rough turning a pen

Once I have squared up the cheeks on the disc sander, to clean out the inside of the blank is quite easy. I use a sharp pointed tool and press on where the CA meets the brass tube. A bit of pressure will separate the two.

Using a disk sander to square the cheeks of the blanks will put a burr around the inside of the brass tube which will make it hard to assemble the pen kits,  I use a bit of 120 grit sandpaper curved into a cone to take away the burr and put a bit of a chamfer to held with the kit assembly process.

I then use a black marker to make the inside of the brass tubes, this is so that after we have turned off all the marking on the pen blanks we can identify how the pen blank should line up.

When you put the blanks onto the pen mandrel for turning, don’t over tighten the brass nut or the tail stock. Over tightening either of these will bend the mandrel rod.

I use a 3/4″ roughing gouge for most of my pen turning. It’s good turning practice to turn into the centre rather than from the centre out. Turning out from the centre increases the chance of chipping out a bit of the cheek of the blank.

I rough turn the pen to roughly half a mill more than what the finished dimensions of the barrels should be. I will stop the lathe and check with a set of digital callipers.  From past experience, I know that I roughly take off 0.8mm with the sanding process and the CA finish that I normally apply will put on another 0.3 – 0.4mm. You should keep accurate records of what you normally put on and take off, everyone has different pressures and practices – over time with good record keeping you will work out what best works for you.

Next video – Sanding and putting on the CA finish.

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