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Project by PurpLev posted 01-30-2012 05:05 PM 2157 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I couldn’t resist. After getting the feel for it with the maple counterpart I just HAD to make one out of Purple Heart (PH).

I have had some trouble turning PH in previous project (the rings box) and did some research on it and I believe it was due to the turning tool angle of attack. after playing around with it and approaching the wood at a different angle, I was getting much better results, but there is still room for improvement on my part and I will have to make a better tool rest that will sit even closer and at a more convenient height to allow me to bring the tool to the wood properly.

This was made on a metal lathe which was a concern of mine (speeds and all) but now with this one finished, I’m pretty content with the results and am confident the lathe will not be an issue. I chucked the pen mandrel in a 3jaw chuck, and for a tool rest I used a 1/2” round bar seated in a boring-bar (metal) tool holder.

While this setup ‘works’ it presents a few issues:
1. large chuck = a lot of turning metal which is not meant to be turned this fast, and is a safety hazard to hands.
2. tool rest not at proper height and not close enough to work due to it’s being seated in a metal tool holder that by itself cannot get too close to the work.

I will be making a collet chuck for the lathe to take care of #1, and I’ll make a tool rest that will sit directly on the bed or on the cross slide and will be able to position it exactly where I want.

For now I’m very pleased with the capabilities and results.

Thanks for watching,

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

15 comments so far

View Bertha's profile


13550 posts in 2835 days

#1 posted 01-30-2012 05:07 PM

I’ve fought with purpleheart on the lathe, too. It’s a finicky beast. This came out great. Once you start making pens, the disposable ones just don’t do it anymore;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View CharlieM1958's profile


16276 posts in 4360 days

#2 posted 01-30-2012 05:09 PM

Looks great, Sharon!

I can confirm the importance of the tool rest. Turning results are dramatically better if your rest is set at the proper height, and as close to the work as possible.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3574 days

#3 posted 01-30-2012 05:20 PM

Beautiful pen, Sharon. I see all that practice at the show paid off!
Purpleheart is such a beautiful wood, but a bear to work with.
I have found so much variation in the workability of the wood… when you find a nice straight grained very well colored piece, it is a treasure.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View a1Jim's profile


117232 posts in 3719 days

#4 posted 01-30-2012 05:27 PM

super looking pen Sharon

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3294 days

#5 posted 01-30-2012 05:38 PM

sweet pen!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Lenny's profile


1612 posts in 3669 days

#6 posted 01-30-2012 06:20 PM

I think it was Ted Williams who was dubbed “The Splendid Splinter”. At the risk of blasphemy, I think that name should have been reserved for purpleheart! Another nice pen Sharon. Nice job.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View PurpLev's profile


8540 posts in 3791 days

#7 posted 01-30-2012 06:33 PM

thanks for the comments everyone.

Lenny – “The Splendid Splinter” (for no apparent reason) would indeed be a fitting name :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View wookie's profile


154 posts in 3226 days

#8 posted 01-31-2012 01:20 AM

Nice pen, Sharon. Turning pens looks like a lot of fun.

-- Wookie=Wood Rookie

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3830 days

#9 posted 01-31-2012 02:19 AM

Great job turning the PH and a very unique style , my friend : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2810 posts in 3580 days

#10 posted 01-31-2012 02:30 AM

Well that was quick!

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View moonls's profile


412 posts in 3128 days

#11 posted 01-31-2012 06:59 PM

You did a nice job with the pen and adapting your metal lathe. I’ll be interested to see how your improvements on your lathe set up “turns” out! Also did you buy a pen press to assemble the parts or make your own?

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6864 posts in 4122 days

#12 posted 01-31-2012 07:43 PM

Looks you you’re hooked on pen making now.

I guess you were due for another hobby.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View PurpLev's profile


8540 posts in 3791 days

#13 posted 01-31-2012 07:53 PM

heh, thanks y’all. yes looks like a new hobby is emerging – or a new way to mess things up

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View alexdom_89's profile


98 posts in 2438 days

#14 posted 02-13-2012 03:37 PM

i was looking at pens yesterday and the gf was looking threw pens and saw you purpen and came and told me she wanted me to make her one of these pens, she is hard to please so that means your doing something right keep up the good work!! oh yeah beautiful pen!!!

View PurpLev's profile


8540 posts in 3791 days

#15 posted 02-14-2012 06:02 PM

Thank you alexdom

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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