My world of turning #4: More than just pens...

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Blog entry by JJones98042 posted 08-22-2012 03:26 PM 1651 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: More pens and education Part 4 of My world of turning series Part 5: First class. :) »

Last weekend, I tried branching out a bit and trying some new projects. The first was a little box turned from a “hardwood” dowel that I bought as practice material. It gave me a chance to try using some different tools and techniques. I found that hollowing (both the top and base) was the area that I need to learn more about (and quick). I felt very unsure how best to go about it even after having watched a number of videos on YouTube…

Another project was another pen kit, but this one was purchased from Woodcraft. The quality of the parts in the kit were fine, but I found the instructions lacked a lot of details. One of the frustrating parts that this kit required each and of the 2 blanks to be a different diameter, but they didn’t tell you what those sizes were! I had purchased the matching bushing kit, but they did not include any way to identify which bushing went where. I had no choice but to break out the calipers and try to match bushings to pen parts. After a few very frustrating minutes, I concluded that the bushing set was mis-packaged and included 2 duplicate size bushings, but none that matched the diameter for the top of the pen! (sigh). OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPERIENCE! I found some scrap material and decided to turn my own bushing for the top. In the end, the pen came out very nice, but between the blanks (see below) and the bushings, getting there was an uphill battle all the way!

The next project was a Perfume dispenser that my wife picked out from Rockler. The process was no different that turning a pen. This blank was made from polyester resin as far as I could tell. Turning the resin was a little challenging, but I’m really pleased with the end result.

Some lessons learned:
  • Need work on my hollowing skills: I was very unsure when it came to hollowing out the lid and base of the box. I tried a number of different tools and techniques, but nothing “clicked”. Fortunately the wood was soft enough that I was able to muddle through it but the finish was less than impressive. Area for study! I have since signed up for a class at the local Woodcraft store, so hopefully that will help me learn some new skills.
  • Plywood blanks are extremely prone to blowouts: 2 separate attempts to drill colored plywood blanks led to blowouts with little or no warning. When I try another of these blanks, I’ll start by coating the outside in thin CA to beef it up a bit before drilling.

-- "Keep thy airspeed up, lest the earth come from below and smite thee." - William Kershner

2 comments so far

View clieb91's profile


3622 posts in 4323 days

#1 posted 08-23-2012 06:25 PM

J, your experiments look good. Despite the mismatched blanks the pen turned out nice, I am guessing one of there European Collection?
The acrylic looks good and turns decently but man I hate the smell.
Be interested to hear how your WoodCraft class goes.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View JJones98042's profile


228 posts in 2641 days

#2 posted 08-24-2012 03:55 PM

The pen kit was the Premier Cigar kit in Black from Woodcraft. The kit itself was fine, just the bushings that were a problem. Yeah, the smell was less than pleasant.

I’ll report back on how the class goes next week.

-- "Keep thy airspeed up, lest the earth come from below and smite thee." - William Kershner

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