Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pen Making, Start to Finish, Part 4


The fun part.

At this point we get to put the blank on the lathe and actually do some turning.

The first few gouges are used to "rough" the blank into a general semblance of its shape. In this case, we're just making a normal pen with no frills, so we just turn it down a little at a time to a cylinder tube just a little thicker than the bushings.

Unfortunately, after the fun part comes the tedious part: sanding. Other pen turners say I overdo it on the sanding. I use 100, 150, 220, 320, 400, 600, 1000, 4000, 8000 and 10000 grit papers successively on each and every pen. Each step takes time and care, followed by turning off the lathe to sand with the grain to remove any marks.

Overkill? Maybe. But I'm pleased with my results. If this gets me the best looking work, I'll stick with it.

Finally, the blank is turned and sanded down flush with the bushings and has a decent smooth surface. I'll clean it once with denatured alcohol, then give this wood a thin coat of 100% pure tung oil, massaged in both around and then with the grain.

Now these pieces will sit again overnight to allow the oil to completely set.

I forgot to post this image of applying the CA ...

I do nine layers of thin and medium CA. Each layer dries in a few minutes and then the next is put on.

Now it will sit again overnight to let the CA set and "off gas."

Here's a link to Part 5.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wenge wood desk set

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you this fine desk set.

Sorry to break up the demonstration of my pen making process, but I had to pause for the cause. This set is too much. Besides, I'm waiting right now for some parts I'll need to finish that other pen.

So when I realized I didn't have the bushings I need, I finished up this partially-completed desk set. In fact, you can see it in progress in the background of one of the images from last post. Those of you who've been following along know that it's been a LONG time since I've been able to produce some nice wood turnings due to the move and trying to get set back up and all.

This set was very frustrating. I had to strip the letter opener down because the first finish was cloudy. Then upon assembling the pen I discovered the tube had expanded and wouldn't receive the middle piece. So it took a little massaging and coaxing, but I got the set together.

And I'm trying something new with the stylus addition. Other sets have featured a magnifying glass. But I use my stylus quite a lot and thought it would be a great third accessory to this set.

The wood is wenge (pronounced "When-gay"). It has a very dark, porous grain that alternates between dark brown and almost black in waves (best seen in the photo below). It has a classic, subtle look and a fine feel to it.

All three pieces feature a beautiful textured gloss finish that gives durable protection to the wood while giving a natural-grain feel. Coupled with the floral setting and contrasting dark and chrome look, this is a captivating desk set.

So, enjoy looking. I'll be back with more processing pictures soon!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pen Making, Start to Finish (Part 3)

Next step (what am I on now?), Barrel trimming. This device shaves away the 'margin' wood and makes the end of the wood blank flush with the brass tube.

Here you can see a nice, clean end after trimming.

Here are the clean, trimmed blanks. Now I also mark the inside of the brass tubes to match up the wood grain later. This is important because they are about to go on the lathe and the horizontal pencil lines on the outside are about to go away.

Here's a link to Part 4.
 #handcrafted #woodworking

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pen Making, Start to Finish (Part 2)

Step 3, cutting the wood to size.
This pen has two sections, each with different size brass tubes. The extra piece (left) will be kept for future projects.

Step 4, drilling.
Next the pieces are drilled out to accommodate the brass tubes. The brass tubes are the hard structure the metal pen parts of the kit such as the mechanism, nib and clip will fit into. Using these brass bases keeps the pens uniform and the beautiful wood unstressed.

Here I'm using my new toy, a drill chuck and jaws that fit on the lathe. This new system ensures the wood is drilled in the exact center. I'm hoping this will help ensure my Celtic knots are more evenly spaced. We'll see. Regardless, it's a much better system than using a drill press. A little slower, but I'll sacrifice a little time for accuracy.

You can see that it spins the wood (left) while the drill bit stays still. This is how it ensures the hole is drilled in the exact center. Even if the wood isn't perfectly square, it will rotate around its center, which happens to be online with the drill bit.

Step 5, placing the tubes.
Once the wood has been drilled, the tubes are set in place using medium-thickness cyanoacrylate (super glue). I'll let that set a little, then reinforce the bond by slowly adding thin cyanoacrylate around the edges and letting it seep in. I usually let these set overnight.

Here's a link to Part 3.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pen Making, Start to Finish (part 1)

Going to try something new (for me). Several clients have asked how it's done. Well, it's not that difficult, but it does take some time to do right. This will be an album with the pen making process start to finish. Now, it's just a basic wood pen. Nothing fancy like you've seen me make before. But if you'd like to see the process, here you go. Expect more images as the days go by.

Step 1: choose the right pen kit for the wood. Here is a nice piece of curly maple stabilized red. I chose the kit in the middle, a platinum kit with rollerball ink. Should look great!

Now marking off the cut lines. I'll also make a horizontal line now that will help me line up the grain later.