|Project by Ethan Sincox||posted 04-06-2007 07:59 PM||4172 views||1 time favorited||10 comments|
When I was making my sgian dubh presentation box for my best man, I wanted to use bog oak in it. The bog oak I bought from the U.K. came with a few larger pieces, so I thought I’d try my hand at pen turning.
I’m not terribly comfortable using the lathe yet, so I still have a lot of cleaning up to do on my basic techniques. To up the difficulty level even more, the piece I picked to turn was pretty pithy and had some voids in it. We soaked the blanks in hardener for a few days – I would have hated to see what it was like without that step! Break-out ended up being a huge problem, even with the most delicate touch.
I’ve turned pens before, mostly using rosewood and other oily exotics. They were always so easy – like turning a stick of butter! But I didn’t let this one get to me. I just kept at it.
The guy who was helping me (letting me use his lathe, showing me different turning techniques, that sort of thing) sold me one of his pen kits so I could just use his bushings and not have to buy the whole setup. I decided on the Churchill style – I thought it appropriate, considering the wood’s origin.
I ended up giving the pen to Dana’s uncle, George, for Christmas. He used to do a lot of woodworking when he was younger – he still does a bit here and there when he can – and I knew he would appreciate it.
I also did a nice write-up of where the bog oak came from and how it was found and printed that up on parchment paper and then rolled it up into a tube and sealed it with a wax seal (no pictures of that…). Presentation is everything!
As far as the finish goes, I used a lacquer finish, just spraying it on while the pen was still on the lathe. I could have filled gaps or sanded more smoothly, but I really wanted the grain and character of the wood to show as much as possible. Some testing had shown the bog oak would pretty much go black after any finish was applied, so I thought the texture of the grain was about as good as I was going to get.
-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com