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Monday, July 8, 2013

Hooked On Pens

I had a rough week last week and pretty much done nothing wood work related. For a couple of days now though I have been trying to get a project started. I kept getting sidetracked though. Then I would think about pen blank ideas.
Anyway, I actually started the larger project. It doesn't make a difference what the project was. It doesn't warrant talking about for the purpose of what my over all problem is. As I was trying to start it though, everything went wrong. I blame it on several factor, the main one being that my mind just was not on it.
Then I came to a conclusion. This project, I was wanting to do it just to put some time in on a larger project. The particular choice of project though I have done before and have photos to show of it. If someone wants to buy one and put up a deposit, then I'd make it. Otherwise, why am I worrying myself with it? If I have no payment pending project to do, why not just get busy with what my mind was on anyway?
I think I have a problem. I am hooked on pens, and wood turning in general. I have got to get a larger lathe somehow so I can turn larger things more often.
For now though, on with the pens.

The first on, I decided to revisit a favorite. I was able to obtain a couple more pieces of the sideways grain zebra wood.
The zebra wood pen was something I done in between waiting on glue ups to dry. Mostly what I worked on today was some ideas I had for pen blanks.
Any of you who read my blog regularly may remember a time when I was making wild shaped pens with large bulges and other shapes. Lately I have been sticking to this one style of pen. It is a simple design with no center ring. I like it and it is pretty much what I'll be doing for the foreseeable future unless I'm working with something that I cannot get long enough blanks from, like antler, for example.
I tried those weird shapes because I had not found what my "style" would be. I like simple lines. I think the bulges take away from the overall beauty of the woods I am trying to showcase. Instead, I have figured out I would rather glue up blanks to accent and show off different patterns and looks using different species of woods. After all, it is the material used that sets them apart from any other pen that can be bought for pennies at the store.
So what were these blanks that had been on my mind?
Starting at the left:
The one still in the vice is a variation on the wave style I've done before. I've done a couple of them now, but they have been dark woods with light accent strips. For this one, I went the other way with yellow heart for the main wood. For the accent strip, I started with walnut. Then I figured I'd make it more interesting. Instead of one strip, why not sandwich a strip of box elder between two strips of walnut?
Next is purple heart and box elder. If this turns out on the lathe without issue, this one is going to make me jump for joy. I think I finally have glued up a celtic knot without messing up any of the strips. As far as I can tell, it is perfect. The only way to tell for certain though is, of course, turn it round.
Next, walnut and box elder. I made some pens lately with the long elliptical rings in it. I got the idea from the first pen I described though to sandwich three strips for the center accents.
The last pen I really don't know what to say. I'm not sure this one isn't going to simply blow apart when I put the drill bit near it. It is red heart, box elder, and ziricote. It was just one of those wild ideas I had at the last minute and threw it together. If it makes it far enough into the pen making process, we will see how it turns out. Some of my best ideas come from spur of the moment glue ups. Who knows?
I wanted all these to cure overnight. So hopefully we will see tomorrow how they turn out. I just wanted to post this evening to show you all these few ideas that I'm working on.

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