One of my first pens

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Project by dustbunny posted 05-29-2009 10:08 PM 1988 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First- I hope the orientation of the pic doesn’t make you woozy. I see now pics don’t upload like they are saved.
Okay, so I got my lathe and it sat in the box for two weeks because #1- I had never done any turning and didn’t really know much about it, And #2- I was afraid of the machine. My dad broke his pinky finger on his lathe when I was young, so I know it can be dangerous.

I called my dad and said I was scared of it, he said “Ah, for cryin’ out loud, come over and I’ll show what not to do.” I spent an afternoon with him (which I think he secretly enjoyed), and he showed me all the basics and made me turn some blanks he had set up for me. The next day I broke open the box, set the lathe up and ran to WoodCraft for a couple pen kits. This picture was my third pen. The first was too skinny for me to hold, the second was made from yellowheart and given to my husband cause he started whining that I hadn’t made anything for him, and this pen pictured was for me to keep.

It is made from canary wood, and has nice red lines streaking through it. I have trouble holding on to pens so I took a grip of a Pentel grip pen, cut it down so it wouldn’t hide all the beautiful wood, and grooved a spot for it as the pen was turned. Sanded up to 12000 micro mesh, and finished with friction polish. Which I have since shyed away from. It doesn’t seem to hold up well to everyday use, maybe it’s something I’m doing wrong.

That’s the story, I’m not afraid anymore, I love my lathe and my dad for teaching me how to use it. I’m a turning madwoman now!! LOL

Thanks for looking,

-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

12 comments so far

View Sef's profile


114 posts in 4894 days

#1 posted 05-29-2009 10:35 PM

Welcome to the addiction. Nice pen, especially for a third attempt. You can get Comfort Grip kits that already have the rubber grip included, so you don’t have rob your Pentels. The friction polish not holding up is not at all your fault, just the way it is. People are so quick to steer newbies towards friction polish because it’s easy to apply, but neglect to tell that it wears off just about as easily. If you haven’t found yet, give it a look, and check out their library, and the finishing forum. There’s enough info in there to kkep you busy for quite a while.

-- I may not know a lot, but at least I know that I don't know.?.?. I think.

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5570 days

#2 posted 05-29-2009 11:21 PM

aahhh, now just wait until you discover the joys of segmentation and laminations!

by the way, this looks better than my third pen!

View jack1's profile


2167 posts in 5271 days

#3 posted 05-29-2009 11:54 PM

Nice job! Maybe you could make one for me that spells correctly out of the box!

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4829 days

#4 posted 05-30-2009 12:20 AM

well done welcome and keep up the very nice work I am warning you however this is highly addictive.LOL I am sure you will be around for a long time.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Steve's profile


11 posts in 4528 days

#5 posted 05-30-2009 12:33 AM

Who doesn’t like a good pen – especially one made by your own hands! Great work and I look forward to other turning project posted.

-- Ahhh...I love the smell of sawdust in the morning...

View a1Jim's profile


118258 posts in 4821 days

#6 posted 05-30-2009 12:36 AM

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 4539 days

#7 posted 05-30-2009 01:38 AM

Thanks to all- I’m going to check out hadn’t heard of that yet. Segmented turning is on the horizon Darryl…. I have a few patterns, but am still trying to rig my contractors table saw to cut proper. Sled is made with a 45 deg miter, I’m working on upgrading the miter to variable angle. Please stand by….but don’t hold your breath.

-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5570 days

#8 posted 05-30-2009 04:37 AM

I also want to comment on your learning to turn from your dad.

I showed my daughter Lila 3 years ago (she was five) how to make her own pen (she made two of them) and she still tells her friends about it like it happened yesterday! As a father, that has got to be one of the best feelings in the world!

Lila wants to learn bowl making now.

View Karson's profile


35278 posts in 5644 days

#9 posted 05-30-2009 06:11 AM

I great looking pen and welcome to the world on miniature turnings.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View degoose's profile


7284 posts in 4598 days

#10 posted 05-30-2009 05:39 PM

Sweet pen.. I too was afraid of my lathe and still am. Will turn it on eventually.. only been 6 months since I bought it.. but have been busy with all the other tools and machines I have bought lately.

-- Be safe.

View SloLouie's profile


22 posts in 4539 days

#11 posted 05-31-2009 03:21 AM

Great job and story. What kind of lathe did you get?
I just picked up my lathe last week but haven’t had a chance to turn some pens yet. I’ve been rearranging my garage to accommodate my new toy.

-- "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." Red Green

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 4539 days

#12 posted 05-31-2009 08:27 PM

I didn’t have a lot of money to invest in a lathe, so I used my 20% discount at Harbor Freight after waiting for it to go on sale. I ended up paying $175.00 for the 12×33 1/2 rev head. I figured it was cheap enough to figure out if I was going to like turning. It works very well, and as far as I can tell was a decent investment. Fine Woodworking had an article about what to look for in a lathe, this one had just about everything. Wish it had a reversible motor for sanding end grain :(


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

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