Celtic knot pen blank evolution from bad to better

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Forum topic by Andybb posted 03-22-2019 07:13 PM 256 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1856 posts in 931 days

03-22-2019 07:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: pen making jig tip turning lathe

I wanted to try my hand at celtic knot and segmented pen blank making. Even though there doesn’t seem to be a huge pen making group here I asked for help over at IAP and got some great advice that I thought I’d share.

I was trying to figure out what I was doing wrong with the making of this blank. The knots are made of a strip of lacewood veneer sandwiched between 2 strips of figured maple veneer. (both commercial veneer from Rockler I had in the shop)

I had 2 issues that I saw right away. The bottom of my knots were obviously screwed up. Also, there appeared to be “ghosting” around the edges of the knots but I’m thinking that it’s because there is a gap between the insert and the blank caused by the insert distorting the blank which I should have clamped better.

The first suggestion was to abandon the bandsaw jig and use a tablesaw jig instead. I used a 60 tooth trim blade with a flat bottom cut. The bandsaw kerf required multiple cuts to make the slot wide enough which produced an uneven bottom in the slot.

After applying medium CA into the slot and onto the infill I then infused it with thin CA and clamped it. I did this for each cut before moving on to the next one. The knot in the first picture below was made without clamping the blank between each process and you can still see a little ghosting around the edges.

Then, once I started clamping them that seemed to fix my ghosting and uneven slot bottom issues. I then cut my own thin strip veneer (using solid wood, not commercial veneer) which I glued using CA making sure it was a semi-snug fit that didn’t cause any distortion of the slot. Going forward I will probably make the infill layers using wood glue but was anxious to see the fruits of my labor this time.

Not perfect, but getting there. Please excuse the fog in the 3rd picture as I rushed the finish before the tube glue had cured as the goal was to get the knot right, not make a finished pen.

I think I have a handle on the technique. Segmenting trials are next.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

3 replies so far

View pottz's profile


4683 posts in 1312 days

#1 posted 03-22-2019 07:21 PM

looking pretty good andy.iap is definitely the go to place for pen advise or help.thanks for sharing your info.

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

View Wildwood's profile


2590 posts in 2463 days

#2 posted 03-23-2019 10:57 AM

Those celtic knots look pretty good to me!

-- Bill

View Tooch's profile


1935 posts in 2204 days

#3 posted 03-24-2019 12:07 PM

wow those look really nice. I may try my hand at one of those, but would probably start with something much larger to give myself more room for error ;-)

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

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