Introduction: How to Turn a Wooden Pen on a Lathe
Have you ever wondered how to make those awesome wooden pens? Well here is how you do it. At first the making of a American pen (that is this kind) will take you about a hour and a half but once you have made a bunch you can make them in 15 minutes.
Step 1: Supplies
For this Instructable you need these supplies. Most of these tools you can substitute for something else cheaper.
Skew (the tool that you turn the wood with)
Wood ( i'm using yellow heart one of my favorites)
CA glue or Super Glue (thick and thin if possible)
Mandrel to hold the pen on with 3 bushings
Pen Kit or you could use pieces from a old pen that you don't use anymore
BLO (boiled linseed oil)
Drill press or equivalent
Micro mesh to get the super shine
Beall buffing system to put on a awesome finish
Step 2: Cutting the Blanks
You will need a piece of wood called a blank. This can be any type of wood as long as the wood is long enough for the tubes to fit in the piece of wood. Then you need to cut the wood so that the wood will be long enough for tubes, Before you start cutting or even think about cutting put on your saftey glasses. I use a Craftsman table saw to cut the wood but a bandsaw or a scroll saw would do the job well. Make sure to measure twice and cut once.
Step 3: Drilling the Blanks
This step can either be done on a drill press, Lathe or hand drill. I would not recommend drilling this hole on a normal drill because the hole has to be perfectly square. The drilling on a drill press is self explanitory. But drilling on a lathe? Yes it can be done with a supernova chuck and a drill attachment.
Step 4: Sand the Tubes Then Glue to Blanks
Sand the blanks so that they are not shiny and then apply a line of thick CA glue to the tube and push in to the blank. Pull and twist the blank so that the glue gets all over the inside of the hole then repeat on the other side. After you have done that push in the tube so that it is not sticking out of either side of the wood.
Step 5: Sqauring the Blanks
For this step it is best to use the tool specially made for this or you could use sand paper and a square. This makes the wood flush and square with the tubes. Be careful not to drill down to far because then the tube will stick out and in the final product you will have a gap in the joint of the pen.
Step 6: Turning
This is my favorite part. You can use a wood working lathe and skew or make a lathe like in Catwood's Instructable 100%Homemade Lathe.( If your lathe has a speed control you will want this to be as fast as possible) For a skew I use a round tip. You could also use a gouge or a chisel. Now take your Mandrel and bushings and put the blanks on there so there is a bushing then blank then bushing then blank then bushing. The bushings are your guide to how much you turn down the wood. Remember you can always take off more but you can't but wood back on. (or can you) Try to turn as smooth as possible so you don't have ridges.
Step 7: Sanding and BLOing
Before you sand slow down your lathe to as slow as possible for the rest of the process. After you are done turning sand with no less grit of 220. Make your way up to 400 grit then look at your blanks. A good way to see if you are done sanding is to run your fingers on the blank with the lathe on. You can tell a-lot more with your fingers than your eyes. After your blank is smooth and flush with the bushings take your BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil) and put some on a paper towel and rub it good then look at how beautiful your pen will be. This is pretty much how your pen will look like when your done except it will be 100 times shinier.
Step 8: Glueing
In this step you will start to apply the finish. You need CA glue or regular super glue. (CA glue works better) If you have thin glue start with this then do thick glue. Make sure to make the glue as smooth as possible and even. Take your glue and paper towel and put the paper towel on the bottom of the pen then squeeze glue and smooth out the ridges. The paper towel does get hot and does smoke. Make sure not to take away the paper towel to fast because it will look bad, but don't leave it on too long because the glue will set up and will stick to the pen. You will want to do 1 coat of thin and 2 or 3 coats of thick depending on how smooth the blanks are.
Step 9: Sanding and Micro Sanding
After you do the CA finish you will see that the blanks are shiny, you will want to take 400 grit sand paper and get rid of all the shiny spots. You will then take Micro Mesh sanding system and sand from 1,500 grit to 12,000 grit. Every other grit you should turn off your lathe and sand back and forth horizontally while turning the lathe by hand. This will get rid of sanding and tool lines.
Step 10: Finishing
After you have done Micro Mesh you need to tale out your Beall buffing and finishing system. This is a 3 step process that starts with tripoli then white diamond then carnauba wax. You load these with the finish by turning on your lathe a rubbing the bars on to the wheels. While the wheels are spinning twist and turn your blanks (still on the mandrel) in the wheels so there is a even and thick coat. After that take the blanks off the mandrel and get out the pen press or clamp. Check the blanks to see if there are and imperfections and if there are set that blank to the side and get the other one and press the tip in to one end.Then take the same blank with the tip and put the transmission in the other end. BE CAREFUL not to put the transmission in to far, push it in to the line and then put in the ink refill and see how far it goes. After that take the blank with the imperfection and take the clip and little cap, and position the clip over the imperfection and then put the spacer on between them and stick them together. YOU HAVE A HAND MADE PEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!