Weekend Pen Press

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Project by Owlcroft posted 05-24-2012 01:31 AM 6463 views 14 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been using a Rockler Pen vice I bought when I first started making Pens. It is an adequate pen vice for drilling blanks; but a poor substitute for a pen assembly press. I knew there had to be a better way without spending a lot for one of those on the pen making sites. So I did a little web search to find shop made pen assembly press plans.

I found a lot of shop made pen presses, but none had easy to follow instructions with measurements. I finally ran across a pen press by Al Faul on Woodturning Online. It had a lot of pictures, some explanation of how to make it, and a few basic measurements. More than enough, I love a challenge.

This is the result after a few minor changes; a pen assembly press from scrapes in my shop, a 3/16” x 36” rod for $2.77 from Home Depot, and 6 wood screws (4 ea. 1” #10 & 2 ea. 2” #10) that can easily be made in a weekend with basic woodworking skills.

Check out my Lumberjocks Blog for a detailed tutorial with everything you need to make your own pen assembly press.

-- Owlcroft

6 comments so far

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 4030 days

#1 posted 05-24-2012 01:42 AM

Great. I made one 3-4 years ago and it is still the best pen press. You might want to consider using corian for the press areas.


View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2931 days

#2 posted 05-24-2012 01:46 AM

That looks good to me.
The design is what I used to build one but I quickly found that the dowel peg and holes did not hold up.
Mine is modified with a stronger positioning section. Sometimes I need to press quite hard to get the parts seated.

-- Website is finally up and

View Kevin's profile


63 posts in 3211 days

#3 posted 05-24-2012 03:17 AM

Thanks for posting this and the blog on how to build.
I plan on building on next weekend.

View Owlcroft's profile


54 posts in 3260 days

#4 posted 05-30-2012 12:08 AM


After using the pen assembly press a couple times, I had the same problem with the pegs popping out with stubborn pen kits. The solution was to use a clamp to clamp it in place on my workbench. It was an easy fix that worked well with the added advantage of holding the pen assembly press to my work bench leaving both hands free to align the pen parts and pull the handle. I added this fix to the project notes at the end with a picture.

I also lengthened the joiner board to make it easier to get the pressure where it needs to be when pressing pens. I changed the measurements on the Blog and added a note with a picture of the pen assembly press with the longer joiner.

-- Owlcroft

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2931 days

#5 posted 06-02-2012 12:20 PM

That will work better and clamping it to the bench is a wonderful idea.
I have rubber feet on mine but it does move some. Something else that I discovered is that if you need to press harder it is best to adjust the stops so the handle is low to the board. That way you are pressing down on the jig and not pushing so much in a horizontal direction. As shown here, I added a different kind of adjustment section. Not pretty but it works good.

-- Website is finally up and

View pastorglen's profile


267 posts in 2837 days

#6 posted 07-28-2013 04:28 AM

I looked at your page this morning and my son and I made this in the afternoon out of scraps. Right now it’s “pinned” together with a few nails. I still need to add bolts. So the only cost will be time and three 1/4” bolts, washers, nuts. It was pretty easy and even without being bolted together yet, it will assemble a pen.

THANK YOU for your post!

-- Glen, Pennsylvania, Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."

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