Pen & Pencil ProjectsProjectsTurning Projects

Turned Slimline Pen

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Lathe work is definitely a separate or maybe subclass of woodworking in its own right.  It’s something new to me and I have to confess it’s addicting and exciting.  To that end I am following what most woodworkers do when starting off with the lathe.  Pen turning.  Just as lathe work is a subclass of woodworking.  Pen turning is in a class of its own as well.  Many lathe woodworkers are only into lathes for making pens.  The wide variety, and detail work involved in pen turning is definitely a hobby all unto itself.  I knew folks were passionate about that hobby, but had no idea of the detail work that many put into this hobby.  Also the wide variety of pens that are available is enormous.

Slimline Pen

I have chosen a very basic pen to make for this post.  The slim line pen has a very simple and eloquent look and feel to it.  This of course all depends on what wood you use and shape you choose.  I chose to use Paduk wood for mine, and a very basic end turn.

I put links at the bottom of this post where you can find some of the items I used to turn this.

For a little extra help with this project I also put together a video of how I made this below.



Materials & Hardware

  • (1) SlimLine Pen Kit
  • (1) Pen Blank Paduk

Milling & Assembly

Wood Pen Turning Blank PrepWood Pen Turning Blank PrepTo start the pen making process.  I start with selecting a wood blank and cutting it so that I have (2) 2-1/8″ pieces.
Wood Pen Turning Blank PrepWood Pen Turning Blank PrepWood Pen Turning Blank PrepThe next step in the process is to find the center points on one end of each piece.  I also like to mark the two pieces so that I can identify the wood grain pattern as I move along the process.  After I find my center points then I drill a hole through the blank using my drill press and a 7mm drill bit.  This is the size needed for the pen that I’m making.
Wood Pen Turning Blank InsertWood Pen Turning Glue Wood Pen Turning Blank Insert Glue UpWood Pen Turning Blank Insert Glue UpAfter I have my holes all cut, the next step is to move on to gluing a brass insert into each piece.  I start this by roughing up my brass inserts with sand paper.  I used a 60 grit paper.  This is so that the glue has something to grip to.  The glue I used is a CA glue called stick fast.  The name is completely appropriate and it really does stick fast.  You’ll need to work quick after applying it.  To get the tube into the stock I use the end of a plastic pen to do that.  There are special tools available for this, but it’s one of those “nice to have” items.  It’s very important that no glue get into the barrel as it would ruin the pen blank.
Wood Pen Turning Blank CompleteWood Pen Turning Wood Pen TurningWood Pen TurningAfter I have the brass tubes in my wood blank.  The next thing I need to do is true it up the wood on each end.  I use a barrel trimmer to do that so it’s flush with the brass tube.  After that I load the blanks onto a mandrel(mine is a #2 mandrel) I also use pen guide bushings to separate each end, and then I’m ready to load the mandrel onto the lathe.
Wood Pen Turning TurningWood Pen Turning Wood Pen Turning Sand PaperWood Pen Sanding TurningWhile turning the blank I start with a small bowl gouge getting the blank roughly the size I want it to be.  Then I switch over to a skew.  The skew has a much gentler touch to the wood and I use it to smooth the ends of the blanks.  After the ends are the same width as the guide bushing the majority of the turning work is done.  Next up I start using sand paper to get the blank smoothed out.  I start with a 150 grit and work my way up to a 600 grit paper.
Wood Pen Turning WaxWood Pen Turning WaxingAfter sanding is complete then I’m ready to work on waxing the pens up.  The first step in this is to clean off any saw dust from the sanding.  Next up I start with a product called EEE-Ultra Shine.  It only takes a little and I like to do two coats of this wax buffing off any excess between each coat.  After that I use a product called shella wax.  When applying this product you only need a drop or two.
Wood Pen Turning Pen PressWood Pen Turning Slim Line Kit Wood Pen Turning AssemblyWood Pen Turning AssemblyThe last steps in the pen process are to assemble all the pieces.  I used a pen press to help with this.  You could certainly get away with using clamps strategically, but the pen press is a big plus.  The pen kit includes directions on the process, but the basic process is to insert the tip and mechanical pieces into the brass tubes.  It’s a simple thing to complete.


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Items I Used to Finish this




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