Red Gum Euclayptus Finished 2 more pens

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Project by Karson posted 06-09-2010 12:55 AM 2236 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last night I posted the project of the first Red Gum Eucalyptus pen that I turned.

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I mentioned the problems with making pens from this wood. I started 3 pens and all three had cracks appear in the pen turnings.

I finished one last night after making a few repairs. I repaired the other two but didn’t finish turning them. Today I finished the other two pens. The repairs on one was the full length of the lower barrel the other one was smaller. Both were on the lower barrel and might have been made because there was less wood to have internal strength to the wood. The upper blanks has more wood and they seemed to come through the turning OK.

Except for one blank. There are six small splits about 1/8” long around the pen. They didn’t appear to me seeing them until after I had put on the finish. But, that is what makes them unique. Made on the slippery edge of the slope, Saying go 1 MM further and I’ll explode in your hand.

The third picture is all three pens.

The second picture shows you the piece of wood and the checking that has started after I cut off a piece. When I cut it there were no splits visible. these all started to appear within a couple of hours.

I cut 7 blanks, I’m going to let the other 4 age some more and see if the cracking and splitting in minimized after further aging. These blanks were 3/4” square. They have been cut to length and have not had the hole drilled in them. I think I’ll drill one and insert the brass tubes and see if there is any difference between it and the other ones.

Lew there is Issue 1 of ShopNotes. It turns out I have two of them.

-- 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]

7 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5033 days

#1 posted 06-09-2010 01:04 AM

You live on the edge Karson but you still pull it off . good looking pens


View Rj's profile


1047 posts in 5087 days

#2 posted 06-09-2010 01:09 AM

Super pens Karson!! Red Gum Eucalyptus has to be one of the most unstable woods out there, I have some and it did the samething, its to bad too because it sure is pretty ….

-- Rj's Woodworks,San Jose & Weed Ca,

View lew's profile


13533 posts in 5211 days

#3 posted 06-09-2010 01:27 AM

I SAW THAT!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t know if this will help, but when turning a green (wet) bowl blank, I rough it out and then immediately pack it in the damp, just made shavings; wrap it in newspaper; put it in a paper grocery bag filled with more of the shavings and then set it aside for about a year. For these blanks, maybe after cutting the square blanks you could use the same idea. Doubt that it would require more than a few weeks until something that small.

Anyway, Really great looking pens. I think the “defect” gives them character.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View rustfever's profile


801 posts in 4766 days

#4 posted 06-09-2010 03:08 AM

Karson and others.
This is the first time I tried to work with RGE. I LOVE some of the graining. Quilting, basket weave, fiddleback, and a lot more.
But this wood is SNAKEY. I will split 20 ways in just a day. You can not leave it exposed for even a few hours.
I have taken to handling the green wood as follows. Upon sawing, seal the ends and then wrapping in plastic [Visqueen] I leave it there even if I see mould starting. In about 4 weeks, I will open the plastic and allow the moisture run out of the visqueen. I then immediatly re-robe the pile. I’m talking about doing this within an hour.
I tuned one bowl, making a major Boo-Boo and was forced to send the turing into the fire-wood box.
If we can get past this splitting period of the curing, we will be rewarded with some strikingly beautiful wood.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5856 days

#5 posted 06-09-2010 04:38 AM

Thanks Ira and Lew.

Ira: I can see on the other side of the block that there is some great looking grain. I’m going to try and keep this wood all together. But maybe I’ll fill the cracks with Ebony dust and epoxy and call it two tone.

-- 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 Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1600 posts in 4708 days

#6 posted 06-10-2010 04:22 AM

Karson, Awesome job on those pens they really look nice. I have not made any in a while. I might start back this weekend. Fantastic work.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4726 days

#7 posted 06-10-2010 04:35 AM

Karson – great looking pens even with the repairs. It looks like that wood is cut across the heart. Checking, which Eucalyptus is very much prone to do is quite common, especially in the heartwood….it is extremely brittle…and has really bad shear….I have tried turning several ot this species…but have only had much luck with Jarah. You might want to try using a stabilizer….or some resin on that, but I dont think that drying it more will do much good.

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

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