Sunday, August 31, 2008

My son pwns j00

Can you believe he's only 17?

Black acrylic with red traces, copper slim pen kit.

Sanded to 2000 then polished with Meguiar's Plast-X.

He's awesome!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Several Firsts in this Project

I was home sick yesterday, but it was nothing to prevent me from working in the garage. So off I went!

I did 4 things for the first time here.
  1. My first time working with Lyptus-
    I've never tried this wood before. Woodcraft had a bowl full of figured lyptus blanks for $2 so i bought one. Here's a good article about lyptus: Woodweb. For me, it worked much like maple. Small chipouts in the figure, nice and hard, looks great. The pen above was finished with BLO and several coats of a three pound cut of shellac.
  2. My first time making a "euro" pen-
    I've only been working with the slimline kits. I thought I'd give the euro kit a shot. This was a Woodcraft $4.99 kit in 24k gold and a black cap. I've never seen the black cap before. Kinda cool.

    Turning this is a bit different because of the diameter changes required. The middle of the pen is a bit thicker than the ends. Most folks turn these with a gentle curve between the ends. I went for a bit straighter blank to avoid the "chunky" look. I need to turn a few more and decide what I like better.
  3. My first time successfully making a band in the blank-
    The band is cocobolo. In the lyptus blank I used my table saw to cut a kerf, not quite cutting all the way through. I cut a slice of cocobolo just a bit smaller and glued aluminum foil (Reynold's if you care) to both sides with CA glue. I then set the whole sandwich into the lyptus blank with more CA glue. I let it cure for a couple hours to prevent separation later.

    The foil adds a very thin border between the lyptus and the coco. I couldn't go much thicker because of the gold hardware, but it serves its purpose nicely. Wood to wood doesn't look quite right in all the pens I've attempted it with. Using the foil to separate them did the trick.
  4. My first time trying to make a satin finish on a pen-
    Because this was intended to be a "user" pen, I didn't want a glossy finish. I wanted a smooth, but satin finish to make it more comfortable in my hand.

    I achieved this by applying several coats of 3# cut blonde shellac. Before the last coat fully dried, I applied some Butcher's Wax with a 0000 steel wool. This gives the pen a durable finish that isn't too glossy or slick.
Overall I'd call this a success!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cocobolo Candlestick Holder

I had a chunk of cocobolo left over from my other projects. Too short for a pen, too nice for the trash, I was determined to find a use for it.

As I was digging through the "box'o'candles" (everybody's wife has one of those, right?) I found a seriously fugly rocking horse candlestick holder. It was plated pot metal, with a screwed on candle cup sticking out of the top. It was plated with a gold color that was partly worn. It really looked crappy.

I removed the cup from the rocking horse and chucked it in my lathe. The cup was pressed steel, and had pressure ridges, scratches, etc. I sanded it to 2000 grit paper to get it smooth, then hit it with the buffer and white diamond compound. Polished steel looks much better than cheap "gold" plating.

I chucked the chunk of cocobolo and turned the simple shape shown in the photo. Sanded to 800 grit and applied two coats of thin (1# cut) shellac followed by a couple coats of Hut's Crystal Coat.

A note about Crystal Coat. It's crap. It can add a nice deep shine to your turning, but durable it isn't. Just removing the piece from the lathe can dull the finish! I left this piece on the lathe for an hour before removing it to drill the hole for the steel cup's mounting screw. I still ended up marring the finish. Once I had the hole drilled and the screw run through a couple times so it would go easy later, I re-mounted it on the lathe and applied another coat of the finish.

I left it on the lathe overnight before taking it off and mounting the cup. I then immediately placed it on the shelf in the living room where it sat for a week before I had the courage to take it down again to photograph it.

I have no experience with other friction polishes, but Hut's Crystal Coat isn't worth the bottle it's sold in, unless all you're going to do is take pictures of your work.

Monday, August 25, 2008

99c Store Turning Kit

This pickup tool was purchased at the 99c store several years ago. Over time, the end and pocket clip have fallen off and been lost. The telescoping tube and magnet on the end are just fine however, so I never tossed it.

Last night I decided to see if I could turn a nice handle for it.

I mic'd the fat end of the telescoping tube and got 7.98mm inner diameter. I then loaded up a kingwood pen blank and turned a handle with an 8mm tip, 1/4" long. Finished with shellac and friction polish, the kingwood handle was inserted into the pickup tool with a few drops of CA glue.

The handle is in VERY snug and the glue will keep it from coming loose.

I may have to buy a few more of these things from the 99c store and see what else I can do with them!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sneak Peek

Playing with inlays. This is powdered copper in walnut with 4 coats of lacquer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Son's First Pen Turning

My 17 year old son, the one I built the black desk for, completed his first project on the lathe.

Using my Harbor Freight Mini Lathe he turned a mechanical pencil using a Rockler kit. The wood is some scrap padauk I had, and the finish is shellac.

While he had some guidance from me, the work was all him.

He's excited and wants to turn many more!