So the week started on a high and ended on a low point. The high was that I finished my pen and my wifes pen! Woo hoo! Mine is the green and my wifes pen is the red. So what new things have I done this week? Well as you can see I leaned how to put a curved end to the pen using a bastard file, I am very proud of those curves. I also learned how to lacquer the pens, I use a spray lacquer and what I like to call my spray box, I use this so the spay doesn’t go everywhere. Before I did this I sanded them starting with 120 grit paper and going up to 1000 grit using the sand paper, after that I used some sponge backed pads which started at 1500 grit and went up to 12000 grit. I am never sure how long I should be sanding them though. Oh also, my impatience won out and I made the caps push fit rather than waiting another month for the tap and die to turn up… Yeah, I may have cocked up there but like I said, I am impatient.
Anyway why did the week end badly? Well the images I posted initially show why. The orange is an Omas blank I got from ebay and well, my boss had been using the lathe to turn some motor bike bits. I mean, it’s his lathe so he can do what he wants with it. However I had a nightmare getting the tool perpendicular to the blank and I think that is what caused the colossal cockup pictured. Anyway, I took my daughter to a tool shop where I get my blanks so she could pick out what she wanted a pen out of and she picked what I suspect is a polyester blank. When turning it the detritus that comes off is very powdery and there are tiny chips in the material as shown in the picture, I hate working with polyester, but I persisted and eventually got a smooth finish off of it. So I will carry on and try to rescue the Omas blank and I will continue to try and do the one my daughter wants. I won’t give up, I won’t surrender, most of all as the Terminator movies have taught me, I won’t let the machines win.
So, what lessons have I learned this week over all. Well, I hate polyester, it chips all over the place and dust flies off everywhere, yuck. Unlike metal drill from large to small if you want to avoid the plastic catching and shattering, the torque of the lathe has no problem just ripping the blank up something rotten if a drill bit does catch. DON’T GET YOUR HAND CAUGHT ANYWHERE, it fucking hurts and I only clipped a knuckle. On that note don’t leave the chuck key in the chuck when you turn it on, it will fly off, it will hit you and again, it fucking hurts. To get rid of tool marks in the blank go over the piece multiple times not adjusting the positioning of the tool, the nature of the lathe is that it spins and when you move the tool you will get trenches in the material, when you go over it multiple times you end up lathing away the ridges. Sanding will get it shiny, lacquer will help it keep that shine. Time flies deceptively quickly when working on pens, if you are supposed to be somewhere, set a loud alarm. I can now do curves, a file works wonders just be careful as it can get hit with the chuck and will either break the blank or worse hurt you, be careful when putting any hand tools near the spinny parts, fingers are valuable you only have 8 of them (or in my case 7.9). Lube is needed when threading, wobbly threads are a bastard. And lastly, I need to find something I can put up the pen barrel so that I can sand or lathe down the whole length, so far my search has been fruitless.
Well, now you have seen the pens I want some advice. What inks shall we put in them? My wife /u/poisoned_strumpet likes her inks to match the pens she had. I on the other hand do not care about such things. I am just as much at home with a pink ink in a green pen as I am with a green ink in it. The nibs we have are bock #5 mediums and I am not sure how wet or dry they are but I prefer a wetter ink. Well that is it for this week, I will do another next week, I am hoping to rescue the Omas blank and make my daughters pen but I have a lot of work coming up in the next few weeks so I might take a break from pen making and continue writing my book.