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Making a Pen with Your New Wood Lathe
So you just purchased a wood lathe but do not know what kind of project you should start out with. As soon as the right amount of skill is obtained, beautiful pieces of woodwork can be created with a wood lathe. However, before you get too over your head, it is best to start out with a basic woodturning project. My recommendation would be beginning by carving your very own pen.
Pen turning is a common hobby or past time. These homemade pens can make excellent gifts for any event. Pen turning is a fun yet practical project that can help you get a taste of the capabilities of your wood lathe. The following are some tips in preparing your wood for the lathe that will help you make your first wood lathe experience successful.
1. Pick an interesting wood blank. One of the great things about pen turning is you can use any sort of wood you want, including scrap pieces from other projects. Pick out a piece of wood with interesting figuring. Be aware that some wood changes appearance with light and air exposure and will begin to look dull with time, such as Paduak or Purple Heart wood. If you are not comfortable using a scrap piece of wood there are numerous wood blanks that can be purchased in all sorts of exotic woods.
2. Examine your wood. It is very important that you examine the wood you are using for your pen project. Make sure that your wood is dry and without faults or cracks. Damp and cracked wood will make for a lousy pen, if you can even make one out of that type of wood at all.
3. It is better to be oversized than undersized. If you have to choose between an oversized wood blank and an undersized blank, always choose the oversized one. This will give you some leeway just in case you make a mistake.
4. Have an idea. As with everything else in life, your pen will turn out better if you have an idea on what you want to create before you start. Decide before using the wood lathe on what type of shape you want your pen to be.
5. Mark the wood blank before you cut. It is nice to put a pencil mark across the grain of the wood before you start. This will make it easier to match up the grain pattern after you cut the wood blank.
6. Make sure your ends are square. If the ends of your wood blank are not perfectly square before using the wood lathe, there will be possibilities of cracking when the pen is assembled.
7. The smaller wood lathe the better. This tip is really just meant to make your life easier. Any wood lathe is suitable for pen turning; however, the smaller the wood lathe the easier your job is.
8. Keep it simple the first couple of times. It is tempting to want to do some fun and intricate pen shapes the first couple of times but stick to the basics until you figure out just exactly what it is you are doing.
A pen is an easy project that can help you with the beginning possibilities of your new wood lathe. After you conquer creating your own pen, there are several other projects to start with such as table and chair legs, wooden bowls, wooden hammers, candle sticks, or even pieces to a chess set. Just remember to begin with a simple project with your wood lathe to get use to your new tool before attempting more difficult projects.
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