Bubinga Project

The pens were made using Easy Wood Tools Mini Rougher.  They were sanded with pre-boxed sanding strips from Woodcraft.  The finish is a cyanoacrylate from a kit sold by Craft Supply USA that includes the sealing glue, finish glue, plastic polish, Abranet, and wet sand microgrit papers.  The pens were turned on my Shop Fox W1704 Bench Top Lathe.  If you are ever tempted to buy this Shop Fox machine for yourself think carefully several times over.

Shop Fox W1704 Bench Top Lathe


I bought the Shop Fox machine on Amazon and it is predictably imported from China and not the best machine in the world.  If the Shop Fox was your introduction to turning you’d probably quit in frustration.  I bought it strictly for pen making.  As much as I love my Robust American Beauty lathe, it is just too big to easily make pens with.  Even the smallest tool rests are too large to allow you to get close to a single blank and although I could use spacer blanks, I thought I would give a try to something small and dedicated.  It only cost me about $200 and maybe another $50 in accessories to make it usable for making pens.  It works but it is just cheap.  It doesn’t tighten well and the locks on the banjo and tail stock of gimcrack.  But, technically, it does work.  What I think I will try next is to make a spacer blank to use on the mandrel with the American Beauty.  Granted, a pen blank looks sort of funny on an American Beauty but I do miss the reliability with which the Robust machine just WORKS.

Robust American Beauty Lathe

Next up, I am sticking to North American domestic woods for a while starting with Sycamore and a good amount of Claro Walnut among other species.  Stay tuned.