used the TShadow NRS to turn the blanks. If you would like to purchase the NRS, you can use the URL here: https://tshadow.com/turning-tools/99-80-nrs-negative-rake-scraper.html#/30-package-deluxe_package_short_handle.

I turned the cap down to the bushings, then sanded the blank with Abranet from 120-400 grit. After sanding, I used Micro Mesh to wet sand the blanks (1,500-12,000 grit). Then I applied Novus 3, 2, and 1 to the blank. This is a scratch remover and polishing system that makes the blanks really shine! Once that process was complete, I moved to turning the body and it was rinse and repeat. The body got the same procedures done to it as the cap. Once both blanks were turned and polished, I was able to move to assembly.

Assembly: The assembly of this pencil was slightly different than it’s pen counterpart. The overall assembly went well once I realized my small mistake. Being organized and laying out the parts to this pencil was critical to a correct assembly. I started the assembly by pressing in the top piece and clip. From there, I pressed in the center band into the lower portion of the cap. Then, I moved to the body of the pen. When I assembled the body, I learned that the nib of the pencil doesn’t actually get pressed into the end of the pen. I pressed the grommet into the middle portion of the body and the pencil mechanism threaded onto the nib, which keeps the pencil together. This is different from the cigar pen in the sense that the nib of the pen gets pressed into the blank and the pencil is held together by the threaded lead housing as mentioned previously.

Here’s a picture of the completed pencil:

Buckeye Nation Cigar Pencil (Blank from Divine Island Design)

If you have any questions or comments about the live stream, or anything I did during the live stream, feel free to send me an email or message on the various social media platforms and I’ll be glad to get back to you. Thank you for checking out this blog post and the live stream. If you want to watch the replay, you can check it out here:

Turning My First Cup, Bowl, Thingamajig

I’ve wanted to turn a bowl for quite some time and I had a log (from when we took down a couple trees in our yard) that was small enough to fit through my bandsaw, so I decided to cut a chunk off and turn something. What I found inside the log was pretty awesome! There was spalting and it give the piece some pretty cool character.

I started by cutting a chunk of the wood at the bandsaw. I drilled a hole into the middle so I could thread the wormwood screw into the blank. I used my Nova G3 chuck to start truing up the blank. This took a little while because I didn’t really know what I was doing and because it was out of round, I had to go slow and take light cuts. This is definitely different from pen turning where you crank up the speed right away. If I were to crank up the speed right away, I would have had a bad time.

I shaped the outside of the bowl or cup, then turned a tenon into the bottom of the bowl so the chuck could grab the wood. It was at this point where I realize that the blank I cut was longer (and smaller in diameter) than I wanted, so it started looking more like a cup than a bowl, but that’s okay. After getting the outside turned to a shape that I was pleased with, I sanded the outside (mostly off camera, going through the grits), then flipped the blank over in the chuck so I could start the hollowing process.

I had a tough first go at this process, so what you don’t see in the video is me taking the cup over to my drill press and hogging out some material that way, as well as the cup even flying off the lathe once. That was more excitement that I was ready for. I didn’t get hit, and I was wearing my safety glasses and face shield the entire time.

When I finished hollowing out the inside of the cup, I realized that my chuck left dents in the wood. Thus was due to the fact that I didn’t have a piece big enough to turn a large enough tenon, so I essentially clamped the cup in the chuck and that caused the dents. – It’s all a learning experience. After learning that I dinged up the wood, I went ahead and filled the cracks and dents with some colored epoxy, then sanded down the excess. This seemed to work pretty well for most places, but again, this was far from perfect or ideal. To finish the piece, I used some Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner which has food safe mineral oil and other waxes in it, even though I don’t think I’ll be using this cup for anything, especially eating or drinking.

Thanks for checking out this article. I can’t wait to turn more cups and hopefully bowls. (Now I just need a chainsaw so I can cut bigger blanks!) This was a great learning experience. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me or leave it in a comment on the YouTube video and I’ll be sure to respond.

-Robert

Resin Comparison Video | Turning Four Different Materials

In today’s video, I turn four Wall Street II pens. I show the preparation, turning and assembly of each of the four pens. While it is important to show these steps in creating the pens, I wanted to focus on comparing different materials today. I compared three resins and a bonus material. In this video I turn one of the resins and the bonus material for the very first time! I compared the materials on a completely subjective scale and used qualitative data instead of quantitative data, so while there is no hard data, I do tell you about my experience with each blank in the video.

The first material I want to talk about is acrylic acetate. These blanks are available at a number of woodworking stores and are easily accessible.

The second material I mention is Alumilite. I cast the blank for the pen and this turned more easily than the acrylic acetate. This is the resin that I cast in a pressure pot. This affords me the ability to make my pens and creations even more of my own.

The third material I talk about in the video is polyester resin. The blank was cast and sent to me by John Pierce. This blank finished the best, but in my opinion, it smelled the worst. I have talked to people who say that casting polyester resin smells awful, so while I noticed the smell while cutting and turning, I can only imagine what it smells like when casting the blanks.

The fourth material I used (bonus material!) was corian. The corian is just like the counter tops you see in homes! This was an interesting turn because for the majority of the time I worked with it, it was a treat to work with. It polished nicely and I can’t wait to work with corian again!

In general, I highly recommend wearing a respirator for working with any of these materials. When it comes to general turning practices with these blanks, use the standard turning rules for pens and you’ll have a greater chance of having a successful turn. Use fast speeds, sharp tools, and light cuts.  If you follow these three practices, you reduce the chance of blowing apart a blank. if you use slow speeds, dull tools, and heavy cuts, a lot could go wrong real fast.

Thanks for reading this article. There is more detail in the video under the “YouTube Videos” tab. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me and I will respond.

-Robert