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Old 08-28-2005, 11:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
Ron in Drums PA
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Default Laminated Pen Blanks

Making laminated pens similar to the ones we see here on IAP is very simple. For those who don’t know how it’s done here is a quick method to help get you started.

Pen blanks
White Glue
Wax paper

Scroll Saw
2-3 Clamps

Staring off:
On a sheet of paper draw a rectangle the size and shape of your pen blank. Tracing the blank makes this easy. Now draw a pleasing curve inside the box. It’s best not to make to tight of a curve until you are familiar with this process. A simple S curve is a good starter. With a pair if scissors cut along the curved line. This will be your template.

Transfer the image using your template onto the pen blank with a pencil.

Scroll saw:
Not surprisingly working with curves is easier than using straight lines. No matter how you cut the blank, you will always get a matching pair. Besides, it’s simpler to cut a curvy line than a perfectly straight line on a scroll saw. The best blade to use will be the one that gives you the smoothest finished surface.

Cut a few strips of veneer a little longer then the size of your pen blanks. Be creative here, mix and match contrasting woods for a pleasing effect.

Cauls are just wood blanks that are used to help evenly apply pressure during a clamp up. If your pen blank is 3/4" x 3/4" x 5", make your cauls at least 3/4" x 2" (wider the better) x 6". The narrower your cauls are the more clamps you will need to use.

Dry run:
Gather your clamps, pen blanks, veneer, cauls and wax paper. Sandwich your materials in this order:

Wax paper (used to prevent the caul from becoming part of your pen blank)
One half of your pen blank
Second half of your pen blank
Wax paper

A quick note here, some veneers will crack if the curve is too tight. Soaking the veneer in water before glue up will help in most cases.

Glue up:
I like using white glue (elmers) because it stays open longer than yellow glue. Next, apply glue to all mating surfaces. If you miss any surface, you may have a void in your blank. Once all surfaces have glue, arrange the blanks and veneer in the predetermined order and clamp. You need to work quickly because you want to finish clamping before the glue starts to set.

When clamping you don’t need herculean pressure, just even pressure. Too much pressure is as bad, if not worse than to little pressure, you don’t want to squeeze all the glue out. Also, too much glue can be as bad as to little glue. With practice you will learn to use the right amount of glue and clamp pressure.

Let sit over night to dry.

The next day unclamp your blank and clean up any glue than has squeezed out. Rotate the blank so the edge of the blank that does not show the laminations is facing up. Now start all over again marking your blank with your template and so on until you have completed all the steps a second time.

There you go, hope this helps you get started! Enjoy!
Ron Sardo
Woodturners Resource
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