Dovetail Pen Turning #4: Success!!

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by SNSpencer posted 01-14-2010 07:14 PM 5359 reads 3 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Picture Progress Update Part 4 of Dovetail Pen Turning series no next part

Dovetail Pen Progress Success!!

It took a few more tries but I finally have a set of pen blanks worth of being assembled into a final writing instrument. Some more issues that I have run into along the way are:

Working with Padauk and CA glue – I found that when I was applying the CA glue to the blanks to stabilize the chipout that the glue would pick up the color from the Padauk. This in effect became a “stain” that would penetrate the Maple and start to turn it pink. I solved this issue by applying the CA glue to the Maple side and allowing it to flow to the Padauk side by using gravity. I would place the blanks on the shaft of a screwdriver held horizontally, Padauk side down.

Then there was the issue of sawdust contamination – Almost found a complete solution for this one. Since the entire length of the pen tube is essentially end grain, there are a lot of open pores. I was finding that the darker woods (Walnut and Padauk) would leave visible specks of sawdust in the pores on the Maple side during sanding. My solution was to use compressed air to dislodge whatever I could then use a strip of painters tape to pull up whatever else I could before sealing the surface with CA glue. Not perfect, but it worked.

Last issue, not discovered until the blank is turned down to near the tube. Apparently CA glue reacted with the brass tube. This resulted in faint grey stains along the dovetail joint, visible on the Maple side. (Not enough to be photographed with my equipment, but visible) In effect staining the wood just slightly. But in a small project like a pen, the details count so… I tried a few things. Using a nickel pen tube helped a bit but did not eliminate the issue. Next I “pre painted” the pen tubes with a thin coat of spray lacquer. That seemed to do the trick by creating a barrier between the tube and the glue. This is much like painting the tube before turning some of the transparent acrylic pen blanks.

I even made sure to assemble the pen so that the dovetails are lined up when the pen cap is closed OR posted.
So drum roll please…… Ta Da!! Here is the first finished Dovetail Pen.
Dovetail Pen 4 - Closed
Dovetail Pen 5 - Open Posted
Dovetail Pen 6 - Open UnPosted

Things I will try in the future:
I will see if I can get some smaller dovetail blanks together as the current configuration will only lends itself to a larger pen kit. Besides, I would like to see if I can get three tails per section of the pen.

Do this process with a single section type pen kit. This would eliminate the alignments worries and allow for another “tail” or two.

Lastly, I am going to try creating a dovetail blank with “long grain” joints instead of the customary end grain joinery. This is a structural No-No for dovetail joinery but because this application is decorative, that will be a non issue. I just need to overcome the potential problem of tails breaking off during assembly when the joints are nice and tight.

I hope that you have enjoyed watching this project progress as much as I have. Until the next experiment…

UPDATE: 1/14/10 – SOLD!! Finished for less than a day and it is already being enjoyed. Did not even have the time to list it on my Etsy account. Guess I will have to make a few more.

-- Jef Spencer - Refined Pallet -

4 comments so far

View mckenziedrums's profile


123 posts in 4515 days

#1 posted 01-14-2010 07:28 PM

The day I solve the problem with dealing with Paduak dust is the day I market that idea and retire. ;) Looks great!

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 4656 days

#2 posted 01-14-2010 08:36 PM

Wow a lot of info, thanks for sharing

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

541 posts in 4939 days

#3 posted 01-17-2010 07:33 PM

That’s pretty awesome.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4728 days

#4 posted 01-17-2010 09:23 PM

Great job….those look really cool….good way to show off some wood working skills….Paduak does have its issues….it is a beautiful color…but definitely a hard one to deal with as far as bleeding color and toxic dust. I really enjoyed your description of how the project evolved also….thanks for sharing it with us.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics