Cyanoacrilate (super glue, AKA CA) Finish

1. On the lathe, sand turned piece to its final stage, as you would normally do. I sand to 320 grit usually
(maybe 400 grit on very hard woods) and then polish with 00 steel wool with the lathe on, and then off, rubbing with the grain.

2.Remove all dust and grit. I use compressed air to blow dust off the surface and out of any depressions,
cracks, etc. Vacuuming will also work. Then, wipe the surface with a rag to remove any remaining dust.

3.On a hollow vessel, I apply the CA finish before hollowing out the inside. A CA finish has several advantages:

The finish gives eggshell strength to the vessel walls, especially when a thin wall will be turned, or there
are other characteristics that weaken the walls (like knots, voids, etc.)

The CA finish remains clear and does not yellow like an oil-based finish. It also transmits color and
design more clearly.

It provides a harder more durable finish that does not need maintenance like re-waxing or re-oiling.

4.All, or most all, the application and sanding of the CA finish on the vessel walls will be done with the piece on
the lathe attached to the headstock.

5.Apply medium viscosity (Hot Stuff - Gold) to the vessel wall with the lathe off. Thin viscosity or Red Label Hot
Stuff is better on flat surfaces, it tends to run on a round vessel.


I use a latex glove and wipe on the CA glue with the index finger. I have also used saran wrap and
latex glove pieces stretched over the finger. After a latex glove is used, cut off any remaining unused
fingers and use them individually. I'm told that Rude Osolnik does not use any protection on his finger,
but lets the CA layers build up - he claims it is easily peeled off.

Wipe on quickly and as smoothly as possible an area of about 3-6 square inches. In spreading and
smoothing out the glue, do not go over the same area too many times - 2-4 times should be enough.

If you go over the area too long, the CA glue will start to set up and the surface will be rougher as a

The rougher the surface, the more sanding that will have to be done after the glue has set.

Sanding imperfections is not fun, so you want to keep the surface as smooth as possible. Runs,
drips, etc. take time to sand off. When the glue sets up, the surface will become somewhat rough

Rotate your piece and quickly move on to the next adjacent area and apply more glue. Repeat until
the entire surface is covered.

Let the glue covered surface dry naturally or hit with an accelerator mist.

Caution: CA Glue (Cyanoacrylate) fumes and sanding dust are noxious and may irritate the skin,
eyes, and nose. Take adequate protective measures use good ventilation, a fan, or a dust control
system. Be careful, this glue bonds human skin to itself and glue flung into the eyes can be very

6.Make sure the CA glue has set up before turning the lathe on. I always mist with accelerator to ensure that
the glue is set, particularly in pockets. Test the surface to make sure it is all cured by lightly passing your
hand over it. If you turn the lathe on and there is a pocket of unset glue, it will fly out (I have found specks on
my glasses) and it may also set up with a drip or run.

7.With the lathe on, sand with 220 grit for a brief period. Too much sanding will go through the CA finish and
expose raw wood.

8.With the lathe off, sand by hand with 220grit areas that are still rough, orange-peely, or shinny. Sand by hand
until the entire surface is smooth and it has a mat or dull finish over the entire area with no shinny or imperfect

9.With the lathe off, apply a second coat of CA glue and sand as described in paragraphs 5-7 above. When
the surface is entirely smooth and dull, sand lightly with 320 grit, and then use 00 steel wool with the lathe on,
and then off, to remove any concentric marks and any remaining shinny spots.

10.When I do hollow vessels, the neck around the opening and the base attached to the faceplate or 4-jaw chuck
is left fat for strength. As a result, when the inside hollowing is complete, I will turn the neck and opening
down to a final configuration and sand.

11.Then, apply the CA glue finish to the neck area and sand as described in 5-8 above.

12.If one were doing a bowl, the inside could be finished in the same manner as covered in 5-8.

13.In a hollow vessel or bowl, the piece is all complete at this point, including the CA glue application, except
for the base, which was intentionally left fat or large for support and strength. The piece can now be
parted off a faceplate or taken out of a 4-jaw chuck and reversed to finish the bottom.

14.With the piece reversed and adjusted to be fully concentric, turn the fat bottom area and the bottom surface to
your final desired form. Sand and apply CA Glue as described in 5-8 above. If you are using the tail stock to
hold the bottom surface, then you will have to leave a " area on the bottom that can not be finished until the
piece is off the lathe, and you pare off the nub, sand and finish the bottom center area.

15.Now, the piece should be fully turned, covered with a smoothly sanded CA glue finish over the entire surface.

16.The surface can now be buffed on a buffing wheel with compound.

Buff with a compound like white diamond. Tripoli is too course.

Be careful to avoid buffing through the CA surface.

Have a piece of 220 and 320 grit sandpaper handy. As you find any areas that are not glass-smooth,
or if there is a ridge or lump, hand sand smooth and re-polish.

It is helpful to have a good light next to the buffing wheel. Put the piece under the light often to see
surface imperfections. When looking at a shinny surface obliquely that is illuminated with light,
imperfections can readily be seen.

Re-sand and polish areas with imperfections.

Again, be careful not to sand or polish through the CA surface. It is easy to do, and troublesome to

Repair any areas where raw wood shows with another application of CA glue over that area. Sand
and then polish.

17.Even though I'm not sure it makes a lot of difference, I rub the polished surface with rottenstone to reduce the
high sheen.

18.This total procedure takes practice to accomplish well. I suggest that initially, it be tried on turned scrap
wood until you get the hang of it and the conditions it creates. After you feel comfortable with the procedure
in practice, try it on a turned piece. Good Luck!

19.I have found that this finish works best on woods with pattern and color variation (buckeye, paralam, spalting,