Tips and Tricks

To get free wood, tell people, “I’ll make you a pen if you give me enough wood to make three pens.”

Round the back corners of the band saw blade to decrease friction and heat.

Rough up the brass tubes using a sanding cylinder on a drill press and the brass tube on an old screwdriver

Put a potato plug in the ends of the brass tubes to keep glue out.

Plug the ends of your pen tubes with dentists’ base plate wax to keep the glue from entering the tubes (www.arizonasilhouette.com/Base_PLate_Wax.htm).

If the brass tube gets stuck partway in the blank when using CA glue, cut off the protruding end of the tube and glue it in the other end.

For dense and/or brittle wood cut the corners off the blanks with the band saw before turning.

Cut v-grooves in a wood clamp to hold the blank for drilling and pen milling.

Use a “Colt” drill bit when drilling plastics.

Eliminate the center band or substitute another material for the center band.

Use a buffing wheel with honing compound to polish tools after grinding.

Kurt Hertzog: hone turning tools with fine diamond sharpener instead of using the grinder so often.

Apply oil or wax or some other anti-stick material to the bushings and mandrel to keep the blank from getting glued onto the mandrel or bushings when using CA glue as the finish.

Use fine grit nail file sticks purchased from beauty supply stores.

Sand pens with pieces of an old belt impregnated with cutting compounds.

After each grit, sand lengthwise to remove the sanding circles created by sanding with the lathe spinning.

After sanding to 400 or 600 grit, lightly spray the blank with water and let dry to bring out the grain, then sand again with 400/ 600 paper.

Kurt Hertzog: Use a floppy piece of rubber to hold onto the pen when disassembling.

Give the customer a little pen care sheet with the pen.