Vasticola Burl Executive

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Project by Keith Fenton posted 09-26-2011 09:26 PM 2212 views 4 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the first of what I have dubbed the “Executive” series of pens. The kit is a rhodium and black titanium Statesman rollerball. This pen is quite large and is the first of this size I have made. I could only choose from among my largest blanks since the cap requires a 37/64 sized hole for the brass tube. It’s extremely hard to drill a hole of this size into a blank that’s any smaller than 7/8” thick. The wood is the most figured piece of vasticola burl that I had.

This was my 2nd attempt at this pen. On my first attempt, just as I was in the final buffing stage the blank got caught in the buffing wheel and launched into my lathe which cracked the blank… That prompted a few choice words!

-- Scroll saw patterns @

12 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3670 days

#1 posted 09-26-2011 09:30 PM

Nice work! Looks like it was worth the 2nd try ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View sarahss's profile


258 posts in 2644 days

#2 posted 09-26-2011 09:36 PM

great job and beautiful wood selection

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3031 days

#3 posted 09-26-2011 09:40 PM

Quality work, Keith.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Cliff De Witt 's profile

Cliff De Witt

130 posts in 2687 days

#4 posted 09-26-2011 09:51 PM

Sure is nice.

I will have to look for some of that wood, where did you get it?

-- Trying to find an answer to my son’s question: “…and forming organic cellulose by spinning it on its axis is interesting, why?”

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 2915 days

#5 posted 09-26-2011 10:29 PM

Thanks guys.

I got the wood from but the few packs they have left don’t really look the same color or have as much figure as the ones I got.

If you look at the 2nd blank in this link you will see what mine looked like when I started. It’s the only blank like that left.

Here’s the page with a couple other packs of vasticola.

-- Scroll saw patterns @

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3013 days

#6 posted 09-27-2011 03:34 AM

This sure is pretty and you did a masterful job on it.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3298 days

#7 posted 09-29-2011 05:02 AM

what a beautiful pen…great job keith….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Jaybird719's profile


141 posts in 2887 days

#8 posted 10-02-2011 04:08 AM

Nice looking kit and beautiful piece of wood.
Great looking finished product.

-- -Jay Hartman - Morrisville, PA

View BreakingBoardom's profile


615 posts in 3076 days

#9 posted 10-20-2011 05:54 PM

Definitely worth the second effort. This is probably my favorite of all your pens. Very nicely done.

-- Matt -

View MrWizard's profile


145 posts in 2799 days

#10 posted 01-21-2012 04:29 AM

Sorry to hear about the mishap on the Lathe. After turning less then 10 pens I have already had a blow out and the wood shattered off the pen tube faster then I could react. I feel your loss. other then that I am amazed at the finishes you are getting! Do the higher mesh pads really bring it to that shine with minimal coats of CA?


View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 2915 days

#11 posted 01-21-2012 04:52 AM

Hi Mr. Wizard,

The micro mesh doesn’t really save you from using as many layers of CA. I have recently made the switch away from these pads because I found a slightly faster way with regular wet/dry sandpaper.

I sand my blanks down until they are about 5 thousandths or so under the size of the pen part that it mates with sanding fine enough so I don’t see any scratches of course.

Then I apply 1 coat of thin CA to penetrate the wood, followed by layers of medium CA until I have build up to about 5 thousandths over the pen part size.

Then I take the pen off the lathe and sand the ends square because the CA overhangs off the ends.

I let the pen sit for some time for the CA to set. I have been experimenting with leaving it to set for up to a week because I have been having issues with the CA getting ripples over time. I’m not sure if it is helping much since I just started doing this.

When I am ready to sand, I start dry sanding with 400 grit until I see no more shiny unsanded spots. (or very close to no shiny spots.)

Then I wet sand with 600, 1000, 1500, and 2000 (Not sure if the 2000 really makes a difference)

Then I use HUT plastic polish…usually two times..

Then I take it off the lathe and go to this string buffing wheel with this ultra-fine plastic buffing compound. There’s a set with the wheel and compound on this page (product #PLBFFKIT)

They also have another compound that I heard is finer even though it’s only labeled as fine (product #F515-6165). You could get another wheel and use this one after if you want to go another level. I don’t have it yet myself but probably would have gotten it had I known when I made my order. As it is, I can’t see any scratches with my naked eye with just the first buffing compound.

I know this is more than you asked but I thought I would give the whole story :)

-- Scroll saw patterns @

View Danpaddles's profile


573 posts in 2307 days

#12 posted 02-03-2012 05:52 AM

Glad you outlined your finishing. I have a new standard to aim for. What a great look!

-- Dan V. in Indy

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