Back from the mountains (alas, too soon).
First this quickie blog post about what happens when you order a pen turning mandrel without owning a lathe. Being a cheap skate, and a long-time reuse-recycle-minded guy, I of course built myself a wee lathe with all recycled parts: motor from an old printer (or photocopier, can’t really remember, I dismantled so many of both…), pulleys and timing belt also from reclaimed hardware, so for the bearings (hidden in the block to the left of the mandrel and at the tailstock side), scrap ply and bits and bolts.
I of course bought a very decent mandrel from Ernie at Bear Tooth Woods, he can only be described as “the best” in every aspect, period.
After some thinking on why I always seem to lack the exact sized bit I have to use (Murphy’s law about woodworking), I ended up with this prototype.
Not pretty (though my ex dedicated it with the very first pen I turned, which I gave her) but it absolutely gets the job done.
The open pulleys with the timing belt enable for very quick disassembly and insertion of the mandrel (with 2’30 AM voice and quickslap FinalCutPro HD postwork to raise the sound level, forgot to resize to avoid the black frame, oh well, WTF…)
For the tailstock pin I used a hard-drive bearing, which had a permanently attached screw that I quickly turned to a brad point on my drill press.
Cue an old bolt from old junk, a few scraps of ply, and you end up with a very functional and quite stable pen lathe at no cost at all. The girls immediately fell in love with the very first pen I turned (daddy was very impressed too by the beauty of what became of that ugly-mushy-infested chunk of wood).
Suffice to say that both my sister and my ex immediately wanted to give it a try, as they saw that:
1) It makes very little noise (I made it with a very quiet DC motor)
2) it doesn’t scare them
3) they saw me do it and saw it’s fast, easy and safe
4) the results are quick and very satisfying.
So far so good for a quick-slapped prototype.
Check this out:
These are #6 and 7, the four previous ones were: #1 gifted to honey is pictured above in her hand, #2 made BY honey for herself (not shot yet), #3 made for mom (the first Chlorociboria-infested, tricky not to overheat it when sanding, I lost a bit of color in one place), #4 a sisty-made for herself, #5 a sisty-made for our most lovely aunt, #6 and #7 are here, #8 is the second Chlorociboria, which will be a full project post with lots of pictures and definately a keeper for my very freakin’ self (NFS!), and #9 is a tedious black palm which took me around two hours to slowly turn but that ended up very well.
Now for #10 which will be a Chlorociboria-infested too, as you can see from the video.
Yup, I love this mushy goodness.
-- Holy scrap Barkman!