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How Do You Finish your Wood?

The two questions I am most often asked when I am at a show and people look at my items are, “How do you finish your wood?” or “What do you use to finish your wood?” They usually ask about my pens.

Over time I have used several types of finish and experimented with a few others, but I have settled on a specific type.

Before any finishing product hits the wood…

The finishing process begins way before any drop of liquid comes into contact with the wood. I don’t remember where I heard this but the words ring true in my head anytime I am working with a piece of wood.

Your finish only looks as good as your sanding

This makes a huge impact on how your finished piece turns out visually. If your wood is roughly sanded, and there are sand lines through the wood, no amount of finish is going to make that look good.

I sand at a slow speed with the lathe running around 500 rpm’s. This allows no heat to build up and to not have the sandpaper load. Generally I start out with a 220 grit paper and work my way up to 1200 grit sandpaper. This gives the wood a soft silky feel. Also between grits I reverse the lathe and sand with the grain to remove and sanding lines.

Once I am done sanding, I use a soft cloth I to wipe the wood down with Denatured Alcohol (DA) to remove any dust prior to applying the finish. DA cleans the woods and dries quickly without penetrating the wood like water can.

My homemade sandpaper dispenser
My homemade sandpaper dispenser

What about wood stains?

Wood stain is something I don’t use right now. As I tend to work with either exotic or reclaimed/recycled wood I want the natural grain and beauty of the wood to come through. Wood stains can mask that.

Exotic woods like Bocote, Cocobolo, Olivewood, etc. have their own beauty which would be a shame to hide behind a wood stain. My personal opinion is not to hide what nature created.

As for the reclaimed and recycled wood, when I begin turning it, it’s like unwrapping a present. You never know what you are going to find inside until you start peeling back the layers. I have begun turning what looked to be a bland piece of wood but once I began I uncovered hidden inclusions, wood knots, and some gorgeous grain patterns.

When working with wood, it’s like uncovering hidden treasure.

When it’s time to finish the wood…

As I said before I have played around with several types of finishes especially with my pens. From Friction polish, which is commonly a combination of Shellac, Denatured Alcohol, and Boiled Linseed oil, to various paste wax finishes and even Walnut Oil finish. While they are nice, they weren’t quite what I wanted as a finish especially with the pens.

The finish I ended up using and sticking with for my pens is Cyanoacrylate glue which is more commonly known as Super Glue. It creates a hard and durable coating that allows the beauty of the wood to come through while giving it a high gloss shine.

Even with this I have tried several different types and my CA of choice is Titebond. This brand has a good working time, dries fairly quickly, and holds up well.

There are two types of CA finish that can go onto the pens. I start out with five coats of thin CA. This soaks into the wood, and as the name implies, it is very thin and has incredible wicking properties. This comes in handy with woods like Zebrawood or Paduak which are naturally open grained and can have small natural voids in the wood that need to be filled.

Once the thin CA is applied, then I move on to Medium CA, which I apply about ten coats of. It builds a hard shell around the pen barrel which not only looks good but creates a protective barrier. Once this is fully dried and hardened, no matter how much you handle your pen, take it in or out of a purse the shine will always be there.

Titebond CA glue for finish or as it is more commonly known as Super Glue
Titebond CA glue for finish or as it is more commonly known as Super Glue

Hands off!

For a while I had a love/hate relationship with CA finish and it frustrated me to no end.

On occasion I would get a what looked to be smoky spots appearing on the blank when I would start polishing them. In order to figure out what was going on I did several things.

  • I bought fresh CA thinking it had gone bad.
  • I tried it with and without accelerator (which cures the CA faster).
  • Thinking it had something to do with the Florida heat and humidity, I tried playing around with applying it at different times of the day.

In the end I was fingered as the culprit.

Between each coat of CA you have to let it dry completely before going on to the next. I touched it with my finger to test the dryness. If it hadn’t dried enough, I would feel the tackiness on my finger.

What I didn’t realize was that when I did this it was also transferring oils from my skin to the finish which would then appear as a smoky spot when I started wet polishing.

So now between coats my new mantra is, “Hands off!”

An example of the smoky spots I would find in the finish from time to time.
An example of the smoky spots I would find in the finish from time to time.

Time to polish and buff…

Once the coats of CA are finished, and it has dried, there are still two more steps before I’m done.

First there is the wet sanding/polishing. For this I use pads called Micro Mesh. They run from 1500 grit up to 12,000 grit.

When the CA dries, it is not always smooth or even. The Micro Mesh pads takes care of that. I soak the pads in water as they have a sponge-like quality. With the lathe running at 500-600 rpm’s I wet-sand the blanks. The trick with these is to keep them wet and not to let the pads dry out.

As you polish with them, a slurry forms. Between each grit, wipe off the slurry with a soft paper towel.

Once I have gone through all the grits with the Micro Mesh, then the blanks come off the lathe and are ready for the buffing wheel. The wheels I use are cotton, and one is coated with Tripoli powder. With the lathe running at about 2700 rpm’s, I buff out the blank on the wheel with the Tripoli powder. Once that’s done, then I move on to the clean cotton wheel.

When it’s done, the blank pops and shines, and it’s then ready to assemble.

Fini

While this process may seem time consuming, it’s well worth the end results. It produces a pen with a luxurious finish that will last a lifetime.

 

Here are a few examples of my pens done with a CA finish.

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Hidden Beauty of Reclaimed Wood

It was just a bit over a year ago that I added some pieces of recycled/reclaimed Florida Live Oak and Eucalyptus to my wood selection. A lot has happened in that year. From the Oak, I turned some small live edge bowls. With the Eucalyptus, I turned bowls and bowls that are also tea light holders, as well as a few other items like shaving kits and pens. What I thought was just a passing fancy, using what would have been discarded wood, has now turned into a passion.

Reclaimed Eucalyptus wood bowl
Eucalyptus Bowl with tea light candle holder in the center.
Reclaimed Florida Live Oak Natural Edge Bowl
Live edge Florida Live Oak Bowl (Bark retained on the wood)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since those early days, I have expanded my search for reclaimed and recycled wood to work with. I call it Urban Harvesting. Wood that is otherwise headed for the dump or even the burn pile is what I seek out. Even wood that has outlived its purpose in one form or another, I look for and seek ways to transform it on my lathe. Random logs and planks that to most would seem unsightly and even ugly are what I find. The only drawback is that my storage space is limited.

 

Currently around my work area I have a number of different species: Florida Red Maple, Sycamore, Slash Pine, Australian Pine, Florida Live Oak, and Eucalyptus. I even have some Northern Birch from my home state of (upstate) New York that had fallen during the winter. And some of my new wood was gathered from Hurricane Irma this past September.

Recalimed wood wating to be used
Various woods in my shop

Inside each piece of wood is a secret waiting to be revealed. It is hidden away beneath the bark just waiting to be exposed.

What makes this wood even more spectacular is that it isn’t perfect. The hidden beauty that lies beneath has flaws and imperfections which add to the character of the finished piece. Yes I could go to a local lumber yard and buy a perfectly milled piece of wood. And it, too, has beauty in it; from the grain, the color, and the texture of the wood. Just like life isn’t always perfect, neither is this wood. From discolorations, inclusions, crotch wood where several branches met in the trunk, to spalting where bacteria in the wood left unusual patterns and grain in the wood.

All this forms to tell the story of years where the rain fell in plenty. It speaks of years when there was little to no rainfall. Winds that blew and did its best to bend branches as the tree battled the elements. It speaks of lightning, heat, freezing temperatures, and insects and disease.

Reclaimed bowl blanks
Portions of the logs cut and ready for the lathe.

Once I put the wood on my lathe and begin turning it, slowly but surely removing the rough exterior, what lies beneath is exposed to the light of day. All the hidden beauty that lies beneath is brought out. As I work with my chisels and the shavings fly and the wood transforms like a butterfly that was once a caterpillar.
There are times I have a clear vision of what I want the wood to be when I am done. Other times the wood seems to have its own idea of how it wants to look.

Regardless of that, in the end what is born of it, is something unique.

I have found a passion in this wood that others would discard. My limitations are only bound at this point to the amount of wood I can store at a time and the size of the wood I can turn on my midi lathe.

 

In these series of pictures you can see the evolution from a rough log and how a portion of the wood becomes two bowls.
Click on the first image to view a full sized gallery.

 

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The Summer Heat is on in the Shop

It’s summer time here in Florida, and it’s hot, hot, hot, and oh yeah a bit humid to boot.

I’ve tried to not let it slow me down with regards to working in the shop, but I do have to work around the heat. During the month of July I got out early in the morning and worked till around noon. By that time of the day in July, the sun is high in the sky and the heat and humidity hangs from you. From the looks of it, August will be no different so it will be more early morning work in the shop till it gets too hot.

Still I have managed to turn out (no pun intended) some new items. In addition to trying to sneak in some summer turning in the shop, I have also spent some time cleaning and tuning up my lathe and other tools in preparation for fall.

The Eucalyptus by far has been my favorite wood to work with, both the ability to turn it as well as the color and grain of the wood which never ceases to amaze me. The colors of the wood range from a light brown along the outside to a deep reddish brown as you get deeper into the wood. Thus far I’ve been mainly making bowls with the Eucalyptus and even some bowls with candle holders in the center. They have been coming out very nicely.

I do have some of the Eucalyptus set aside that will be cut into spindles for other items such as pens, shaving sets, and even a bottle opener or two.

The Birch has been a pleasure to work with as well, and I have made some of that wood into tea light candle holders. While the Birch is a light colored wood, the spalting (coloring appearing in cut wood as it ages) has brought out some beautiful variations in the grain.

wooden bowls, bowls, candle holders
Eucalyptus bowls and candle holders

Also I have been playing around with making pen blanks. Using colored pencils I have set them into blanks and then turned them into pens. The effect is a splash of polka dots and color on the pens. It’s also another way to recycle something old and turn (pun completely intended) into something new.

Eucalyptus bowl and click pens
Eucalyptus Bowl and Slimline Pro click pens w/ colored pencils

Some planks of Cypress have also made their way into the shop that have been recovered from the local ship yard. I’ve cut a few into pieces that will be made into shallow bowls, and the rest of it is waiting to be cut either into spindles for magic wands and wine bottle toppers. I’ve really taken a liking to working with recovered and reclaimed wood as once you start digging into what looks like a tired old piece of wood you can uncover some hidden beauty.

Cypress planks
Cypress planks
Cypress bowl
Cypress bowl

In between that I have been lining up craft shows for the near future; including the August 4th First Friday in Tarpon Springs. Right on the heels of that I will be at Hippie Fest in Tarpon Springs on August 12th. These are both fun family craft shows with lots of great vendors, food, music, and crafts.

Other events in the Pinellas/Pasco area are also in the works and will be announced here and on my FaceBook page as they get closer.

Even though it has been a hot summer, I’ve been plugging away in the shop and look forward to seeing some of you out at the upcoming shows.

 

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3 Types of Reclaimed Wood I Use

I get teased around here for looking for reasons to buy a new tool. (That might be true.) But my last purchase – a chainsaw – was necessary. I’d found a local tree company who hated getting rid of the wood when they cut down trees and were too happy for an eager woodworker to take some off their hands.

Every so often, I load the chainsaw in the back of my RAV 4, grab a tarp, and go find out what they have. So far, I’ve gotten oak and eucalyptus wood with birch brought to me from out of state. I don’t think these are the only reclaimed woods I’ll work with, but they’re a good start.

Florida Oak

Often called Florida Live Oak by the locals, I’ve got a big stack of oak in the shop that I really enjoy using. It’s a nice, solid hardwood that can be difficult to work with because of how hard it is. When you get it going, turned oak makes beautiful pieces. I’ve used it in everything from pens to bowls. By far the most interesting thing about oak, to me, is the interesting bark patterns that show up when I turn natural edge pieces like some of the bowls I’ve made.

Birch Wood

My dad lives in upstate New York and at Christmas time I asked him to bring me any wood he had and couldn’t use. What I received was a huge stack of birch. It’s a cool wood to work with because the color is different from piece to piece, from white to a light tan. Sometimes, you can see the color change in a single piece of wood. Birch is a wet wood which means that when it spalts, new colors are added to the grain which changes the appearance of the wood and adds an extra dimension to it. So far, I’ve made a box and tea lights.

Eucalyptus

Okay, to be honest, I haven’t actually had a chance to use my stash of eucalyptus yet, but I’m looking forward to it. What I find fascinating is that eucalyptus is so diverse. The oil can be used for respiratory problems, in aromatherapy, and as an essential oil that I use in my homemade pre-shave oil (yes, I make that, too). All that makes me wonder, what kind of wood have I got here? I’m really excited to try it because the pieces in my shop have really interesting branching patterns which should translate into unique grain patterns.

I’ve always felt better when I re-use something or find a new use for an old thing rather then throwing it away. Using reclaimed wood lets me take something unwanted, forgotten, and destined for a wood chipper, and turn it into something useful and beautiful. I still love the exotic woods and the acrylics I use, but using reclaimed wood makes me feel good.

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In the Shop: Taboti Men’s Shaving Set

The rules of polite blogging probably mean you shouldn’t showcase your own work in the exact same way twice in a row, but I can’t help myself.

I’m really proud of this last project.

While I’ve had some extra time in the shop, I worked on all kinds of things: keychains, pens, bowls, and more but the Tamboti Men’s Shaving Set is my absolute favorite. Every piece comes from one block of wood, which means the grain is the same throughout. I did that on purpose to give the set continuity and because I wondered if I could.

Most of what I do in my shop starts from that point. I think, “I wonder if I can…” and then I go out and see if I really can. Sometimes a bowl cracks or the acrylic chips. Sometimes I can fix it, sometimes I can’t. I’ve had my share of small injuries and mishaps – cuts, scrapes, gouges, and a blister that made Michaela cringe every time she saw it. (Maybe I shouldn’t have shoved my finger in her face and said, “Look!” multiple times.)

Anyway, maybe I can be forgiven for showing off again this month. Maybe if you take a look at it, you’ll agree that it’s beautiful, too. Either way, what I see when I look at it is a continuing improvement in my woodworking abilities as well as the outcome of wondering “What if…”

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Love it and want one for yourself? This set is on Etsy or you can contact me for a custom order.

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A Story in Pictures: Making My First Box

I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself a creative person. Certainly not an artist. Ever since I began turning wood and making the things that pop into my head, I’ve had to rethink that assessment.

This week I’m off of work and in the shop. An idea came to me, and since I had the time and the wood, I gave it a go.

I started with beautiful birch wood brought down from New York – my dad came at Christmas and loaded his truck for me…

 

I had this picture in my head of what I wanted the finished product to look like. Since it’s a new project, though, there’s no way to really know. But you have to start somewhere…

 

I started with one piece of wood but ended up with two parts. Making sure it matched up was the first step. Then it was time to make the picture in my head match the reality of the wood…

 

For a first try, it’s not bad. But I’m not satisfied. Oh, my fiance tells me its beautiful. Even the kids were impressed that I made a box. The oldest asked if he could have it. I told him no, not this one. Maybe I’ll make him one for his own.

Maybe I’m a “typical” artist (whatever that means) or maybe I just need more practice. I’m proud of it, but it’s not what I saw in my head. Which is plenty of incentive to keep making more…

What do you think? I think I’ll make more and maybe one day I’ll make it exactly as I envision it. But until then, this is a good start.

 

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4 Things I Love as Much as Woodworking

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and while I’m running around trying to do something nice for my fiancee, and getting over a bad cold, I’m not doing much in the shop.

Even though I’m known as the Wood Dom, and I spend much of my free time in the shop as I can, turning wood isn’t the only thing I love. In honor of the holiday, here are a few things I love just as much – and sometimes more.

Coffee

Don’t talk to me until I’ve had at least half a cup in the morning. And maybe don’t joke too much until I’m on my second cup. I’m known as a grumpy polar bear without it. I also drink a cup at night, sometimes two.

I’m a Starbucks fiend, collecting gold stars through my mobile app and racking up free drinks. Let’s put it this way, we have two bags of coffee beans in the freezer, plans to buy another, a cabinet full of coffee mugs, and one of the baristas I know best always asks, “Another hot white mocha, John?” when I walk in. It’s not so much love as it is an obsession.

Doctor Who

Oh yeah, I’m a Whovian. I have all the most recent episodes from Christopher Eccleston to the last Christmas special, and we watch them over and over again. My love for the Doctor and his companions (Clara is currently my favorite with Amy Pond as a close second) is so well known around here that not a single birthday or Christmas goes by without some little something related to Doctor Who.

The Walking Dead

I’m always watching new episodes a few days late, so I have to avoid spoilers on Monday mornings, but The Walking Dead is another of my loves. Negan is a total asshole. I’m looking forward to Rick getting his bad-assery back (Shhhh, I haven’t seen episode 8 yet!) and…

I can’t wait to see what happens with Ezekiel and his crew.

My Honda Shadow

Okay, so I’m not the type to love too many inanimate objects, and I’ve had my eye on a few different bikes, but my Honda Shadow is my baby. I haven’t gotten to ride much lately, but it’s still at the top of my list. For several years, this was my only mode of transportation – even on the coldest days and the rainy downpours.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the best riding partner a man could have…

Now that she and her boys are in my life, I know what family is supposed to be and what a solid, stable, enduring love should feel like. She already knows how much I love her, and I don’t need a holiday to show it.

So there you have it, a few things (and one special person) I love besides woodworking and turning wood.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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5 Woodworkers I Watch on YouTube

My first lesson in woodturning and woodworking was in a local Woodcraft classroom. After that, once I started practicing and got my own tools, I could pay for more classes or I could do what many people do in today’s digital age – I could learn from YouTube.

YouTube it was. From the beginning, I looked for tips about techniques and tools as well as ideas on what kinds of projects to try. Over time, I’ve found some favorite channels for different reasons.

If you want a little insight into who has taught me some of what I know or you’re interested in woodturning and woodworking yourself, check out these five great YouTubers.

As Wood Turns

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll have seen pictures of my natural edge bowls. Take a look at what Alan from As Wood Turns does with it.

M. Saban Smith Woodturning

Okay, my geek is showing a little here, but the idea of making an ancient shield as a woodturning project is just cool.

RJB Woodturner

Right now, I’m not ready to start making my own pen blanks. (I’m having too much fun taking green wood and making bowls). But this is still very interesting…and something to think about.

Rebel Turner

Repurposed wood and simply beautiful work. Not much more to say. I get great ideas and learn a lot from Rebel Turner. He’s one of my top picks on YouTube.

Mike Waldt

If I’m picking favorite woodworking YouTube channels, Mike Waldt is it. He does great work, and he’s easy to follow and understand. I’m not quite ready for vases yet, but I know where I’ll go for tips and tricks on how to do it.

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How to Build a Woodworking Shop with Limited Space and Money

When I took my first woodworking class, I didn’t know it would lead to a home shop, an Etsy store, or a plan for a small business. All I knew is that I was curious and wanted to try it. Once I took the first class at my local Woodcraft store, I was hooked.

Plans were immediately set in motion to build a woodworking shop as soon as I could.

First, we had to move. No, we didn’t move so I could build a shop (it was a crappy apartment we couldn’t wait to get out of), but there definitely wasn’t any extra room. We considered leasing warehouse space to build a shop, but I couldn’t justify the extra expense for what might turn out to be a hobby.

When we looked at houses to buy, my only requirement was a garage. Thankfully, we found a great house in a beautiful neighborhood and (most importantly) it had a garage. We’ve never parked our car in it because from the moment we moved in, I began setting it up as a woodworking shop.

how-to-build-a-woodworking-shop-with-limited-time-and-money

For anyone who might be interested in getting into any type of woodworking, your first shop doesn’t need a lot of space or a ton of money. I share my shop with my motorcycle, the kids’ bikes, and the washer and dryer. Here’s how I did it without breaking the bank.

Figure Out What You Want to Make

imag0061

You don’t have to decide from the very beginning everything you’ll ever make. Believe me, the more you do and learn, the more ideas will come your way. But it is good to have an idea of what you want to do as this determines what kind of tools and accessories you need.

I knew I would make pens because I enjoyed the first class so much. I had a feeling I’d try my hand at other things eventually. You might want to make figurines, bowls, spindles, or any number of items. And if you’re not sure, YouTube is an excellent place to learn and get some ideas. I like Mike Waldt and RJB Woodturner.

Keep Size and Space in Mind

Size is important in putting together your shop. The size of the items you make determines the size of the tools you’ll need. The amount of space you have to work is a determining factor, too.

You would be amazed, though, at what you can make with smaller tools. Mini-lathes can turn bowls up to 10 inches in diameter and spindles up to 18 inches long. Bench top band saws can cut wood up to 4 inches thick with a throat depth from 5 ½ to 9 inches.

My first lathe came from Harbor Freight. Is it top of the line? No, but it was a good place to start. I had a gift card and a coupon (something they put out frequently) so the price was even better.

Table Top Tools are a Big Help

imag0076

If you can build yourself a flat surface in your shop, you’ve got space for tools. The garage already had one work space built in when we bought it (the previous owner was a carpenter). It fits three tools and gives me space to assemble pens and do other small stuff. When I needed more space, I bought a couple of sawhorses and a piece of plywood. Ta-da, another work space was created.

Throughout my work space, I’ve got several table top tools that do what I need and allow me to make all kinds of things: pens, small bowls, wine stoppers, key chains, shaving brushes, goblets, and candle holders. 

  • Mini-lathe
  • Table top band saw
  • Table top drill press
  • Combo belt and disc sander

None of these were the best on the market options. They’re middle of the road items that I waited for a sale, a coupon, or a gift certificate to buy. As time goes on, and I evolve as a woodworker, I’ll replace what I have with tools that are more powerful and can do more. I’m always looking at and pricing tools.

Choose Tools That Can Do Multiple Jobs

When space and money are at a premium, you need tools that can multi-task. A single tool for a single job isn’t practical. My wood lathe does several jobs and my other table top tools are used in home improvement projects all the time.

Let’s focus on what the wood lathe can do:

  1. Drill pen blanks with a two-jaw chuck and Jacobs chuck 
  2. Barrel trim the pen blanks after the brass tubes have been glued in. 
  3. Pens can even be assembled on the lathe with head and tail stock inserts so a special pen assembly press is not necessary.

The more you can get out of one tool with a few accessories, the less you’ll spend overall and the more space you’ll save.

Stay Organized

Image via Graphic Stock

When you don’t have a lot of space, the last thing you need is a bunch of clutter. I was fortunate enough that my garage already had existing shelving when I started. If not, I would have added it because it’s so important. Magnets and boards with hooks installed on the wall are big space saver too. Many of my tools are within arms reach right on the wall.

What really makes this work is that I put things away when I’m done turning. Sure, it can feel like a hassle when I’ve been in the garage for eight hours, forgot to eat lunch, and just want to take a shower, but it’s worth the effort. I never have to worry that I won’t be able to find a tool when I need it later.

If money is still a concern (something I understand well), let your family know what you’re trying to do. My in-laws have been extremely supportive and every birthday and Christmas, I receive gift cards meant to help me expand my shop and buy better tools. Of course, it probably helps that I keep my family in pens, wine stoppers, and bottle openers, too.

My point is that if you want to build your own woodworking shop, you can. Do your research, get organized, and be patient. Waiting for sales and only buying exactly what you need will keep you from going into debt or stressing about how you’ll afford a tool. Start with basic tools and work your way up to bigger and better.

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The Beginning

It started one day with a passing comment while driving past a local wood shop: “I’ve always enjoyed wood working, just never had the opportunity to do much with it.”

A couple of months later I was given a gift card to a local Woodcraft store as a gift.

Not sure what to do with it I set it aside until I had some time on my hands and looked up their website. I was in awe of the tools, wood, and accessories but at that time I lived in an apartment and setting up any kind of shop was nothing but a dream.

As I poured over their website I saw they offered different woodworking classes. bowl making, band saw box making, salt and pepper mills, and pens.

Pens that caught my eye.

Looking at the different times they offered the class for pen making I made up my mind and signed up for a class.

A month and a half later I showed up to learn how to make a pen. The instructor asked me if I had any experience using a wood lathe, and I told him it had been many years; since high school wood shop.

He had me look over the display and pick out a pen and wood. After deciding on a pen style, I looked over the wood blanks. There were so many to choose from. How could I ever decide? Finally one caught my eye – a blank of Palm Red. I plucked it off the shelf and headed off to the classroom.

As I made the pen I lost track of time. Everything else around me faded and all that existed was that room, the lathe and the tools.

When class was over I had a fully functional pen that I had made.

I was hooked!

It was many months before I was able to do anything with what I had learned. The lease was coming up on the apartment and I needed to make a decision of what to do, resign the lease or look for something else.

The increase in the rent made my decision easy, and I started looking for a home to buy. I made sure the Realtor understood that a garage was a must for me.

Find a place we did and after doing some renovating and getting moved in I began putting together a shop, first came the midi-lathe, then bit by bit other tools, both hand and power.

That was just about two years ago now and what fun it has been. I learned so much along the way and am still learning but most of all having a great time doing it.

Here it is, the pen that tarted it all.
Here it is, the pen that started it all.