A few birthday pens

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Project by Nils posted 06-21-2008 01:27 AM 2294 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are three pens I made as birthday presents earlier this year. First is a Lacewood American Classic fountain pen. I made a Lacewood slimline pen earlier this year and felt that the character of the Lacewood didn’t come through on such a small barrel. I’m much happier with this pen, since there’s so much more wood to see. Another experiment I did recently was to turn a slimline with a little bit of shaping. (You can see that one on the far right of the first picture on my previous project posting.) So that’s another thing I did with this pen – added a little “womanly” shaping to it. I think it came out nice, although I also want to try it with the lower barrel nipped in, instead of the upper barrel.

The other two pens are Kingwood Designer-style. I left the center band off of both of these. I’d been having bad luck with my center band sizing (I think my bushings are a little off, actually) and I just like the look of an all-wood pen anyway. You might notice an interesting feature on the second pen. I accidentally mounted the blanks in the wrong order on the mandrel, so the lower barrel – usually the longer piece – is the shorter piece. This meant I had to pay a little extra attention when inserting the pen mechanism, since it had to be inserted about 1/8” less than usual. But, as I reasoned, the pen as a whole remains the same length, so its operation is fine.

The pens are all finished with CA and BLO – I find that works extremely well and is very fast. First I sand to 400 or even 800 grit before finishing. Then, with the lathe spinning, I apply some BLO to a paper towel folded lengthwise to a strip about 1” wide, apply the BLO to one barrel, then drop a small amount of thin CA onto the barrel and polish it with the paper towel. I understand the cellulose in the paper towel acts as an accelerant for the CA – in any case it’s extremely quick, and it looks very good. Nothing further is required. In fact, if you do the same thing again, it often causes the finish to get less smooth, rather than smoother.

-- Nils Davis, Menlo Park, CA

8 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35278 posts in 5614 days

#1 posted 06-21-2008 01:36 AM

Great looking Niles. Some fine looking pens.

-- 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 darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5540 days

#2 posted 06-21-2008 02:41 AM

nice work on the designer style. I like the omition of the centerband.
thanks for sharing.

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4982 days

#3 posted 06-21-2008 02:42 AM

some nice looking pens! I’m sure the recipients will love them!

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 5018 days

#4 posted 06-21-2008 03:54 AM

Nils, pens look great. I use the thin CA glue and Mylands high speed friction polish and get good results. I finish my pens in the opposite order – CA glue first and then the Mylands. The all wood pen is really nice.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 5098 days

#5 posted 06-21-2008 05:44 AM

I love the designers without the band. Just gives them a more professional look.


View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5460 days

#6 posted 06-21-2008 05:47 AM

Great looking pens, but Kerux is still the master, yours are almost there , Kerux be warned.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4981 days

#7 posted 06-21-2008 03:36 PM

Great looking pens. Thank you for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5088 days

#8 posted 06-22-2008 06:19 AM

They’re lookin really good, Nils. You are really refining your pen-making. I like the shape of that last one a lot.

-- Happy woodworking!

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