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Thread: First Pens

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    5,998

    First Pens

    I recently decided to try my hand at turning some pens. Designing and building furniture projects is rewarding and I'll continue along that path. But, I wanted to shift gears and do something with a short concept to completion time. I've seen some great looking pens on this and other forums and thought I'd give it a try.

    Below are photos of of my first two attempts at turning pens.

    For the first one, I took a piece of cherry that was headed for the smoker bin and cut some pen blanks. It took the better part of an hour to complete, but at least I got it done without blowing it up! Finish is several coats of shellac, then a few coats of wax.

    The second pen is made from blanks I cut from a dogwood log harvested from my in-law's property in Alabama. The first photo shows the pen and a portion of the log from which I cut the blanks. The second photo is the 'back' of the pen showing some worm or insect holes and checking. I used CA and 150 grit sandpaper to create a slurry to fill the voids before completing the sanding. Finish is CA/BLO topped with HUT PPP I and II.

    Thanks for looking!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Pen00001a.jpg   Pen00001b.jpg   Pen00002a.jpg   Pen00002b.jpg  
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North West Indiana
    Posts
    6,099
    They look like very nice, useful pens. The last picture makes the nib end of the pen look like it doesn't fit, but on the other picture it looks like a great fit. Man I just enjoy making pens. Some sell, others I give away. People are always amazed and it is one of the instant gratifications of working on a lathe. But to make a fair judgement call on them, send them to me and I will use them and then tell you how they are!
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,833
    Sadly, you already demonstrate signs of having become addicted to penturning. There is no going back.
    They look fine to me, well done.
    I would suggest that lacquer might be easier for you and a bit more durable.
    If you have access to Dogwood, you might consider looking for a style where you can get 'theme' style clips. I sell, and give away, quite a few European pens in Dogwood with Christian crosses on them. The connection with the Legend of the Dogwood is very meaningful to many people. They can be good sellers around Easter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    5,998
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    They look like very nice, useful pens. The last picture makes the nib end of the pen look like it doesn't fit, but on the other picture it looks like a great fit. Man I just enjoy making pens. Some sell, others I give away. People are always amazed and it is one of the instant gratifications of working on a lathe. But to make a fair judgement call on them, send them to me and I will use them and then tell you how they are!
    Jonathan,

    Thanks for looking. The fit at the nib is really close. In the photo, I believe what happened is the reflection of the light and background catches the edge of the nib. A new lighting kit is on the way, so I'll have good control over lighting. I'll take new photos when I get the lighting kit.

    I'd be glad to send you a pen, but.....

    The first one will go in a frame to remind me of how I started in this addiction! The second one will probably go to my MIL since the wood came from her property! Gotta keep the peace!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    5,998
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Sadly, you already demonstrate signs of having become addicted to penturning. There is no going back.
    They look fine to me, well done.
    I would suggest that lacquer might be easier for you and a bit more durable.
    If you have access to Dogwood, you might consider looking for a style where you can get 'theme' style clips. I sell, and give away, quite a few European pens in Dogwood with Christian crosses on them. The connection with the Legend of the Dogwood is very meaningful to many people. They can be good sellers around Easter.
    Frank,

    Thanks for viewing. I can't afford for this to be a full time addiction -- still got several projects on the board for our house. Something tells me I'd better keep up on those to keep LOML happy!

    As to the finish, I used CA/BLO on the dogwood because I've heard so much about it on the forums. I always keep lacquer around and will try it soon. I also plan to try Target waterborne products, since I have sealer, CV and USL that I bought for furniture.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Reno, Nv
    Posts
    3,632
    Good looking stuff Bill. I'm going the opposite direction...I'm trying other things than pens. Remember that almost any scrap can be used for pens. That's the scary part...I have about 2-3k blanks in big Tupperware containers. Keep it up and branch out, there are some really good DVD's on pen turning that I still refer to when my brain dulls.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
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    2,668
    Bill, those are some great looking pens. I have never turned a pen but it is very tempting.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Posts
    336
    Nice looking pens, Bill. I clicked on the pictures before reading your text and when I looked at the second pen, I thought. "that looks like Dogwood." Sure enough, it was.

    I do a few pens now and then but don't really enjoy it that much.It gets repetitive pretty quick. Besides, after visiting the IAP and looking at what those guys craft, I realize I'll never put in the effort to get to their level of skill.

    Mo, you ought to give it a try. All you really need to get started, besides a lathe, is a pen kit, pen mandrel and the correct bushings. Slimlines are cheap, easy to do and they look good too...as evidenced by Bill's pens.
    Cody


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
    Posts
    4,834
    Great looking pens. I to don't do pens to often but do enjoy them on occasions.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,020
    Those look great, Bill. Looks like you were paying good attention watching other folks turn pens. The "start to finish in one session" aspect of penmaking is pretty appealing. Makes for a nice break when you're in the middle of something bigger.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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