Honouring The Wood

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Project by MsDebbieP posted 10-17-2009 12:43 PM 2579 views 0 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Oct 17/09
(First: sorry about the photo quality. Early morning and I guess my eyes were still blurry. I’ll try again later for better pix)

Earlier this year, Karson so kindly sent me some wood to make some pens. Amongst the treasures was a piece of Desert Ironwood. I had enough for three pens. The first one is seen here:
Click for details

The second piece was a big “oops” in the drill press. (Sorry wood).

The third piece was a big “oops” on the lathe and a chunk came off the one end. At first I was disappointed that I had messed up the blank. Then I was frustrated at the difficulties I was having with the pen-turning process. And then .. I remembered that this was very special wood and to waste it was just wrong. I just had to honour the wood by trying to salvage the pen.

I didn’t know how to save this other than to throw some wood filler in it and so that is what I did. Afraid of a second failure with this beautiful piece of wood, the blank has sat on the shelf since July. But yesterday, I bit the bullet, and put the blank back on the lathe.

As the pen blank was originally turned and ready for sanding, I just had to start at this step, with the fix job.
I sanded it, put some stain on the wood filler (hoping that it would help it blend in with the pen better) and then polished it up.

It wasn’t too bad – as long as I didn’t look at the spot where the fix was. The next step was to decide where to place the fix. Trying a number of positions I opted for the “at the end of the clip” spot. yes, it is now being pointed out but when laying on its side the beautiful markings of the wood shows rather than “the spot”.

This pen won’t be going anywhere, but I’ll enjoy using it and am pleased that the little piece of special wood wasn’t tossed out.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

30 comments so far

View dlcarver's profile


270 posts in 3730 days

#1 posted 10-17-2009 12:59 PM

Great looking working Debbie !!!
I appreciated that.

-- Dave Leitem,Butler,Pa.,

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4299 days

#2 posted 10-17-2009 01:38 PM

It turned out really nice.

It’s a good thing you salvaged it, & brought it back to life.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View jackass's profile


350 posts in 3713 days

#3 posted 10-17-2009 01:38 PM

Hi Ms Debbie,
I will be trying my hand at pen turning some time in the new year, bought a lathe back in July, but have not had time to try it. Too much grass to mow, and mowed last weekend, hope it was the last time, and hope mine turn out as well as yours.

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4161 days

#4 posted 10-17-2009 01:58 PM

thanks everyone

the wood is SO beautiful and the history of it—i just couldn’t let it go to the fire.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3237 days

#5 posted 10-17-2009 02:05 PM

Great looking pen. Next time you think you may have chipout on a blank, get some marine grade epoxy and thin it with 15% acetone. It will be as thin as water and penetrate into the wood enough to give you a firm surface for turning. It strengthens the wood down to the bottom of every crack and every punky place if there is any decay. Mixed with sawdust it also makes a natural looking filler for voids and splits too.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3822 days

#6 posted 10-17-2009 02:15 PM

Debbie, you are getting pretty good at turning these. One of the hallmarks of good craftsmanship (or more properly craftspersonship) :) is how well “oops” are covered. It looks like you did this well with the pen.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4161 days

#7 posted 10-17-2009 02:46 PM

Thanks :)
And thanks for the tips.

That one day I had problem after problem. I thought I must be doing something wrong.
Since then I’ve used wood hardener whenever I am unsure of the wood and one pen that had a definite line in it, I put crazy glue along the line. I held my breath with that one and “tada”—I got a pen!!
I should post that one.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Roz's profile


1699 posts in 3786 days

#8 posted 10-17-2009 05:40 PM

Very very nice.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117095 posts in 3577 days

#9 posted 10-17-2009 05:44 PM

Great work MSdebbie and a super save.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3558 days

#10 posted 10-17-2009 07:35 PM

Great job and super saver of the pen. You did very well.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4161 days

#11 posted 10-17-2009 08:01 PM

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6856 posts in 3980 days

#12 posted 10-17-2009 08:26 PM

Hi Ms. Debbie;

Great job!

They look good.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

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dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4314 days

#13 posted 10-17-2009 08:34 PM

Now you are making long skinny hollow boxes that you can write with…lmagine that!

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3334 days

#14 posted 10-17-2009 08:42 PM

The failures make the successes so much sweeter. You did a great job on this pen and I don’t see any flaws. I have never turned one of these, but I’m sure they are not all that easy to do.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4161 days

#15 posted 10-17-2009 09:06 PM

yes Dennis—imagine that :)
You are so sweet to remember!

thanks Mike and Lee :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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