Picture of Pencil holder from fence post on the lathe
fence post = boring, turned pencil holders = fun(er)

I made these at Maker Place from an old 4" x 4" cedar fence post laying around.

Of course you don't need to use a fence post, any 4 x 4 will do.

It just shows that you can bring life back to any chunks of wood laying around by turning it on the lathe.

Cost: $5 at most
Time: 1.5 hours or so

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Step 1: Cut off the piece to turn

Picture of Cut off the piece to turn
Cut a piece of the 4x4, this length will determine the final height of your pencil holder. I cut about 8".

Step 2: Mount the faceplate, attach to the lathe

Picture of Mount the faceplate, attach to the lathe
Find the center of your wood, then attach the lathe faceplate.

VERY important to use good quality, aggressive screws or lags here so your pencil holder doesn't go flying off the lathe into outer space.

I used 8 aggressive lag type screws.

Step 3: Rough out your design

Picture of Rough out your design
Keep the tool rest VERY close to the wood.

Use sharp chisels, I started with a gouge.

i wanted to leave some squared sections so I marked with a sharpie where to not chisel.

Highly recommended to use the tail spindle as support here as you rough out, it'll help support your piece and keep it true.

Step 4:

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Once happy with the outside shape, it's a good idea to sand it smooth before moving on to the inside. I used 80 grit, then 220 grit.

A shop vac and mask will help keep the dust out of you.

Begin to hollow out the inside edge.

Step 5: Time to cheat

Picture of Time to cheat
The inside is tough to hollow on green end grain.

To save some time and swearing I used the drill press with a 1" blade to get it started.

Drill to whatever you want the final depth of the pens to sit at.

Step 6: Hollow...

Picture of Hollow...
I marked again the max width of the hollow section, then used a scraper chisel to hollow out the rest.

Once your depth is good, sand the inside well.

Step 7: Finish

Picture of Finish
Time to add finish. I used a liquid poly/wax with a clean rag to bring out the color.

Fine grit sand paper and/or steel wool in between will help keep the streaks down in the finish.
fasaxc3 years ago
If you have a drill chuck for the lathe you can put the chuck in the tail end of the lathe and use the rotation of the lathe to do the drilling.
Mikey9903 years ago
Love the squared off sections
nduzzle3 years ago
very nice, different finishes on all 3?