Palm Pen

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Project by Transition posted 05-07-2013 05:47 PM 1287 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Palm Pen
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The Bad News: I find that Palm is somewhat difficult to work, as it is very fibrous – like a dense pack of very tiny little straws that easily lift when worked. It has a high sugar and water content so it tends to get moldy. As it spins on the lathe, it throws sticky pulp which sticks underfoot. It is less than desirable as firewood. So when a Palm comes down, except for tikis makers, there appears to be limited demand for it.

The Good News: With time and patience it can produce a stunning pattern of red streaks with gold flecks. When dried in the microwave it has the pleasant smell of corn. It is very soft and turns very easily (thinking it is best turned when green as when tried it would probably crumble to dust if turned dry).

The tree from which I made this pen was removed by a local, Orange County (CA) tree service and I was more than happy to help them save disposal costs, not to mention room in the landfill.

Not sure exactly what type of Palm this is but the bark serves as the background in this pic.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

5 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4646 days

#1 posted 05-07-2013 05:58 PM

its a very nice looking wood, im always glad to see all things used when possible and not wasted, my only wuestion is that if you turned this wet, will it not shrink and cause problems with the pen parts..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Transition's profile


340 posts in 3886 days

#2 posted 05-07-2013 06:20 PM

You are correct. I dried this in the microwave, but It wasn’t bone dry. It tried to turn a piece that was bone dry and I could easily crush it between my fingers. I’m guessing that left to dry on its own, the contents of the tiny straws breaks down, leaving them hollow (like wheat straw)? I’ll have to see what happens to this pen over time.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5395 days

#3 posted 05-07-2013 08:36 PM

Oh! You made it out of Palm wood!
... at first, I thought it was a special pen that was held in the palm of your hand (it didn’t look that long)... LOL

Interesting about how the wood is… sounds crappy to me… glad you found out…

What did you Finish it with?

I would think you’d want to seal it good, like with some lacquer, then give it some shellac or poly to really seal it to stop it from drying out… (??) Weird problem…

Will be interesting to see how lasts…

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Transition's profile


340 posts in 3886 days

#4 posted 05-07-2013 08:53 PM

The wood is difficult to work but I enjoy the challenge! Sealed it with the usual: CA and BLO. It’s the Polaris kit from PSI. 3/8 in tube, so it’s a nice fat pen that seems short due to the girth.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4146 days

#5 posted 05-08-2013 11:42 AM

Came out nice. Sounds like a bit of a pain, with a good outcome

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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