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Paper towels and CA finish

Discussion in 'Tutorials and Tips' started by John Torchick, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    When my grandson and I turned the pens for his parents, the paper towels started to smoke a bit. I tossed them on the bare concrete floor to"settle" down. This way I can count how many coats of CA I have applied rather than rely on my memory. Also, I got the idea of putting them in a can of water and pushing them down with a piece of wood to completely soak them.
     
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Good tip. I do this outdoors because the fumes are really unpleasant. I prefer using Bounty paper towels because I have found them slower to fume than some other brands. Paper towels are hygroscopic so store them in a dry place indoors for less problems with fuming.
     
  3. Peter Bergquist

    Peter Bergquist

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    Complete newbie here, but I do have a chemistry background.

    CA fumes are not only unpleasant, they are very toxic. If you're using CA as a finish in any closed space you should wear an appropriate respirator.
     
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  4. Davis Stevenson

    Davis Stevenson

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    Can you cite sources of them being toxic? MSDS suggests it is a respiratory irritant (trouble breathing, chest tightness) and a skin irritant, but as it polymerizes quickly becoming inert.

    If it is actually toxic to inhale, I will need to start changing my pen workflows.
     
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  5. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks, that's something very important to hear from somebody who actually knows what they're saying. Unfortunately, it's a very widely held belief throughout the woodturning community that the fumes, although unpleasant, are harmless. Countering urban myths isn't an easy task even when our eyes and nose tell us that it is harmful.
     
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  6. Davis Stevenson

    Davis Stevenson

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    It is not an urban myth. I trust the MSDS sheets and safety organizations over my eyes and nose (both determine CA to be relatively safe). Plenty of gasses have strong effects that have no apparent effects on your eyes and nose. Also, wasabi and horseradish have an identical feeling on my eyes and nose to CA fumes, and it's a definitely not toxic.

    I still would like to see proof of toxicity, as so far my research points to it being nothing more than an irritant.
     
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  7. Peter Bergquist

    Peter Bergquist

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    Here's one from a vendor that sells CA products:

    Linky Linky


    Note the "What should I do if I am irritated by curing fumes?" section in the FAQ, especially with regard to using CA as a finish where it would be used in quantity. Any irritant in large quantities is not good for you. Perhaps I overstated by saying very toxic, but the precautions shouldn't change.
     
  8. Davis Stevenson

    Davis Stevenson

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    Toxic is different than high volume irritants. Thanks for clarifying. I was worried that new research pointed to previously unknown toxicity. I understand about exposure to irritants being bad-- to me sanding dust generated has a higher risk factor from the small amounts of CA fumes I see, and the CA fumes I see bother me less than hot sauce and wasabi. My understanding of irritants is that it is really dependent on the individual.
     
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  9. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    So I wear a respirator in the shop and then follow a coal burning diesel truck for 30 miles? FWIW, when I apply CA, I put the hose to the Shop Vac on the back of the lathe and turn it on. Takes out the fumes.
     
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  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for clearing the air. :D By the way I am sure that wasabi, horseradish, and anchovies are all deadly toxic, but my wife loves all of them. :D

    I have had a few instances where CA went high order and the fumes went directly into my eyes and nose. I'm glad that I didn't lose any brain cells over these incidents because I don't have many to spare. But, I certainly have modified my methods when using CA. Starbond sells an accelerator in a pump sprayer that is far less likely to cause fuming compared to the aerosol accelerators.

    I only use CA outdoors now and with my back to the wind if possible. I have a love/hate relationship with CA. It seems like l am always gluing myself to something ... Once I even glued my shoe to the floor. :eek:
     
  11. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    That would be real bad if you had to go to the bathroom!o_O
     
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  12. Davis Stevenson

    Davis Stevenson

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    We have an unheated shop, and CA doesn't work so well when it's cold... sometimes it gets on my hands and just doesn't cure until I grab something. Just call me Edward Chisel-hands.
     
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  13. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I forgot to also mention that my foot was glued to the inside of the shoe. :eek:
     
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  14. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    Ouch.
     
  15. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Do you keep a mop in the shop? Or a small bucket, just in case.
     
  16. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    It's been 8-10 months since I looked it up in the medical literature, but at that time, the evidence was that CA fumes are not poisonous or toxic in the precise sense of those terms. CA fumes are definitely irritating to mucous membranes, and can trigger an asthma episode in sensitive people. Otherwise they do not appear to have any long term harmful effects. Safety is very important, as is an accurate assessment of risk.
     
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  17. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    I am glad to hear that it isn't toxic!
    I have a small battery powered fan that I set on top of the lathe that seams to keep the fumes from getting in my eyes.
    Another slight problem I have had is the heat generated when the CA sets like when I use it for a finish it almost burns my fingers through the nitrile glove and the paper towel applicator.
     
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  18. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    When the CA starts to heat up, I toss it on the floor or put it in a can of water.
     
  19. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Knowing when to toss the paper towel saturated with CA is the trick, wait too long and your fingers or gloves get glued together.
     
  20. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    One way to find out how hot CA gets when it cures is to apply some on a cut, then spray on some accelerator. Aiiiyyyeeeee!!!! One of my more painfully stupid experiments.
     
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  21. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    CA glue gets hot on its own using the accelerator had to be really hot. :eek:
     
  22. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    Interesting thread. I read somewhere that paper and cotton tended to cataylize CA glue so for small turnings I use the velcro backing of spent sanding disks. By rotating the disk a bit between applications, I can get several applications from one disk. The CA on the disk hardens normally and does not foam.
     
  23. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I've had good luck with Bounty paper towels and super thin Starbond CA. But, you can't lollygag around. Put some CA on the paper towel and make a quick wipe across the turning then toss the paper towel on the ground. Don't try to stretch the length of time that you use the paper towel. You might get away with it a few times before a bad case of regret sets in.
     
  24. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Exactly. I may have posted this, "How I Do It" but here goes again- I use half of a half size paper towel. Fold it in half and then into thirds, apply a drop of CA on the corner. This way I get four applications per towel and throw the towel on the concrete floor to cool. Also I can count the number of coats by the number of towels on the floor! And I don't have to take off my shoes! The brass nut on the mandrel has a Sharpie dot so I can orient it at the 12 o'clock position. I apply CA with my right hand and manually turn the headstock with my left hand. Two full turns is the limit. I learned any more than that would give me streaks and other unwanted things in the finish. Hope this might help someone in the future.
     
  25. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    I usually fold a segment of a paper towel several layers thick holding this in one hand and apply the thin CA glue to an item while it is turning at slow speed on the lathe, while holding the paper towel under the wood piece to catch the overflow of CA glue as it floods off the piece moving the paper towel several times back and forth across the piece, this method allows a few extra seconds to move the liquid CA glue across the piece and smooth it out. Once the first coat dries you can apply additional coats of CA glue using the same method.
     
  26. Anthony LaRocco

    Anthony LaRocco

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    I have had CA glue spray onto my plastic full face mask, leaving small “nubbins” on the surface that won’t come off. The dissolving solution (or whatever it’s called) barely works and fogs the plastic. Any ideas other than tossing the mask and buying a new one?

    Guess I’m lucky I don’t have CA nubbins on my eyeballs!
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  27. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    A protective film over the new face shield would be a good investment, if the CA has bonded to the plastic itself you will have a difficult time removing it. You could try using a sharp chisel and catching the edge of the "nubbins" and tapping the end of the chisel with a hammer you might get a few to pop off and you could then buff the surface of the face shield. CA is a pretty aggressive chemical when it comes to plastics so it is most likely well adhered to the surface.
     
  28. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Methylene chloride which is the main ingredient in most paint strippers is probably an ingredient in CA solvents. If so, it probably also dissolves polycarbonate plastic visors. You can buy replacement visors for some of the better face shields. Plastic overlay sheets are a good solution, but they seem to lower clarity in my opinion. Plastic polish such as Novus 1 might keep the CA from bonding to the polycarbonate visor. For what it's worth, I have had a few drops of CA stick to my glasses which are coated polycarbonate. I was able to use a fingernail to pick them off.
     
  29. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    I too have had spots of CA on my glasses ( I didn't mention it sooner because I was just ashamed that I did that without a full face shield) but I was able to remove it using the CA solvent without any damage to the lenses. The best solution is to leave enough time for the CA to set before reworking the repaired spot and never think that CA is fully set after using accelerator.
     
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  30. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    I put the CA on the paper towel so I don't have the CA going all over me. Would Rain-X work to keep the CA off the face shield? Someone have an old face shield to experiment?
     
  31. Richard Stiers

    Richard Stiers

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    I have to ask - Is CA a food safe finish once dried and top-coated with an oil finish? I have seen turners use CA to finish end grain of bowls and cups prior to final finish.
     
  32. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    Its an acrylic plastic. Food safe as such. I would worry about applications that get abraded in use such as a mortar and pestle. The bits of plastic cant be good for you.
     
  33. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I have hosted Guilio Marcolongo twice. He finishes his boxes with a 3 step process. The first one is thin CA. He travels with his own cotton cloth. He says that it is much better than paper towels. He left me the big cotton piece, I have been using it. I can tell the CA lasts a little longer on the cotton than the paper towel, and you don't get as many fumes. I then use the other side of the cotton for the EEE wax and another clean edge with the last step, the Aussie Juice. The cotton is from an old bed sheet, way thicker than what I have ever seen here in the USA, almost like a thick cotton tshirt.
     
  34. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    I have my Shop Vac hooked up at the lathe. Doesn't get all the dust or shavings but is great for drawing off the CA fumes.
     
  35. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn Artist & Chef

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    Well, Bill, either you're not doing more than 10 coats or you really are a rocket scientist. If I count more than 10 of anything, off come the shoes!
     
  36. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    If you want an oil finish then put it on bare wood because it needs to soak into the wood fibers. For food service I prefer walnut oil. I wouldn't put any other finish on top of a CA finish, especially not an oil finish. Generally, it's not a good idea to put CA or any other hard film finish on wooden food serving bowls, platter, and utensils that will be washed because moisture will get under the finish and cause it to separate from the wood.
     
  37. Arkriver

    Arkriver

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    If you want to avoid the fumes, switch to Parfix3408. No Fumes!. I bought some from Mark Sillay while in Raleigh. I have finished about 5 bowls with it. Has a little learning curve but is quick and easy. Check out Mark Sillay's You tube video on it. You will have to order from him unless you want a whole case. Allyn
     
  38. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    I hook up the Shop Vac to draw off fumes.
     
  39. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    When I was in the pen business I went through a lot of CA. I always used a respirator and used a small fan to blow the fumes away from me. I also used a pair of clear goggles that fit tight around the eyes for eye protection.
     

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