Posts from the ‘Pen Making’ Category

Miscellaneous Projects, Oak Wood and a New Tool!

It has been a while since I updated my blog, so I thought I would put together one post with all of my recent projects and acquisitions.


First, we decided at the end of July that we wanted to get rid of our old fireplace. We didn’t use it at all because it made the basement too hot, and it stuck out quite a bit from the mantel, so we wanted to get something a little nicer to replace it. We shopped around and found that natural gas fireplaces are expensive! It was around $5000; in the end it still wasn’t exactly what we wanted. We decided we would get an electric fireplace, that we could use the faux-flames and just not turn on the fireplace. After arranging a service call to get the gas line disconnected, we ordered an electric fireplace from Lowes for around $800. After the fireplace was installed, I got an Oak board and made a simple frame. I then finished it and installed it. It looks awesome!

Shortly after the fireplace, I was talking to a friend about his home theatre speakers he was going to be buying. They were o sale for a great price at Monoprice. I asked him to order me a centre speaker as I never did replace the centre speaker when I re-did my speakers upstairs in the living room. The only problem, they only had in-wall speakers. I was thinking of making a MDF case for it, and paint it the same colour as the other speakers. My wife suggested making an Oak box for the speaker.  After receiving it, I constructed a box that fit the in-wall speaker snugly and securely. My wife finished the box and I installed it. I think I paid $25 for the speaker, and used scrap Oak plywood. It turned out great!


At the end of August, I came across a post on Facebook marketplace about Oak wood for sale. I inquired about it and went to have a look. After seeing it, I had to have it. I paid the asking price of $250 and had to call my father-in-law for assistance because there was a lot more then I initially thought. It took about 3 hours and 2 truck loads to load it and unload it temporarily into my shop. Very very happy that I now have Oak to use on my future projects! There is about 1400 board feet. It took about 1 1/2 weeks to put it away in various locations in my shop. I now have Oak everywhere. Anywhere there was room now has Oak. :-)I think it was split about 50-50 between 4/4 (1″) and 8/4 (2″) thick. Perhaps a little more 8/4 then 4/4, but that is fine. I could always re-saw the boards, if needed.



After I bought the Oak and got it put away, I decided to make a few pens out of the Oak as my first project. I made 4 pens and gave them to the person who sold me the Oak as a small token of my appreciation. Hopefully they like them. I just put them in their mailbox with a note.


And finally, NEW TOOL!!!

A few weeks ago I decided that sometime down the road I would like to get a shaper. A shaper is a industrial router table, which takes shaper bits and router bits. Shaper bits are heavy duty router bits that come on 3/4″, 1″ or 1 1/4″ spindles. Router bits are 1/4″ and 1/2″ in size usually.

I looked around and found that Grizzly probably had the best tool for the price. I priced it out and it would cost me about $1600 US to get the tool delivered to a freight company in Michigan, which I would then have to go pick up and bring home. I was not too keen on that as it was around 500 pounds and continued my look in Canada for an alternative. In Canada I only found more expensive models such as General International. They are great tools, but Grizzly seemed to be a popular lower-cost manufacturer, but still had good quality. I went to Elite Tools’ website, who I have bought from in the past, and found a 3HP ShopFox Shaper for sale. It was $1700. That is a great price, and I would be able to get it delivered directly to my house! It also looks exactly the same as the Grizzly model I looked at previously. I noticed that a lot of different manufacturers have similar models in different colours and slightly different features. I went to google to research the model only to find it on as well with FREE shipping!! I never bought a tool from Amazon before, but I could not pass up free shipping since it cost $100-200 to ship a tool of this size.  I added it to my cart so I can keep in there for the future. I figured I would get it in the new year.

I had the shaper in my saved items and noticed over the next few days that the price started to go down in price. From 1700 to $1600. From 1600 to 1500, etc. It made its way down to $950!. I was shocked at how low it went. I talked to my wife and explained that it is was almost 1/2 off right now, which is unheard of for new machinery. I made the purchase and had it delivered, for free, right into my shop!

That is all for now. I think my next project will be an Oak napkin holder.

Now on Instagram

I decided to start posting pictures to Instagram. Mainly progress pictures of projects and pens. I am still posting projects here. But since I am making a lot of pens, I figured I would post them as I made them on Instagram and updating the site when I have a punch to post. You can see the last 6 posts on the column to the right.

You can also go directly to my profile by clicking here: Rich Eklund Instagram

Pens, Pens, Pens

I have been having a lot of fun making pens on the lathe. I ordered 7 kits to start, one expensive pen kit, and 6 inexpensive pen kits to “practice” with. I wasn’t confident enough to start out with my $20 pen kit. 🙂 My second and third pens were out of Purpleheart that I cut up from a scrap piece I was saving. I gave those to my wife and brother. The forth pen kit was made out of oak scraps I had and I thought it turned out very nice. I think that one was the best so far, but it is a little slimmer then my previous attempts. I’ll keep that one at work and bring my Bubinga pen home. Since that one is my first pen I would hate to loose it. I managed to make all 3 in one evening and still have enough time to finish the faceframe for an Oak/Ash cabinet for our entryway. (Will post about that when it is finished!)

I thought I messed up a redheart blank I purchaced from William Wood-Write when I order my pen kits, but after going back and looking at it, it was JUST big enough. So I made a redheart pen as my fifth pen. I then cut up some walnut I had into blanks and made a very nice Walnut pen for my sixth and final “practice” pen. Both of those pens were given to co-workers. On my next order I think I will try and sell the pens to recoup the cost of the kits, blanks, sand paper and finish. I am thinking $20 – $25 depending on the cost of the kit.

I think I am going to wait for my expensive Pen kit until Monday when my Lee Valley order comes in. I ordered a Shellawax finsih that is made for pen turning to see if I can get a glossier finish on the pen. I saved a zebrawood blank especailly for this pen. Hopefully it looks nice.


2nd3rd4th Pens

4th5th Pens

July 26th Update:

I received my finish yesterday so I tried it out on my “fancy” kit I bought from Lee Valley. It turned out very nice, although I am not too sure I like the design on the middle piece 100%. The smaller chrome band doesn’t really match the size of the upper band. The smaller band is built into the twist mechanism, so I know that is how it is supposed to go. I also checked pictures of someone else who built the pen and it looks very similar so I don’t think I did something wrong. Anyway, here it is. Made from Zebrawood!

Zebrawood Pen

Bubinga Pen

I have been watching a lot of Pen turning videos lately from Ron Calverly. So much that I decided to get a lathe and give it a shot. It looked like a lot of fun and you can have a finished product in the same day rather than spending weeks or months on a project.

I first looked at Busy Bee Tools for a lathe, and found one I liked. The problem though is that I don’t live anywhere near a Busy Bee Tools and shipping was $120! I looked at other comparable mini lathes and found that some Craftex lathes are very similar to lathes made by Rikon, Grizzly, Excelsior as well as Harbor Freight Tools. After doing a lot of research I decided that I would try the Harbor Freight Mini-Lathe as it was on sale for $199 plus a 25% off coupon! It wasn’t a lariable speed lathe, but it seemed like a great starer-lathe from the reviews. It must come from the same factory as the other lathes as some reviewers bought Excelsior bed extensions and they fit the Harbour Freight Lathe just fine. But wait, my concern was about shipping costs before. How much would the Harbour Freight lathe cost to ship? $7. Yup. $7 . By Fedex no less. 😐 So for $188 shipped I bought a lathe.

I didn’t have any lathe or pen turning tools but luckily my birthday was right around the corner and I quickly prepaired a “wish list” of items from Lee Valley and William Wood-Write. Lee Valley is usually my go-to website for all things woodworking. They sell top-quality items there so you know you are getting the best when you buy from Lee Valley. But Ron Calverly mentioned William Wood-Write in one of his videos about where a pen kit was from so I had a look. I think William Wood-Write is my new favourite web site/online store. 🙂 They are geared towards pen turning and have great deals on pen blanks.

Now I have a lathe, turning tools and pen kits. On with the production!!

After my in-laws left after celebrating my birthday I made my way into my workshop to put my birthday gifts to use.

I bought a Bubinga pen blank from William Wood-Write and that would be the base for my new pen. I also bought several Streamline 7 mm Flat Top ballpoint pen kits since they were cheaper and I would be less upset if I wrecked one on my first go. Luckily that did not happen.

I was amazed at how fast everything went. I cut the blank down to size, drilled the center whole, glued in the brass insert, trimmed the blank to it’s final size, mounted it on the lathe, turned it down to size, sanded to 600 grit and then finally applied a finishing wax to the pen. I then took it off the lathe and assembled the pen. The whole process probably took 1 to 1 1/2 hours to complete. I love the instant satisfaction from pen projects. I went from parts to finish product very quickly rather than spending days, weeks or months on a woodworking project. I was so excited when I came in to show my wife the finished pen. I see a lot more pens in my future!

Bubinga PenBubinga Pen