LumberJocks

As The Lathe Turns #13: The Trouble With Turning

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by William posted 497 days ago 1620 reads 0 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Turn, Turn, Turn, And Learn, Learn, Learn Part 13 of As The Lathe Turns series Part 14: The Disappearing Pen Mystery »

Alright, this is getting downright ridiculous. I’m addicted to bowl turning. I’m already in a twelve step program for scrollers, and now I’ve turned a pen, and found it to be just as addicting. I think I’m in trouble.

I made a mistake about a week ago. I let my wife look at the Penn State Indutries catalog. She seen pens and started asking when she was getting one. This made it apparant that I’d be making a pen sooner or later. At the moment though, I do not have the money to get proper pen kits. So I figured I’d wait a while on that idea. I was a tad mistaken I guess, especially if you talked to my wife.
So, I couldn’t afford pen kits. Instead, I had the idea of going to the store and getting Bic pens, removeing the inserts, and turning her some simple pens.

The first problem I had was I did not have a good way to accurately drill the hole through long pieces of wood for the inserts to go in.

This photo shows what happens when the holes are not drilled one hundred percent perfectly straight.

So I looked in the Penn State catalogue and seen a real nifty drill press jig for making the holes for pens.
I couldn’t afford it though, just like I couldn’t afford pen kits right now.

It was simple enough though to make my own and it works perfectly. I took a drill press vice and removed the metal jaws. I replaced them with wooden jaws that I carefully measured, marked, and cut V-notches in to center the blanks straight up and down. I mounted this on a board such that you can loosen the star knobs and move it forward and back, or loosen the round knobs and move it side to side. This allows infinite adjustment for anything I need to use it to drill in the future.
So it was on to turning a pen for my wife.

.

Did any of you catch that? I said A pen. That is as in one pen, singular, only one.
You seasoned turners already know where this is headed I’ll bet.

I don’t claim to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I think five is more than one pen. After doing one, I couldn’t seem to stop. These are so much fun I think because you can do them so quickly and move on to the next idea for the next pen. Yes, a pen is simple, but there is so many different ways to do a simple pen.
As soon as the first was done, I thought of another design change. Then I thought of using a different wood. Then I wanted to use a different wood again. Next thing I knew, the day was about gone and this single pen had taken on a while other adventure in wood turning.

The first two were made of sapelle. I use sapelle a lot because I have a lot of it. These looked nice enough, but both of them developed a tiny crack close to the point when I pressed the inserts in. I think the straight grain causes it to split too easy in this thin area. I used super glue to fix them, but I decided then to try a different wood.

Next I decided to try a small piece of sycomore I had lying near the bench. I had decided sycamore was not a good choice for the face plate turning I done with it yesterday. It turned out quite nice for a spindle turning though. I wish the photo showed it better. The grain on this pen is very pretty and I think I’ll be making more of these.

These two are from two different pieces of pecan to try different colors. I found out from these that I like using hard wood better. I was able to use one size smaller drill bit for a very tight press fit of the inserts because the hard wood does not crack as easily as the other woods I tried.
I made the longer one large in diameter because I planned on keeping it for myself and I have large hands. However, when my wife came to choose the one she wanted, she took them all, including this one. Oh well, that just means I have to turn some more.

So the problem with turning is it is too darn addicting.
Hi! My name is William. I am an addict. I love wood, and I’m leaving the meeting. I’ve decided to give in and just be a life long addict.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/



27 comments so far

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4112 posts in 670 days


#1 posted 497 days ago

Nice pens. And nice penmanship if that’s yours on the jig.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View William's profile

William

8880 posts in 1437 days


#2 posted 497 days ago

That is my penmanship.
I forgot I’d written that on there to make sure it was oriented while assembling it though, until you pointed it out.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View JL7's profile

JL7

6977 posts in 1560 days


#3 posted 497 days ago

Very clever for sure…..and some really cool designs…....somebody STOP HIM!

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View Kreegan's profile

Kreegan

1452 posts in 741 days


#4 posted 497 days ago

As much as I enjoy turning, I just don’t get the whole pen thing. You’re really very limited in what you can do, unless you want to make something purely decorative that can’t really be used. That said, I do like the pens that are made from mixed acrylics, deer antler, that kind of thing, exotic materials. I even saw one that was made from shredded up dollar bills. LOL

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5242 posts in 1193 days


#5 posted 497 days ago

When you do buy the pen kits, you better get extra…cause it looks like you will be cranking them out. I just got a lathe a couple of months ago, so I understand the addiction. I figure once I get to turning pens, it will be a full on crack like addiction. It already is with tool handles, which is really all I have done.

View William's profile

William

8880 posts in 1437 days


#6 posted 497 days ago

Thanks guys.
Rich, I said the exact same thing this morning when I started. I was kind of dreading doing this task. I thought, being a pen, this was going to be the most boring thing I’ve ever done. Then when I got started it was like I just couldn’t stop.
Shane, I seen some real nice stuff in the catalogue, but there is just so much more I want to buy with my money right now. I’ll have to stick with this cheap method for now. When I do get the chance though, I want to do some of the exotic stuff like Rich was talking about, deer antlers, buffalo horn, and so much more.
Also, Shane, don’t mention tool handles. That’s something else I want to start on soon as well. I imagine I’ll get just as addicted to those.
Jeff, I can’t be stopped. It’s too late.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

6760 posts in 1898 days


#7 posted 497 days ago

well alright, ill stand up next, ok, my name is grizzman and im a wood addict…any kind of wood im not prejudiced, and im also well , i didn’t even use my real name, so its still safe to be a wood addict…, well that wasn’t so bad…now i gotta find this guy william, he have some wood i can , well barrow…lol…sorta…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View William's profile

William

8880 posts in 1437 days


#8 posted 497 days ago

There are tests involved Grizz.
If you’ve ever caressed a piece of wood as long as lovingly as you carress your wife, you might be a wood addict.
If you’ve ever kept a piece of wood longer than a week because it was too pretty to cut, you might be a wood addict.
If you’ve got pieces of wood saved that some people think is saw dust, you might be a wood addict.
If…........
Well, you get the picture.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5242 posts in 1193 days


#9 posted 497 days ago

Yeah, I have been checking out the kits too. Looks like the first pen is going to cost more than $100 lol. I am just not sure what all contraptions one really “needs”. I have seen guys use clamps as the press, and similar drilling guides to what you conjured up. But, I usually fall for all the gimmicky stuff. I just have figure out what it all does. Never tried the CA finishes, or to turn acrylic. I used to have little to no interest in turning, especially pens, but they do intrigue me know. Turning is fun, a sort of single sitting, more instant gratification form of WW. Figure pens will make good little gifts, and I always need gift ideas.

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

6760 posts in 1898 days


#10 posted 497 days ago

ok…so i get this response from william and he tells me these different tests…my problem with that part of it is i was guilty of them all…i just made a tv tray made out of all different woods, the center one is a piece of highly figured walnut,,,i look it it more then i look at the show im suppose to be watching…i look past my plate of food just so i can look at the walnut….......i have plastic bins in the shop , full of small cuts of different woods…if you were to come here and see where and how much wood i have…i think im going to wood prison….one question, do they have a shop class in wood prison…am i in trouble…or am i normal…hehe

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View William's profile

William

8880 posts in 1437 days


#11 posted 497 days ago

You could try the pens like I done here Shane to see if you like them.
I just used the inserts from those Bic pens, the white ones. I used the soft jaws of a sping clamp to pull them out of the store bought pens. I drilled holes in scrap wood to find the exact drill bit for a good press fit, drilled the hole in using my shop built jig. Then I turned the pens. After turning, because all I had was a regular length bit, I had to trim the ink tube with wire cutters, and then press the inserts in. It’s simple.
If course, they may not look quite as fancy as those pen kits, but as you noted, it’s a lot less expensive.

Next, I want to try and figure out ways to retrofit other type of pen, mechanical pens, and such to turn those as well.
Also, I have an idea to go to the Dollar Tree, one of those everything is a dollar stores, and pick up other item I can turn handles for, like ice cream scoops, kitchen utensils, and so forth.
Also, I seen a kit in a catalogue for $79.99 for making your own rod and reel. All you turn is a handle. The rest is rod assembly, which of course you have to buy jigs and tools for. I can go pick up a $10 rod and reel at Wal-Mart, remove the plastic handle, and turn a handle for it.

These are just some of my random ideas.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View William's profile

William

8880 posts in 1437 days


#12 posted 497 days ago

Grizz, that’s the reason I did not go further with the test questions. I already know that you are as guilty as I am of every single one of them. If I list too many of them you may look too deeply into yourself, realize just how addicted you are, feel bad about it, and wind up sitting in the corner of your wood shop looking like an upset baby, using a piece of walnut as a pacifier.
Let’s just admit our weakness, accept it, move on, but never go to the meetings, because we don’t wish to be cured.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

6760 posts in 1898 days


#13 posted 497 days ago

welll ive got my legs wrapped around some walnut and some mahogany….and i made a wooden pacifier after i hit the send button…the lights are turned down low, im getting walnut saliva all over my face…and im going to count how many board feet are in yhis area./..and im going to load it on my trailer, and take it and run…...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................see ya cant catch me…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View William's profile

William

8880 posts in 1437 days


#14 posted 497 days ago

That’s funny.
When you run, come west.
Stop in Vicksburg,
I’ll take that wood off your hands, and send you back towards home with some different species of wood if I have something you don’t.
I have plenty of sapelle, cotton wood, oak, and pecan.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

12843 posts in 1270 days


#15 posted 497 days ago

William,
I have a “drill press vise” similar to yours. Just the other day I was conjuring up a plan, much like yours, to make it as adjustable as you have. So, either we are great tinkerers, or we are both crazy… Then again we could possibly be both great & crazy!!!

Oh yeah….
THANKS! :^(
Now I’ve got another reason to assemble my lathe ASAP!!!

BTW: nice job on them there writing implements!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

showing 1 through 15 of 27 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase