Some nicer pens (and a mistake)

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Project by Llarian posted 11-22-2009 08:07 AM 1927 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m fairly happy with how the first two of these came out.

The first is an Amboyna Burl, which I really like working with. I need to get a bandsaw so I can buy burls in bulk for turning purposes. They look stunning when finished.

The second is a Bocote fountain pen. Honestly, I can’t imagine ever using something like this. The pen is massive, and just doesn’t feel right even in my fairly large hands. (Also, I get ink all over myself when I try to use fountain pens, but that’s a different matter)

The third is full of mistakes, sadly, I think it would’ve been my favorite of the 3. (Actually, I think it still is). The cap section of this kit uses a 9/16” forstner bit instead of a brad-point, and my drill press has a slightly runout chuck, so the cap cracked a little due to heat. On top of that, I caught the heel of my skew when working with the body section and blew a big chunk out. I fixed it with expoxy and shavings, but its still obvious that its cracked. I’ll probably keep this one and use it myself in the office of something. The wood is Pink Ivory, which I really like once its finished.

-- Dylan Vanderhoof - General hobbiest and reluctant penmaker.

10 comments so far

View tamboti's profile


207 posts in 3164 days

#1 posted 11-22-2009 09:17 AM

hi Dylan The pink ivory actually starts out red and to keep the red look use alittle red stain. if exxsposed to uv will go brown. Roger

Nice pens keep it up

-- Africa is not for sissies

View Llarian's profile


128 posts in 3629 days

#2 posted 11-22-2009 09:20 AM

That’s good to know. Do you have a suggestion on a brand that’ll retain the red color?

-- Dylan Vanderhoof - General hobbiest and reluctant penmaker.

View Lisa Chan's profile

Lisa Chan

147 posts in 3172 days

#3 posted 11-22-2009 09:33 AM


-- Lisa Chan, custom cafts and yarn accessories,

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3613 days

#4 posted 11-22-2009 01:44 PM

Beautiful pens and the figured grain of Amboyna burl looks very very nice.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 3755 days

#5 posted 11-22-2009 02:03 PM

Very nice!

btw, the mini-plane makes a great display prop!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#6 posted 11-22-2009 06:01 PM

Wonderful pens

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View scopemonkey's profile


188 posts in 4186 days

#7 posted 11-22-2009 07:22 PM

Very Nice. You’re right about the Majestic—it is a beast of a pen. The Majestic Jr. is much more balanced and has a postable cap. The nouveau sceptre, however, is my favorite. I agree with you about the forstner bit for the Apollo. If the drill press has that much run out, try boring the hole on the lathe—you may need some pin jaws for your chuck depending on the size of your blank but they are fairly inexpensive.

-- GSY from N. Idaho

View Llarian's profile


128 posts in 3629 days

#8 posted 11-22-2009 09:07 PM

@scopemonkey: That’s a good idea. I need to pick up a jacobs chuck, but they’re cheap. Been meaning to pick one up anyways. I do really like the Nouveau Scepter pen design, although I think I’d like to pick up a few of the smaller rollerball and fountain kits, these beastly pens are fun to make and look impressive, but they aren’t as practical as something like the classic and traditional styles.

@TedM: I have to admit, I haven’t found a lot of use for the mini plane other than as a display prop, but it really does work well for that. =) Then again, I haven’t had to cut a 1/4” dado lately either.

-- Dylan Vanderhoof - General hobbiest and reluctant penmaker.

View mrjello's profile


28 posts in 3083 days

#9 posted 01-12-2010 08:44 PM

I’m just getting started in this whole woodworking thing. I’m anticipating buying a lathe to learn how to turn pens. I really like your design here. Any tips for a newbie?

View Llarian's profile


128 posts in 3629 days

#10 posted 01-12-2010 08:56 PM

mrjello: Absolutely! Buy a lathe, get some starter tools, and make shavings!

Pens are fairly inexpensive to start with, and they’re fast, so you can bang out a lot of designs in a short time to get a feel for what you like. You don’t need to worry about lathe size and a host of other issues that come into play with larger projects, so I don’t have much more advice other than just do it.

I did buy a couple books on pen designs and such, but honestly, I think it was a waste of money. I made these before I got the books, and I don’t see any change in my turning since I read them. Penmaking is intuitive once you get the technical aspect down, and the designs should be personal anyways.

-- Dylan Vanderhoof - General hobbiest and reluctant penmaker.

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