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Project by Napaman posted 07-13-2008 03:23 AM 1768 views 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Did i mention it was summertime? Well…I finally made my first two pens—-and used a LATHE for the FIRST TIME…which I have been dying to do fo a long time. Last January when WayneC, Tony, Obi and I met I told Wayne about my desire to make pens…He showed me a bunch of stuff (we met at Woodcraft in Dublin, CA) to buy and I bought some…but I never moved forward after that because I had not used my lathe that came with my shopsmith…

So…I dedicate these first two pens to WayneC…

I took a class at the Santa Rosa, CA Woodcraft and had a great time…the Instructor (Neal R.) was great and there were two other nice people along with me taking the class so it made the whole experience enjoyable and I will definitely take more classes in the future…

The first pen I made turned out to be nicer. Neal showed us how to create the blanks and we turned them which gave us enough time to complete two. The first one is the striped tan wood (I am EMBARRASSED I CANT REMEMBER THE WOOD)...the second one started out as all walnut…but as the 3rd photo shows I went too far and blew out the edge which shows the tube showing through…

So Neal offered to let me make a whole new pen but I thought it would be neat so make the other end out of another wood so he suggested purple heart…and I really like the contrast…

One thing I am noticing since I got home is that I may not have put on enough of the wax or finish on the pens…becuasre the (especially the purple heart) wood seems to have soaked it up a bit…

All in all it was great—-and be ready——I bought a lot of blanks!!! I was a little nervous to use the lathe…and now I need to try my Shopsmith Lathe at home…so that is the next step!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

17 comments so far

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3794 days

#1 posted 07-13-2008 03:34 AM

Nice looking first pens. Are you hooked yet? I am glad you finally got to use the lathe. Thank you for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3782 days

#2 posted 07-13-2008 03:42 AM


Looks like you are really enjoying your summer!!!!!!!

Really great looking pens! Be careful- you have started down the slippery slope of turning. It is very addictive!!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 4353 days

#3 posted 07-13-2008 06:55 AM

that purpleheart looks fantastic, love the color there!
nice looking couple of pens. you should hang on to these so you can look back on them in 6 months to a year so you can see how far you’ve come along.

good luck with this habit…

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3715 days

#4 posted 07-13-2008 07:43 AM

hey Buddy , congratulations ! You are two pens ahead of me at this point ! LOL…..I have the JET mini lathe but haven’t even come close to turning a pen yet….maybe tomorrow…yeah right LOL great job : )

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

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4057 days

#5 posted 07-13-2008 11:01 AM

Very nice looking pens – I have never made any pens, but they do not look the easiest thing to make for a 1st attempt at turning – well done, you should be proud of your efforts.

If you waxed the woods, I would suggest using a shellac sanding sealer first, before applying the wax – this will stop the wax from soaking into the wood – now you will have to let the wax harden and apply another very light coat óf wax every few days by hand to built up the base, then polish them out on a wheel.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3902 days

#6 posted 07-13-2008 11:03 AM

That’s it. You are done for. But hey, you are going to like your new addiction. Good job, and nice recovery.

View Steelmum's profile


355 posts in 3990 days

#7 posted 07-13-2008 11:53 AM

Your pens look great, hope you try it at home soon.

-- Berta in NC

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4326 days

#8 posted 07-13-2008 01:13 PM

Very nice Matt!

And I’m proud of you for not being afraid to show off your mistake.

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

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3750 days

#9 posted 07-13-2008 01:43 PM

Nice job Napaman. These look great. (I’ve blown out my share of pen blanks)

-- Martin, Kansas

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4104 days

#10 posted 07-13-2008 06:03 PM

Thanks everyone!!! My sister already has her eye on the purple heart…but I bought a bunch of blanks…and last night i ordered the mandrel for my shopsmith lathe so I can do them at home…

If you have never done them they are pretty easy…but fun…its the kind of thing where I can see myself prepping a bunch of blanks then turning them a few at a time in the evenings after work…

Well…definitely more coming…LOL…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4222 days

#11 posted 07-14-2008 02:15 AM

Way to go! Pen turning can become a bit addicting, so prepare yourself to have a lot of pens in the house, or you can do as I do, give them away. I give them as rewards to my business associates when they hit certain goals.
I look forward to seeing the results from the Shopsmith lathe. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 3834 days

#12 posted 07-14-2008 04:00 AM

Nice Pens Matt! I have never attempted pens before but it looks like alot of fun. Very Apropos being a teacher too! Did you get different species of blanks?

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4104 days

#13 posted 07-14-2008 06:37 AM

BFD…yep…I got lots of different blanks…but many were in a “grab bag area” “ten for $8” area so I dont know the species on all of them…I should have asked…

I also got a 10 pack of zebra wood…and I bought a bunch of others in January…when I first got interested in this and today I was looking for them and cant find them!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View pinkfish's profile


171 posts in 3698 days

#14 posted 07-14-2008 06:54 AM

The striped wood looks like zebrawood?

An interesting thing you can do with pens, those looks like the standard 7mm kit? You can remove the metal band in the middle altogether. So long as you keep the dimensions the same, the width of the band, well + or minus a bit, you can make a pen without the band. This also frees you to make different shaped pens from that original kit. The 7mm kit is the most versatile of all the kits I have used.

There are a bunch of other interesting things you can do with pens here:

View Bill Akins's profile

Bill Akins

425 posts in 3725 days

#15 posted 07-14-2008 02:09 PM

The pens look great. I want to try it someday.

-- Bill from Lithia Springs, GA I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

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