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.