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I have been part of my university woodturning club and have specialized somewhat in penturning. I like to use exotic wood and some nontraditional media (like corn cobs, banksia pods, etc.) and figured I'd try to make a pen out of leather. In this Instructable, we'll (quite literally) be turning leather belts into a pen.

In all, the project took approximately 5 hours and cost about 10 bucks (considering the belts were free, so the only cost was the pen kit and adhesives).

Materials required:
Leather (from belts, shoes, or anything, really.
Contact cement
Cyanoacrylate - NOTE: Cyanoacrylate (CA) is dangerous not just because it bonds skin, but it also reacts violently with cotton (ie bursts into flames). Do not let it touch your skin, clothes, paper towels, etc.
Pen kit (available at specialty woodturning/woodworking stores and catalogs - I used a 7mm twist mechanism kit)
Linseed oil - resin finishing mixture

Tools:
Scalpel or razor
Saw
Vice
Power drill/drill press with appropriate size bit and pen mill/reamer
Mandrel and bushings of appropriate size
Lathe
Woodturning tools (I used a 1/2 inch spindle gouge and a 1 inch rounded skew)
Sandpaper (150-220) and nylon sanding pads
Mallet and spare bushings (potentially)

Step 1: Preparing the Belt Leather

We first need to acquire enough leather. I sent a request over my dorm email list asking for old, unwanted belts - thank you to BG and PC for their donations (photo 1).

Use a scalpel to cut the ends off the belts to remove the buckle and the part of the belt with holes. These can be discarded. Cut the rest of the belt into six inch strips (photo 2). NOTE: I tried cutting the belt with a saw and a rotary cutting blade - they did not work nearly as well as my scalpel, so use a sharp blade.

A typical leather belt (such as these) is two strips of leather glued and sewn together. The belts I had were both black sewn over brown (photo 3). One belt is enough leather to make a pen, provided you use both sides of the belt. I wanted a black pen, so I needed two belts.

Separate the two halves by cutting off the seam and ripping the leather apart. It may be easier to cut the seam off one face and then off the other (photos 4-6). Do this for both belts.

Discard the brown pieces (if you want). The quarter is for scale (photo 7).

Congratulations, you now have enough leather strips for the pen! Make the pen blank after the jump.

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