During today’s video, I turn a cigar pen out of a purple heart blank. Turning cigar-style pens can be fun, but challenging if you aren’t paying attention to what you’re doing or aren’t organized. Being organized is the theme of this article and supplemental video for a couple reasons. If you aren’t organized, you could orient your bushings incorrectly, which will not allow the pen assembly to go as it should, or if you don’t have your pen components (kit) organized, that could be problematic as well. However, if you’re organized and take your time, the turning and assembly of this pen shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
I started this pen project just like any other by measuring and marking the blank so I could cut the blank to size over at my band saw. After cutting the blanks to length, I drilled out the 10mm hole that the tubes require for this specific kit. After drilling, I used Starbond Medium CA to glue the tubes (that I scuffed up on some old sandpaper) into the blanks. This Starbond CA worked really well as a bonding agent, but it did have an odor that caught me off guard. Once I got used to the odor, it wasn’t a huge deal. Once I let the CA dry, I took the blanks to the sander and squared them up so the blanks were flush with the tubes and the blanks were completely prepped and ready for the lathe at this point.
When taking the blanks to the lathe, maker sure that you have your bushings in the correct order. At first glance, I thought there were two large bushings and two small bushings. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Upon closer inspection and some research, there are actually four different size bushings that have to be in the correct order or this pen will not assemble correctly. I number my bushings so I can keep track of the top and bottom portions of the pen. The top portion of the pen is slightly shorter than the bottom portion, so the top is assigned to bushings 1 and 2, as shown in the video, and bushing 3 and 4 are assigned to the bottom portion of the pen.
BUSHING ORIENTATION (From Left to Right): Next to smallest bushing, Largest Bushing, 2nd Largest Bushing, Smallest Bushing. This orientation puts your cap (top) on the left and the body on the right.
Turning the blank went smoothly and there were no real issues. When turning this pen, just make sure you turn down to your bushings and there shouldn’t be any issues. It might feel weird turning to four different size bushings, but it’s a relatively easy turn. Once the blanks are turned round and to the bushings, break out the sand paper and sand your blanks. After sanding, I clean my blanks with some denatured alcohol.
When finishing the pen, I used five coats of thin Starbond CA and three coats of meduim CA. This is my typical procedure for applying a CA finish. I applied the CA, then used activator after the last coat. Once that set, I went through my MicroMesh wet sanding pads and sanded from 1,500 grit up to 12,000 grit. When I was done with the MicroMesh, I noticed the finish was splotchy and I didn’t get a great finish on the pen. This could be due to a number of things that I haven’t quite figured out yet. To finish the pen, I put two coats of HUT Ultra Gloss polish on the blanks to buff the blanks and make them shine. At this point, the blanks were ready to come off the lathe and get assembled into a cigar kit!
ASSEMBLING THE PEN: Make sure you organize and lay out your parts AND keep your blanks oriented correctly (because we have four different size bushings) so you don’t have to disassemble the pen. If you stay organized and lay your parts out, this process goes pretty smoothly and with repetition, assembly gets easier. This was only the second or third time I’ve assembled a cigar kit, so it did take me some time and I used a video from RJBWoodTurner to help me.
Along with the turning of this pen, Starbond sent me some CA glue to use during this pen series I started. Overall, I like the glue for all applications except for finishing pens. The CA was different from what I’ve used before and upon first impressions, it was just that, different. It wasn’t necessarily better or worse. I did like a number of features about the glue, so here is my list of pros and cons:
PROS: Great bonding glue, Different tips to control amount of glue being used
CONS: Smell, Finishing abilities, Thin CA appeared really thin
Overall, I give the Starbond CA a 3.75/5 stars upon first impressions.
Thanks for checking out the video and article! If you have any questions, or comments, feel free to contact me!