As a beginner deciding which woodturning project to try first is sometimes confusing. I decided to keep it simple and try to perfect my pen turning first before going on to a larger project. In the image below I will try to turn this Yew Wood Pen Blank into a finished pen.
The first requirement is to have a pen kit ready to use and for this pen I used a slimline stylus pen kit from Axminster Tools.
In this image you can see the contents of the kit namely two brass tubes which form the body, the ink insert, the top and bottom of the pen, the turning mechanism and the clip.
There are countless videos on YouTube on pen turning however this one shows each stage of the process well.
You start with the wood blank like the Yew wood one above.
It is marked and cut in two before drilling. Getting the drill to go through the centre of the blank can be hard. I have rigged a wooden grip using a cramp but it is not very satisfactory.
Once drilled you have to insert the brass tubes. This can be troublesome if you do not get the glue to cover the whole of each brass tube.
Once the glue is set you feed them onto a pen making mandrel on the lathe. Turning the wood down to the bush size is where the skill is in this process.
Once shaped you then sand and polish and remove from the lathe.
Assembly looks easy in the video as they use a pen press. I have not bought one yet as I have tried to create my own from old timber and metal bits found in the drawers in the garage!
Alas it does not work that well so if I make many more I may have to invest in a proper press.
The end result should look something like the images you see below.
This pen in Yew does look and feel very nice.
They say practice makes perfect so I have had a go at making several other pens in both acrylic and wood.
Having achieved the wood turning basics for pen making and having run out of pen kits and blanks it became necessary to purchase more wood turning blanks and equipment.
Mike who kindly set me down this path also told me where a good place to visit to shop for wood blanks could be found. Yandles & Co in Martock Somerset was his recommendation so together with Karen I set off for a day out to browse there timber yard and shop.
I thought by taking Karen I had made a mistake as she could get bored.
It turned out she was impressed with the sawmill and timber yard and started to help fill up my trolley with exotic “pretty” coloured wood!
They have a great gift and craft shop on site as well as a decent cafe so all ended well.
I say all ended well with tongue in cheek! As you will see in the above pictures I invested £140 in wood blanks and on the way home stopped off in Axminster Tools and spent another £140 on woodturning project kits and a proper drill vice for my pillar drill.
I am amazed at how much all the sanding and polishing consumables quickly mount up to. If I am to master my next round of woodturning projects for a beginner then I will need the kit to do so.
The next few days will be experimenting with all this exotic wood and trying to understand and recognise their differences. I am a complete novice when it comes to wood so I still have much to learn.