For several days now, I have been wanting to glue up some more bowl blanks. It has been cool though. When I say cool, keep in mind I live in Mississippi. It has ranged from the forties at night up to around the mid sixties during the day. I know that during the day it is warm enough to glue, but the temperatures fall below what the glue bottle instructions recommend before it is set. I’ve had a past safety issue with trying to glue material in low temperatures before. So, I won’t do it now unless I have a fire going in the wood heater. The problem with recent weather her though is it’s cool, but not cool enough that I could stay in the shop comfortable with a fire going.
Well today it rose quickly into the seventies. So I took the opportunity to get a couple of bowl blanks glued up.
Then it was back to some pens. I wanted to do some more experimenting with what I started yesterday, with the grain running across the pen instead of the length of it. I had a few ideas. However, there was another thing that had been on my mind. Here on Lumberjock, from family, and the few friends who have seen my pens, a great majority of them tell me the same thing, they like the ones without the center band best. So I decided to prepare five blanks. I had five different idea to try.
The first pen of today, I have nothing to show you. I completely messed it up and didn’t even think to take photos to show you. First, I forgot to scuff up the tube before inserting it. Now, with the bandless pens, one of the blank halves has about a quarter inch space between the end of the wood and where the tube starts. With the tube not scuffed up, the tube slipped while I was trying to press the cap and clip in. So I pushed the tube out, scuffed it, and reglued it. All was good, until I cracked the wood trying to repress it. Then I was trying to disassemble it to try and reuse everything, when the cap went flying into a large pile of shavings from the lathe. As anyone who has ever done this knows, it was then lost forever. By the time it was all over, I’d lost a cap, bend a tube, and destroyed the wood. It was time for a coffee break already.
Ok, coffee makes everything better. It was time for another go.
I liked the marble look of the birdseye maple on the last pen I done yesterday so much that I wanted to make another one. It was without the center ring. Remember, all of them are today.
I showed two sides of this pen. Now let me try my best to explain my thinking behind it.
My wife loves aromatic cedar. I like it, but mainly because of the dramatic contrast between the heart wood and sapwood. So I wanted to figure out a way to put both on a pen, but without just simply having one on one end, and the other on the other.
So, I took a piece of cedar that had heartwood with a strip of sapwood running up one side of it. Using my table saw, I cut it across to there I’d get an angle of both kinds of wood in the same one inch square strip. Next, I cut a piece long enough for both pen blanks out of the middle of this strip. Then I flipped them around, marked that orientation, and made the pen. It was somewhere along this area that I lost myself and had no idea how it was going to look. I did know that there was only one way to find out. I like it.
For my next pen, I wanted to use that last small piece of blood wood I had. Since this was the last pen I’d be able to make with what I had though, and the other one had a center ring, I wanted this one to be without a center ring. The problem is, it wasn’t quite long enough. I was about three eighths of an inch too short. So, thinking of something that Doe had mentioned on yesterday’s blog, I decided to use super glue and glue a thin piece of birdseye maple to one of the blanks so it would be in the middle of the cut line on the back end of the pen. I let that dry for a bit while I talked with a friend that had stopped by. Then he wanted to watch me turn it.
That brings me to the last pen for today, and the pen that I will remember for the rest of my life. Read on and you’ll understand why.
My friend wanted a pen, but he couldn’t find one that was exactly what he wanted. He wound up showing me the features of several different pens that he did like. So, I made a deal with him. I asked if he would buy a pen from me if I was able to turn a pen, based on the features he said he wanted, that he was happy with. So he showed me he liked the bump down near the nib, a straight shaft after that, with no center ring and the burned in grip lines. Also, his favorite wood of them all was the birdseye maple with the grain running sideways instead of lengthwise.
So I turned this pen. He took a piece of paper and wrote a few things on it to “test drive” the pen, and said he absolutely loved it. That’s right folks. Have you figured out why I’ll always remember it?
It is the first pen I’ve ever sold!