Pen making update 31: Lathes Ahoy!

  • The workshop

Ok there is some big news. As you may have guessed by the picture, I have received my lathe and I set it up. With the help from u/newtonpens (thank you man!) I got it sitting so there is a 0.1mm deviation from one end of a turned blank to the other. If I tried harder with some shims I could get this less but for the moment it is fine. The home made desk is relatively level and has been adjusted to get it as good as I can and with the lathe on top it won’t be moving anywhere.

Getting it onto the bench was an experience, I don’t have much room so having an engine lifting crane in there just wasn’t feasible. So my neighbour and I lifted it up by hand. 125Kg between two people is quite the weight to lift especially when one end is heavier than the other. I have no idea why but he decided to do it bare foot, I at least had my work boots on so I took the heavier side. We managed it though, only just, I ended up crushing my finger. Only a bruised knuckle but it did swell up enough for me to take my grandads ring off. I think I got off lightly to be honest, if I am honest I was kind of rushing to get it done. Anyway, the workshop is in action.

I have already gone and bought myself an upgrade to it though. Self centering 4 jaw chuck to make turning cuboid blanks. I still have some plans for the workshop though, I need to sort the walls out, and I need to do the ceiling, I also have a doorbell I need to fit. I like my doorbell.

  • Pen making

I have come to the conclusion that I can’t really offer existing pen alterations to anyone outside the uk which sucks. I got stung by customs charges for someone sending me their pen to work on. So on that particular one I have ended up losing money and until I sort this out I can’t offer that any more.

I have started to use the new lathe. I finished sanding and micro meshing the purple pen for a client that has the custom section with it too. I am quite happy with it, I just need to buff it up with some finishing liquid on it too. I use burnishing fluid though I forget the brand, and a sheep’s wool buffing pad. I will probably do that tomorrow.

The new lathe came with two chucks, one was a self centering 3 jaw chuck which was fitted to it, this makes turning cuboid blanks a nightmare and seeing as though I just needed to finish off the purple pen I did that first. I ended up changing over to the 4 jaw independent chuck to turn the square blanks I have but it was a bit of a polava. The process is below:

Use a pencil to draw a line from one corner to the other on the blank, this will find the middle of the blank. Put it in the jaws of the chuck and close them up so it looks to the naked eye that it is about right. Run the tail stock up close to the blank with your live centre or your centre drill so the point is very near the blank and see how far off your mark you are. Adjust the jaws until you hit your mark. Drill a small hole to seat the live centre then run the live centre in to support the end of the blank, you want the live centre to be spinning when you turn the lathe on, if it is not then it isn’t tight enough against it.

So this week with the new lathe in action I managed to turn a lot of orange and a Conway Stewart blank from cuboid to round. I got a much smoother finish to this part of the process then I ever did on the old lathe.

  • Personal

Yay I am ill. Came down with a cold and it’s annoying me and I am grumpy. I am trying to get to the London Pen Show in October, my wife is in Hellsinki and my mum is looking after my daughters so I will be on my own. Here lays the problem, I do not like crowds and I will be quite anxious. I tend to be incredibly introverted in those sorts of situations. With that in mind I am very very nervous about going. If I was selling stuff it would be fine I could turn on the retail part of my brain and sell things but I will just be attending so won’t be selling. Anyone else going? I wouldn’t mind meeting up with someone, help calm the nerves, hell going to the monthly pen meetup was nerve racking enough for me and I had my wife and kids with me. Yeah, I am nervous. Heh.

Oh yeah, New pen day! Here it is! Got stung with customs charges on this too but I really like it.

Apologies for the dirty background on the images, the window sill where the cats eat was the area with the best light.

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