In this tutorial you will learn how to turn a wooden pen on a lathe and customize it with a wood burning tool. You can use this process to create personalised pens with names, dates or messages engraved on them. These make fabulous gifts or even saleable products!
You can either watch the video or follow the process step by step! I have new video tutorials coming every month and if you'd like to stay up to date with my projects then subscribe to my Youtube channel!
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Step 1: Preparing Materials and Blanks
The first stage is to measure the wood blanks and cut them to size. For this project I used a piece of Walnut and a piece of Padauk and cut them so that they would accommodate the brass tubes in the pen kit.
The brass tubes measure 52mm in length so I trimmed the wood so it was slightly bigger (to allow room for error). I cut my two pieces of wood to 55x15x15mm.
To complete this project you will also need a pen turning mandrel, bushings and a barrel trimmer. You can usually pick these up in funky little kits that contain everything you need.
Step 2: Drilling the Wood Blanks
The second stage is to drill the wood blanks. I did this on the lathe but if you have a big enough drill press you can use that too.
Drill about 1-2cm into the blank and then withdraw the drill, this will prevent the drill bit from blunting and over heating.
When the blanks are drilled it's time to insert the tubes from the pen kit!
Step 3: Gluing Up the Brass Tubes
In this stage you need to glue the brass tubes into the wood blanks. To do this I used a sacrificial paint brush handle and high viscosity super glue.
I began by scratching up the surface of the tube with sandpaper then generously applying the super glue to the tube. With the tube on the end of the brush it is easy to insert into the wooden blank.
Next head over to the drill press. Mount the barrel trimmer and drill the blank so that the wood is flush with the brass tube. The trick here is to drill incrementally so as not to eliminate too much material.
Step 4: Turning on the Lathe
With the wood blanks prepared mount them on the pen mandrel. Ensure that you have room to use your chisels without hitting the sides of the mandrel and get everything good and tight.
Begin roughing with the gouge to get the blanks round and then smooth the surface with a skew chisel. With the wood shaped sand up to a 400-600 grit to get it nice and smooth.
After sanding clean out the grain of the wood with white spirit.
Step 5: Pyrography
Take the wooden blanks off the lathe and over to the pyrography machine. My machine is a multi heat burning tool but there are many great products available that you can use, even if it's a simple wood burning pen.
Start by sketching the name/design on with a pencil and then burn it in with the pyrography tool. Use light strokes and take multiple passes to avoid making mistakes!
Step 6: Finish & Assemble
Finally mount the wood blanks back on the lathe for finishing. In the video I used beeswax but a friction polish would work better. Rub the polish into the wood, wait for it to cure and then apply as many further coats as necessary to achieve a nice lustrous finish. For extra smoothness you can buff the final coat with a very fine grit sandpaper/wire wool.
Assemble the pen using a drill press clamp or similar device and you are good to go! You should have a beautiful pen that you can give away as a gift or even the start of a product line!
If you liked this tutorial then please visit my Youtube channel where you can find more cool projects and techniques for polishing and finishing!