Let's Make a Purpleheart Pen




About: I have been an electrician, an OTR truck driver, a bank teller, and a customer service rep at a major insurance company as well as a combat medic for the U.S. Army. So needless to say my best friends are duc...

Today I'm going to turn a pen eating purpleheart wood and I'm going to show you a trick to make it real purple!

Have you ever worked with purpleheart just to be disappointed at how pink it looked in the end instead of purple? Well I'm about to change that today. With this hack you can make your purple heart wood as purple as you want it, don't settle for pink when you really want deep rich purple, or just make it darker pink its all up to you depending on what you want!

Step 1: First Obviously Get Some Purpleheart

After you get your dirty paws on some wood then cut it down to size and make marks in the middle before you cut the blank so that you can match the grain on the finished pen if you want to. Then mark the centers, I use a center finder and it makes it really easy but whichever way you used it should work s long as you get close enough to the center.

Step 2: Drill the Center Hole

Well there are many different ways of doing this but I prefer using my lathe for making the hole, I used to do it on my drill press but I find this easier.
I have a 3 jaw chuck so it's almost impossible to clamp down a square and have it centered so I always put my blanks in between my centers and round off at least the the ends so that my chuck can hold it and it being round makes it self centering (it almost always matches my center mark which is a plus)

Then just mount my drill chuck on one side and my 3 jaw chick on the other side and drill out the blanks.

Step 3: Now the Tubes

Now rough up the tubes and smear some CA glue on the tube and push it in while rolling it to make sure the glue spreads all around, but remember you only have about 15 seconds before it starts sticking so hurry up! Remember to tap it down so the tube slides in a little bit.

Step 4: Trimming

This is where you would use a pen mill to clean the tube and trim the black down to the size of the tube, I don't have one so I do it on my sander, it takes longer but it works! Just remember to only trim it to where the brass shows but don't get rid of any more than that. Oh and now is a good time to put on a respirator or mask so you don't breathe in all that dust!

And mount the blanks on the lathe, put them in the order they will be mounted so that you know how the grain goes.

Step 5: Turn It Down to Size

Now turn it down to size and make sure the ends are exactly the same size as your bushings, also make sure you use the appropriate bushings as this will make your pen fit your hardware, I wanted to do inlay some stone on this one so I cut 3 lines on one end.

Step 6: Fill the Gaps

Ok so I used stone and aluminum shavings to fill the lines I had cut, then I just sanded them down and did that a few times until the lines were filled with stone and metal. Then I sanded the pen using 60 up to 1500 sandpaper.

Step 7: Purple Rain

Now that the pen is sanded to the point where it would be finished I have a little trick to make it purple, make sure you do this after your wood is sanded smooth otherwise it will burn instead or raising the grain.

The trick here is to apply heat to the wood be it with a torch or a heat gun or whatever means you have, if you use a heat gun it will turn colors slower so you can choose how purple you want it to be, this doesn't burn the wood it just raises the grain and it turns a really nice purple! After you get it to your favorite shade just use some fine sandpaper on it again to make it extra smooth again!

Step 8: Fishing It

There are many ways and products you could use to finish your pens but I like using a combination of linseed oil and ca glue to finish mine, it makes pens extra shinny.

The way I apply it is with the lathe running, first, I clean my pen with denatured alcohol and let it dry, then apply a coat of linseed oil. Now put oil on a paper towel and put a couple of drops of CA over the linseed and rub it in, do this as many times as it takes to get the pen as shinny as you want it to be.

Step 9: Done!

Now take it off the lathe and press the hardware into the blank and enjoy your new awesome pen!

I know this looks black but it's hard to get the color to show up on the picture, it's really purple and it's got a mirror finish!

Thanks for reading and I hope you like it, if you learned something please vote for me and leave a message if you have any questions or comments! Enjoy and have a great day!



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    5 Discussions


    Question 7 months ago

    This is fascinating. Couple questions though.
    First....what is CA glue and where do you get it?
    Next, where does one get the special pen "guts" for the pen?
    Last, I am having trouble finding 1500 grit sand paper at the hardware store. Any suggestions as to where to look?


    2 years ago

    neat trick. I'll have to try it next time i can use a buddy's shop.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    If you use a torch it works faster but it will make your wood very very purple, and it looks great if that's your intention but if you want it less purple, use a heat gun and it will change colors slowly from pink to deep purple. Also remember to sand it with a really high grit sandpaper (like 1000 or 1200) or it won't be as smooth because the heat raises the grain which is why it changes color.

    Good luck and thanks for reading!


    2 years ago

    neat trick. I'll have to try it next time i can use a buddy's shop.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago