As the Wood Turns

Woodworkers Fay and Bob


Making a Pen

People usually want to know how a pen is made because it is pretty hard to stretch your mind from a piece of wood to a pen.  I took some photos to walk you through what happens.

First you start with pen blank which is a piece of wood you buy that is about 3/4" square by 5".

Second you buy a pen kit of fittings.

Step 1


Next you cut the wood in half with your band saw making sure it is long enough for the brass tubes.

After the wood is cut you drill 9 mm holes in each piece using a special jig and your drill press.

Step 2


After the holes are drilled you take sand paper and rough the outside of the brass tubes, put super glue on them and insert them into the holes your drilled.  This is my least favorite part.  If I don't wear gloves I glue my fingers together and believe me, that glue is hard to get off your hands.

Let the glue dry and then using a special drill bit on your electric corded drill (cordless drill doesn't have enough power) you make the wood flush with the brass tubes, making sure you don't drill to much.  Speaking from experience, I have thrown out a few I drilled to much.

Step 3


You have about 30 minutes invested in your pen now.

Now it's time to put the two wood pieces on your lathe and usie a roughing gouge and spindle gouge to shape the pen barrels.


After the wood is shaped you go through 5 levels of sandpaper to make the wood nice and smooth.



Now it's time for the finish which you also put on while the lathe is running.   It is a high friction finish and you rub it on until the friction makes the finish hot. You have to make sure you have enough layers of cloth or you get really hot fingers.


Now it's time for assembly using an assembly tool.


The steps on the lathe and assembly take about another half hour.  If we are making a fancy pen add on even more time.

So now an hour or so later you are all done and you have a beautiful pen.



Fay Choban  • 864-834-2038 •

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