Given a nice day, the Lathe will run...

All the right conditions fell into place: a very nice spring day, no planned activities or commitments, a couple of acrylic blanks needing to be turned since December...Today was a great day in the workshop. I turned three pens, a couple of yo-yos, and started a real cool (hopefully) segmented blank (that one is going to require a lot of glue...and clamps...lots of clamps). So, from left to right in the images, the first are two yo-yo kits (chrome and gold plated) dressed in Bolivian Rosewood. I purchased a plank of rosewood last year, and almost forgot I had it in my cabinet. The gold plated kit has a concave face on either side while the chrome plated kit has a slightly raised convex face (a slip of the skew caused that design opportunity, but I'm pleased with the results). Both yo-yos are sanded up to 600 grit, with a denatured alcohol wipe between sanding steps. To finish, I applied a light coat of Danish Oil followed by a high speed buffing with a small amount of Carnauba wax.

The next two pens are virtually identical, I had this beautiful crushed velvet acrylic blank I found on clearance at one the on-line retailers I frequent. I purchased one along with a couple of Gatsby gun metal kits, since I can get two pens from one acrylic blank. Almost every acrylic I've turned to date behaves a little differently. Sometimes you have to adjust the lathe speed, and certain blanks do not like the roughing gouge. The blanks turned very easily at a medium speed, and turned round with a standard rouging gouge, followed by a oval skew to smooth out the cut lines. To finish, I used micro-mesh wet sanding to 12,000 grit, followed by a quick high-speed buff using HUT Plastic Polish. The photos turned out reasonably well, but these pens need to be seen in person to appreciate the depth.

The last pen was a kit I found at Woodcraft a few weeks ago. I have seen a few Internet How-Tos on sanding and wrapping a circuit board around a brass tube, then casting it in acrylic, but having a ready made blank was far less effort. The blank included a Wall Street kit (similar to the Gatsby Kits) so I turned it using my bushings for that style of pen. While the crushed acrylic turned very easily with the roughing gouge, the clear acrylic would have none of it. Luckily, I was able to catch the damage I was doing to the acrylic and was able to finish turning it with an oval skew at very low speed. This had one major disadvantage in that it took me about one hour of turning to get it to proper size, taking a fraction of a millimeter off on each pass. Once I had it turned down to size, I finished using the same technique as the crushed acrylic. The surprise came when I started to assemble the hardware. I probably didn't pay attention to the packaging, but I think it was for a Wall Street III kit, which is a bit thicker then the Gatsby. Since the blank didn't line up in a desired way, I replaced the hardware with a Gatsby chrome kit I had in my cabinet. The end result is a circuit board wrapped in a millimeter of clear acrylic. It really is something to see. That's it for now, most of these will probably find their way on to Etsy in the next day or so.