Making pens on a lathe is extremely common. It is one of those activities that is taught in shop classes and many people turn into a lucrative hobby. Pretty much anyone who has a wood lathe has at least tried making a pen or two. However, like any other tool, many people just don’t have a lathe.

Bill Livolsi, one of our regular contributors, has stepped up to organize a fun challenge with exactly this premise: Make a pen without a lathe. The winner, gets … a lathe of course!

When he first mentioned this challenge, my brain immediately jumped to ways that I could spin wood to emulate the the lathe process.

Lathe GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I imagined using a drill, crazy table saw contraptions, even building a rudamentary lathe using a tree branch and some rope (its called a treedle lathe, and might be cheating). However, once I saw Bill’s announcement video, I instantly got it. He doesn’t limit this to draditional smooth pen-shaped pens. He plopped some pen guts in the base of a hammer! The possibilities are much broader than I thought!

Entry is simple:

1. Make a Pen
2. Don’t use a lathe
3. Email a link to your video to [email protected]
4. Get it done before February 19th, 2017.

First prize is a Rockler Excelsior lathe package worth over $700.
Second prize is a set of Tommy G Workshop carbide turning tools.
Third prize is a gift package from One Car Workshop and Surly-Ramics.
Fourth prize is a pat on the back (you cover travel to Las Vegas).

Winners of the No Lathe Pen Challenge will be selected by The Judges, all of whom are really good at making pens, or really good at making videos, or really good at making mistakes. Possibly all three.

All are welcome. Repeat: THIS CONTEST IS OPEN TO EVERYONE. No restrictions. International entries are welcome.

Great job Bill, I’m excited to see the results!