Tale of the Olive Wood Rolling Pin #1: The Beginning

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Blog entry by Dabilene posted 07-06-2012 12:02 AM 3538 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Last year I started turning pens. I have really enjoyed being able to take a project from start to finish in 45 minutes (or so). A few friends have asked me to make pens for them with “sentimental” pieces of wood – an old tree that fell on their property, etc.

One of my partners was going on a trip to Greece last month. Before leaving he asked me about making him a pen out of a piece of olive wood that he picked up while he was there. I gladly agreed and told him that 1” square by 6” long would be plenty. On his trip he looked everywhere but couldn’t seem to find a piece to buy. He even tried to sneak up on a downed limb to take a piece and was quickly run off by a man screaming at him in Greek. He and his wife stopped in a bakery. Glancing over the counter he saw 3 rolling pins that looked very nice, and the baker told him that, in fact, they were all made of olive wood. My partner talked the baker into selling one of the rolling pins – 8 Euro ($11).

He was quite excited about his find. My first reaction was that there was no way I could “destroy” that beautiful rolling pin. For several days I tried to talk him into keeping it in its original form. He was dead set on having a pen made from it.

I really wanted to utilize as much of the pin as I could. First I cut off the ends and decided to make bottle stoppers.

I chose to keep the stoppers as they were when he acquired the pin (without any additional finish). I thought this might help him remember the stop in the bakery a little.

My next issue was how to break down the rolling pin into as many usable pieces as possible. I first cut the pin in half in case I ruined it on a cut – I would still have the other half to work with. I ruled out using my table saw because I didn’t want to lose 1/8” from the cut. Bandsaw was my next choice. I certainly don’t have the ability to pass a round piece accurately (and keep all my fingers). My buddy came up with this idea.

This worked great.

These 2 pieces were then cut on the bandsaw to give me 4 “pen blanks” from half of the rolling pin. I now had some pieces that I felt like I could turn into pens. Here are the first 2:

So that’s where I sit now. I still have the other half, which is the better piece. I’ll probably use it for some fancier pens.

to be continued…......

2 comments so far

View Raymond Thomas's profile

Raymond Thomas

189 posts in 2274 days

#1 posted 07-06-2012 12:33 AM

Great use of a beautiful piece of olive wood and your partner feels he got the better end of the deal too! Win-win for all concerned.

-- Raymond, Charlotte, NC -------- Demonstrate the difference!

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3041 days

#2 posted 07-06-2012 01:31 PM

It breaks my heart to see that rolling pin in pieces..!! but you gotta do what you gotta do, right? You made beautiful things from it. I like the bottle stoppers quite a bit.

Also, mental note: When I’m in Greece later this year, hunt for an olivewood rolling pin!

-- Lis - Michigan - -

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