Pen Making Update 40: Golden brown, texture like sun

(it’s a bit late, sorry)

First of all yes I am aware of the supposed meaning behind that song, that meaning obviously doesn’t apply here. Anyway, on with the update.

  • Pen making update

So what has gone on this week? Truth be told I am struggling to remember, it has been a long week for me.

First of all I have finished the pen I showed off last week and I think it looks quite good. I finished off the other one that I was doing for a client out of the same material too. Here they are uncapped. I am keeping the one with the black ends for myself. On that note the material is an acrylic called Tiger Eye and the black parts are ebonite. When this pen was a success I ordered a bunch more thin sticks of ebonite that I can use for the same thing. When they arrived it dawned on me that I don’t have to stick to black to do the end bits. I have a bunch of uses for all of the cockup offcuts, at last!

Talking of cockups… I had a big one this week. Thing is it was entirely 100% my fault. I had the blank in the lathe and I needed to turn it down to a cylinder. I think I was rushing. So I had it in there, I had run the centre drill to make a seating for the live centre and I had put it in place. I turned on the lathe and wound it up to the speed needed (around 1140 rpm). I moved the tool in to start turning and disaster. The blank skipped out of position and the centre was no longer seated in position. The blank shifted to a diagonal position and the tool began to rip through the blank, at that point the lathe stopped turning and a warning noise sounded so I hit the emergency stop. So what did I do wrong? First thing was that the live centre wasn’t seated deep enough in the blank so any movement would cause it to slip out, second I didn’t tighten it up into the chuck enough there seemed to be a little wiggle room, third I had the wrong tool in the post at the time, instead of the roughing tool I had the left finishing tool. What was the result? A mangled blank, here and here. What have I learned from this, something I should have been doing all the time, double checking everything and only starting the machine when I am happy with it, and try not to rush through things. Yes I am an idiot, please if you are reading this learn from my mistake it could have been a lot worse.

I got a thank you card from a client! How cool it that! I love it. Here is the cover and here is the inside. (I have checked with the client in question and he is cool with me posting it up)

The last thing is I managed to use the blank I almost ruined in the story above. I started to make a pen for a client. They wanted a relatively small pen 120mm long. I said I would give it a go. So far so good as it turns out. Here is the barrel tiny right? Then I did the section, this one gives it a bit of length I also shaped it. I managed to make the cap this morning. I am getting quicker with sections and caps, takes me 40 minutes to make a cap and the same to make a section.

  • Pen making guide

I have started work on the part which involves making the section. It’s not ready to go up yet I might work on it this weekend.

  • Website

I am working on putting up examples of all of my pens and their designs on my website now. I am being a bit ambitious but that is the way I am. It’s coming together just a little slower than I would like.

Any comments good or bad feel free to leave them here.

That is it for this week. Have a good weekend.

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