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2003 JES WoodCrafting, All Rights Reserved.  Article is reprinted with permission from JES WoodCrafting


Part 2... Turning the Pen blank on the lathe

Now the fun part.  The tool is rested on a - rest!  My left hand holds the tool underneath so that if it should get caught in the spinning wood (the wood turns at you) and is yanked down between the wood and the rest, it will "pop" out of my hand, rather than pin my hand between the wood and rest.  The black port behind the pen blank is my shop vac hose.  Dust can be a real problem, so it's important to trap as much as you can...




Safety in the shop is a must.  The lathe spins at 3,000 rpm and sends chips all over the place.  A full face shield is a must.  When the shop vac is on, I also wear hearing protection.  Sleeves are either rolled up, or are short.  No loose clothing or jewelry.  

Although the lathe has a good safety record, you won't get a second chance if something gets caught....




After we turn your pen to its final dimensions, we sand it using 6 grits of sand paper, from 150 to 800.  The pen barrel is then further polished using a fine compound.   At this point the wood actually shines even without polish.  To complete the finishing process, we coat the pen with 3 layers of an acrylic polymer, then buffed, then 3 layers of lacquer and 3 layers of shellac and wax.  



Here's what your pen looks like before it's assembled.  The gold parts are real gold (24k) plate.  Our pens use Cross Parker and Schmidt, refills available in any office supply store.




Your pen is assembled using a pen "press".  The tip (called the nib), the cap and the twist mechanism are press fit into the brass tubes which we glued in the beginning. 

Here, a Classic "Americana" lower pen barrel is being assembled.  The ram (at left) will press the tip into the brass tube which is inside the barrel (at right).  This pen is being made from Bocote wood.




Voila!  Your pen is ready for a gift box and shipping (at no charge).  

This is a Classic "Americana" pen, made from Bocote -  ready for shipping.

Hope you enjoyed the tour.


back to part 1

JES WoodCrafting is a family-owned business located in Southern New Jersey that crafts fine writing instruments from exotic and native woods, acrylics and deer antler.


( Also see  Wood Pen Blanks )


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