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My world of turning #2: First pens!

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Blog entry by JJones98042 posted 727 days ago 783 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: In the beginning... Part 2 of My world of turning series Part 3: More pens and education »

I produced my first 2 pens yesterday! Being new to turning, I’m learning lots of new things from each project.

Before diving into my first pens, I took a little time to practice on some scrap poplar that I had laying around. After roughing the pieces down, I tried some simple “features” (coves and parting grooves) to get a feel for the tools along with a bit of sanding. 1 of them was also used to test the friction polish finish. The other was my testbed to gain confidence with the CA finishing process. In the end, I was pleased enough with the CA to know that I wasn’t going to completely ruin my first pen! :)

The first pen went pretty smoothly and the assembly went well. All of the turning was done using the spindle gouge. Major lessons learned were:

1: Don’t be afraid of the bushings. Leaving the blanks even a hair proud of the bushings just means that your pen will have a sharp ridge on the transition from the blank to the hardware. That doesn’t feel good on the hands.
2: Some of the CA at the ends of the blanks (where they sat against the bushings) delaminated/chipped when taking the blanks off of the mandrel. Need to pay closer attention to the ends before they are removed from the lathe (wax, scribing, sand/cut?).
3: Pay closer attention during turning and sanding to ensure that the shape is smooth along the axis! :)

For the second pen, I wanted to improve the shape after feeling the first one in my hands, hence the flare close to the business end. I was more conscious about ensuring the shape along the axis. I also went a bit slower during the turning and made sure that the last few passes were only shaving off very thin amounts to improve the surface before sanding. Again, all turning was done with the gouge only. I’ll graduate to the skew once I have a bit more experience. :)

Lessons learned were:
1: Centrifugal forces on CA! Too high of a rotation speed (and probably too much CA) led to the CA flowing toward the widest part of the blanks before it set. Once I hit it with the accelerator, the droplets of CA “set off” in thick, white bumps that took a good bit of sanding to get remove and repair.
2: Thicker CA: I tried some thicker CA that I had around. It didn’t appear to make any significant difference.
3: Sanding the edges: After removing the blanks from the mandrel, I lightly chamfered the edges with 400 grit sandpaper to get rid of the sharp edge. The result was better, but still an area for more improvements.

-- "Keep thy airspeed up, lest the earth come from below and smite thee." - William Kershner



4 comments so far

View clieb91's profile

clieb91

3252 posts in 2537 days


#1 posted 726 days ago

Welcome the addiction of pen turning. I am still relatively new as well and like your lessons learned. I have yet to work with a CA finish as I work in a basement shop and do not trust the ventilation.
Both of your pens turned out very nicely. I look forward to reading more about your progression. Blogging your journey can be very helpful in looking back at what you have done and where you are going. I did a year long project blog and really was a lot of fun.

CtL

-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- PortablePastimes.com (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View JJones98042's profile

JJones98042

225 posts in 855 days


#2 posted 726 days ago

Thank you very much. What finishing process are you using? I experimented with a friction polish as well and it gave a nice satin finish that felt really nice in the hand.

I’m really enjoying the fact that the projects are small and you can go from start to finish so quickly! Its a great feeling of accomplishment even if you only have a couple of hours available to tinker.

-- "Keep thy airspeed up, lest the earth come from below and smite thee." - William Kershner

View clieb91's profile

clieb91

3252 posts in 2537 days


#3 posted 716 days ago

J
The fact that I can completely finish a project in a short period of time is what I love about turning. I have to admit as far as finishing I have not experimented with a lot. Generally I just use EEE, woodturners finish and some wax. I did just get some beeswax from work and do want to try that.
I have done some experimenting with coloring some of my pens. I like to use a lot of local stuff that I process myself from my work. Most of them are do not have a lot of character to them so I wanted to work on coloring them to add something. I have been using food coloring mixed with some alchol. You can see an example in my projects (sorry can’t post a link). I am working on my latest batch of pens and adding a number of colored ones to it. PM me if you are interested in trying it.

CtL

-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- PortablePastimes.com (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View JJones98042's profile

JJones98042

225 posts in 855 days


#4 posted 716 days ago

I just saw your project with the colored pens and the results look very nice! I will have to add that to my “to do” list as well! :) Thanks.

-- "Keep thy airspeed up, lest the earth come from below and smite thee." - William Kershner

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