As The Lathe Turns #48: Pen Boxes

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Blog entry by William posted 08-10-2013 01:31 AM 2210 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 47: More Fun And Challenges Part 48 of As The Lathe Turns series Part 49: Slow Progress »

Not exactly actual turning on the lathe, but since it is for my turned pen, I thought it belonged in the “As The Lathe Turns” series anyway. So here goes.

I’ve already gotten a couple of emails about how the jig I posted yesterday could possibly have anything to do with making a pen box.
The long piece on the right has knobs underneath to make it adjustable. I put one part of a box in place, tap that clamp block against the part, and tighten the knobs to hold it in place. I have ink pen markings on the jig for several different size boxes. The part on the left, the one you see the knobs on, is an adjustable fence for a router to ride against. Again, I have markings for it to do several different sizes. The pieces that stick out the bottom and top of the jig are also adjustable from underneath. They are stop blocks for where you want the routed holes to start and end.
I am glad to report, I made two boxes today, so I can show you the box style.

I made two boxes. One is made of sapelle and one of sycamore.
They are each made of two pieces of wood. Each piece is six and a half inches long, two and a half inches wide, and three quarters of an inch thick. I set the router to cut three eighths of an inch deep with a three quarter inch bull nose bit. Then I set my jig to route the groove in each piece exactly in the center of each piece, starting and stopping a half inch from the ends.

After making the two pieces on the jig, and marking and predrilling holes for the hinges, I move to my table router, with a quarter inch round over bit, and smooth over the sharp edges. Next I mark and drill a three eighths hole in each piece so I can glue in a magnet on each piece that will hold the box shut. Then, after sanding everything real good, I install the hinges on it. Lastly, on these two at least, I give the whole thing a good rubdown with Johnson’s Past Wax.

I like these boxes. I can make them cheaply enough, and easy enough to offer them as an add on item with my pens. I can sell them for ten dollars with a pen order, or a little more if someone wants to buy just a pen box for some reason.
Before starting, I set everything up, including my saws, sander, jig, and table router. With everything set up, I can make up one of these boxes in about thirty minutes. I don’t think that is bad considering I plan on offering them with pen orders at a price that I really won’t be making anything on them. The idea is for this to be a value added product, with my profits coming from the pens themselves. Later, I hope things go well enough that I can branch out into maybe some fancier boxes that I may actually make a profit on in addition to the pens.
Anyway, these were just two I made a point of getting done today so I could show what they would look like. I’ve got the hardware to make eight more for now, and will get them done as soon as I can get around to it.


11 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6112 posts in 3003 days

#1 posted 08-10-2013 01:38 AM

Great jig and wonderful boxes

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2674 days

#2 posted 08-10-2013 02:15 AM

Sounds as if you are gearing up for some production runs of pens and boxes….
Will you be calling your product….
a William Penn??? ;^)

-- 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 RichCMD's profile


393 posts in 1940 days

#3 posted 08-10-2013 03:01 AM

Nice boxes. They certainly make the pens more desirable as gifts, etc.

-- Ride the bevel!

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2841 days

#4 posted 08-10-2013 03:09 AM

Thanks for the kind words.
My plan is to market my pens on the internet.
I want everything in place for when I get my website ready to introduce to the world.
I have been looking at other’s work and thought that pen boxes would make them, like Rich said, more desireable to buy as gifts.
I also have other ideas I have seen around that I’m bouncing around in my head, like desk sets, business card holders, etc.
Eventually, my end goal is to be able to offer whole sets, pen, card holder, desk set, matching pencils, along with other add ons, all with a single theme, sold as sets. For example, if you’ve seen my pens with the wave designs in them. It would be no more work really to add a similar wave design to all those items I’ve mentioned, including these boxes, and more.


View Doe's profile


1402 posts in 2829 days

#5 posted 08-10-2013 10:54 AM

I like them. The magnets are a bit bright, what do you think about adding a plug or some veneer to cover them up? It would make the way it stays closed less obvious.

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2803 days

#6 posted 08-10-2013 12:48 PM

Those are kool William.

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

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2613 days

#7 posted 08-10-2013 03:25 PM

great idea William , they look great

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View JL7's profile


8662 posts in 2964 days

#8 posted 08-11-2013 12:28 PM

Cool design William. Seems like this should really be a hit…...

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2074 days

#9 posted 08-11-2013 09:17 PM

I think they turned out great. The box is almost as nice as the pens. Those are hard to beat. I to think they’ll make them more marketable. Good luck.

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

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2841 days

#10 posted 08-14-2013 11:57 AM

Thank you all.
I am so sorry that I am taking so long in between responses these days.
Lately, by the time the days are done, I am too exhausted to even want to get online.
I hope things will clear up soon. Until then, please understand and be patient with me. I will always get back as soon as I can.


View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2839 days

#11 posted 08-17-2013 01:12 AM

Looking good William. Now we need some bump pen boxes.

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

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