Step 4: Turn the pen

Load the pen blank on the lathe using a mandrel and bushings (photo 1).

Start turning the pen. I set the speed to around 2500 RPM. NOTE: Please wear goggles at the very least. I'd advise wearing a face shield and also a respirator - turning this produces a lot of particulate matter covered in contact cement and CA.

I used a spindle gouge at first to start bringing the blank to round (photos 2 and 3). Throughout the turning process, the leather strips will probably start to pull apart (photo 4). You'll be able to hear it flapping if this happens. CA the strip back on if necessary (photo 5). Work slowly and carefully to prevent this from happening (and sharpen your tools often).

Bring the blank to round (photo 6). After the blank is in round, switch from the spindle gouge to a skew. Use a plunge cut next to every bushing so each end is the same width as the bushings (photo 7). This will act as a guide for the width of the pen.

Using the skew, keep working the blank down. I recommend a toe-first cut if you can; I found the heel-first cut was more likely to pull the strips apart (photos 8-10).

When the pen is just slightly larger than the bushings and/or has the shape you desire, start sanding with 150 grit. Work your way up to 220, and then switch to nylon sanding pads up to your desired grit (photo 11).

Use a polishing rag to cover the piece with linseed oil - resin finishing mixture and wet sand with the nylon pads once more. This will fill in any gaps with an oil-resin-leather slurry to make the pen extra smooth (photos 12-16).

Congratulations, you have now turned your pen! Assemble it after the jump.