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Corn Cob's (Read 2,638 times)
 
Scott Johnson
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Corn Cob's
Aug 6th, 2008 at 11:55am
 
I just purchased a couple of corn cob pen blanks and was wondering if I could get some tips on turning these?  I have read that CA glue may be needed to fill voids, where is best place to purchase? or is there other options that may work better.  Idea's on finishing would be appreciated too. Smiley Smiley
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Rev. Doug Miller
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #1 - Aug 6th, 2008 at 12:48pm
 
high speed, sharp tools, and light touch.  CA will come into play at the end once the turning is done and before the sanding starts.  If you bought them they may even be stabilized already.  If they are you may not even have to use the CA.  Can't really say since I've never used them.  Anyway, if you use the CA as a finish you'll love the results, high gloss and slick as glass.  Take your time and enjoy the process.  Feel free to ask any other questions you may have.
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Scott Johnson
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #2 - Aug 6th, 2008 at 1:57pm
 
I've heard of using thin CA glue as a finish, just not sure exactly how to do it? Only finish I've used is the friction polish I got from Craft Supplies.
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Rev. Doug Miller
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #3 - Aug 6th, 2008 at 4:15pm
 
This is what I do.  Others will use different techniques and get equal results if not better.  You'll have to decide for yourself.

Take the barrels off the mandrel and apply some wax on the bushings.  This will help should you get glue between the barrels and the bushings.  I put one of the little plastic bags from the pen kit on one of the finger tips on my left hand.  Using my right hand, my dominant hand, I apply a coat of CA from end to end of the barrel, smoothing it with the plastic covered finger.  The glue does not seem to stick to the plastic bag and spreads nicely.  Be careful not to get too much glue in the joint between the barrel and the bushings.  It is hard to get apart if you happen to get them glued together DAMHIKT. 

This first coat will be a bit rough and you probably will not get all the pockets filled the first time.  Sand with 150 or so grit paper until as smooth as you feel you can get it.  Apply a second coat.  This coat will go on much smoother.  Sand again with 150.  If you get a totally smooth surface you can go on up the grits.  If not, you'll want to apply yet another layer of CA.  The idea is to fill and sand until you get a completely smooth surface.  Sometimes you'll have to fill individual pockets to achieve that goal.  Once totally smooth, apply one more coat of CA that will be the final top coat.  You can sand with the micromesh to a glossy shine and then polish with acrylic polish. 

If you happen to notice that you've sanded through the CA, add another coat.  Any place the cob comes through it will become grey and ugly in short order.  Your mileage may vary.
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Bob Hunt
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #4 - Aug 6th, 2008 at 5:49pm
 
OK. I don't turn pens but it looks pretty cool to do.
My question is do you guys get the corn cobs from those little tiny ears that are on hors d'oeuvres trays.
How do you dry them?
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #5 - Aug 6th, 2008 at 6:46pm
 
Here are 2 different way's to do the CA finish.

Chuck

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PDF with pics on how to make a corn cob pen

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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #6 - Aug 6th, 2008 at 11:26pm
 
Bob
 The cobs in question come from ears of feed corn or the things you get at feed stores to set out and feed the squirrels.
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« Last Edit: Aug 6th, 2008 at 11:27pm by Philip Peak »  

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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #7 - Aug 7th, 2008 at 8:29am
 
Do not use cooked cobs.  They don't work
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Scott Johnson
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #8 - Aug 7th, 2008 at 11:05am
 
Thanks for all the advise on the Cob turning and finishing.  I'll make sure I post some pics when I get them done.

Rev, I'm glad you mentioned to not use cooked cobs when making blanks.  I was thinking about keeping some cobs from summer dinners this year and try them out.  Do you have any links or advise on how to stablize my own cobs?
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #9 - Aug 7th, 2008 at 4:55pm
 
I have used the Bondo Rotten Wood Hardener in the past.  However, some thinned lacquer or varnish would work just fine.  I've heard one or two who have put a jar containing cobs and enough CA  to cover in a vacumm bell, drawing out the air, and then releasing once all the bubbles stop.  Take the cobs out and allow to dry and you're ready to go.  Too much trouble for me.  I'll stick with the Rotten Wood Hardener or thinned finish.
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #10 - Aug 7th, 2008 at 9:44pm
 
Bob Hunt wrote on Aug 6th, 2008 at 5:49pm:
OK. I don't turn pens but it looks pretty cool to do.
My question is do you guys get the corn cobs from those little tiny ears that are on hors d'oeuvres trays.
How do you dry them?



The cobs I buy are popcorn cobs.  The pith on them is just right for many pen tubes.  I have a few pounds of them (unstabilized) I am about to dispose of.  Anyone who wants some can have them for the cost of postage.  PM or email...

Jim
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« Last Edit: Aug 7th, 2008 at 10:07pm by Jim Van Hooser »  
 
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #11 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 7:02am
 
Jim,
I love the new avatar Grin
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #12 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 10:01am
 
I think we have all forgotten one very important piece in this puzzle.  The best pen kit for a cob pen is the cigar.  Seems to be just the right size.  The core of the cob is large enough to be drilled comfortably.  The OD of the pen will be large enough to have plenty of pocket revealed.  Much bigger OD and the surface is still fuzzy and soft.  Kits that start with larger tubes mean that you drill out all the core and are into the pockets.  I find that this situation does not leave enough stable material to glue the tube to. 

These are only my opinions here.  JimQ and Smoky, ya'll jump in here and share what you think.  I'm not the authority here. 
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #13 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 10:41am
 
With the thinned lacquer or varnish do you just dip them or do you let them soak for a while?
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #14 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 12:34pm
 
Rev. Doug Miller wrote on Aug 8th, 2008 at 10:01am:
I think we have all forgotten one very important piece in this puzzle.  The best pen kit for a cob pen is the cigar.  Seems to be just the right size.  The core of the cob is large enough to be drilled comfortably.  The OD of the pen will be large enough to have plenty of pocket revealed.  Much bigger OD and the surface is still fuzzy and soft.  Kits that start with larger tubes mean that you drill out all the core and are into the pockets.  I find that this situation does not leave enough stable material to glue the tube to.  

These are only my opinions here.  JimQ and Smoky, ya'll jump in here and share what you think.  I'm not the authority here.  
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The cigar is my personal favorite, but the most requested cob pen I make is the comfort pen - minus the rubber grip.  I just use the smaller end of smaller popcorn cobs for the tip of the pen.  If I do get into the pith near the tip I usually just dye that pen and it hides the flaw pretty well.  If I loose too much of the checker patern, I will either start over or use the rubber gripper, but this doesn't happen too often.
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« Last Edit: Aug 8th, 2008 at 12:35pm by Jim Van Hooser »  
 
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #15 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 12:43pm
 
Scott Johnson wrote on Aug 8th, 2008 at 10:41am:
With the thinned lacquer or varnish do you just dip them or do you let them soak for a while?


I cut the cobs, drill them, and soak them in Minwax hardener overnight in a sealed fruitjar.  I'm not sure they really need that long, though.  Then I let them cure for a couple of days.

If I plan to dye them, I don't stabilize the cob and use a lot of CA as I go.
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« Last Edit: Aug 8th, 2008 at 12:43pm by Jim Van Hooser »  
 
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Rev. Doug Miller
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #16 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 5:03pm
 
Scott, I usually cut them a little over sized and then let them soak for a while, or over night at least.  If they go 24 hours it is no big deal.  You will then need to let them dry a while.  A day or two will usually do it.  Once dry, glue in your tubes, sand til pretty close to the tubes, use your barrel trimmer carefully to square the blank to the tube.  If you're too aggressive the trimmer can catch the cob and rip it in a spiral.  Then there is nothing to do other than start over.  Turn, glue, sand, glue, sand, etc. until finished.  Sounds pretty easy, right?  It really is and only takes a few minutes longer than a wood pen.
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #17 - Aug 11th, 2008 at 10:58am
 
So I tried on a practice piece of wood to do the CA finish and have a question now.  How long do I keep the plastic bag in contact with the blank as I apply the glue?
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #18 - Aug 11th, 2008 at 11:39am
 
I'm sorry, I guess I made a bunch of assumptions that I shouldn't have.  All you are doing with the plastic bag is to protect your finger from getting glue on it.  The only reason this becomes important is because you need to spread the glue somehow.  So to answer your question, just long enough to spread the glue and smooth it evenly across the blank.
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #19 - Aug 11th, 2008 at 11:50am
 
Don't worry about making those assumptions Rev.  I had my wife come try to make a pen last month (she wanted to try one) and made a lot of assumptions that she knew somewhat how to use the lathe and tools.  I WAS DEAD WRONG!  Ok, so maybe DEAD is the wrong word here, no one died.  But I certainly had to explain a lot more that I first thought I would have to. 

As for my practicing, I was holding the bag on too long then.  I think I was mixing up your explanation with others who described using BLO.  I'll have to give it a try a few more times this week.  I want to make sure I really have this down before I try it on my Corn cobs.  I really do not want to mess them up.  Thanks for the help Rev!
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Re: Corn Cob's
Reply #20 - Aug 21st, 2008 at 10:11pm
 
Here's a corncob pen tutorial:
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This is the CA method I generally use (Video 2):
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Hope this helps.
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