How to Turn a Wooden Pen on a Lathe

How to Turn a Wooden Pen on a Lathe

I am very excited about this. We are making a pen, amazing right? There are so many things you can do with woodwork and a pen is just another one of the simple things to make.


Materials Needed

Skew (the tool that you turn the wood with)
Wood ( i’m using yellow heart one of my favorites)
CA glue or Super Glue (thick and thin if possible)
Mandrel to hold the pen on with 3 bushings
Sand paper
Pen Kit or you could use pieces from a old pen that you don’t use anymore
Paper towels
BLO (boiled linseed oil)
Drill press or equivalent
Micro mesh to get the super shine
Beall buffing system to put on a awesome finish
Pen press


Cut The Blank

First, you need a piece of wood known the blank. Your blank could be any type of wood as far as it is long enough for the tubes to fit in. Remember, safety first. Put on your safety glasses before any other thing. Yes, your glasses, you should always wear it before you even think of cutting. Make sure to measure twice and cut once. You can use Craftsman table saw, a bandsaw or a scroll saw to cut the wood.


Drill The Blanks

You can drill the blanks, either on a drill press, Lathe or hand drill. I would recommend that you stay away from a normal drill because, the hold has to be square. It is easy to drill on a drill press, so I’ll skip that. Drilling on a lathe might sound strange yeah but it’s quite easy. All you need is a supernova chuck and a drill attachment and your work is made easy.


Sand The Tubes And Your To The Blanks.

Sand the tunes so that it is not shiny. After that, apply a line of thick glue to the tubes  and push it in to the blank. Ensure you  pull and twist the blank so that the glue fills the inside of the hole then repeat the action on the other side. After you have done that push in the tube into the blank in a way  that it is not sticking out of either side of the wood.


Square The Blanks..

To achieve this, it is best that you use a sandpaper and a square. This ensures that the wood flushes and squares with the tube. You have to be very careful at this point. This is because it is very possible for you to drill far. This would affect the end work as the tube would stick out hence, it will cause a gap in the joint of the pen.



This is one of the most interesting parts. You can use either a wood working lathe and skew or make a lathe. If your lathe has speed control, it is best to set it in the fastest. For the skew, you could use round tip, a gouge or a chisel. Put the blanks on your mandrel and bushing  so it is placed in a way that there is a bushing then blank then bushing then blank then bushing. The bushings are to guide you on how much you turn down the wood. Try to turn it as smooth as possible so you don’t have ridges.


Sanding And Oiling

Before you continue, slow down your lathe to slowest speed possible. After you are done turning, sand with a grit of 220. Make your way up to 400 grit then look at your blanks. The best way to tell how they are is by using your fingers. If the blanks are smooth, use the linseed oil on a paper towel and rub it well on the blanks. You would be able to see how your pen would look like, except it would be a hundred times shinier than this.



You need a regular super glue for this part. Ensure to make the glue as smooth as possible and even when applying.  Put a paper towel on the bottom of the pen then squeeze your glue and smooth out the ridges. The paper towel will get hot and would smoke. But, you have to sure not to take away the paper towel very fast because it will ruin the pen. Also, do not leave it on for too long because the glue  will stick it to the pen.


Sanding And Micro Sanding

By the time you are done applying the glue, you would see that the blanks are shining. In order to stop that, it would be advisable to use a 400 grit sandpaper to get rid of all the shiny spots. After sanding to get rid of the shine, you would have to use a Micro Mesh sanding system and sand from 1,500 grit to 12,000 grit. You should sand back and forth horizontally while turning the lathe by hand. This micro sanding is to get rid of sanding and tool lines.



After micro meshing, the next thing to do is to take out the Beall buffing and finishing system. This is a three step process that includes, tripoli white diamond and thr carnauba wax. First, you turn on your lathe, rub the bars on to the wheels. While the wheels are spinning twist and turn your blanks. This ensures an even and thick coat on the pen. Take out the blanks from the mandrel and get out the pen press or clamp, Check the blanks to see if there are errors. If there are errors, set the blank aside, pick the other one and press the tip in to one end.Then take the same blank with the tip and put the transmission in the other end. Ensure you do not push the transmission so far. Put it in line, and see how  far it goes. After this, you should take the blank with the error and take a clip and little cap, and position the clip over the error and then put the spacer on between them and stick them together. There, you have it, A pen!