A couple of weeks ago I used a wood lathe for the first time and made my own pen. I want to take a moment to describe the experience and where I hope to go with the hobby.
Last month I found a local wood shop. They offer a variety of woodworking classes. I was in their pen turning class. (Next month I will be in a bowl turning class, eeek!)
— Ashley Grenon (@handmadewithash) August 18, 2016
The Pen Turning Class
In the pen turning class, we worked on making a slimline pen. Before we turned our tiny pen blanks, we had a chance to get acquainted with the lathe and tools on a larger 2×2 blank.
I practiced on a piece of cedar and gained a new appreciation for the wood. It has a pretty grain pattern that I had not noticed before when I see the cedar boards in the hardware stores.
I selected a couple of walnut blanks for my pen. (This was my first time working with walnut.) The instructor walked us through drilling a hole in the blank, installing the brass tubes and prepping it for turning on the lathe. I made a mistake during the installation of the brass tubes: I did not apply enough super glue and my tube slipped out. It was a recoverable mistake and hopefully one I won’t make again.
Turning the pen to size was pretty easy. I tried to taper the ends. The pen was sealed with a couple of coats of Shellawax.
I really enjoyed pen turning and I can’t wait to explore other areas of woodturning.
Woodturning is a hobby that I intend to keep up. Turning toys and jewelry are the two buckets of projects that interest me the most. I purchased a Central Machinery wood lathe from Harbor Freight a few months ago during a mega sale. Slowly, I have been accumulating accessories and tools for woodturning.
(Disclosure: A few of these links are affiliate links.)
So far I have picked up:
I have also (probably a bit overkill) purchased several woodturning books:
- All New Turning Projects with Richard Raffan
- Turning Segmented Wooden Bangles on the Wood
- Segmented Bowls for the Beginning Turner
- Turning Salt & Pepper Shakers and Mills
- Woodturning Jewellery
- Turning Toys
- Woodturning Traditional Folk Toys
- Turning Projects: with Richard Raffan
- Turning Wood with Richard Raffan
Unfortunately, I am not comfortable with woodturning in my garage just yet. The last piece to the puzzle is dust collection. I’ve been eyeing the Dust Right Lathe dust collection system from Rockler but I am not 100% sold on it. Once I finalize my dust safety I’ll be ready to turn all the wood!
If you have experience with woodturning, any advice for a newbie like me? Leave a suggestion below! :)