Settling in with retirement has left me with quite a bit of free time. Whats a man to do? Pick up a new hobby of course!
**Creating Custom Pens — Everything seemed simple enough and the cost was reasonable. They would make great gifts and I’d enjoy making these from a variety of exotic woods, acrylics and such.
I picked up an inexpensive lathe at Harbor Freight (Was $350…got it on sale $280 add an extra 25% discount coupon making it $210).
I also picked up a face shield and a few hand tools to get me started. Then, off to Rockler to acquire the pen blanks and a few other items needed to get myself started. What started out to be an investment of a few hundred dollars was quickly adding up.. and I have not turned a single item yet. Sandpaper, wood polish, acrylic polish, CA glue, mandrel, bushings… the list went on.
My first snafu was the brand new lathe. Upon opening the box, it was clear to me that this was a used item. After getting everything out of the box, not only was it used, many parts were missing and misc. junk (nothing to do with the lathe) was just tossed into the box. Back to Harbor Freight. With very little hassle, they exchanged it and I loaded the 175 lb monster into the car and headed home again.
It took a little over an hour to get the lathe assembled and ready to use. I grabbed a scrap piece of wood and turned a mini baseball bat. Eh… it was okay for a first use of the lathe and the hand tools.