Monday, March 11, 2013
Life Inside The Pen
I mentioned, a little while back, that I had been given some of my uncles tools and stuff. One of the tools was a Jet mini lathe. They're a neat little tool for a hobbyist. Not big enough to turn anything large, like table legs, but perfect for small artsy fartsy projects. I have not run a wood turning lathe since junior high school, but simple turning is fairly intuitive, so I thought I'd give it a shot. He had been making pens and mechanical pencils and there was a box of wood blanks that he had cut for future projects. So I grabbed a pair and drilled them through the center, glued in the brass tubes that are supplied in the kits, of which there were about 10 or 15 in the box, and put them on the mandril. I don't know what species of wood I chose, but it has a nice reddish hue and it smelled real nice as I was cutting it down. Once I got it close to finished size, I sanded it and then steel wooled it in the running lathe. I dabbed on some shellac and rubbed it in, again with the machine turned on. The remaining pieces of the pen were pressed in and, Voila!!, one functioning ball point pen, ready for the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. I think it came out pretty nice for my first try. Heck, that was so much fun that I went down to the shop and whipped out another one. I got fancy this time and made the two parts barrel shaped. The concentric rings on each end were done with a piece of wire, held against the spinning parts in the lathe. It burned in the rings in a few seconds. Cool, huh?