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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an idea for a pen blank but have no clue how to do it. I want to take a few different species of wood and cut them into 1/16" pieces and glue them together and then steam and twist the blank to make a unique pen blank and then turn into a pen. The problem is I have the idea but have no clue on how to go about steaming and twisting. I'm not sure what kind of glue to use or if CA glue would even work. Anybody have any ideas I would love to hear them.
 

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I've never turned pens, but I have done twisted lams on a larger scale... Having to think a bit about miniturizing the process... I don't think you need the steam for a first attempt... It's then wood

But to start, my suggestion is this...

Cut thin slats larger (wider & longer) than needed, the thiner the better for this and veneer would probably be your best bet.

Dry stack the slats and clamp together.

Drill hole in each end to fit bolt, screw or threadsall... See where I'm going?

Your going to glue the slats together with a thinner down glue, pin the ends, wrap blank with plastic wrap between pins, twist in jig where it can be secrured in that position, then wrap one end to the other EXTREMELY tight with duct tape (for clamping pressure :) )...

Hope that helps best I can do on the fly but I'm going to give it some more thought...

~tom
 

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Think it would be easier to cut spirals in a pen blank vice twisting. I use regular carpenter’s glue for wood.

Might look up Beal Pen Wizard, guys use it cut rope spirals. I have seen it mentioned over at international association of penturners, penturners.org, has own section. Have no idea how it is done.

I have cut spirals in larger blanks using marking and layout outline procedure in Techniques of Spiral Work, by Stuart Mortimer. Have also used masking tape to lay out cut lines from one of Roy Underhill’s books.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the idea guys

Firemedic, I got what you are saying. I'll see what I can do and see how it turns out. If you have any more ideas while your pondering the idea let me know.

Wildwood, I think you got the wrong idea on what I'm wanting to do. I dont want to cut spirals in the blank. I want to cut 3/4 x 3/4 squares about 1/16 thick and glue them together and then use steam or whatever to get the blank to twist where the small pieces of wood that was glued together are not straight, they will be twisted so you dont have a square piece of 3/4 x 3/4 wood blank anymore. Then put it on the lathe and turn a wicked pen with some wicked wood going on. I hope you can understand that, I kinda confused myself which isn't hard to do..lol.
 

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i dont know how to do what you want but i can tell you this
you wont twist it after gluing
you need to get it ready to twist then glue and twist and let it dry
 

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Woodchuck2011 said:
Thanks for the idea guys

Firemedic, I got what you are saying. I'll see what I can do and see how it turns out. If you have any more ideas while your pondering the idea let me know.

Wildwood, I think you got the wrong idea on what I'm wanting to do. I dont want to cut spirals in the blank. I want to cut 3/4 x 3/4 squares about 1/16 thick and glue them together and then use steam or whatever to get the blank to twist where the small pieces of wood that was glued together are not straight, they will be twisted so you dont have a square piece of 3/4 x 3/4 wood blank anymore. Then put it on the lathe and turn a wicked pen with some wicked wood going on. I hope you can understand that, I kinda confused myself which isn't hard to do..lol.
3/4x3/4??? Ok I don't think I understood what your trying to do...?

Can you elaborate a bit more?... Maybe even illustrate?

~tom
 

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you could try using a pressure cooker for the steaming, or even something rigged up in the microwave where the wood is in a covered container with water in it. Wether to leave the wood in the water, or suspended above it, idk. But maybe take each thin layer, and twirl it around some type of dowel after the steaming, and hold it down with some old wire of something. And do it for each layer, then if you do it just right, you "should" be able to spin each piece together and glue/clamp them however you need to.

All i know is that gluing first couldn't be a good idea. Better to create the twist with each layer first, i think. Shouldn't be too hard to make them fit together afterward, i wouldn't think.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dave, I talked with my pops about the idea and he had mentioned the microwave idea and he had the idea about wrapping the wood around the dowel. I said that I could put the blank in a steamer like mom used for steaming broccoli, water in a bowl and a basket above the water and a cover on it.

@ Robert & Dave - I know that CA Glue has a so called flexible glue and I didn't know if that would let the blank twist or not. Just an idea, I'm going to wood turners meeting this Thursday and I'll ask some of the pen turners their opinion also.

@ Tom - The final pen blank size before you put it on the lathe is 3/4" x 3/4" square by 5" long. I want to cut that blank into 1/16" wide pieces of different species of wood with different colors then glue them together to have a unique blank the same size as the original blank. Then you cut the blank into two 2 1/2" pieces and drill a hole through them both. Then you have 2 brass tubes that your pen goes into and you glue that into the blanks and then put it on the lathe and turn your pen blank. After your blank is turned into the profile that you want your finished pen to look like you sand and polish to a finished blank. Then put your pen together and have a finished project. Hope that explains it a little better.
 

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I understood questions asked. I zeroed in on twist and glue. You can accomplish the look you want without steam and twisting.


The photo section and show off your pens threads at pen tuners org have many examples.


When you mention twisting wood to most wood turners the barley twist comes to mind. A barley twist simple technique much easier to accomplish without boiling or steaming and without a machine. Can be done with contrasting woods & glue too!


A simple way to achieve what you are looking for cut your blanks from a board on a bias. Russ Fairfield gives good explanation on how and why. Grain and figure in blank does the talking. Examples in my photo gallery at pen turners.org lost when they went to new format.


You can also borrow and modify techniques used to make Celtic knot pen blanks.
How I Make A Six-Segment Knot
http://content.penturners.org/articles/2009/6-Segment-Knot-Pen.pdf



Other tips & techniques. I know this is not what you are looking for, might be some information you can use.

Creating A Polychromatic Segmented Pen
http://content.penturners.org/articles/2004/osbornesegpen.pdf


CUBE-ITZ
Tutorial

http://content.penturners.org/articles/2009/CUBE-PEN.pdf

Good luck with your idea, hope it works out for you.


 

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I think you'd be better served just gluing your 1/16" pieces in rotations, like making a segmented pen or something, rather than trying to steam bend after gluing, which will yield horrible results most likely, if it works. Just cut your sections and then rotate them before gluing back together and you'll have your "twist" already built into your blank.
 

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twisting pen blanks

Keep in mind you are going to insert a brass tube before turning
the blank. I can get a visual but not a how to because of the tube.
 
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