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!

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