American Wood Pens

Unique handcrafted exotic wood fine writing instruments

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Interesting Sawdust

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As I workde in my hop building a batch of particularly colorful pens, it occurred to me that I make interesting sawdust.  Hence, the name of this page.  People often ask questions about how to make a pen and how long it takes.  For those of you who are interested, here are the basics.
                                        INTERESTING SAWDUST













                                                            Day 1

Pen making requires a large supply of wood blanks.  This is about 30% of what we keep on hand.  It also requires a stock of pen parts, tools and supplies.











Organization is essential.














Stabilized blanks come from our supplier, ready to use, but non-stabilized blanks may have been recently cut and have a potential for excessive moisture content.  We date blanks on arrival and hold them for 60 days to ensure correct moisture content.













All blanks within a batch are cut to the same length and have the ends 'squared'.  Today we are working with Bethlehem Olive.  The entire shop smells of olive every time we cut, drill or turn.  The blank is 'matchmarked' wwith a black line(s) so that we can keep track of the mated ends after the two halves are cut apart.












The blank is end drilled for the barrel.  Depth settings and drill RPM are important.















The blank is bandsawed to the appropriate length for the barrel.








The blank is then drilled for the cap (may be a different size) and bandsawed to the appropriate length for the cap.  Neither the cap or barrel is drilled all the way thru to keep the blank from splitting.  The two drilled blank halves are set aside while we prepare the brass tubes.












Brass tubes are power cleaned with coarse wire brush to remove tarnish and stains.  A rough surface is left so that the epoxy will adhere better.















One end of the tube is plugged with dental wax to prevent epoxy from pushing up into the tube.  The tube is cleaned with acetone to ensure no oils are left from the tube manufacturing process.















The hole in the blank is coated with epoxy using a Q-tip.  The brass tube is rolled in 2-component epoxy and with the aid of an insertion tool, is twisted into the blank.  This is to ensure 100% glue contact with both the tube and the inside of the blank.  The expoxy is allowed to cure overnight.















Day 2          Day 3          Day 4

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