a grand weekend

Not only was the weather for more tolerable this weekend, but I had a chance to play in the garage both Saturday and Sunday. Friday night we had dinner with my sister and her family, my mother, and my brother David who was up from Florida for the weekend. He was going to the Pontiac Nationals in Norwalk with my brother in-law Matt. The remainder of Friday evening was spent playing playstation with my sweetie.

Saturday I turned a few more wood pens. I had three kits left in the bulk bag I purchased. The wood choice this time around was hickory, padauk, and basswood. I also prepped a couple of acrylic blanks as something different, and started cutting gears for a wooden clock featured in scroll saw magazine. It may seem a bit nuts, but I am enjoying the intricate cuts. The stock material for the clock is Baltic birch plywood. I have about half of the components cut so far (see image on the right). Jen and I stayed up late to watch the meteor showers, but it was somewhat lackluster, only about 24 meteors visible in the almost three hours we were outside. Still a fun time though...

Sunday (so far) Has included waking up to a power outage. I think there was an accident outside of town that caused it. It was short lived though, probably only an hour. After breakfast, I went to the garage to try my hand at turning acrylic. My impression is that it is not nearly as forgiving as wood, but it does polish easier. The smell is noticeable at times, so ventilation is a must (luckily for anyone who has seen my garage, this is not an issue). I turned a pen for myself first (to get the feel of it) and learned quite a bit. The best lathe tools are definitely the spindle gouge and the oval skew. I made a few mistakes with my blue and white acrylic, but was able to correct those with sanding. Jen's green fountain pen went much smoother once I learned the technique of the oval skew. The finishing is the fun part with acrylic. When you have turned the blank to the correct diameter, it is actually quite ugly and full of little scratches from the tools. Starting with a 250 grit then to a 600 grit it starts to look better. The real magic occurs when you wet sand with the finishing pads from acrylic and plastic. They range from 1500 to 12000 grit and by the time you get to 12000, it is highly polished with almost no effort. To get a gloss finish on the wood pens requires patience and multiple applications of wax at high speed. I really like the finishing on acrylic...nice material, just expensive. I finished my pen using a European Blank Titanium hardware kit and Jens with a Classic American Fountain Gold Kit.