Pen #13

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Project by Mark Wilson posted 02-11-2019 06:25 AM 550 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So, today was a pretty sucky day in my wanderings around, trying to make a living. I found myownbadself near Woodcraft in Fountain Valley, so, instead of making money today, I spent some. I got two Cigar Pen kits, the bushings for them, and two blanks, specific for the two pens.

The blank I chose for this one is identified as Mallee Burl. It is, if you must know, the very first burl anything I’ve turned, aside from any “burl-like” activity I’ve found in other chunks of timber. It’s very lovely wood, though a little prone to chipping. I’ll have to bear in mind, next time I turn any burled wood, to fortify the ends with CA. However, it just occurred to me that the ends got a pretty good CA soaking, when I glued in the tubes.

Thank you. And, I apologize.

-- Mark

19 comments so far

View Andre's profile


2695 posts in 2260 days

#1 posted 02-11-2019 06:54 AM

Too fancy for me to mess up! Last trip to L.V. I came home with the Baron Kit and a couple of kits! New assembly technique that made me think a little, poor assembly diagrams. Made one from Walnut and one in Maple. Also tried the General wipe on finish.
GeneralĀ® Water-Based Turner’s Finish

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View BobWemm's profile


2678 posts in 2380 days

#2 posted 02-11-2019 07:01 AM

Really cool Mark.
You gotta love that mallee burl.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


2854 posts in 1274 days

#3 posted 02-11-2019 09:19 AM

Nice job M’W’. It is great to see the “resurgeance” of cigar kits other than the standard slimlines… not that a great job cannot be made on the slimlines, i feel that their inferior refill’s quality greatly degrades any worthwhile creation.

I have found that a good “soaking” in thin CA gives burl a more responsive working media. If you manage not to not take out chips (say that quickly) then pat yourself on the back, however, if you inadvertently follow in my footsteps may I recommend you start farming some sawdust (if you don’t already).
Sourced out of dust collectors,

Sourced from scraping off rounded blank prior to final turning,

The one good thing about burl is that you can mix many different colours of (even) foreign sawdust (and charcoal), soak it with CA, and leave a generous amount on the blank off the chisel for some heavy initial coarse sanding.

Mark, I’m sure you are probably aware of what I said above and I’m not trying to teach you how to suck eggs… it’s more for the benefit of any novice/potential pen turner that may read this post as what I have said would probably get lost if it was in a stand alone blog.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Tooch's profile


2010 posts in 2330 days

#4 posted 02-11-2019 10:38 AM

Looks good mark, and thanks to LBD for the idea of dust collection.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View lew's profile


12823 posts in 4209 days

#5 posted 02-11-2019 01:50 PM

Another Beauty!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View pottz's profile


5788 posts in 1438 days

#6 posted 02-11-2019 03:35 PM

nice one buddy,i love the burl woods,thats the red mallee and there is also the brown.ive used both in the past.another great burl wood is amboyna and thuya burl both of which are getting harder to find and expensive.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View stefang's profile


16711 posts in 3788 days

#7 posted 02-11-2019 04:00 PM

Looks great. That is a beautiful burl.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View bushmaster's profile


3671 posts in 2736 days

#8 posted 02-11-2019 05:50 PM

Your pens are always first class, I found that chipping a problem when turning burl wood too.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View leafherder's profile


1830 posts in 2406 days

#9 posted 02-11-2019 08:39 PM

Another lovely pen, hopefully #13 will prove lucky for you. Sorry you had a sucky day but any day that includes a trip to Woodcraft can’t be all bad.

To LBD – I save sawdust all the time, sorted by color and texture, but never thought of mixing in charcoal or other substances, now you have sparked my imagination in the middle of winter when the weather is lousy and I can’t get out to my “shop” (unheated screened in porch).

-- Leafherder

View Grumpy's profile


25536 posts in 4305 days

#10 posted 02-11-2019 11:20 PM

If it’s the Aussie Mallee Mark that is tough wood to work. Well done Buddy.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Ivan's profile


14793 posts in 3321 days

#11 posted 02-12-2019 06:32 AM

Nice and interesting colour.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2610 posts in 1517 days

#12 posted 02-12-2019 08:21 AM

LBD: It’s great idea, but, I’m just not that well-organized. Really. I’ve tried that sort of thing – collecting different dusts and shavings. A man’s gotta know his limitations.

Larry: You’re not kidding, expensive. Those blanks cost me about $11 a piece. I felt like an idiot. What I really wanted to get was what they had none of – Herringbone ready-made blanks. I can’t see meownbadself spending a week making a blank, like I did for the failed #12. Now, of course, I could make it a whole lot easier on myownbadself by simply buying that big-boy bandsaw they had on sale at Woodcraft for ONLY $800. Nah. I think I’ll just think about ordering them on eBay.

John: Somehow, I’m not surprised. And, come to think of it, somewhere in the the Atelier, is a big pill bottle of charcoal dust. I don’t remember why, bu, there really is. I even know just where it is. I can’t, for all the tea in China, recall, or fathom, why.

-- Mark

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2610 posts in 1517 days

#13 posted 02-12-2019 08:34 AM

And, speaking of failures that are better left UN-discussed: This pen gave me fits for a minute, when I started turning the cap barrel. It SPUN on the mandrel, and I was all there’s no way I’m letting this expensive piece of wood go to waste. And I was all why is it doing this? I took it off the mandrel and discovered that, somehow, the tube on one end was protruding from the wood by about 1/16”. So, I was all how can that be? I barrel trimmed it. So I stuck the trimmer in my cordless, and attempted to flush it up. Well, sir, it then poked out the other end. OH, said I. What we have here is a glue failure. I took it out and re-glued it. It seemed to work.

-- Mark

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


2854 posts in 1274 days

#14 posted 02-12-2019 10:28 AM

.....Those blanks cost me about $11 a piece…..
- Mark Wilson

And don’t forget the kit, sandpaper and the most precious resource… time! It’s times like these that one starts to reconsider giving away the pens as gifts/free even to family… who usually throw it in the bottom of a drawer… only because they didn’t have to pay for it… yep, sour grapes, BTDT!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

23006 posts in 3559 days

#15 posted 02-13-2019 02:37 AM

Gorgeous pen, Mark!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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