On occasion I go into a pen turning frenzy where I usually turn between 10 and 20 at a stretch. One of the most annoying aspects of pen turning is whittling down a square blank on the lathe to get it to the proper size. Takes up alot of extra time readjusting the tool rest and having to sharpen the tools more often. I have seen other jigs to pre- round the blanks for sale, but being the cheapskate that I am I decided to make my own pre-turning pen blank jig.
I started by putting a dovetail in a scrap piece of walnut to hold the piece that the handle section and the removable tail section slide in. Next make the corresponding dovetail in the handle section stock so that it slides in the sled slot. I then cut the handle section from the tail section and formed the handle. Cut the tail section to allow a thru hole to be drilled for the pen mandrel. Glue the handle section in place on the sled. Glue small pieces of 80 grit sandpaper at each end of the mandrel thru holes to keep the blank from spinning.
The tail section slides in the dovetail to load a pen blank onto the mandrel and the thumb lever (removable) is used to apply pressure to the pen blank to keep it from spinning during the cut.
I also set the jig up to slide in the miter slot of the bandsaw bed by adding a rail under the sled after I determined how far from the blade the jig needed to be.
Once the blank is loaded onto the jig, pressure is applied to the thumb lever and the cut is made . Then I retract the jig ,release the pressure, spin the blank 90 degrees,make the next cut and so on until the blank has been rounded.
Completed blank ready for turning in less than 1 minute
-- Mike --www.midlothianwoodworks.com