Pen Turning - Getting Set Up - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 12 Old 09-11-2010, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
The village amadán.
 
Mr Mac's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Apollo Beach, FL
Posts: 788
View Mr Mac's Photo Album My Photos
Pen Turning - Getting Set Up

Many years ago, when I first met my wife down in Florida, she introduced me to her best friend, Jan, from across the street. As we stood there talking, Jan's dad, Woody, came out of the house and stopped to chat with us as well. During our conversation Woody had mentioned the fact that he was building something for the church and could use some help so I offered to lend a hand.

When Woody opened up his single car garage I saw what had to be the tightest yet best laid out wood shop one could hope to shoehorn into a one car garage! He had everything he needed for making furniture for his home. As we worked on the church project I discovered that I too liked the pleasure of woodworking and was hooked.

Once we married, the wife and I lived pretty close to Jan and Woody and when I wasn't working in my one car garage shop I was over at Woody's in his and vice versa. Woody taught me all he knew about dadoes and rabbet joints, biscuits and dowels, mortise and tenon joints and so on. Dare I say, if it weren't for his tutelage the book case in our dining room would not exist, nor would the two in the basement, the jewelry boxes for my wife and daughters, and so on.

We since moved from Florida and have called Missouri home for the last six years. We have always stayed in touch with Woody and Jan as they are more like family than friends. While it was my wife and Jan who were always talking on the phone I would have her yell out a "Hi" to Woody and he would send one back my way. Every once in a while we would take over the phones and chat about the latest projects we were working on (mostly home renovations for me) and he'd wind up teaching me something over the phone.

A couple of years ago Woody suffered a stroke which left him with the use of only his right side arm and leg. Now, don't start with the water works as this isn't a sad story, just give me a moment! Anyways, as you can likely guess, Woody can no longer work in his little one car garage shop as it hurts just trying to stay upright for longer than just a few minutes. Jan, bless her heart, has had to put her life on hold just to care for Woody and his day-to-day needs.

Well, last month, Jan and Woody decided it was time for a break from Florida and come up and see us. The last time I had seen them was when we left Florida those six years ago and I hadn't been doing any woodworking whatsoever! In fact, it wasn't until very recently I started to rebuild my wood shop in my garage because I missed it so much. When Woody got here he asked to see how I was coming along with my shop and could he see it.

When we stepped out into the garage I could see in his eye that he missed working in his shop but, as mentioned, his condition just does not allow him to work with the tools. I did, of course, have him out there with me while I was working on another portion of the shop to sit my RAS in and was setting up an area for the band saw and planer whenever I can afford to get them. Woody, as usual, was full of good advice in helping me get things set up. “You know, Woody, you could always teach woodworking back in Florida. We still know plenty of homeschool families that would love to have some sort of craft for the kids that don’t include yarn or quilting hoops! All you need is one of the older kids to work as an aid after you teach him.” No answer.

Now, we here in the St Louis area are pretty lucky in that we have both a Rockler and Woodcraft store as well as St. Charles Hardwoods and a couple of other woodworking suppliers pretty close. While he was here Woody and I went to all of those places and pretty much just browsed around and I did get parts for my old lathe.

They have since gone home and when they got settled back in to their daily routines, Jan hurt her back. My wife told her that we would come down and get Woody and bring him back up here for a couple of weeks to allow her to heal. Talk about excited! There are times when I think Woody had it planned all along just so he could come back up and help me out some more!

In the couple of weeks that they had been back in Florida I had decided to go ahead and make good on a promise I made last year to teach woodworking to home school kids in our community. When I told Woody about that he asked what projects I had planned for the kids. A simple mantle clock, an end-grain cutting board and checker/chess board were among the projects I was going to offer. “What about pens,” he asked me. They are pretty simple and inexpensive to make. “Pens, what do I know about pens?” That’s where the conversation ended.

Anybody remember I work mids? While I was asleep Wednesday afternoon Woody asked my wife to take him to the Rockler and Woodcraft stores. No-one said a word to me about anything when I got up and left for work. When I got home Thursday morning Woody asked of we could head to the garage and when I looked at my wife she had this little smirk on her face that always means she knows something I don’t.

We get out to the garage and I discover that crazy old fart had decided teaching others wasn’t such a crazy idea after all and guess who his first students are? That crazy old fart went out and bought all the stuff he needed to teach me and my son, Jake, how to make pens and then informed me that when we were done it was all ours so we could add pen turning to our curriculum! Okay…I cried a little because you just don’t see that kind of selfless generosity that often these days.

The pictures will be slow in coming since he can’t stay in the garage for too long without hurting so bear with us.

Some of the tools and supplies...






Mandrel, bushings and pen guts (I know, pen kits)…


Some of the acrylic blanks my son chose…


And the wood blanks Woody chose…


Today Jake learned how to use the drilling jig/press.


And, finally, my mentor, Woody.


More to come...

Mac

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
Mr Mac is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 12 Old 09-11-2010, 09:08 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 3
View SonOfMartin's Photo Album My Photos
Fantastic story. I enjoyed your writing style. I look forward to reading more and learning more about you and your work. Very good.
SonOfMartin is offline  
post #3 of 12 Old 09-11-2010, 01:06 PM
No Longer Here
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6,839
View rrbrown's Photo Album My Photos
Nice story. I to just started a similar venture with a guy (Joe) that I just met but I have to buy everything.
rrbrown is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 12 Old 09-12-2010, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
The village amadán.
 
Mr Mac's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Apollo Beach, FL
Posts: 788
View Mr Mac's Photo Album My Photos
TY gents!

Today after I got settled in from a nights work we headed back out to the garage where Jake was just itching to get started! I could tell Jake was at that point where he's excited to get started yet somewhat apprehensive about messing something up so I reassured him that pen blanks and pen kits were pretty inexpensive in the grand scheme of things and that without doubt he wouldn't be the first person to mess one up! With a renewed confidence we head out the door!

Again, since Woodster can't sit for too long in the chairs we have in the garage we decided that measuring, cutting, prepping and turning two blanks would suffice for the day.

Jake looked to me to get things going and was a bit surprised when I asked him if he had any idea as how to best start (I have been a teacher/instructor for many years and I have learned it's best to gauge the level of competency early so time isn't wasted teaching what is already known ). I think he was even more surprised when he started right in there with prepping the mandrel (swapping out the MT2 for the MT1) and then measured the blank to the sleeve! All in all I'd say he did things right with very little coaching from either Woody or me. As Woody put it, "The foundations were already laid."

Here is Jake drilling his second blank (the first one yesterday was a practice run...thankfully).


I had set the camera down in order to take care of a couple of items in the house and by the time I remembered to grab it again Jake had already moved from the drill press, had the sleeve glued in place and used the reamer to fine tune it all! When I did find the camera the acrylic blank had already been reduced to the point where he was smoothing it with the scraper!


Sanding it (we had to stop with 220 since I forgot to get the finer stuff and polishing compound).


Still, not a bad job considering it was the 220!


The wood blank hole he drilled was spot on perfect!


Jake then breezed through the wood blank and had it done while I was fixing lunch for us! If you look close enough you can see where he got a little greedy with the sand paper and was worried about wasting the blank. Woody told him that he could hide that under the cap and no-one would be the wiser!


Tomorrow we are heading out to the Rams game and will be tailgating a fair portion of the day so there will be no work done - sorry!

Mac

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17

Last edited by Mr Mac; 09-12-2010 at 08:57 AM.
Mr Mac is offline  
post #5 of 12 Old 09-15-2010, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
The village amadán.
 
Mr Mac's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Apollo Beach, FL
Posts: 788
View Mr Mac's Photo Album My Photos
Well, this is the first pen Jake completed!


I did get pics of the second and third one but didn't get them uploaded before the wife left for Florida to take Woody home. He truly enjoyed his time with us as we enjoyed him being here and taking the time to teach an old dog (and a pup) new tricks!

Mac

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
Mr Mac is offline  
post #6 of 12 Old 09-15-2010, 03:53 AM
HALL OF FAMER
 
Kenbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 8,348
View Kenbo's Photo Album My Photos
I envy you. My father and I still work together but sadly, my grandfather has been gone for just over 17 years now. They are my mentors. Along with the help of your good friend, you are building a foundation of a father/son relationship that will continue to grow for years to come. The memories that you are creating now, will carry on with your son and will be passed on to his children and their children and so on. The generosity of Woody has renewed my belief that regardless of the horrible things that are happening in this world, there are still good people who truly care about others. I thank you for your story and for the pictures. Your son has done a fantastic job with the pen turning and it sounds to me like you now have yourself a teacher's assistant for when you work with the home schooled children. My hat's off to you, Woody and your son.
Ken

There is a very fine line between a "hobby" and a "mental illness"
Kenbo is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Kenbo For This Useful Post:
Mr Mac (09-15-2010)
post #7 of 12 Old 09-15-2010, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
The village amadán.
 
Mr Mac's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Apollo Beach, FL
Posts: 788
View Mr Mac's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenbo View Post
My hat's off to you, Woody and your son.
Ken
I thank you for the kind words. I have known for a very long time that the legacy of my life is my children and how they live their lives as they grow and mature.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
Mr Mac is offline  
post #8 of 12 Old 09-16-2010, 03:22 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 24
View Melinda_dd's Photo Album My Photos
A wonderful story, thank you for sharing it with us all... I have one to add to it....

My father was a wood machinist for several years. He also started a carpentry course, but having dyslexia he found this very difficult. Unfortunately my father was killed when i was 2 so i never knew him. I never even knew that he was into his woodwork, or had started a course.... until i had made several rabbit runs, hedgehog houses, chairs and discovered my own love of wood........ This week I have started a diploma in carpentry.... this ones for you dad!!
Melinda_dd is offline  
post #9 of 12 Old 09-22-2010, 05:53 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 138
View MGP Roofing's Photo Album My Photos
That's a nice story. My grandfather loved wood, too. He taught my father, who in turn,taught me.
Unfortunately not many people these days get to learn these skills, i'm not even sure they teach woodworking in school anymore! And it sure shows in the quality (or more correctly lack of) in many of the houses I work on these days!
I remember, not long after I moved to Auckland, on a fine Saturday afternoon, i proceeded to take a sticking door off its hinges and plane the bottom so it didn't catch on the carpet anymore. My friend who I live with, saw me doing this and openly admitted that he didn't have a clue how to do that and had put up with it for over 10 years! That was the first in a long list of basic diy tasks that needed doing around his house, many of which are now done, though the list never seems to get any shorter!
MGP Roofing is offline  
post #10 of 12 Old 09-23-2010, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
The village amadán.
 
Mr Mac's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Apollo Beach, FL
Posts: 788
View Mr Mac's Photo Album My Photos
Woodworking, hunting and fishing and God's word are all passed down to our kids in the hope that they will one day do the same for their kids. You're absolutely right in saying that true craftsmanship is all but dead in these days of 'disposable things'.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
Mr Mac is offline  
post #11 of 12 Old 09-25-2010, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
The village amadán.
 
Mr Mac's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Apollo Beach, FL
Posts: 788
View Mr Mac's Photo Album My Photos
Here are our latest pens. My first and Jake's newest.

Mine are fiddle-back maple...




Jake loves the acrylic...

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
Mr Mac is offline  
post #12 of 12 Old 09-28-2010, 05:43 AM Thread Starter
The village amadán.
 
Mr Mac's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Apollo Beach, FL
Posts: 788
View Mr Mac's Photo Album My Photos
This will be my last post on this thread but I did want to showcase three pens Jake made and sold today. We were especially pleased with the spalted hackberry!

Hackberry


BE maple


FB maple


When he delivered the pens to their new owners he picked up five new orders! Go get 'em Son!

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
Mr Mac is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
pen turning Daren Woodturning 22 03-02-2012 11:33 AM
New cam and new turning littlebuddha Woodturning 10 07-14-2009 11:37 PM
Pen Turning nblumert Woodturning 12 02-04-2009 07:12 AM
Why I haven't been turning john lucas Woodturning 6 12-15-2008 11:22 PM
Pen turning mediamst Woodturning 2 12-13-2008 05:21 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome