Turning Some Pens

Back on the lathe with a Tree Revenge project. I mentioned before that a tree fell on the house of a friend of mine, and they saved me a slice of the tree. I have taken that small round of wood and I intend to make a variety of souvenirs from the corpse of the tree that tried to wreck my friend’s living space.

I’ve spent the last few days cutting the wood into pen blanks. Then I used the chuck on the lathe to drill out holes for the tubes.

Glued the tubes in place with CA.

Used the appropriate bushing kits to space them out on the mandrel, then got to cutting. It took a while for each pair of blanks. Two blanks combine to make one pen.

Once the cutting is done, I leave the blanks on the lathe and sand at low speed, progressing from 150 up to 320 grit.

Once that’s done, I start applying layers of CA glue spaced with activator. The glue gets mighty hot, so I always drop the pieces of shop towel after the few drops are applied. I give the glue a few seconds to sit, then hit it with the activator and give it a few more seconds before moving on to the next coat. About 10 coats total.

With that done, I switch to wet sanding with grits from 1500 up to 12,000. The small micromesh pads are ideal for this.

With the sanding complete, it’s time to press the pen parts into a final assembly. I don’t have a pen press so I just use an F clamp. Not pretty but it gets the job done.

The final result is smooth and shiny. The whole process from tubed blank to finished pen takes about 45 minutes, though I’ve gotten faster as I’ve completed more of them. Just a few dozen more to go.