Greeting from Rainy Southern California!

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penicillin

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Joined
Feb 27, 2019
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367
Greetings from Southern California! Sunny? Not. We have had a succession of rainstorms with more on the way. Today is overcast with scattered showers. The weather summary for the next four days is: Rain, Overcast, Rain, Rain. Like adventure? Come try our freeways in the rain! Southern California drivers are notorious for not knowing how to drive in wet weather.

I have been lurking without joining for a few months. After a lot of web searches without success, I just posted my first question asking about 0.3 and 0.5 mm pencil kits. Someone pointed out that I should post an introduction, so here it is:

I am an amateur woodworker, eager to learn more. I use a mix of hand tools, power hand tools, and power tools.

I get pen and pencil kits from the local Rockler store near me. I make my own blanks from wood boards, reclaimed furniture, and scrapwood. I have made a few acrylic pens and pencils, but prefer natural wood. So far, I have made 44 pens and pencils, plus one seam ripper. I had a few failures - breaking apart and flying away from the tube, damage during assembly, tip too short (didn't match brass insert length perfectly), glue in tubes interfering, etc. I drill and assemble on the lathe. I mill the ends on a small drill press. I use both high speed steel (HSS) and carbide turning tools. I use Hut Crystal Coat (friction polish) or a CA finish on wood, and Micro-mesh with Hut plastic polish on acrylic. I like the natural feel of the Crystal Coat, but I am told that it does not protect as well. My pens are too new to know what happens when the Crystal Coat wears down.

I made pens as holiday gifts, plus a few more for our soldiers and veterans. Now that the gifts are out of the way, I want to make pens and pencils for my own use at work, home, and in the shop. I am also committed to make a few more gift pens for people who are helping one of my children. In my dreams, I would love to host a family day for three of my nieces, where we could have fun making wood pens for them to take home.

I am almost done with pens from this initial surge. Once I have over-saturated family, friends, and my own needs with pens and pencils, I will move on to other projects, some of which are already underway. I will keep a few kits around, ready to turn for gifts when the need arises.

I will be active on penturners.org for a little while, but don't expect me to be a long-term contributor. I get the allure of pen making, but my focus won't be on pens and pencils for much longer. (I can read your minds: "Yeah, that's what I said when I started to make pens.")

Thanks to everyone for being here to answer my pen making questions. I hope I can contribute a few answers along the way, too.
 
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leehljp

Member Liaison
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
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7,722
Location
Tunica, MS,
Welcome to IAP.

You asked an interesting question - about .3 and .5 pencil kits. I don't see very many references to such fine pencil kits or even mechanical pencils at all for that size. Most of my woodworking friends (including some engineers) use thicker lead on wood.

That said, I lived in Japan for 25+ years and learned to enjoy the finer pencils there. Been back in the USA since late 2010 and at first it was hard to find .3mm refills. Easy to find them on Amazon now.
 

penicillin

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
367
Welcome from northern Virginia!

How old are your nieces?....old enough to turn yet?

-> How old is "old enough to turn"?
I realize that the question depends a lot on the individual, but are there any rules-of-thumb that you use? Does the law say anything about it?

They are 5, 7, and 8 and are actually the daughters of my nieces. Does that make them "great-nieces"? The 8-year-old is big and very mature for her age. She could be ready to turn an easy pen with good adult supervision and careful assistance. The others are not old enough for tools yet, but we can sand, assemble, glue, and finish some wood toys and/or gifts for their parents together. Truth be told: It is probably best to wait a couple years. No accidents or injuries on my watch, please!

Before I consider inviting any of them over for woodworking, I would do thorough preparation. That includes doing the work carefully myself first, to try to better understand the perspective of a new, inexperienced young person, with the goal of ensuring safety. Believe me, it won't happen unless I feel it is very safe, and I will definitely ask Spouse to look over each step too. She keeps me honest with myself.

The family member I really hope will join me in the shop is my nephew. After a 30-year draught since my last real niece, we were blessed with a new nephew. He will be 2 this Spring. (I am planning to make some wood toys.) He has a lot to learn because his parents are helpless. Spouse and I had to go over and assemble all the baby furniture for them. When Spouse handed a screwdriver to her brother and asked him to insert a screw that she couldn't reach, he complained that the screw would not go in. Spouse looked, and he was turning the screwdriver "lefty-tighty". Suffice it to say that my nephew won't learn anything practical from his parents. :-(
 

Edgar

New Member Advocate
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
5,940
Location
Alvin, TX 77511
Welcome from Texas.


One safe & easy approach to introduce your nieces to pen making is to simply buy some poly clay at a hobby store and let them mix a few colors together, roll it out, wrap it around a tube & bake it for a few minutes. Then apply a glaze & assemble the kit.



My granddaughter even won a prize in our Youth Pen Maker contests a few years ago doing this.
 
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