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Master pen turners use Satellite City's Super T CA glue and NCF Quick accelerator to protect their pens with a durable, high-gloss finish.  Barry Gross of BG Artforms has over 30 years of experience.  He has published over 50 articles in various woodworking magazines, been a guest speaker and instructor at numerous venues, authored several books and created two instructional dvds on pen turning.  Barry has made pens for Steven Spielberg, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Jimmy Buffet, Greg Norman, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, concert pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, and other well-known people.  During the assembly and finishing of his exceptional pens, he uses Satellite City CA glue and accelerator.  You can see our instant glues in his excellent books and instructional dvds. In the latest edition of the Pen Turner's Workbook, you can learn how to use our CA glue to:

-Quickly apply a durable, glossy finish
-Stabilize blanks
-Glue tubes into blanks
-Harden punky wood and soft materials such as antler
-Bond acrylic scrap for sectional blanks
-Fill voids with sawdust or decorative filler such as turquoise
-Tighten loose finial caps on closed end pens
-Repair cracks and chips

The Pen Turner's Workbook at BG Artforms Barry Gross of BG Artforms

See Barry's CA glue finish instructions here! Arizona Silhouette offers a kit specifically for pen finishing which includes our Hot Stuff, Super T, and NCF Quick, along with acrylic and abralon finishing pads, scratch remover, non-stick bushings, and new wave sandpaper. You can find this kit on the Arizona Silhouette website.

New users are often amazed at the results.  After getting turned onto Satellite City CA glue and accelerator, Charles Huchette of Stylink wrote, 

"Fantastic! I finished 4 pens today in 5 hours, and this is with 20 to 25 coats of normal CA glue pen blank. (see below 4 pictures attached)   The NCF accelerator is a must for pen turners, the application is flawless, uniform, you're in control! I believe in good tools, they make all the difference. David provided top notch replies to all my questions, I was amazed, knowledgeable people are rare these days."

Pen by Charles Huchette finished with Super T CA glue from Satellite City Instant Glues
Pen by Charles Huchette finished with Super T CA glue from Satellite City Instant GluesPen by Charles Huchette finished with Super T CA glue from Satellite City Instant Glues

Thank you, Charles!  Visit Stylink's website for high resolution pictures of these and more fantastic pens.

You can get that same great finish with your pens using these instructions!

The video below was made by Emory Mclaughlin from www.AsTheWoodTurns.com. After the video, scroll down for written instructions also by Emory Mclaughlin.

Russ Fairfield's Pen Finishing Techniques

Russ Fairfield is a very well known woodworker who passed away in 2011. He contributed a great deal to the woodworking community, and you can find the articles he wrote at Russ's Corner at WoodCentral. The Annual Russ Fairfield Memorial Pen Contest is held in his honor each year. Russ made a video on his pen finishing techniques in which he uses Hot Stuff and Super T CA glue. These videos are available from his channel on YouTube and can be seen below.

Russ Fairfield's Pen Finishing, 1 of 5 - Sanding with CA Glue

Russ Fairfield's Pen Finishing - 2 of 5, More Sanding

Russ Fairfield's Pen Finishing, 3 of 5 - CA Glue

Russ Fairfield's Pen Finishing, 4 of 5 - With CA and BLO

Russ Fairfield's Pen Finishing, 5 of 5 - The Final Finish

Click here to download a PDF of instructions on pen finishing with Super T CA glue from Satellite City Instant Glues.

Pen Turning with Super T CA glue from Satellite City Instant Glues

by Emory Mclaughlin �2007

I have finished many pens using Satellite City Super T medium gap-filling CA glue and the NCF Quick accelerator because these adhesives give me consistent results. I am able to get a hi-build finish with three coats, giving the finished piece some depth. With these directions and a little practice you will be able to give your pens a very durable finish that maintains a high gloss after many years of use.

Pen finished with Super T CA glue from Satellite City Instant Glues


Sanding produces dust both from the wood and from the Super T CA glue. The Super T produces fumes while curing and can splatter and fly all over the place when the lathe is turning. Take some precautions. A dust mask will help with the dust. Proper ventilation will remove the fumes. A face shield and safety glasses will prevent glue from splattering in your face and eyes. It is also good to keep some US-1 Super Solvent debonder on hand just in case you need to remove glue from a surface or your hands.


After turning a pen to the final dimensions, start the sanding process. Cut little strips of sand paper in the following grits: 120, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800, and 1,200. Start sanding with the 120 grit and go up through 400 grit. Make sure to wipe the dust off the blanks before switching to a new piece of paper.

Pen blank to be finished with Super T CA Glue from Satellite City Instant Glues

Applying the CA glue finish

It is very important to use the Super T medium gap-filling CA glue because the Hot Stuff Original is very thin and will wick down into the bushings and glue them to the mandrel. Take a paper towel and fold it up into a small rectangle. With the lathe running slowly, hold the CA glue above and the paper towel underneath and touching the blank. Begin applying the glue with the paper towel catching the excess. Move both hands evenly; you want to apply a nice, smooth, even coat, and you only have about 5-10 seconds to make a pass back and forth on each blank. Then pull the paper towel and the Super T bottle away from the blank. You can either let the CA glue dry naturally, which will take a couple of minutes, or you can spray it from 8-10 inches with a little of the NCF Quick Accelerator (let me emphasize LITTLE). If you spray too much or too closely the finish will cook off and turn white. Apply three coats using this method. The paper towels soak up a little of the Super T, but you end up with a very smooth surface.

Pen having finish applied with Super T CA Glue from Satellite City Instant Glues

Sanding the finish

Now sand the finished surface. Start with the 400 grit paper and wipe the blank between grits up through 1,200. On each step up in sandpaper look for an even white glaze on the Super T surface. Stop the lathe when you have finished sanding, you should have a nice, even surface with a dull whitish appearance. Repeat the application and sanding of the finish to achieve the depth desired. I recommend three coats.

Buffing and Polishing

To finish up the pen, use a two-step buffing and polishing procedure with a Red Rouge and White Diamond compound. These are available in sticks and are sold at hardware and woodworking stores. Run the lathe in reverse, leaving the blank mounted on the mandrel so it is easier to hold onto while buffing. Hold the mandrel at a 45 degree angle and rotate the blank while buffing. Buff with the Red Rouge first and then the White Diamond, using a separate buffing wheel for each compound. When you are finished, you should have a beautiful, smooth, high-gloss finish. If you do not, look below for the solution to common problems.

Pen being buffed after finishing with Super T CA Glue from Satellite City Instant Glues


Dull spots in finish

It is possible to sand through the finish which will cause dull spots. The way to fix this is to sand with 400 grit paper and then reapply the finish.

White spots in finish

If you apply too much accelerator or spray from too close, it will cause the CA glue to turn white. Use less accelerator and spray from 8-10 inches away.


Bumps are usually caused by too much CA glue. Apply less glue as many light coats are better than one heavy coat. Sand the glue up to 400 grit and reapply the finish.

Problems removing the bushings

The Super T will attach the bushings to the pen. Take a skew chisel and with the long point down, lightly score the joints between the blanks and bushings. Also make sure to use the Super T medium gap-filling glue because as mentioned previously, the Hot Stuff Original is designed to be very thin and will wick into the bushings, bonding them to the mandrel.

Fixing cracks in the blank

Take a bit of wood shavings and grind them up in the palm of our hand. Rub the dust into the crack and follow up with some Super T to seal the dust into the crack. You will have to go back through the sanding and polishing process again, but this is a better solution then scrapping the blank.

About the author

Emory Mclaughlin teaches classes at the Woodcraft Supply store in Jacksonville, FL. He has demonstrated at the national level and has been published in American Woodturner and Woodturning Design. To find out more, visit Emory Mclaughlin's website, As the Wood Turns.