Introduction: Tiger Tail Pen + New Bonus

I like turning pens on a lathe and thought - hmm wonder what laminating plywood layers to create a pen blank would look like. To my surprise, the pen turned (no-pun intended) out great with nice chatoyancy from the polished birch plywood layers.

Surprise bonuses at the end.

NEW EXTRA BONUS ADDED: Dizzy Pen made from scraps from a Smithsonian Artist.


Wood: Good quality birch plywood (10 x 1 x 5/8 inch)

Glue: Tight Bond, CA

Tools: Table & Chop Saw, Lathe, Drill Press, Clamps, lathe pen mandrel and bushings, lathe Pen kit, lathe tools

Finish: Custom Shellac friction polish, Customer beeswax abrasive paste for high shine

Step 1: Prep the Plywood

I got a bunch of free high quality 5/8" plywood from a Craigslist positing. They were from a nice women making exercise equipment and these were the scraps. I trimmed them into 1" strips since I make other things with them. (Stay tuned for a bonus for you at the end of this ible). Next I trim to 1" x 1" squares and need around 8. You can see there is little waste left.

(BTW, has there been a contest to make something using stuff from free craigslist's posting -- that would be fun.)

Step 2: Time for Glue Up

I spread Tight Bond glue on top and bottom of the plywood segments. Make sure you spread out and don't skimp on glue. Then I clamp up and let dry over night.

TIP: If you don't want a mess, use plastic wrap or wax paper to prevent glue getting on everything.

Step 3: Get Your Pen Kit Ready and Drill!

I used the Woodcraft's Cigar Pen Kit for this project.(see link 1) and preped the tubes by rough sanding the sides so CA glue adheres better. I then drill a 10mm hole all the way thru the center of each birch plywood pen blank and CA glue the tubes into the blanks. You got to do the CA part fast so the tube goes all the way to the bottom.

Details on lathe pen prep can be since in link 2

Link 1

Link 2

Step 4: Turning, Sand, and Finish the Pen

The rest is downhill basic pen turning. Shape the pen to however you like.

I then sand from 220 to1200 Grit.

To finish, I use my custom friction polish (8 coats) and custom abrasive beeswax.

Have received requests for the recipe for polish and wax. There are tons when you google.

Examples here and you can tweak based on your needs.

Step 5: Voila

Follow instructions to press on the metal pen kit bits and you're all down.

The pen is so soft and smooth - You feel like petting it.

I showed it to a friend that collects high end pens. He was mesmerized and so taken as he gazed hypnotically at it that I said you can have it. He was shocked. I guess Santa came early for him.

Step 6: Bonus: I Promised You That

Do you remember that I told you I cut the plywood scraps into 1" strips for other projects?

Well here is one I just finished. It's an 8 layer birch plywood basket weave bowl illusion. It's my 4th segmented bowl attempt. I was taking lessons at the local community college and only got 1/3 way thru before covid struck but I learned enough to be dangerous.

BTW, since the plywood pen turned out nice I'm going to try a plywood skateboard version. Already started the glue up on that one.

Also this was my first ible but I'm a long time viewer. Hope it was okay.

Maybe I'll do another one if you folks like.

Safe Holidays to you all!

PS Double Bonus - I finished the "skateboard" pen

PSS Triple Bonus - I finished a "dizzy pen made from "dizzy" bowl scraps that was created by my wood turning club member (the great Hal Metlitzky) whose work was recently accepted inRenwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I included a picture of his bowl..

Plywood Challenge

Participated in the
Plywood Challenge