Introduction: Make a Pen Without a Lathe

I wanted a pen for myself as I am a woodworker I thought it would be wise to make a wooden pen. Unfortunately, this led me to the new problem of not owning a lathe. But I have made a point of never allowing a lack of tools to stop me from making something. I am going to make a pen without a lathe.

Step 1: Drilling Out the Pen Blank

Picture of Drilling Out the Pen Blank

I started by ripping down some White Oak to three-quarter inch by 3 quarter inch pen blanks. After some experimentation to find the correct drill bit for the end kit shaft to fit into, I was able to bore the holes through the pen blanks with a brace. this hole was the same size of the Pen tube OD.

Step 2: Drawing the Shape

Picture of Drawing the Shape

I wanted to shift to be a hexagon so I found a nut with the appropriate size and used it as a pattern to trace on one end of the pen blank. This gave me a point to which I can plane it down without going over that line. I found that if I put the nut on a bolt and then put the bolt in the hole it would center the nut and give me equal distances from the sides of the hexagon to the center of the pen blank.

Step 3: Plane to the Lines

Picture of Plane to the Lines

Next, I put the pen blank into the vice and started planning it down to the lines that I marked with the none. This took about 16 minutes per blank but went fairly quickly as it was an enjoyable task. I started planning down to the line on my end. Then, I would flip the blank end for end and plane down the other end to match the end I already did.

Step 4: Rounding Ends to Match Pen Kit

Picture of Rounding Ends to Match Pen Kit

After shaping them I needed to round the end slightly so that they would join the pen pieces smoothly. I did this with a file counting how many strokes I made on each side so that there would be an equal amount of rounding on each side.

Step 5: Finish Pen Tubes

Picture of Finish Pen Tubes

The finish on the pen is wipe on poly. I lightly sanded in between each coat with 400 grit sandpaper, and then finished off with a light coat of poly. I found if you set them on screwdrivers or in my case dividers they were easy to hand finish.

Step 6: Press the Pen Together

Picture of Press the Pen Together

To press the pen together I used my bench vise.You have to be careful to make sure everything is perfectly lined up before pressing it, but with a little care, it works very well.

Step 7: Step Back and Admire Your Work.

Picture of Step Back and Admire Your Work.

I was expecting the pen to be uncomfortable but with 6 sides it really feels good on the three fingers that rest on every other side. In the end, I am extremely happy with how this came out. A lot of joy to make, and a great pen I will enjoy for years to come. If you want to see more here is a link to the video showing the whole process.


waylightcreate (author)2016-11-28

Loved it on YouTube and love it on here. Great job, James.

thanks man! and thanks for the great encouragement and ideas for improvement.

3366carlos (author)2016-12-01

very nice, I like the camo look of the wood. Any ideas how I can make one without using a plane nor a lathe? I don't have either.

alanemartin (author)3366carlos2017-01-30

You could do it with a rasp and sandpaper. Slower, but it'll still work.

woodbywright (author)3366carlos2016-12-01

Thanks man. the first one I made was with little more than a chisel. here is the video of back when I built that.

PhilipM50 (author)2016-12-13

A great alternative to turning a pen it turned out real nice well done

woodbywright (author)PhilipM502016-12-13

Thanks! but it did not "turn out" LOL sorry I could not resist!

Not only Wood (author)2016-12-06

nice one I love the figure in that oak !!

thanks man!curly oak is one of my favorites.

jzvo (author)2016-11-29

I saw your YouTube video, now I'm inspired to try it. did you consider using a spokeshave to create a round profile?

woodbywright (author)jzvo2016-11-29

Thank you. The first pen I made was round and I used a spoke shave and chisel, but for this one I wanted to do something different. this was the one I made for that.

3366carlos (author)woodbywright2016-12-02

awesome, I can buy a chisel.

woodbywright (author)3366carlos2016-12-02

Everyone needs a good chisel set! you can do anything with that.

christa627 (author)2016-12-02

I really like that hexagonal shape! Just looking at it makes me want to pick it up and write stuff... :-)

woodbywright (author)christa6272016-12-02

Thanks! that is about a good a complement as I could ask for. Thanks!

ClenseYourPallet (author)2016-11-28

Wonderful job. Wood pens are certainly the way to go and you have made a beautiful one here

Thank you! That means a lot!

donnymcarter (author)2016-11-28

Nice work especially using hand tools! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks Donny!

seamster (author)2016-11-28

Very impressive work. Thanks for sharing the details! :)

woodbywright (author)seamster2016-11-28

Thanks you. it was fun to play with a new idea

mlawing (author)2016-11-28

Great stuff! Glad you're on instructables, James!

woodbywright (author)mlawing2016-11-28

Thank you. I am looking forward to doing more on here.

About This Instructable




Bio: I have been working with wood since I could stumble into the shop with my dad. About a year ago I moved into a house ... More »
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