Turning Archive 2004
Dominic Greco in Richboro, PA
Here is a picture of the second round of Slimline pens I turned over the weekend. The wood is from a large Silver Maple tree that was on the front lawn of my Mom and Dad's house. Mr brother and I actually have a friendly little running argument over which one of us planted this when we were little.
Back several years ago, a summer storm knocked down one of the larger branches. My Dad knew I was a turner and saved one of the largest limbs for me (he was great that way). However, it was too small in diameter for bowls. Instead, I used to as "resaw practice". I resawed the log into 1" thick slabs, stickered it, and stored it in the loft of my garage. Sadly, my Dad passed away from Cancer in Feb of 2003, and the tree had to be removed last year as it now posed a danger to the house.
When I poked my head up into the loft a week ago, I noticed this wood and it seemed fitting that I should use it to make something for all my brothers and sisters. And what better gift than some pens made from this tree? My Dad would have loved that!
One little problem,..counting my (2) brothers and (8)sisters, their spouses, their kids (15 of them), and my Mom (and not to mention me) brings me to a grand total of (34) pens. So far, I've completed (22) pens. Only (12) more to go. sigh!
To be blunt, turning Slimline pens can get downright boring. I did the first (12) using the center ring. But I remembered Scott Greaves' article in last Winter's American Woodturner Magazine and I looked up that issue in my "library".
The technique seemed easy enough. So I gave it a try. It sure made turning those next (10) pens a lot more fun that the first! The run of the mill Silver Maple isn't exactly what you would call a show stopper in the figure department (unless it's Spalted or Ambrosia Maple which this wasn't). The contrasting bands really help to dress up an otherwise bland looking pen.
The scrap was easy enough to some by. I had loads of Marado, Zircote, Mesquite, Walnut, Cherry, and Sycamore laying around. So I cut up some 3/4" x 3/4" x 1/2" thick pieces and drilled the 1/4" diameter holes just like Scott says in the the article. However, instead of just installing the block in between the upper and lower pen blanks, I used (2) extra bushings from some European pens to separate them. It spread them out and made turning details a bit easier.
Maybe on the next batch, I'll get a bit more daring.....
Thanks for viewing.