Wednesday, 26 July 2017


Hi all,
Yesterday I received an exciting new bit of kit, it's not what most people would call exciting but it was for me. Some of you may recall that I had near life ending experience recently when a large spindle left my lathe at 2000 rpm and tried to club me to death. After picking myself up off the floor I decide that I would stick to small projects in the future.

I don't mind telling anybody that I've lost my confidence with big pieces of wood, so it was to be small stuff in the future. The trouble with small stuff is that when using a conventional 4 jaw chuck, one often finds oneself working too close for comfort to the spinning jaws of the chuck. This is not good for a woodturner who is but a few shakes away from being a quivering jelly. So, what I got from Axminster, (brilliant service by the way,) was a collet chuck. It is much smaller than my 4 jaw chuck and has made turning more comfortable. Work projects are mounted onto this chuck via a 12mm spigot and it works just fine. The price was reasonable and I'm well pleased with it.

Anyway, to try it out I decided to have a go at a pen but using the collet chuck instead of the usual pen mandrel. And, instead of using a pen kit, I decided to use the parts from a bic biro. I reckon most people know what a biro looks like, but for those who don't, here is the shell of the one I pinched the gubbin's out of.
I took a normal pen blank, not sure what the wood was because I got it from a bargain bin somewhere, and drilled a 3.8mm hole down the centre to take the nib and tube. Then I put a 12mm spigot on the end and mounted it into the collet chuck.

I did a few beads and some pyrography on it and then painted it with some acrylic paints that I nicked out of my wife's arty crafty mountain of bits. I then gave it 2 coats of medium CA for a finish and here it is.

Not bad for a 25p blank and an inexpensive biro. If it runs out of ink I will just stick another nib and ink tube from another biro in it. Not that I will get the chance because my wife's face lit up like Blackpool illuminations when she saw it. A few seconds later she was busy practising her signature in a note book. "What a lovely writer," she said, "I'm having that."
She was stunned when I told her that it was just a biro, so perhaps perception goes a long way even in the pen turning world.

By the way, I am giving away free downloads of one of my books on the 27th and 28th of July.
It's the first book in the Fishing Detectives series called "Carp Rustlers."

 To get a free copy just click on the books tab at the top of the page and then on the cover.

It is a good laugh so I hope you enjoy it. In my next post I will show you an acorn box that I have just started


  1. Wow that's an awesome piece George! I've seen designs done on surfaces other that plain wood but this one is definitely the most unique! If it's okay with you I would love to include it in my next article on the most interesting wood burning designs in the future.

    1. Hi Nick, Im pleased you like it. Please go ahead and use it if you are still intersted. If youve already don it could you please send me the link so that I can see it.
      Regards George.
      PS Sorry about the late reply I missed your comment, no excuse.