Lesson Learned

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Jan 10, 2019
La Crescent, MN
This is my first attempt at a segmented pen using metal (aluminum from a beer can).

I was making this as a gift, and thought it would be neat to have a segment near the tip of curly maple. I cut it so that the end-grain would show, not realizing that I would get tearout near the thin transition sections.
I tried to repair using wood dust mixed with glue, but was unhappy with the result. The wood also had some coloration that made it look "dirty".

I ended up cutting that section off and adding a segment of red burl.

Overall, I think the end result turned out nice and I'm sure they'll be happy to receive as a free pen.


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May 11, 2010
Phoenix, AZ
Yup. You've got a knife edge with wood without a solid grain structure. Next time you do that, don't try to turn it down so far, but go with some coarse sandpaper to take it to the final diameter.

The tried and true "80 grit gouge." :biggrin:


Member Liaison
Feb 6, 2005
Tunica, MS,
No disrespect to the others on the use of sandpaper, but with metal/wood, I do not use sandpaper at all.

The dirty end that you mentioned . . .
The wood also had some coloration that made it look "dirty".
That "dirty look" is sanded metal deposits on the wood. Sandpaper does that.

Look at this photo: http://www.penturners.org/photos/images/940/1_30_Pieces_of_Silver.jpg

Brass, aluminum (and the sliver dots in the photo) SMEAR with sanding. Some people accept a minuscule amount of sanding dust but I could not. Those two pens were turned smooth as a baby's cheek with a well sharpened scraper, NO sandpaper. Sandpaper smears metal sanding dust into the wood.

The key is a freshly sharpened (not "good enough" but the "best"; Good enough is the enemy of Best) and using it for about 20 to 30 seconds, swipe it on a hone and turn 20 - 30 seconds, swipe again, and so on. I use HSS which dulls quicker than carbide inserts but I can sharpen HSS better than the best of carbide inserts. Metal and wood is a case of using the sharpest of the sharp, and HSS give it. Learning to sharpen HSS like that is a good experience that brings on a great feeling. I use carbide inserts often, but when it comes to the final sizing, I turn to HSS, even on metal and wood segments/laminates.
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