Wood pens is one of the most popular turning projects ever!
I believe that the major reason is that it's a very controlled turning environment which allows the turner to focus on the turning materials and styling. There are so many turning materials that go beyond the standard single wood pen. Today, you can do multiple woods like segmented pens or Celtic cross pens or fancy laminations. And then you can go to Alternative man made materials like Acrylics, or Solid Surface (think Corian) or more! And of course, lately I've seen rice, corn cobs, rattlesnake and even cactus used as pen materials!! So, there is plenty of room for creativity.
If you've not yet made a pen, then I suggest that you start now!! And if you're already making pens, don't stop now!!
|Deer Antler Pen And How To Make It|
By: Stephen Johnson
Stephen shows us the 12 steps that he uses to make this gorgeous pen from a whitetail deer antler. The tutorial has wonderful photography and tells you everything you need to make one of these pens yourself.
|Pen Turning Tutorial|
By: Ian Pribyl
In this photo tutorial, Ian Pribyl takes us through the following project steps in making a slimline pen:
Step 1: Preparing Your Blanks for the Lathe
Step 2: Turning the Pen Blanks
Step 3: Sanding the Pen Blanks
Step 4: Applying a CA Glue Finish
Step 5: Assembling Your Slimline Pen
It's really great to see a good CA finish explanation too since many new turners seem to have trouble with this!
Ian's only 24 and has already been turning 10 years so he's got a good base of turning and can help you learn to turn pens!
|Using remainders for pen blanks|
By: Kurt Hertzog
In this photo tutorial, Kurt shows us how he uses recycled laser cut pen blank components to make beautiful pen blanks. He uses lots of alternative materials so it's a good learning even if you're going to use those materials for other projects.
By: Tom Hintz
In this project, Tom shows us how to turn pens or as he calls it, "Cheap thrills at the lathe".
Tom describes the project like this, "Pen turning is growing in popularity because it is fun, easy and can be done on virtually any size lathe. Another attraction is producing unique gifts for friends or even merchandise for sale.
In this story, we will turn a basic pen and look at the necessary (and not so necessary) tools. This is only the beginning though. Master the basics and the only limiting factor is your imagination. Everything from the materials used to the shape of the pens is open for exploration."
And we agree!
|The Slimline Pen|
By: Barry Gross
This photo tutorial is a great beginner's project. It covers the most available pen type, the slimline or often called the 7mm pen.
In this project, Barry goes over all the steps required to make this easy pen and provides a photo for each step. With this tutorial and a pen kit, you should be well on your way to making your first pen!
|Turning a Wood Pen|
By: Bonnie Klein
In this photo tutorial, Bonnie Klein shows how to make a wood pen. The project can be applied to any pen style. Bonnie's close-up photo's really help to understand what is happening making it easier for you to copy her process when making your own pens.
We hope that this easy to follow project helps you to get started making pens!
|Turning Leather Pens|
By: John Swinkels
In this well done article, John shows us how to make pens with leather bodies.
John describes the process of getting the leather (inexpensively), shows us how to make a leather punch to cut out the leather disks and how he builds up the pen blanks using a clever wood mold. Once you have built up one of John's leather pen blanks, most of the process is the same as any other 7mm turned pen.
Leather is an interesting alternative material for pens! The results are pretty stunning which I can say since I have one of John's pens in my hands right now!
With such a clear tutorial in front of you, I'm not sure how you won't give it a try!
|Making the casting for a feather pen|
By: Shane Whitlock
In this tutorial, Shane walks us through the process that he uses to make a feather pen. The major effort is in making a resin casting for his pen blank. This wonderful tutorial shows all the steps in making this incredible pen blank!
Shane goes into significant detail in how to make the casting so that you can duplicate this project yourself!
|Making a 7 mm pen (slimline) using curly maple |
By: Larry Marley
In this video project, Larry shows us how to make a 7 mm pen. He uses curly maple as his wood choice. The video covers how he drills the pen and then how he uses CA to glue the brass tubes into the wood. He also squares up his pen blanks by using a barrel trimmer in his lathe.
Larry turns the pen using a spindle gouge which does a fine job for this project. After turning, he uses a bench vise to assemble his parts. All-in-all this is a good project for beginners to learn the various steps of turning your own pen! And if you've not yet done this, it's about time!
|Four Different Ways to Build Segmented Pen Blanks|
By: Mike Vickery, Jim Boyd, Ron Sardo, and Ron McIntire
This is a great document because it shows 4 projects from 4 of the premier pen turners in the U.S.
This set of projects shows 4 different ways to make segmented pens! These are advanced projects but are very inspirational!! And even beginners can learn a lot from reading the projects and even giving them a shot!!
By: Mike Vickery
In this photo tutorial, Mike shows us how he makes wood turned pens without the standard metal top that holds the pen clip in place. Using this technique allows for a wood top to the pen making it look very natural.
This project will be more than most beginners should attempt right away but it can show them how much more exciting things there are available to do with pens!
|Double Cross Pen|
By: John Nystedt
In this photo tutorial, John shows us how he makes the double cross pen. The close-up photo's are a big help to understand the critical parts of this project. This pen comes out as another variation of the Celtic cross style pen and is very attractive. It's a great project to make!
|Turning Alternative Material Pens|
By: Steve Russell
In this project, Steve discusses techniques for turning new alternative pen materials including plastics and stabilized pen blanks.
|Turning European Style Writing Pens|
By: Steve Russell
In this incredibly detailed photo tutorial, Steve tells you everything that you'll ever want to know about pen turning. His tips and hints are fantastic and will help out even the most seasoned turner.
This project will give you everything that you need to know about pen making. It might somewhat overwhelming to beginners.
|Turned Writing Pens |
By: Wood Magazine
"The Write Stuff" All you need to master pen turning!
Lathe projects don’t have to be complicated, and neither does gift giving. Learn to turn pens, and you'll discover both a pleasant new pastime and a great way to make personalized gifts for birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions.
|Finishing Secrets for Pen |
By: Russ Fairfield
All of the pen finishes are here, from polished bare wood to Enduro. The topics include: Sanding, Waxes, Shellac, Buffing, Lacquer, CA Glue, Waterlox, Enduro, Acrylic Pen Blanks, and stabilized Wood. The argument about which finish is the hardest and most durable is resolved with a simple test that the viewer can perform for themselves.
|Turning Pens |
By: Rex Burningham and Kip Christensen
This is a two-piece DVD set. Video 1 covers making the basic slimline pen including unique styles, decorative techniques and alternative materials. Video 2 covers making a European and Americana style pens including custom center bands, alternative materials and tips and tricks.
|Custom Centerbands for Slimline Pens|
By: William Young
Just because a center band is included in each slimline kit doesn't mean that you have to use it!!
In this photo tutorial, William strives to convince you to abandon your factory center bands and make your own lovely contrasting wood ones! We hope you learn how easy it is to improve the slimline pen with this simple modification.
|Pen Making - Building on the Basics|
By: Mike Shaver
In this photo slide tutorial, Mike shows us all the steps that he uses to make his lovely pens. He also shares several secrets on getting the best pen and best finish. Jim also shows his layout jigs which are a great way to ensure that you cut the top and bottom sections of the blanks to the proper size.
This is a great tutorial to get you going on pens.
By: Kurt Hertzog
Kurt says: The advantage to making stick pens is that they are quickly and inexpensively made. There are no kit parts required and there is no limit to the creativity that can be incorporated in the turned body. Because it is a spindle turning, beads, coves, captive rings, and other spindle turning adornments are possible.
|Turning a Baseball Bat Pen|
By: Dennis Daudelin
In this photo tutorial, Dennis shows us how to use a Bic pen insert to make a fun baseball bat shaped pen. He also shows what can go wrong if you don't drill this long length correctly.
This is a fun, easy and inexpensive pen to make. If you have any baseball fans in the house, this is a good pen for them.
|Turning Beads and Coves on a Pen|
By: Ed Davidson
In this wonderful photo tutorial, Ed shows us how to make beads and coves on a slimline pen. This is a great project to see that it's possible to make exciting pens on this basic pen kit. Ed's point is that pens don't need to be just straight lines, be creative using his explanation of different shapes and forms.
By: Dave Hylands
In this very clear photo tutorial, Dave explains each step in the process of making a slim line pen. He also has a "close-up" photo for each of these steps!
|Polymer Clay Pen|
By: Jami Miller
In this project, Jami explains how to use polymer clay to make pens. I've also had luck putting them on the lathe for turning and sanding. You do have a take a very light cut as they plastic-like clay is very soft to a turning tool. Using clay allows you to make very different colored or patterned blanks for your pens.
|Creating a Polychromatic Segmened Pen|
By: Kenn Osbourne
In this photo tutorial, Kenn shows you to create laminated wood blanks using multiple woods and then to cut them into slices. These slices are glued to create a rotated pen blank. It's a wonderful technique and makes a great looking pen. This technique can also be applied to other segmented projects.
|How to make a Corn Cob Pen|
By: Patricia Lawson
In this project, Patricia explains how to use an ordinary old corn cob as your pen blank. The final pen is rather stunning.
Just a quick note to let everyone know that stabilized corn cobs are now on the market so that you don't have to try firming up the corn cob exclusively with CA. They will be much easier to use but there is now the upfront purchasing cost.
|Pens - Turning for Fun|
By: Scott Greaves
In this 2-part article, Scott starts off talking about all the different styles of pens and why someone would want to turn them. Then Scott explains about the loose center bands that part of the slimline pen style. He then explains how to make your own center band and shows how that opens up the opportunity to make different shaped pens.
If you've not yet opened your world up by turning replacement center bands, this article should give you sufficient motivation.
By: Mark Gisi
In this simple tutorial, Mark shows us with drawing the steps that he follows to make this scalloped pen. The drawings sure make it easy to follow and to be able to build this pen.
|Making Pens With Polyester Resin|
By: Clarrie Snell
In this project, you can read about the steps necessary to making resin pens. There is even a drawing showing how to make a molding jig and a separation jig. If you're thinking of making your own resin pen blanks, this is a good primer.
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New Project (usually within the last
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In May, More Woodturning Magazine reveals how to make those fascinating Segmented Tubular Sculptures
Here is what readers are saying about Al Miotke's article:
"Remarkably inventive!! I can only look 'open-mouthed' at both the process and the finished article." B.T., United Kingdom."
"A great project. Clearly and precisely written, too, with supporting photos. I've made a number of segmented projects after reading Tibbetts' book but no sculptural forms. I'm ready to tackle one now. Thanks." (J.W., Ohio)
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