Turning pens in various woods has become the opening for many woodworking enthusiasts into the world of wood turning. Assuming you have already turned the classic slim line pen, you likely have all the necessities of making pens with the possible exception of the bushings for the European style. this is also malled the Mont Blanc™ but as that name is a trade mark of the Cross company, we need to use another. Just to confuse matters some of the companies consider a European style to have a flat top. For the record we are going to turn a two diameter pen with center band over a tenon and having a rounded top.
To begin with, you need a blank at least 5/8" square and about 6" long. Here are from left to right
- purple heart
- rose wood
- rose wood
- bird's eye maple
You will have received your pen parts as separate kits in bags. I like to separate like parts into compartments in a tray as I seldom make less than 25 pens at a time. It is easier to open all the bags at once in front of the tv or with the stereo going than one by one in the shop.
This kit has tubes of two different lengths. I take one and use it as a reference to mark each blank with a mark that will tell me where the blanks lined up later for grain.
I am not big on measuring so I use one of the cylinders to adjust the sled for my table saw to cut the length plus about a 1/16". I like the arrangement as it ensures a square end which helps with accurate drilling and assembly.
First I cut all parts of one length and then set up for the other cylinders and cut them. As each piece is cut it is placed in an appropriate spot to make sure there is no mixup of parts later. This may be unlikely here but for an order of say 50 bocote pens, keeping them in order can be a challenge.
Each pen blank is drilled with a 7mm drill. The jig makes the process very quick.