A little further off topic than usual today, something not about technology and work for a change. Woodworking is one of my hobbies, and I find all too little time to work at it as I try to move from amateur to craftsman. But here and there I do find a time for fun, and one of my recent projects was something that had been on the list for far too long - turning a pen. My friend Steve has done these for a while, so I was interested to try. The basics of are selecting a small piece of wood, drilling a hole through it for the two pieces of the pen core and then gluing them in, and then using a lathe to turn the wood down to the right size. You end up with perhaps a 1/16" of wood around this slim metal core, and then the rest just goes together. Probably easier to watch it than read about it, so I grabbed two links from Youtube for you!
Here's my first attempt.
Using a lathe is quite a bit different than other woodworking to me. It's quiet, the lathe makes hardly any noise, and it's all curves, not much point in just turning straight lines! The investment to try it is probably $500-$750 for the lathe plus tools, but if you have a local Woodcraft store they usually offer classes at less than $100 (and supplies) and that's a good way to find out if you like it enough to spend the big money. I already had the lathe, so it was just a few pen turning accessories I needed to do the project.
Next Friday I have another project to discuss, one that is more rough construction than cabinet making!