Pen #2 - OR - The Mandolin

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Project by Mark Wilson posted 12-12-2018 06:43 AM 929 views 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I cannot describe for you how invigorating it is, for me, to start and finish a Thing in such a short time. This pen took about an hour and a half, including letting the Hampshire Sheen set up, over five coats, before buffing. #1 took three hours. My “usual” is to have a piece on the lathe for at least a week, normally, longer. And, it’s not just about waiting for a finish to cure, as might be the case with certain finishing techniques. No, sir. For me, it’s the mental gymnastics of settling on what the Thing is going to look like. (The piece I took off the lathe, this morning – so I could start making pens – for instance, had been there for two weeks. And it’s not done. With pens, however, the design is pretty clear: It’s a pen. It has to fit the parameters of a pen. Oh sure, I’m a newbie at this. The fancy stuff that can’t be done in a hour, or a day, will come soon enough.
Just a word about this one:
Look at photos 2 & 4 & 5. The way the clip lays almost perfectly within the curve I turned. That was an accident. Wasn’t even thinking about it. A happy fluke. On #1 (which I named “Nelson,” in honor of the lost pooch who came into the Dungeon while I was making my new tool racks), I had to bend the clip around the fat part.

This pen is called “The Mandolin” because, on the radio, as I write this, there’s an interview going on, with musical interludes, between the show’s host and a lutenist. Right now, I’m hearing this. If that’s not your cup of tea, try this.

Thank you. And, I apologize.

-- Mark

17 comments so far

View BobWemm's profile


2676 posts in 2377 days

#1 posted 12-12-2018 08:00 AM

Very nice Mark, love the way the clip tip sits.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

22998 posts in 3556 days

#2 posted 12-12-2018 12:19 PM

Congratulations. You have created a masterpiece of a pen. You know you are going to get me started on these, too!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4669 days

#3 posted 12-12-2018 01:19 PM

Very nice, Mark. But now you’ve gone and activated the Immediate Gratification cycle. Beware…. it can be hard to break. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View lew's profile


12821 posts in 4206 days

#4 posted 12-12-2018 01:50 PM

Another beauty! Really nice finish!

As Charlie pointed out, there may be no turning back now.

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

View ohwoodeye's profile


2203 posts in 3604 days

#5 posted 12-12-2018 02:42 PM

Making pens are great. Kind of an expensive way to spend an hour especially when you get into the pricier kits.
I only use click pens so if I am making it for myself, it’s at least $20 spent. However is sure beats watching TV until I eventually fall asleep on the couch. :)

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View bushmaster's profile


3671 posts in 2733 days

#6 posted 12-12-2018 02:47 PM

Professional results on second try. you are talented. music was great, That must have inspired you.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View pottz's profile


5766 posts in 1435 days

#7 posted 12-12-2018 02:50 PM

oh no pandoras box has been opened,there is no turning back now!i can see a lot of pens getting posted-lol.but hey after a few hundred you’ll settle down buddy.

ps-for pen kits and supplies check out WOODTURNINGZ i used to get a lot of my stuff from them.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Tooch's profile


2010 posts in 2327 days

#8 posted 12-12-2018 03:28 PM

Mark, I’ve recently gotten into pen turning as well, and I am sharing in your excitement.

The results you got on this piece are beautiful, especially how the clip nestles in there. Good luck on your adventures, can’t wait to see more results!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View luv2learn's profile


2956 posts in 2753 days

#9 posted 12-12-2018 04:59 PM

Congratulations Mark on turning your first pen, now you are hooked…LOL!!

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2607 posts in 1514 days

#10 posted 12-12-2018 08:39 PM

So, get a load of this. The other day, along with everything else I came home with, I had the makings for 3 pens. The two I made and one additional one that I intended to make for my brother.. This morning I went to get set up to make the third one and found that the brass tube for this third pen Has a thicker wall then the other ones. Consequently, the reamer/barrel trimmer won’t work on this one. I have to go buy another reamer to make that pen.

-- Mark

View pottz's profile


5766 posts in 1435 days

#11 posted 12-12-2018 08:41 PM

sounds like you just discovered one of the more enjoyable things of pen turning-lol.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6338 posts in 1163 days

#12 posted 12-12-2018 08:43 PM

I think I would love to turn pens BUT not going to jump into that exPENsive rabbit hole LMAO :<)))


-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View lew's profile


12821 posts in 4206 days

#13 posted 12-12-2018 10:14 PM

Look what popped up on our local Craig’s List. The only Ventura I know of is near you-

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

View Grumpy's profile


25526 posts in 4302 days

#14 posted 12-12-2018 11:19 PM

Mark, great job. Look out making pens is addictive. Well deserved top3 award.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View leafherder's profile


1828 posts in 2403 days

#15 posted 12-12-2018 11:59 PM

Another beauty – I expected nothing less. Very stylish with the simple bottom and the more elaborate top. Your Muse and the Spirit of the wood are enjoying synchronicity on this one.

-- Leafherder

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