When I first heard of a CA finish for pens I was mystified. Cyanoacrylate Glue (see why we call it CA) is basically what we are familiar with calling Super Glue. CA is a woodturner staple. No wonder the constant friend of fixing turning mistakes also became a popular finish.
It's strong, resisting wear and scratching and when applied correctly looks like glass! I found a lot of folks work really hard at making it difficult. Maybe it's just their way. I need a finish that's simple.
I've yet to sell a pen for over $50. Which means that I cannot spend hours or days on the finish. I can do a CA finish in about 10 minutes. Sometimes less. My results are awesome. Sometimes I get the tiniest swirl marks on the surface. I don't care. The first time the pen is put in the pocket or purse, it will likely be marred worse so why should I kill myself to remove them?
(Lathe running @ 1800ish)
1. Sand to 320 grit. Usually that means starting at 220 and ending at 320. Every once in a while 150 comes out, if my skew work sucks.
2. Wipe of blank with clean shop towel. Paper towel works fine too
2. Add a few drops of medium CA (like seriously 2-3 drops) to a shop/paper towel
3. Rub it across the blank once or twice briskly.
4. Stop. Either you wait for 2 minutes or spray some accelerator.
5. I do this 3 times. Thats it. With the accelerator your at about 3 minutes total time invested
6. Last step is the polish. I keep my mico mesh in a tupperware with water. This helps with heat, and keeping dust off the pads. I polish through the levels 1500 to 12000, wiping the blank with a clean shop/paper towel each time.
This is what you get. The two on the far left are friction polish to show the contrast. The rest are this simple CA method.
Add some wax if you like, or not. It absolutely amazing results for a small investment of your time.