As The Lathe Turns #36: Good To Be Back

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Blog entry by William posted 06-21-2013 02:01 AM 1487 reads 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 35: Used Ideas On New Pens Part 36 of As The Lathe Turns series Part 37: Solving Some Problems »

I know it’s been peaceful around here. I got down for a bit, as I sometimes do, and haven’t been able to get any wood work done to show ya’ll.
Well I’m back, and boy does it feel good to have something to actually show. It isn’t much, but today was the most I’ve done in the shop in weeks. This post is actually more than just today’s work. I’ve fiddled around a little here and there the laqst few weeks, just not enough for a post. So here goes.

Here is, or was, my pen display stand. It was simply a dressed up piece of sapelle with some proper sized holes drilled into it that the pens were inserted in. This held them upright so they could be seen. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was showing them to a friend one day though and noticed something horrifying. The finish on the metal end that sticks in the wood was messed up on some of the pens. From what I can figure, it was just the sharp edges of the holes wearing on them as the pens were removed and replaced numerous times when people take them out to look at. So I had to come up with something better.
I was pondering this things for days when one day I seen one of my sons drawing. He is the artist one of the bunch and has this fancy pencil set he got for his last birthday. Anyway, looking at the way the pencils were neatly arranged in their case gave me an idea.

I took strips of sycamore and routed a groove in them with a three quarter inch router bull nose bit, and cut these strips into short sections. Then I glued those sections to three pieces of plywood and built a sapelle frame around it all to make a display so the pens could lay neatly in it all, much like the arrangement in my son’s art set.

I made the second and third rows a little higher than the ones in front of them so it rose upwards as it goes back. This, in my opinion, just presented the pens better to someone standing in front of the display looking at all of them.

Sometime last week, my brother, the contractor, done a remodel job and stopped by my shop with a long piece of corian countertop material. He stops by sometimes to see if I want things before they go to the dump. I really didn’t need a countertop, but I thought it would look nice at the front of my shop where I keep my coffee pot. At least it would look better than the old beat up table that had been there. Also, I immediately seen this material and wondered if I could turn a pen with it. So one of my older sons helped me install the countertop, and I was able to cut off some of it to save for pens.

I loved the way the pen turned out. I also thought this was a cool photo. It is the pen, laid on the countertop that I got the material from.

Next, I got a request from a friend for another pen just like the Lumberjock pens. Well I set out to make that, only to realize I was out of a couple of the material types to make another one just like it. Actually, I wasn’t completely out, just low enough that I couldn’t cut it up to make it exactly the same. One of the wood species I only had one small strip of. So I set my mind to work trying to figure out how to make a pen using the same material, make it interesting, and very different.
I started gluing the seven types of material together. Then I cut it, flipped one side, and glued it back together. After that dried, I cut it again, flipped one side, and glued again. After multiple days of allowing glue to dry, cutting, flipping, and gluing again, I came up with something interesting.

All I can say about this is, it is interesting.
I will have to wait until I can contact my friend to see if this fits the bill on what he wanted. If not, I’ll have to go back to the drawing board.
So, remember the corian pen? Well, since my brother gave me that material, I gave him that first pen. That meant I had to make another one. I had learned a couple of things about turning corian on the other one.
For one thing, I learned that a scraper cuts it better than a gouge. Just hold the edge at a downward angle and it cuts the corian rather than scrape, and leave a much smoother finish than actual cutting tools.
Next thing I learned was that you need to wear snug fitting safety glasses, not just a face shield, when working with corian. This stuff floats around in the air more than wood and is hell to get out of your eyes.
And finally,

I learned to keep my shop brush nearby. This stuff sticks to everything like it’s magnetized to it. A brush is required to get it off. You can swipe away at it and it’ll get airborn and stick right back to whatever it was on to start with.
It is fun to work with though.

So I turned another one to replace the one I gave my brother.

And I made a fat one without the center ring.

Next I turned a one piece purple heart pen. At least this was bought from my hardwood supplier as purple heart. I realized today though that I have three different pieces of purple heart that look nothing alike. I’m not sure if this means they are not all purple heart or if they are just from different trees and therefore look different. Either way, they look pretty, so it’s alright.

I was looking through my blanks for something else, and came across this interesting looking piece of bocote, and wanted to turn it.

Since I was on a roll, and while looking through those blanks, I ran across this forgotten piece of spalted something. I call it spalted something because all I know about it is that is has a beautiful spalted pattern on it. I have no idea what kind of wood it is though. This came off a larger piece of wood that has this for sapwood, and heart wood that looks like mahogany. I have yet to find anyone who can definately identify it with certainty. So I’m calling it mystery wood. This piece I’m calling a spalted something pen.

Just before Father’s Day, I talked to my buddy Dave about a marking knife. He refused payment, and brough me two of them that he forged himself. I made handles for them out of sapelle.

Well that’s all for now. I was down, but not out. During the time I was down and not able to do much, I was steadily plotting and planning, and gluing up in the case of one of the pens, for my return. Some of you who know me know that even when I’m down, my mind is still working on that next project. It keeps me going. Now I just hope I can stay in the shop for a while without any more down time. Too much down time depresses me. I’d rather be making something besides just plans.
Before I close this one though, I must thank you from the bottom of my heart you friends on this site who sent me private messages and emails with words of encouragement and offers of prayers. It is always a good feeling to know that someone out there misses you when you’re down. Thank you all so much. I hope my return post has not disappointed you.


20 comments so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2713 days

#1 posted 06-21-2013 02:15 AM

William, You never disappoint! The new pens are all special. My fav is the fat one with no center ring.

Did you catch Sandra’s comment about McGyver on meds? She’s a keeper.

The pen displays are perfect!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2698 days

#2 posted 06-21-2013 02:17 AM

Glad to see you were able to get back up to the plate….
And knock a few out of the park!!!

As soon as you mentioned the corian countertop, I knew a pen would “turn” up!!!

They all look great!!!

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

View JL7's profile


8667 posts in 2988 days

#3 posted 06-21-2013 02:17 AM

Glad you are feeling better my friend…...

That is quite a lineup of goodies for sure….nice work…

I especially like those marking knives…..great to have great friends…..

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2863 days

#4 posted 06-21-2013 02:20 AM

Pens and pens and more pens. Now they all have a bed to lay in. Looking good William.
I do like em. Keep up the good work!

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2865 days

#5 posted 06-21-2013 02:33 AM

Thank you all.

The marking knives do work great. I sharpened them up enough that they cut hair on my arm, and can, with the handles now, comfortable mark a precise line, way more precise than with my pens or a pencil.

I like the pen till better than the old display board I had anyway. I think it is a much nicer looking display.

I’ll try to turn anything at least once. I’m still trying to figure out how to turn a piece of pipe I have. It’s thick rubber like material. I messed up the first attempt. Next time I will try the skew chisel. It cuts smoother in most material than the other tools.

I caught the McGyver comment. I desperately wanted to make a duct tape comment, but figured I’d let that one slide without trying to sound too much like a redneck.
Hey, I wonder if I can turn duct tape?


View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2698 days

#6 posted 06-21-2013 02:45 AM

Have you tried freezing the “rubber”???

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

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3326 days

#7 posted 06-21-2013 05:07 AM

hello there William, what a great blog, not just the pens, but in hearing of the fortitude you have to go forward in the face of pain and personal trials. and then your work comes next, i love the new display box, its perfect, and the pen you are showing is perfect, consider it sold, ill pm more details in the morning…hang tough William, your destined for better things….grizz

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

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3957 days

#8 posted 06-21-2013 06:51 AM

Awesome work! Glad to see you posting.

-- Robb

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3357 days

#9 posted 06-21-2013 08:38 AM

Didn’t know you were down William, but I’m glad to see that you are back. The pens look great and the display is right on too! I loved the wicked looking marking knives you got from Dave.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2865 days

#10 posted 06-21-2013 11:39 AM

Randy, I haven’t thought of freezing it. That might be an idea to try if the skew chisel doesn’t do the job.

Grizz, I’m glad you like it.

Thank you Robb.

Mike, thank you. The marking knives are more special to me because a good friend made them. He got into forging a while back and is making some cool stuff.


View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2827 days

#11 posted 06-21-2013 11:55 AM

Glad you’re back up & atom. A really nice way to display those fine writing instruments. I likes it a lot.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3458 days

#12 posted 06-21-2013 12:44 PM

Well done William, glad to see you back in the saddle. Pens and display box are first rate and unique, Nice tools from Dave.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View revwarguy's profile


131 posts in 1924 days

#13 posted 06-21-2013 02:56 PM

Very nice display for your pens. Love your work on them. Makes me want to get out the lathe, something I haven’t done in far too long…

-- "72.6 per cent of all statistics are made up on the spot." - Steven Wright

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2637 days

#14 posted 06-21-2013 10:36 PM

love those pens i like the one that matches the counter top the best ,that was cool a matching set

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3958 days

#15 posted 06-21-2013 10:37 PM

William, Glad to see you back up. What a great looking selction of projects. The one piece Bocote looks awesome. as to the Purple Heart I have seen those color variations as well. Make syou wonder if everything being sold is the real thing.
Hope you get plenty of shop time in the next few weeks. Look forward to seeing your experiments.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

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