How to Make a Pen Lathe

What You'll Need
Drill bit
Drill press
Band or table saw
Disc sander
Bench vice or clamps
Pen kit
Wood blanks
Wax paper

Making a pen lathe can be rewarding and fun to do as a hobby. They are simple to make with the right materials and know how. You can choose to keep them, sell them, or give them to people as a gift. This product is one of the easiest to make with a lathe.  

Step 1: Cutting the Blank

If you did not purchase blanks that were pre-cut then you will need to cut them into two pieces. They are used for the top and bottom of the pen. They can be cut with the band or table saw. Be sure to cut them slightly larger than the length specified. Mark the blank so the grain pattern can be matched easily when assembling the pen. 

Step 2: Squaring the Ends of the Blank

This is an important step to do so that no holes or gaps show where the fittings and blank meet. You can use a miter gauge with disc sander to square off the ends. If you are planning on making multiple pens, then store your blanks in a divided box.  

Step 2: Drilling the Blank

Drill slowly so the blank does not get ruined. To find the center of the blank, make an X corner to corner on the blank. The center of the X marks the center of the blank where you need to drill. The pen kit will tell you the size of the bit to use. Use the clamp to hold it in place while drilling.  

Step 3: Time to Glue the Blanks

Once the drilling is completed, it is time to glue the brass tubes inside the blank. Read the provided instructions on the blank and tub specifics. Remove any tarnish that may be on the blank with sandpaper. This also ensures that the glue will bond properly. Hold the blank and put a couple of drops on the end. You will then turn the blank around to let the glue run to the opposite end. The glue will also be spread out on the inside. Take the tubes and put them in the blank. Now allow time to dry on a piece of wax paper. 

Step 4: Turning the Blank

Look at the instructions for the pen kit to know what size bushing to use. On the mandrel, tighten the nut. Be sure to not tighten it too much. The mandrel now needs to be secured to the lathe. By hand, you need to turn the blank and make sure they do not make contact with the lathe. Now, turn the lathe at the highest speed it can go. Be sure to use your safety equipment now that it is time to turn. When turning, be sure not to go too far. You can now use sand paper or a skew chisel to finish the blank. 

Step 5: Finishing the Project

Sand the pen lathe until it is smooth. You can now place a finish on the blank of your choosing. Some are wiped, and others are applied during the turning. Checking with the directions on the pen kit, assemble the pen.