Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chancellorsville, Start to Finish, Part 4

This Chancellorsville wood is really beautiful. Though I can't say for sure, it looks like pine to me. Pine isn't usually a particularly attractive wood, but perhaps the age and certainly the stabilization have added to the luster and color.

After receiving their cyanoacrylate coats, the blanks are left to throroughly dry and "offgas" overnight. They are wet-sanded with a series of micro-mesh pads in the multi-thousand grit level to even out the coating and make it smooth.

After this, I inspect each one to ensure the CA coat looks good. I have to admit to having a difficult time with a couple of these. If you buff too far down, you expose the wood and have to re-apply the CA, wait overnight again, etc, which happened more than once with some of these. But in the end, patience persevered and they were ready for polish.

I use two coats of plastic polish, which is a friction polish that activates with heat generated by the friction of the blank turning on the lathe. Two coats of wax follow that and really bring out the shine.

The ends are cleaned up to remove any CA, polish or wax that may have spilled over the edge during the process. I lay out and inspect the setting parts and finally assemble the pen using a pen assembly tool.

And here they are, two of the five handcrafted Civil War bullet pens made from wood harvested at the spot Confederate General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson was mortally wounded by friendly fire.

#CivilWar #StonewallJackson #History #FineWritingInstrument #Chancellorsville

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Chancellorsville, Start to Finish, Part 3

So here are the stabilized blanks. Two with clear acrylic, two red and one blue. I turned the blue one before remembering to photograph them and LOVE how the blue worked into the wood.

The blue is dark in the cracks and voids, lighter and at times green where it mixed with weaker, yellow wood, while leaving the parts of the wood that were still solid their natural yellow. Just gorgeous.

Not shown are two simple steps: reaming out the holes and gluing in the tubes. These steps are visible in some of my previous "Start to finish" blog entries. Check them out, too! Click HERE for the process in wood. Click HERE to see mixing acrylic. Because the acrylic filled in some of the pre-drilled holes, they had to be re-drilled, which only took a minute and ensured the tube chambers were ready to receive the brass tubes. I also barrel-trimmed them to cut the wood down to the exact length of the finished pen body.

Now the blanks go onto the lathe for turning! Even though they were stabilized, I stopped about halfway with each one and soaked them down with thin CA to ensure they didn't burst apart. Maybe this wasn't necessary, but to me this is very special wood and I didn't want to take any chances.

After the blanks were turned and sanded up to 10k grit (I use some special paper I picked up in Japan that goes up to 10k), they receive a light coat of 100% pure tung oil massaged into the wood.  And finally, here are two getting their cyanoacrylate coat.
#handcrafted #penturning #CivilWar #Chancellorsville #StonewallJackson #history #craftsmanship #finewriting