Wood Pen Turning: How to Turn a Wood Pen Wood Pen Turning: How to Turn a Wood Pen

What You'll Need
Pen Blanks
Bushing tools
Wood glue
Skew tool

If you have a wood lathe, then you might consider wooden pen turning as your next project. The lathe allows you to create complicated and delicate pens, either from wood or acrylic, which will also make excellent gifts. You can also make this kind of pen with a mini-lathe, as this is quite delicate work which exactly suits the small lathe. If you have a suitable set of woodworking tools, and a little bit of spare time, then you can make the perfect pen for your project, and this will be completed in a matter of minutes. Wooden pen turning is a great way of keeping your hand in when you are between woodworking projects.

Step 1 - Getting Your Tools

You will need to purchase a particular set of pens, which will allow you to get the most from your project. Start by finding a pen blank,  a set of bushing tools, and the right pen kits. You need to know what kind of pen you want before you begin, as you will need the right kind of bushing tools for your pen style. You should also locate an instruction manual to tell you where each part will go. Find any woodworking tools which you do not currently have, and then gather all the pieces together.

Step 2 - Size up the Blank

Measure up the blank by placing the pen tube along the length. You will need between an eighth and a quarter of an inch more wood on the pen blank, so make sure that you calculate this length before you make any cuts. You should measure up any other brass tubes at the same time (if you are making more than one pen, for example), as the size may vary between different makes and models of tube.

Step 3 - Cut the Blank

Take your lathe, and place a drill bit the right size for your wooden pen turning blank. Position the blank under the drill bit, and then cut the wood down to the right size. Use your barrel trimmer to make a hole in the wood, and then press the brass tube into place. Apply a little glue to the edge of the tube, and then hold it in place in the blank until it is fixed.

Step 4 - Position the Mandrel

In your pen kit, you will have a lathe mandrel. Position the wood pen onto it, with the bushing kit, and then place it in the lathe. Center it up until the live center touches the mandrel, and then hold it firmly between the tailpiece and the front plate. Take your gouging or skewing tools, and cut the pen blank until they are equal size to the bushing kit at the ends of the pen. Use the skew chisel to smooth down the pen, and then sand down the blank. You are then ready to apply a friction polish before the last turn of the pen, before completing the pen assembly as shown in your instructions.

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