My First Pens

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Project by RichCMD posted 05-16-2014 09:16 PM 1249 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My First Pens
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These are the first pens I’ve made. From top to bottom bottom the types of wood used are goncalo alves, Kentucky coffee tree, cocobolo, bocote, zebrawood, and purpleheart. (I think have those right, anyway.) It’s not been all that long ago that I had never heard of any of these woods.

I learned a lot while I was making these pens.

  • I had to order a pen disassembly set to finish the purpleheart pen after I pushed the twist mechanism in way too far.
  • I cracked the goncalo alves pen blank and had to glue it back together. The CA glue worked well for that.
  • After struggling with a bench top drill press that did not quite have enough travel for drilling the pen blanks, I had the bright idea of drilling the cocobolo pieces from one end and then turning them over and drilling from the other end. I advise against this, since I ended up having to do some scrambling to recover from that bright idea. I now do my drilling on the lathe, which is not only faster, but also seems to produce better results.
  • I started out using a thick CA glue, but I had some tubes come out when trying to square of the ends of the blanks. I then experimented with Gorilla Glue and two part epoxy. I think I prefer the epoxy.

I really enjoying pen making, and I am looking forward to my next projects. Hopefully, I can put what I’ve learned to use and things will go a bit smoother as I try to extend my efforts into new areas.

-- Ride the bevel!

5 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6511 posts in 4247 days

#1 posted 05-17-2014 12:13 AM

Wonderful first pens, this is just the beginning, you will continue to grow your skills

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View PaulLL's profile


163 posts in 3220 days

#2 posted 05-17-2014 05:22 AM

Good job on the first pens! I got into it last november, became addicting very fast!

I have found gorilla glue works best, because it expands, so if fills any small voids in your hole walls, say from a burl or an over heated drillbit that seems to make the hole just a fraction of a hair too big and it never come apart. I have started turning a lot of acrylic pens, and the overheating bit seems to be an issue, I’ve tried to back it out every couple turns, but that seems to open the end of the hole up really bad, so I need the expansion to hole the tubes in afterwards.

What did you use for a finish?

View Bill's profile


404 posts in 3392 days

#3 posted 05-17-2014 09:47 AM

Nice job! You can use thick ca glue, just make sure to lightly sand the tube beforehand, and give it a little extra time to cure. @ paul, try turning your speed up drilling the acrylics, seams counter intuitive, but the extra speed will help eject the material from the blank, keeping the bit cooler.

-- Putting the "mental" in experimental since 1973

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 3067 days

#4 posted 05-17-2014 11:39 AM

A very nice batch of pens you turned out…thanks for sharing.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View RichCMD's profile


430 posts in 3184 days

#5 posted 05-19-2014 12:13 PM

bigogre – I was sanding the tubes and the CA glue seemed to stick to the tubes well, but there was not a good bond to the wood. In retrospect, I used the CA glue when I was still drilling holes with the drill press. Because of the short travel on the drill press, I would have to stop drilling and raise the table to finish the hole. I think this might have made the holes a bit too large since it is nearly impossible to raise the table and keep everything perfectly aligned. I plan to give the CA glue another try using holes drilled on the lathe.

PaulLL – I’ll keep your comment in mind and will use the Gorilla glue anytime I think the hole may be a bit oversized.

-- Ride the bevel!

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