Blood Orange

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Project by scottb posted 12-01-2008 03:28 AM 1927 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

With all the false starts on this pen, I should call it Blood (Sweat and Tears) Orange!

I should also be proud of myself for managing to complete, what started out as a simple Osage Orange pen, that on more than one occasion should have ended up in the burn pile, not once, but three times.

I had just completed the Osage Orange Root Atlas pen that I posted a few days back… the one that was perfect until a bit of glue inside the tube caused the wood to crack during final assembly, when I pulled out this other blank, bound and determined to create a sellable pen, and another one for myself with heartwood and sapwood.

I decided upon cigar pens, and drilled the first blank for “my” pen and it cracked in half. I set that aside (drilled out a few other blanks for future use) and tried drilling the other pair for this pen. Success!

Drilled. Check. Glued tubes, check.

Pulled out the barrel trimmer, and the top of upper blank tore out, and was beyond being glued back together. (the other blank that split was glued… seems to be ok, the other half drilled fine. won’t be making that one until I get more kits though.)

So with the other ends being squared up, I decided I’d pare off that top portion of the blank, and drill and glue on a patch piece. But what to use? I had one blank of bloodwood, and thought the colors would go well, but more importantly thought being able to call it a Blood Orange pen was better. So that’s what I was bound and determined to do.

The piece for the top drilled fine. (I had a piece of bloodwood from an earlier round of the pen swap, and that also split in half when I drilled it, so I was extra careful with this one.) I drilled, test fit (yes it was square!) glued and clamped on the patch piece. (Thanks gorilla glue!)

Ok, time to turn.

I turned down the top and bottom, and was getting pretty close to the final diameter when a huge piece came off of the lower barrel. Ugh. It came off in one piece, but that piece was bent. No way to put that back on invisibly. I guess I’d have to toss the lower barrel and use another blank I still had one piece of OO root, though it wouldn’t have a nice grain match.

Oh! couldn’t I do a larger patch like I did with the top? It was supposed to be orange with just a little blood at the top… now it would be more like 50/50. If only I can drill out the rest of the piece cleanly and without it splitting.

I couldn’t.

And it was the only piece of bloodwood I had. I hoped I could glue it back together cleanly, cause I was at a loss for another design modification. I pulled out the glue and clamps and ended the day not knowing whether or not I’d have a workable pen. Would I have to start over for this, my 30th, and final project in the series?

I awoke this morning, unclamped the blank, put in a spare tube and squared the end. So far so good. Then I glued that onto the lower tube – with just a small piece of OO already glued and turned on it.

Then the waiting, again.

This afternoon I turned it down, with no problems, and sanded it to 2000 grit (twice). Buffed and finished with several coast of boiled linseed oil and high-build friction polish. And topped off with some bowling alley floor wax.

A, thankfully, anti-climactic end to a problematic project.

Bloodwood is a common name for several unrelated species of tree found in South America, Mexico, South Africa and Australia – all so named for the color of the wood.

Osage Orange was used for bows by native americans, and still is used by modern bowyers. Is commonly used as a tree row windbreak in prairie states (FDR had 220,000 million planted to create “shelter belts”). The sharp-thorned trees were also planted as cattle-deterring hedges before the introduction of barbed wire and afterward became an important source of fence posts.
The heavy, close-grained yellow-orange wood is very dense and is prized for tool handles, treenails, fence posts, electrical insulators, and other applications requiring a strong dimensionally stable wood that withstands rot.

I am really thrilled with how well this one came out… and I let the elation carry me over to tackle just one more pen. Now I wonder if the lathe will enjoy a well-earned rest until winter, or If I’ll just ride out the habit and wrap up all the Christmas presents in short order.

This is the 30th item in my 30 day project/challenge
& auction.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

6 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4424 days

#1 posted 12-01-2008 03:32 AM

Scott; A fitting end to the osage orange. Or do you need some more.

A great looking pen (Blood Orange)

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3746 days

#2 posted 12-01-2008 03:47 AM

Beautifully done! I love the color combination. The hurdles make it all the more magnificent!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4350 days

#3 posted 12-01-2008 04:01 AM

Thanks. (oh, and Karson, I’ll take all I can get. I love that wood!.... and one of these days I’ll actually get a piece of bloodwood to survive being drilled I’m 0 for 4 on that score. (so frustrating!)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3898 days

#4 posted 12-01-2008 05:03 AM

Scott, this is a triumph. The pen is stunning. The hurdles that you overcame make its legacy soooo special. Great work, man.

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4100 days

#5 posted 12-01-2008 05:45 AM


-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1896 posts in 3695 days

#6 posted 12-29-2008 05:13 AM

That’s a real beauty!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

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