First Set of Pens - Lathe Newbie

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Project by McLeanVA posted 01-12-2012 11:56 PM 3304 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Bought a lathe (Delta 46-460) after Christmas and decided to try some turnings. Still getting used the the process, but really loving the short turn-around projects I can create. Nice break from LVDT and LCDTs.

While these are nothing special in terms of turnings or pens, they were so much fun to make. Still getting a handle on shapes and finishing techniques. Tried some acrylics as well, just so see what the difference was in terms of turning and finish.

All photos above use Woodcraft’s European style pen kits. Bought a dozen to play with. You’ll have to excuse my shaping errors on some of these. I’m a newbie and can laugh at my mistakes.

Photo 1: Some cherry burl I purchased on eBay. Finished with varying amounts of CA and HUT Ultra Gloss.

Photo 2: Acrylic ‘purple haze’. Finished with HUT.

Photo 3: Acrylic ‘venetian’. Finished with HUT.

Photo 4: Zebra wood. Finished with friction polish.

Photo 5: Some curly maple scraps I had laying around. Finished with friction polish.

Looking to try some fountain pen kits soon. Plenty of cherry burl and curly maple to experiment on.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

12 comments so far

View dirtylantz's profile


38 posts in 3608 days

#1 posted 01-13-2012 12:07 AM

Excellent looking pens. They truly are great for the instant gratification. I really like the ultra high gloss shine you’ve got going there.

-- "If one man can do it, another man can"

View McLeanVA's profile


493 posts in 4716 days

#2 posted 01-13-2012 12:13 AM

Thank you @dirtylantz – The acrylics were easy to get the shine on. The wood is going to take some experimenting on my part. Just finished another cherry burl and did 5 coats of CA, sanded with micro-mesh and added two coats of HUT. Turned out really glossy, but unsure if the gloss will last.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View rozzi's profile


323 posts in 4604 days

#3 posted 01-13-2012 12:33 AM

Well done. Those appear nicely done. Welcome to pen making addiction. Do you like the Delta?

-- Duane, Iowa

View MasterSergeant's profile


1441 posts in 3970 days

#4 posted 01-13-2012 12:42 AM

Very nice looking pens, watch out turning is very addictive!!

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View Alexander Valle Albert's profile

Alexander Valle Albert

173 posts in 4700 days

#5 posted 01-13-2012 01:01 AM

They are eye catching pens… very classy look!!!!! Thanks for sharing…

View ed220's profile


626 posts in 4675 days

#6 posted 01-13-2012 01:06 AM

Very cool. Good job. Addicting isn’t it ?

View CiscoKid's profile


359 posts in 4155 days

#7 posted 01-13-2012 01:31 AM

Very nice job, McLean. Good to see you’ve already discovered CA. Many people can make a pen look good when it’s new. If you want it to look good five years from now CA is nearly manadatory. You’ve made a good choice in lathes. I look forward to see you progress to peppermills. With your abilities in the cutting board arena, multiple-species laminated peppermills should be a snap. If you frequent Vienna Hardwoods, you’ve already seen the work that elderly gentleman turns out (no pun intended). For what it is worth, I apply twenty coats of CA and buff with MicroMesh.

-- Al, Culpeper VA

View a1Jim's profile


118296 posts in 4859 days

#8 posted 01-13-2012 07:01 AM

Wow you really got into pen turning,they all look very special.


View Don's profile


557 posts in 4524 days

#9 posted 01-13-2012 02:37 PM

Great job Chris….this is an area I’d like to get in to some day but I’m not there yet. Guess I’d have to buy a lathe first :P

For now, LCDT’s and LCDT’s are still my addiction :)

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View ohwoodeye's profile


2705 posts in 4435 days

#10 posted 01-13-2012 05:31 PM

So your the person who beat my bid on Ebay for the cherry burl!!!!!!!!
Very nice pens especially the cherry burls.

-- "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 McLeanVA's profile


493 posts in 4716 days

#11 posted 01-13-2012 06:41 PM

@rozzi – I love the new Delta. Only unpacking issue was that the live center was off a bit. Had a wobble to it. Cheaper to replace, than to bug Delta customer service.

Al – Yes, I have seen the pepper mills at VH. I’ll PM you with a CA application question.

@ohwoodeye – May have beat you. Not sure. Saw them with 2 minutes left of the clock. Placed a bid because it was a 2 for 1. Winner got a double order. And seller threw in 2 extra blanks for good measure. 22 beautiful pieces of burl.

All respondents. Thank you. Yes they are addictive. I found myself out of kits last night and was pacing the halls. Weird obsession. Taking the kids to local Woodcraft tomorrow morning so that daddy can buy more kits.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View clieb91's profile


4264 posts in 5217 days

#12 posted 01-14-2012 04:53 AM

The pens look great. The addiction hits hard. I know the guys out there have just restocked after the holidays, purchased a few too many pens and also ornament kits out there the past couple of months. PM me if you are interested in possibly having some more local wood to practice with.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

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