I read once that the mark of mastery is knowing when a piece is “good enough”. As an aspiring wood turner I spend excessive time trying to make sure every piece is perfect. But, in order to be commercially viable, as well as retain some sanity, a craftsman has to get to the point where he understands when a product is finished.
The vast majority of consumers will not understand or appreciate the full extent of the craftsmanship that goes into a piece; nor will they see the flaws in their new acquisition. Only the craftsman will recognize his mistakes in the end product. The customer only sees what is, not what was intended or could have been. For artistic works this is especially true. A work is purchased because it spoke to the buyer. It is perfect to that person.
To get the best finish possible, my pen sanding process includes sanding, polishing, and buffing to remove any tooling marks leaving a glassy smooth pen.
All sanding should be at low speed to reduce heat build up which could cause your blank to melt, or discolor. Always wear personal protection (PPE) equipment while using the lathe. Since I primarily work with resins, I sand wearing with both eye and lung protection. Some woods are irritants and shouldn’t be turned without protection either, you can find a list of hazardous woods at The Wood Database, if interested . I suggest everyone get in the habit of wearing eye and lung protection whenever sanding.
When mixing materials with your resin that have nooks and crannies, such a gold leaf, mix your resin and hardener first. Once the resin is thoroughly mixed then add your leaf. Materials like gold leaf that can fold and make little pockets of unmixed resin will ruin your blank.
When making ribbons with Alumilite use a glass plate or sheet of HDPE that will fit in your pressure pot. The trapped bubbles in these thin pours will expand as the resin warms up while curing, leaving you with a pitted surface.
A coworker of mine is leaving for a new opportunity. He’s an exceptional resource and I wish him well with his new position. I wanted to make him a pen as a farewell gift. As an avid sports fan he wanted a pen colored for his favorite team. and when I asked him what colors he’s like he immediately said blue and yellow. he also sent me the following picture of the L.A. Rams uniforms as reference.
Not every casting or turning is a success. From failure we learn. Today I turned the second half of a blank I cast for my father. It turned well and was on it’s way to becoming a beautiful magnetic Vertex rollerball pen.
My mom crochets so I made this crochet hook set for her birthday. The quality of the kit is excellent and the single tube design means it’s easy to turn. As an added bonus a standard 3/4″ x and 5 1/4″ blank can make two handles.
I phoned my parents to ask for color preference. My mother asked for orange. I decided to go mix a couple shades, from orange extending into a pink/red to round out the warm tones. Continue reading “Crochet Hook Set”
I turned another Funline pen today. After watching some videos on YouTube I thought i’d try a 1/3-2/3 approach on this pen. That means a bulge 2/3 up the body of the pen for visual interest and grip. The blank I chose is a black and orange crush blank from Penn State Industries. This blank came with the 30 Funline Pen Kit and Funline Pen Blank Special. I chose a gunmetal finish that went well with the blank. I considered a copper finish but didn’t like it as much as the gunmetal when I compared the two.
I also tried to buff the pen according to the way Zac Higgins from NV Woodworks does in his video onBuffing Acrylic Pen Blanks with the Beall 3-On system. This pen turned out much glassier than my previous pens. I was happy with the finish on my previous pens, but Zac’s method resulted in a vast improvement.
After turning the pen to size I realized there was a bubble in the blank which resulted in a hole all the way down to the tube. I filled it with medium CA and used a scraper with a really light cut to shear off any excess glue once it dried. The finished result isn’t bad at all. Continue reading “Funline with bulge”
I’ve been watching some YouTube this week and these are some of the tips that stood out.
Set drill stop on drill press to just get to the end of the blank
Let off pressure when drilling towards the end of the blank. You’ll hear it squeak towards the end.
when gluing in pen tubes apply glue to tube and insert into end of blank that isn’t the center. (Cap and nib sides). Twist to spread glue pull out tube and do the same from the center band end. this way you can get better glue coverage.
Use barrel trimmer by hand to clear glue from the tube. You can also use a file or piece of all-thread. When the glue is cleaned out your bushings should fit easily if they fit into the tube. If your tube is the same size as the mandrel, it should fit smoothly on the mandrel.
try a 1/3 approach to shaping your pen. 1/3 of the distance from center band towards nib shape to maximum width. 2/3 from nib towards center band increase diameter to peak.
Mount blank with nib end towards headstock.
Nothing wrong with using a scraper or scraping cut to finish a blank to size.