My Penmaker’s Workshop | Home Decor Online Tips

My Penmaker’s Workshop | Home Decor Online Tips

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My Penmaker’s Workshop | Home Decor Online Tips

I keep all my blanks for turning the pen in a special locker. The variety of colors and grain is amazing and I love the symmetry of these little piles of wood.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in American Woodwork # 142, June / July 2009.

I stumbled upon pen manufacturing seven years ago while rummaging through my husband Jerry’s woodworking magazines and catalogs, looking for a special Christmas present for him. I came across a mini lathe that was advertised as the perfect tool for making custom pens … and I knew I was hooked.

I pictured myself sitting at a small student-sized workbench with my new mini lathe, diligently working on small projects. I ordered the lathe and pressured Jerry for space in his basement workshop, assuring him that I would only need a very small space. I had no experience in woodworking, so I bought some books on pen turning. When my lathe arrived, Jerry showed me how to hold a gouge and angle.

My Penmaker’s Workshop | Home Decor Online Tips

My husband, Jerry, built the lockers and helped me set up my 12 ‘x 12’ shop. All of my power tools are scaled to make pens and other small projects, such as fishing lures and game calls.

As my interest in pen turning grew, my idea of ​​adequate space changed. Jerry and I now share the basement, with my area becoming a real 12 ‘by 12’ pen turning shop. It houses everything I need to make a pen: a large 8 ‘workbench and four other smaller work surfaces, 24 drawers and 18 cabinets. Jerry built them all bespoke for me – a great return on my investment for all those years of woodworking oriented Christmas gifts!

The workbenches, shelves and cabinets support the scaled-down tools of my five-inch turning craft: three mini lathes, one mini pillar drill, one mini disc sander, one mini shaper (for pen boxes ), a mini air filter, a mini metal miter saw (for brass pipes), a mini duplicator, mini air compressors and a mini vacuum cleaner. Following my theme of small-scale tools, I cut the blanks of my pen to size with a fine-cut Bosch handsaw, instead of using a miter saw. In fact, the only full-sized tools in my area are my turning tools.

In addition to pens, I now make a number of other “five-inch” projects, including letter openers, wine bottle caps, fishing lures and lures. These little projects don’t throw a lot of sawdust around, so my shop is easy to keep clean and tidy. I store respirators, face shields, project hardware, tips, gauges, rulers, files, glues, gloves, and sanding and finishing materials inside cabinets and drawers, where they remain dust-free and easily accessible.

My projects don’t require a lot of material (I can get up to 12 blanks from a small bowl piece or a turning piece), so storage isn’t an issue. I have accumulated more than a hundred different pieces of local and exotic wood turning. I study books and articles about their origins and the legends surrounding some of them, and wherever Jerry and I go, I look for anecdotes about how they were or are used. I write this information on the papers that accompany my pens.

My Penmaker’s Workshop | Home Decor Online TipsI’m being teased about the 144 square feet of space I “need” to make a pen, but sharing the woodwork with Jerry is one of the high points of our 40 years together. —Lynn Vanderpool


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