Seasoned woodworkers recommend items like drumsticks, bowls, and bangles to novices, as they can help improve wood-turning skills. However, if you want something that requires small wood blanks, then custom wooden pens are the way to go.
Pen turning for beginners can prove to be extra challenging. But don’t worry, our tutorials will teach you how to make a wooden pen step-by-step, whether you have a lathe or not.
Table of Contents
- Tutorial for Those With a Lathe
- Tutorial for Those Without a Lathe
Tutorial for Those With a Lathe
- Pen-making kit
- Cyanoacrylate adhesives (CA glue) or epoxy
- Liquid friction polish
- Wood blanks (¾” x ¾” x 6”)
- Barrel trimmer
- Drill press and vise/pen press
- Saw or bandsaw
- Pen-turning lathe
- Coarse sandpaper
- Pen mandrel
- Clean cloth
Personal protective equipment
- Nitrile gloves
- Safety glasses
Step 1: Prep the wood plank and brass
- Using a bandsaw or any saw, cut the wood blank, ensuring that it is a bit longer than the brass tube from the pen kit.
- Use a vise and the drill bit in the pen-making kit instructions to drill the center of the wood blank.
- Sand the brass tube using high grit sandpaper. This allows the tube to stick to the wood blanks better once you apply the glue.
Step 2: Insert the brass tube into the drilled hole
- Put on your gloves, apply glue on the brass tube, then rotate it into the hole you just drilled on the wood blank. Allow the adhesive to dry before doing the next step.
If you’re using epoxy, allow the adhesive to dry overnight.
- Level each end of the wooden block using the barrel trimmer. Ensure that the edge of the blank touches the brass. Be careful to avoid breaking the wood.
Step 3: Turn the wood blanks
- Wear your safety glasses and mask. Note that this procedure involves the use of a lathe. Be sure that you know how to operate this tool. Otherwise, proceed to the tutorial on making pens from wood without a lathe.
- Refer to the instructions that came with the pen kit to determine the appropriate pen bushings to use. You only need two pieces of this.
- Place the blank to the mandrel with the bushings on either side of the wood blank securely.
- Mount the mandrel to the lathe and turn it on.
- Using a gouge, shape the blank as it is turned by the lathe. Do not press the gouge too much. Go slowly, allowing the gouge’s tip to touch the wood lightly.
Step 4: Shape the blank using sandpaper
- Shape the blank further using 100 or 120-grit sandpaper. Go from top to bottom, including the bushings.
- Replace your sandpaper with a higher grit. You can use up to 2000 grit.
- Look for blemishes on the pen and continue to sand if needed. Otherwise, proceed to Step 5.
Step 5: Apply friction polish
- Pour liquid friction finish on a clean cloth. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how much you need.
- Wipe the cloth onto the wood.
Step 6: Assemble the pen
- Remove all the components in your pen kit and follow the instructions on how to put each piece together.
- You can use a vise or pen press to align and attach each part.
Tutorial for Those Without a Lathe
Materials and tools
- Pen kit
- Hexagonal nut
- Pen blank
- Drill bit
- Poly finish or linseed oil
Step 1: Create a pattern on the end of the pen blank
- For this tutorial, we will be using a hexagonal nut and tracing it with a pen at the end of the blank. This will serve as a pattern to follow while shaving the wood.
- You have the option to make different wood pen designs. Just be sure to draw the pattern on the end of the two ends of the blank.
Step 2: Shape your wood blank
- Mount the wood blank onto the vise.
- Use your hand plane to shave off the excess, following the pattern you just drew on the wood.
- Use a file to round the edges of the wood blank to match the pen kit components.
Step 3: Sand and apply finish
Sand the wood until smooth and apply a light coating of finish.
Step 4: Put together the pen
Mount all the pen making supplies in the kit along with the wood blank. Ensure that each part is aligned and then press them together carefully.
Besides providing you with the opportunity to hone your woodworking skills, you can also give your handmade pens as gifts to your loved ones. Of course, the tutorials on how to make a wooden pen from scratch are only the basics.
Once you have mastered the craft, you can customize your writing utensils by creating unique shapes or applying other paints and finishes. You can even engrave them with the names of the people you want to give them to.
Hi, I am Eveline Kessler, a content creator. My love for colors and arts draws me here to join the Intermediarts team with Leilani. I am responsible for testing new products and techniques with her and providing honest reviews and tips based on our experience. I have gained a lot of knowledge from this, and I believe you will find her suggestions to be invaluable as well.