* pen making
Still not out of this god damn slump and it is starting to annoy me now. However I am not holding off on this any more.
So, one of the things I am proud of is my way that I can overcome problems when I reach them in the pen making. This will give you a little bit of an insight into how my brain works, continue if you dare, I jest, it’s relatively safe. As I said the other week I have been tackling facets and I did [this](https://i.imgur.com/fy4TZhy.jpg) by hand, shows it before polishing. Doing it by hand, to be honest, took too long. It’s a process I need to figure out if there is an easier way to do it.
Anyway, I had seen images of a router you could mount on top of a lathe which did the job but this no longer seemed to be available but it got me thinking whether I could knock up something which would fit on the side of the lathe. The advantage of this is that I could control which side is being flattened, I could choose the diameter of the final pen by adjusting the height of the tool I use to make it flat and I could achieve equal sides. This got the old grey matter ticking along nicely when I was supposed to be thinking of breaking into doors and suchlike for my day job.
What I came up with was a prototype made out of mdf, a horrible material to work with. [This](https://i.imgur.com/fEqFhbi.jpg) is how it started out, this was made at work where I had no access to any measurements of the lathe so it was all guess work. I was expecting to have to alter it when I got home. Turns out my guesses weren’t too far off as you can see [here](https://i.imgur.com/PFJCv7n.jpg) with the guesses of where the tool stand usually is marked on the wood. The upright was a [bit tall](https://i.imgur.com/xyIfADl.jpg) though. On a test run it worked though.
So the first alteration was to [cut the top](https://i.imgur.com/94gSwf7.jpg) off and cut an area for the live centre to fit past. I tried turning a full length blank and had trouble getting the live centre in still, I put a mandril down to connect with the blank that the live centre would then hold, this didn’t hold it well and there was a lot of movement. This meant there was a lot of rough surfaces where there shouldn’t be, like [here](https://i.imgur.com/6fFFtLL.jpg). I had an idea of putting on my [moving steady](https://i.imgur.com/hWFVdxF.jpg) but the support was in the wrong orientation.
So where has this left me after 1 ruined blank. Well thanks to a chat I had with Meg from Black Robin Pens, she triggered an idea in my head when we were talking about pens which I quickly scribbled down. When I turned the demo blank I cut off the part for the section. Instread of cutting it off if I turn it down to size I can then hold the tenon I would then thread for the barrel into the drill chuck and support it that way (maximum diameter for drill chuck is 10mm, tenon for the barrel threads is 9.8mm.) That will hold it solid and I can then shave off what I need to shave off. When I make the actual tool I intend to use aluminium so that if the worst happens and it hits the chuck then the aluminium will collapse and not damage the lathe. That’s the theory anyway.
As usual feel free to give suggestions for where these updates go in the comments. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones and stay safe.