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Forum topic by Don Newton posted 04-13-2009 06:25 PM 1198 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don Newton

716 posts in 3645 days

04-13-2009 06:25 PM

As a hobbiest who builds furniture I probably will never be a pen maker. Quite often I have scrap pieces that are too small to devote storage space to but could have enough material for a pen blank. So my questions are; What size should a pen blank be? , and Will any material do for turning pens? I aam used to seeing posts with exiotic species with lots of figure/defects. Is there any use for some of the commom species; walnut, cherry, mahogany, maple, ect.? I would be willing to donate any useful materials that come available to a needy pen turner.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

4 replies so far

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 3723 days

#1 posted 04-13-2009 07:43 PM


-- Chuck, wiswood2

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 3831 days

#2 posted 04-13-2009 11:19 PM

I have used almost every wood species, stone, ivory, gun casings, corian, antler and many other materials to turn pens with. 3/4×3/4×5 1/2 is about the minimum size to turn a decent pen with, but I have used pieces as small as 3 inches. I would contact the closest Woodcraft store and see if they are sponsoring the Turn for the Troops pen project – they would take your scraps and get it to turners who would make pens to send to the troops. You could also go to which is the web site for the American Association of Woodturners and find a woodturning club near where you live. If all else fails put it all in a box and ship it to me.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View pinkfish's profile


171 posts in 3698 days

#3 posted 04-22-2009 02:16 AM

I turned a 7mm pen with a piece of spalted maple that was about 1/4”, well a bit bigger. It was only just big enough for the hole :) Turned out really nicely but you have to be pretty careful. I actually used the included band with that one, I thought glueing a band on would be pushing my luck.

View diver's profile


4 posts in 3371 days

#4 posted 04-25-2009 06:19 PM

Different pen kit styles use different size blanks—most use 3/4” x 3/4”, but for a few of the more substantial designs, you’re safer with 1” x 1”. If you check the kit-supply stores’ websites, you’ll see the variety of styles available: Lee Valley Tools, Penn State Industries, Berea Hardwoods are a few of the best suppliers.

“Jeff the woodwacker”s idea about donating your scrap pieces to the “Turn for the Troops” program is a nice one. But like him—I’d be happy to take hardwood scraps off your hands. Please feel free to contact me about it :)

-- mb

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