7 Inspired Pens You Can Turn on a Lathe

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The invention of writing has transformed mankind in ways that we likely can’t fully appreciate. From being able to accurately pass information down from one generation to another, to simply remembering what to get at the grocery store, it plays such an integral role in our lives that we don’t even really notice it. That being said, though electronics of various forms have replaced it in many cases, the ball point pen makes writing much more convenient than previous methods of dipping an instrument in ink or even a fountain pen.

You could buy a fully built pen from the store, but for something much more unique, why not turn your own? Here are seven ideas to get you started!

Types of Pens and Tools

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In this video, Chad Schimmel, who is “kind of a big deal” according to his shirt, shows off the various types of pens that you can make on a lathe, and what tools you’ll need to manufacture them.

Wood Turning


For a somewhat traditional, though quite beautiful, take on turned pens, the three pictured above should give you some idea of what’s possible. From left to right, they are made from: purple heart, maple burl, and cocobolo. You can find these and a few more by the same creator here.

[via Reddit]

Pen with your Name on It

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If turning your own pen is good, putting your name on it so someone else doesn’t mistake it for his or her own is even better. In this video Dan Rees of Zebrano Wood Craft goes over not only how to turn a pen, but how to engrave a name on it with a pyrography (wood burning) tool.

A Pen From Paper


You can see the entire video of this process here, or how it was made in a set of pictures, but this one image gives a great look at the finished product, as well as a hint as to the work that went into it. The pen is, literally, made from paper stuck together with polyester resin, AKA Micarta. It’s an interesting build technique, and certainly gives an excellent and colorful result!

[via Reddit]

Circuit Board Pen

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As you might have noticed, though it certainly takes skill to properly turn a pen, the material, or “blank” that you start out with is probably just as important. In this video, “RJBWoodturner” starts out with a clear acrylic blank with a cylindrical circuit board inside. Results are extremely good, but he doesn’t recommend this for new turners, as the material can be difficult to work with.

Celtic Knot Pen

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Here’s another interesting blank design, this time made from several sections of wood. If you’re wondering how straight wood can be turned into something that appears to be curved, check out just after 4:30 in the video.

Deer Antler Pen

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If you happen to obtain a deer antler, this video will show you how to turn it into a pen. The “bolt action” kit that Dema uses simplifies the pen turning into one section (like the previous “paper” pen), and also offers a hint as to how the material was obtained!


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Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

View more articles by Jeremy S Cook


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