Wednesday, 30 August 2017


Hi all,
I have only been woodturning for just over a year and I think I must be doing all right. As you probably know by now, because I seem to mention it in every post, I've decided to turn small stuff only.

The most enjoyable of the small projects is pen making. You start off with a piece of wood about 5 inches long and 1 inch square and an hour later you have a beautiful pen in your hand. These make wonderful gifts or you can just put them in a display box and admire your own work for years to come. I even sold on once.

Anyway, just before last Christmas I came across a forum for pen turners. Here is the link

It is a very good forum which is populated with extremely nice woodturners who are all passionate about turning pens. Woodturning is a bit of a solitary hobby because most of the work is done on ones own in a shed or workshop. So this forum provides a place where people with similar interests can swap information etc. One of the most import things about the forum is it gives each member a chance to show off their latest creation. I must admit that that is why I joined up, I simply wanted to see what sort of pens other people were making. I can tell you now that in the last 9 months I've probably seen some of the best pens ever made.

Anyway, every week one pen is singled out to be declared pen of the week. I look forward to Monday mornings to see if the pick of the week was the same as the one I would have chosen. Well perhaps you can imagine my surprise when I found out  on Monday that my pen had been chosen.

Here it is, my pen of the week
 It is made from a slimeline kit with the centre band omitted. The wood is ebony and the white bands are Milliput, which is an epoxy resin. Ebony turns well but is a bit on the hard side so I had to sharpen my gouges several times. The grooves for the Milliput were cut with a thin parting tool. It was sanded down to 400 grit with the lathe running, I then swithched it off and went back through the grades, sanding with the grain up to 600 grit. I then gave it a rubdown with a tack cloth to get rid of any dust.

I followed that with 8 layers of thin CA (superglue) before caressing it with my micro pads all the way up to 12000. I then gave it a last polish with some Chestnut burnishing cream and it came up a treat.

This pen went well, but sadly not all projects go that way. I was so pleased with the way that the Milliput had worked on this pen I thought I'd go one stage better and make a black and white pen that had lots of stripes like a Zebra. I didn't want the white bands to go all the way around the pen, I wanted them broken, so Instead of using a parting tool, which would cut a groove all the way around the pen, I used a saw while the lathe was stationary.
The rest of the turning and finishing was the same. Here is the result.
I don't blame you for laughing. Not quite the Zebra effect I was looking for. I guess I should have made the bands wider. Ah well, some you win and some you lose. I'm having a go at a whistle next, so I'll show you that in my next post even if it does turn out to be a duffer.

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