Friday, 2 December 2016

Disaster and Rescue

Hi all,
Those of you who have been following my projects for a while will know that I have sometimes used polymer clay to enhance some of my boxes. Well the other day I had an Idea that I could also make use of polymer clay in my pen making quest. In fact, polymer clay could help me save some money, which in my mind is always a good thing. Let me explain.

When I purchase wooden blanks for making a pens they cost about £1 each. However, when making each pen I don't use the whole blank and always have about an inch left over. Having now made over twenty pens I'm getting quite a collection of these off cuts. I suppose I could bin them but I follow the notion that they might come in handy one day even if they are only 1 inch long.

Anyway, my idea was to use polymer clay to fill the space between these 1 inch off cuts.
I had 4 off cuts, all in various types of dark wood and I thought it would go well with a polymer clay that was mixed from green, yellow and black. The clay was mixed but not thoroughly so that the individual colours could still be seen. This was then baked in the oven in line with the manufacturer's guidelines before being sandwiched between the pieces of wood. I used a epoxy resin called Milliput to ensure I got a good bond between the clay and the wood.

When I put the blank on the lathe to turn it I didn't know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised because the clay and the Milliput turned very nicely. In fact, it was the wood that I had a problem with. I had somehow fixed the top piece of wood with the grain going sideways instead of length ways and a piece chipped off. The only thing I could do was to used my parting tool to remove the offending piece of wood. I did this and glued another piece in place. I didn't have any dark off cuts left so I had to use a lighter wood, which I must admit did spoil the look of the pen a bit.
When I showed it to the wife she couldn't stop laughing. She said it was bloody horrible and should be chucked straight in the wheelie. I think it has a certain charm and if the top piece of wood had been the same as the rest I thing it would have made a very nice pen. At least I proved that my idea about the polymer clay would work and if I can get a free pen out of the off cuts it means I will save about 25% on the cost of my blanks.

If you have any comments to make on this pen I would love to hear them.

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