Pen Turning! Coming to a VA near you. . . . . . at least some of you.

Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad


Dec 28, 2009
Little Rock, Arkansas
I thought I'd share a video made by our local VA.

VA pen turning activity

I've been a volunteer for over 2 years. I can honestly say it's been a very rewarding experience for myself, and I think for all the volunteers that are involved. We help veterans almost every Monday and Tuesday, and 1 Saturday each month. Most are residents at the VA for a few weeks to several months, or longer. Most come a little apprehensive, but leave that day with a pen and a smile. After their 1st pen, the goal is for them to make 1 for themselves, and 1 to donate back to the VA. All at no cost the veteran.

I have no idea how many pens have been made by the veterans at this VA, but it's in the thousands. Locally we have grown from 1 lathe to 8 lathes. And many residents have already purchased a lathe when they returned home. One of the biggest reasons this has been a success is because of penturners from all over Arkansas. Some donate their time, where others donate materials. John Austin (aka hanau), a member from North Carolina donated some carbide tools to us. And at 1 of our local IAP meetings, we turned handles for the tools. Here's a link to the thread about that meeting. The tools are shown in a photo on post # 21.

For the last 3 Februarys, the VA has hosted our local IAP meeting. It's been our biggest meeting of the year each time. The past 2 years, our local PITH count has been 17 pens. That is our record for any PITH since we started having local meetings nearly 9 years ago.

So why am I posting all this? These VA's around the country that are starting a pen turning activity really need volunteers to get it off the ground. If you have some free time, there isn't a much easier way to brighten someones day than to help them make their 1st pen.

About 2 weeks ago Our local VA hosted people from 6 of the 9 VA's starting the pen turning activity. Each person from the VAs went through a 2 day orientation of our program, and each made a pen, and for most it was their 1st time using a lathe. Although Colin from the Reno NV VA probably could show us a thing or two on the lathe. on the 2nd Each visitor was paired with a local volunteer. In the morning we helped them make a few pens. In the afternoon, they helped a resident make a pen or two. So after a crash course on pen turning these people went back to their VAs to start implementing their own pen turning activity

Attached is a word doc with the locations and the contact information of each of the VA's starting this program. If you're a member of an IAP local chapter near one of these VA's, please consider helping these Veterans as a group, or individually. Just contact the person on the list and ask how you can help. If you live near one of the VA's without a contact, just post here, and I'll see if I can find out the information for you. Or even better, contact Alyssa Welch at the North Little Rock location.


  • Pen Turning Spread A Team.docx
    15.4 KB · Views: 106
Top Bottom