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