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Pen Turning 
Not as hard as it sounds! 
2/02 

Last pen, before i sold my lathe, made 3/12/10

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This is not an expensive hobby! 
You can of course buy wood for your pens, 
many exotics are available.
For a small investment in some specialized tools, you can turn out pen and pencil sets for less than $10 a set. I spent less than a hundred to get started, this got me a mandrel and a set of bushings to turn the blanks on, a pen mill to square the blanks, a 7mm drill bit and enough parts to make 10 pens! 

I cut the blanks to length, about 1/32" 
longer then the brass tubes that will be 
glued inside the blanks. Relax, it's easy!
I'm making this pen from an Acrylic Pen Blanks. The blanks are 3/4" square by 5" long. I made a black mark on one side (in the first pic) to aid in lining up the "grain", then squared up one end of the blank. 
I made a jig to hold the blanks perpendicular while they were being drilled for the tubes. I use a 7mm brad point bit for this. It's important to clear the chips from the blank frequently in order to keep things cool and prevent the blank from splitting. This is a good time to mention that the stock you use must be dry! You don't want your pens splitting on you! 
Here I've applied epoxy to the brass tubes and I'm stuffing them in the blanks. No rocket science here! But this step is messy and gets glue in the brass tube, so now you need a pen mill!
This is the pen mill, it cleans the glue out of the tube and squares the end of the blanks up with the brass tube. This assures a nice clean fit between parts. 

Just stuff it in both ends of the blanks and twist clockwise to clean out the glue and square things up. This is why you made the blanks 1/32" longer than the brass tubes. You really don't want to shorten the tubes, as the pens may not function properly. Now before you mount them on the mandrel, transfer the lines you made earlier to the inside of the tubes. This is important so the grain lines up properly.
Ok here are the blanks mounted on the mandrel. My lathe has a #2 Morse taper in the live stock. You need to know if your lath is a #1 or #2 morse taper. Or you can remove the tapered part and simply mount the universal mandrel in your lathe chuck if you have one.
You need to mount your 2 blanks with 3 bushings, one at each end and one in the middle. These blanks serve as guides for sizing the blanks. After i rough the blank close to the bushings, I sand down to the bushings like in the pic at left. That is just a piece of plywood with 100 grit paper stapled to it. The bushings prevent you from going too deep. Turn both of the blanks and then finish the work right on the lathe! 

 

With a little practice you can turn out some pretty impressive pens! I'm no wiz at the lathe, but I sure am proud of what I can create!
This is how your blanks should look. I used to finish my pens with a spray lacquer lacquer, but I like "Hut Wood Finish". This finish is designed specifically for applying to wood pens or other wood turnings as they are spinning on the lathe. Very fast, dries instantly and looks great!
After rubbing the Hutt finish on, just hold a clean rag up to the pen and let the heat from the friction melt the wax and leave a perfect finish every time!

I've added a few supply sources and a book that I have purchased, and recomend

 
Heres check list of tools you'll need: Now you just need parts:
The drill press works great for pressing the parts together. Take great care to press things together squarely, you don't want to bust things up now!

This pen is made with Zebra Wood cut on the angle.
Click here to learn how to make these pen blanks.

I recently got my hands on some English Yew. You know, the same wood Robin Hood's longbow was made from! Some good friends sent it over for me. Anyways as a thank you I made a Euro Pen and Perfume applicator for them. It's very nice turning stock.

Pen Turning is an easy way to break into using a lathe. 

Ready-To-Turn Euro Pen Blanks
Now you can turn, turn, turn no more drilling and gluing! Blanks are pre-cut, pre-drilled and pre-inserted with brass sleeve. That means the cutting, drilling and gluing stages are eliminated, letting you concentrate on what you enjoy most turning great-looking pens!

Ready-To-Turn Euro Pen Blanks

Ready-To-Turn Euro Pen Blanks

 

I purchased this book before I bought anything, and I'm glad I did, it explains everything you need to know about turning pens and pencils! Click here to purchase

 
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