We added this section to let you
see the process of how we make your pen. Pictures can't
really give you all the details though. For example, some
woods, like Tulipwood, give off a very fruity smell when drilled
or turned. Some of the finish polish smells like candy!
And super glue (used to glue the inner parts of the pen to the
wood blank) really will stick your fingers together (don't
ask me how I know this). So read on, and enjoy. These
things are as much fun to make as they are to look at...
Part 1: Preparing the raw
pen starts out as a short piece of raw wood, called a
"blank". It can be square, as the Bocote
wood shown here, or it can be round. It can even be
a tree branch, which I've used to make a neat Red Cedar
Pen. The blank is measured and cut to the proper
each blank is marked on the end to find the center, and is
loaded into a jig on our drill press. The proper
sized drill bit is inserted and a hole is drilled all the
way through each blank. Some woods drill very
easily. Other woods, and the plastics, are tougher
and must be drilled very slowly to avoid splitting.
Deer antler is especially
difficult to drill due to the irregular cross section and
curvature of the material. Set up may take an
additional 30 minutes just to drill two holes in antler.
the two blanks are ready to receive the brass tubes which
hold the pen parts together. Thickened "crazy
glue" is spread on each tube (one at a time) and is
inserted into the blank with a tube insertion tool.
You need to work quickly as the glue will grip in 5 - 15
seconds. Some woods which have a lot of oil, like
Cocobolo, will actually cause the glue to set almost
immediately. Don't dawdle!!!
the glue is dry, the ends of the blanks are squared,
either on a sander or by using a special tool which fits
inside the brass tubes. Then they are loaded on to a
mandrel, or steel rod, which is inserted in a lathe.
Bushings (the silver metal pieces on each end and middle)
are used to help guide you in turning the blank to the
proper diameter so the pen fittings line up flush with the
wood. The headstock of the lathe is at the upper
left. This drives the mandrel shaft. The live
center is at the lower right and is used to support the
mandrel during the turning process
tools are an absolute must. Here a roughing gouge is
being honed. The wheel contains a polishing abrasive, and
is used after a light grinding on the bench grinder.
A tool may be sharpened several times during the turning
process depending on how tough the material is.
Certain woods such as Cocobolo, and deer antler are very
hard and wear the tools down quickly.
2: Turning your pen...
WoodCrafting is a family-owned business located
in Southern New Jersey that crafts fine writing
instruments from exotic and native woods, acrylics and
( Also see
Pen Blanks )