Casting Alumilite Clear Slow Pen Blanks | Live Stream 5.26.2020 Recap

On last night’s live stream, I cast Alumilite clear slow resin with Caster’s Choice Mica Powders (Blood Red, Lime Green, & Cobalt Blue). I was able to produce 2 ring blank blocks, 2 regular pen blanks, and 4 bespoke blanks. This resin pour was a lot of fun and I’d like to share the results here:

When pouring resin and doing a color cast, I like to add my color after I pour the A side of the resin. After the resin (A & B mixed) gets up to temperature, that’s when I like to pour into the mold from PTownSubbie. With Alumilite clear slow, for good color separation, I like to pour my resin between 95-100 degrees. Additionally, I like a solid color pen blank (not translucent), so the way I check for that is by using the popsicle stick. If I can see the grain of the popsicle stick, I get a translucent look. If the color completely covers the grain, I know my blank will be have more of a solid color.

I still have to cut up and trim the ring blanks and regular pen blanks, but I’m pretty happy with the outcome. If there’s any interest in these, or any of my blanks, feel free to contact me and let me know what you’d like.

Here’s the live stream video here if you’re interested:

Finally, I forgot to mention that I got my VERY FIRST patron! I want to give a special shout out to Mark for being my very first patron. If you’re interested in becoming a patron at any level, here’s the link, but no pressure.

Become a Patron!

Thanks for checking out my live stream. Feel free to email me with any question, comments, or suggestions!

2020 Updates!

It has been a while since I’ve posted to this blog website and for that, I’m sorry. I decided it was time for an update as to what is going on in the Cross Cut Creations shop. Just because I haven’t posted here, doesn’t mean I’ve been silent on other platforms.

Products: I have shifted some from finished products and craft shows to turning blank making. I still turn quite a bit, but I’ve also gotten into resin and hybrid blank making for other turners. My resin of choice is Alumilite clear slow. I use this resin with PTownSubbie molds, Caster’s Choice mica powders and Divine Pigments (Divine Island Design) to color the resin. I make pen blanks, knife scales, bottle stopper blanks, handle blanks, and ring blanks. Pen blank variety packs are available on this website if you click on the “Shop” tab and click on “Pen Blanks.” I’m hoping to add different types of blanks to the website soon. The hybrid blanks (resin and another material) I typically keep in stock are wood burl, cholla cactus, deer antler, sweet gum pod, and pine cone. I also have resin only blanks available. If you’re looking for a specific blank, feel free to contact me.

My Online Store: With a huge assist from Steve Nealon at Harneal Media, I have updated and added to the logo products available in the store. If you are at my online shop, click “Logo Products” and the options are there. If you’ve been there before, you know that I had shirts, mugs, and stickers. In addition to those items still being available, there are also a variety of hats (ball cap and winter), hoodies (pull over and zip up), neck gaiters (masks), and 3/4 sleeve shirts! A variety of sizes and colors are available for almost all products. Any logo product you purchase helps out the Cross Cut Creations shop and is greatly appreciated!

Amazon Affiliate Program: I am now part of the Amazon affiliate program! What does that mean? This means that if you use any of my affiliate links (found on this website under the “Tools I Use” tab), I get a small percentage of whatever you purchase using said link. I get a little more if you purchase the tool listed, but your entire purchase qualifies (regardless of if you purchase the tool you clicked on or not). This means that you are helping me out without spending anything extra! Any pictured tool with an Amazon label is a link that qualifies.

Platforms and Social Media: Obviously this website is active, but you can also find the Cross Cut Creations brand on various platforms and social medias!


Patreon: Become a Patron!

Youtube: (can also be found on this website under the YouTube Videos tab)




Lastly, you can sign up for my newsletter on the home page. I’m working to start up a newsletter where I will talk about shop updates and give special discount codes to those who sign up.

Thank you for taking the time to check out what I’ve been up to recently. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to use the contact submission form under the “Contact Us” tab. I look forward to interacting with you on the various social media platforms!

Shop Update 7.26.18 | Channel Direction | Updated Website

The shop update for July 26, 2018 has quite a bit to digest, so here is goes.

Current Projects: I’m still turning pens, bowls, and other items as well as doing a few side things that weren’t discussed in the video. It’s a lot of the same repetitive things, but each pen is different, so it is fun for me.

NEW TOOL: I got a new lathe! This is super exciting for me because I use my lathe all the time. I decided to get the Rikon Midi Lathe Model 70-220VSR ( While I don’t regret getting my first lathe at all, as it afforded me the opportunity to get into turning for a reasonable price, I ultimately decided to upgrade to a better machine because of the fact that I feel like I’m primarily a turner now.

UPDATED WEB STORE: I took down the build your own pen option and put individual pens into the store. This allows you to see exactly what you’re getting. One can purchase pens or if you’re a pen turner yourself, you can buy blanks that I cast with Alumilite clear! In addition to those products, you can buy Cross Cut Creations T-Shirts in a variety of colors and styles as well as stickers or coffee mugs.

Channel Direction: After completing the pen series recently, I realize that I’m becoming more of a turner than anything else. I’m contemplating making my channel a turning and resin casting channel with other side projects occasionally. What does everyone think? I’m also am considering cutting back on the videos to maybe every other week, or something like that. My original hope was to do weekly videos until i reached 1,000 subscribers, but with the growth being as slow as it is, I think it might be time to step back a bit and reevaluate. Again, let me know what you fine people think.

Instagram: I’m about 100 followers away from 1,000 on Instagram, which is SUPER exciting! Because of that, I am doing a giveaway! I will be giving away a custom pen to one lucky person once I hit the 1,000 follower mark! Additionally, I’m looking for individuals (or companies) to sponsor prizes for this giveaway, so if you’re interested, contact me either through a DM on Instagram (@crosscutcreations) or send me an email ( Any support is appreciated! This will be an Instagram giveaway, NOT YouTube. (I’m hoping to do a separate giveaway for 1,000 subscribers on YouTube when I get to that point.)

Stickers: Sloane’s Woodworking, Turners Warehouse, Scratched Podcast, Doc Jared Hildabrant,, Sawdust Creations, The Bearded Woodworker, and Appaloosa Artisans!

Shout out: Pam Harris – Highland Boxes! Pam recently hit 5,000 Subscribers on her YouTube channel. Congrats Pam! Be sure to check out Pam’s channel and subscribe to her!



Turning My First Cup, Bowl, Thingamajig

I’ve wanted to turn a bowl for quite some time and I had a log (from when we took down a couple trees in our yard) that was small enough to fit through my bandsaw, so I decided to cut a chunk off and turn something. What I found inside the log was pretty awesome! There was spalting and it give the piece some pretty cool character.

I started by cutting a chunk of the wood at the bandsaw. I drilled a hole into the middle so I could thread the wormwood screw into the blank. I used my Nova G3 chuck to start truing up the blank. This took a little while because I didn’t really know what I was doing and because it was out of round, I had to go slow and take light cuts. This is definitely different from pen turning where you crank up the speed right away. If I were to crank up the speed right away, I would have had a bad time.

I shaped the outside of the bowl or cup, then turned a tenon into the bottom of the bowl so the chuck could grab the wood. It was at this point where I realize that the blank I cut was longer (and smaller in diameter) than I wanted, so it started looking more like a cup than a bowl, but that’s okay. After getting the outside turned to a shape that I was pleased with, I sanded the outside (mostly off camera, going through the grits), then flipped the blank over in the chuck so I could start the hollowing process.

I had a tough first go at this process, so what you don’t see in the video is me taking the cup over to my drill press and hogging out some material that way, as well as the cup even flying off the lathe once. That was more excitement that I was ready for. I didn’t get hit, and I was wearing my safety glasses and face shield the entire time.

When I finished hollowing out the inside of the cup, I realized that my chuck left dents in the wood. Thus was due to the fact that I didn’t have a piece big enough to turn a large enough tenon, so I essentially clamped the cup in the chuck and that caused the dents. – It’s all a learning experience. After learning that I dinged up the wood, I went ahead and filled the cracks and dents with some colored epoxy, then sanded down the excess. This seemed to work pretty well for most places, but again, this was far from perfect or ideal. To finish the piece, I used some Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner which has food safe mineral oil and other waxes in it, even though I don’t think I’ll be using this cup for anything, especially eating or drinking.

Thanks for checking out this article. I can’t wait to turn more cups and hopefully bowls. (Now I just need a chainsaw so I can cut bigger blanks!) This was a great learning experience. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me or leave it in a comment on the YouTube video and I’ll be sure to respond.


Resin Comparison Video | Turning Four Different Materials

In today’s video, I turn four Wall Street II pens. I show the preparation, turning and assembly of each of the four pens. While it is important to show these steps in creating the pens, I wanted to focus on comparing different materials today. I compared three resins and a bonus material. In this video I turn one of the resins and the bonus material for the very first time! I compared the materials on a completely subjective scale and used qualitative data instead of quantitative data, so while there is no hard data, I do tell you about my experience with each blank in the video.

The first material I want to talk about is acrylic acetate. These blanks are available at a number of woodworking stores and are easily accessible.

The second material I mention is Alumilite. I cast the blank for the pen and this turned more easily than the acrylic acetate. This is the resin that I cast in a pressure pot. This affords me the ability to make my pens and creations even more of my own.

The third material I talk about in the video is polyester resin. The blank was cast and sent to me by John Pierce. This blank finished the best, but in my opinion, it smelled the worst. I have talked to people who say that casting polyester resin smells awful, so while I noticed the smell while cutting and turning, I can only imagine what it smells like when casting the blanks.

The fourth material I used (bonus material!) was corian. The corian is just like the counter tops you see in homes! This was an interesting turn because for the majority of the time I worked with it, it was a treat to work with. It polished nicely and I can’t wait to work with corian again!

In general, I highly recommend wearing a respirator for working with any of these materials. When it comes to general turning practices with these blanks, use the standard turning rules for pens and you’ll have a greater chance of having a successful turn. Use fast speeds, sharp tools, and light cuts.  If you follow these three practices, you reduce the chance of blowing apart a blank. if you use slow speeds, dull tools, and heavy cuts, a lot could go wrong real fast.

Thanks for reading this article. There is more detail in the video under the “YouTube Videos” tab. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me and I will respond.


Making & Turning My First Segmented Pen

I wanted to try my hand at segmenting, so I put a segmented blank on a simple Wall Street II kit. This process was a lot of fun, even though messy and nerve racking at times.

I started off camera cutting 1/4″ segments from scraps that were too short to do anything with otherwise. I took the segments and started to glue up each segment by using medium CA. I made sure to use plenty of glue which ensured that the segments bonded well to each other. Unfortunately I was foolish and didn’t put gloves on, so I ended up with CA all over my fingers. Lesson learned. After I glued up the segments and eyeballed that the segments were in some sort of alignment, I put the blank in a clamp and let it sit until it dried.

Once the glue dried, I took it to the drill press and drilled a 27/64″ hole through the middle. Because each segment was a different size, I was nervous that I didn’t glue up the blank straight enough, but once I drilled the hole, I realized I had plenty of meat on the blank and it was fine. I glued the tube into the blank, then trimmed the blank to size and flushed up the blank with the tube.  After I flushed up the blank to the tube, I stayed at the sander and rounded over the blank and tried to flush up the segments to each other. This helped to reduce the chance of blow out and this helped immensely.

After preparing the blank, I took the blank to the lathe and got to turning. I made sure to take light passes and this worked well because I didn’t have any catches or blow outs. It took a little longer to turn, but it was worth it in the end since the blank stayed in one piece and turning went smoothly.

To start the finishing process, I applied a thin coat of CA glue to the blank. This sealed each of the segments, so when I sanded, the different colors of the segments didn’t bleed into each other. This worked really well and I was pleased with the result. Once the CA was applied and cured (with activator), I sanded from 200 grit up to 2,000 grit (dry sanding), then I continued with my finishing process by applying some denatured alcohol to clean up the blank.

I started the finishing process by applying once coat of boiled linseed oil on the blank. When that dried, I put my CA finish on the blank, then wet sanded with micro mesh, going from 1,500 grit up to 12,000 grit. I applied two coats of HUT Ultra Gloss Plastic Polish. This allowed the blank to get a nice shine to it and I was pleased with how the bank looked.

I put this segmented blank on a Wall Street II kit because I wanted to show off the blank and not focus on the kit as much. Assembly of the Wall Street II is super simple, which I cover in the video.

Thanks for reading this article and if you’re interested in checking out the video for this article, be sure to go to the YouTube tab on my website here! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to either email me or comment on the video and I will respond to you!


Shop Update 6.28.18

Well I blinked and it’s the last Thursday in June! That means it’s time for a shop update.  Today I will write about what is currently going on in the shop, update stickers, and give my shout out!

Current Projects: I’m turning items and CNC-ing items for a festival I’m attending as a vendor.  I know in the past I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue with shows, but the circumstances for this one were right and it was marketed as a festival and not a craft show, so I think there is real promise there.  We shall see what happens Saturday! I’m also working on some other items off camera like signs and displays.

The pen series will continue next week. I have plans for at least two or three more videos in the pen series, so this should be lots of fun!

Sticker: Wood Turning with Paul Lockwood

Shout out: Steve Nealon with Harneal Media

Cherry Navigator Rollerball Pen

Today we continue with the pen series with a Cherry Navigator Rollerball.  This pen is a nice addition to any collection and will look good with just about any blank.

I’m not going to talk about preparing the blank since it’s basically identical to the Metro pen I wrote about in my last post.  I will start by talking about the turning of this pen.  Cherry is plentiful in northeast Ohio, so while it is a common wood, it makes a nice looking pen in my opinion and I enjoy turning cherry.  Cherry turns super easily and I take my time to turn the blanks down to the bushings.

The turning is extremely similar to the Metro, but the main difference is with the Navigator, there is no taper near the top and it has a consistent thickness.  After turning the blanks down to the bushings, I went ahead and sanded the blanks with 220, 400, 1,000, and 2,000 grit sandpaper.  This made the blanks super smooth and available to take a CA finish with no problem.

I cleaned the blanks with some denatured alcohol, then continued with finishing.  I coated the blanks with one coat of boiled linseed oil, then applied my CA finish.  After the CA finish (5 coats of thin), I used micro mesh and wet sanded from 1,500 to 12,000 grit to smooth out any rough spots that might have existed.

After finishing, I was able to assemble the pen with no issues.  As long as you are organized, the Navigator goes together smoothly.  Make sure you have your pieces in order and follow the directions, either through video or written instruction, and this makes for a nice looking pen that has an elegant feel.

Thanks for checking out the video and as always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to send me a message or comment on the YouTube video that can be found under the “YouTube Videos” tab on my website.


Sapele Metro Rollerball Pen

In the video that got released today on my YouTube channel, I made a Metro Rollerball with a sapele blank.  This pen kit was the most difficult kit I’ve assembled yet, but the theme from the cigar pen can be applied to the Metro: Be organized and it isn’t too terrible to assemble.  If you’re organized and go slow, it isn’t a terrible process.  If you rush and don’t organize your parts, good luck.

Typical of all pens I’ve turned, this one starts by marking the blank so it can be cut to size on the band saw.  It is important to stay organized from the start on this pen because it has two parts and requires two different size drill bits because the top portion is a screw on cap and then you have the body of the pen, which requires a different size drill bit.  After I cut the blanks to size on the band saw, I drill the holes to accept the tubes.  The cap requires a 15/32″ drill bit and the body requires a 25/64′ drill bit.  Again, as long as you drill the correct size holes into the correct blanks (the cap is the shorter blank), it’s a pretty painless process.

Once the holes are drilled, I can scuff up my brass tubes and glue them into the blanks with the glue that Starbond was kind enough to send me.  Thanks, Starbond!  I let the CA glue dry and when it’s dry, I can trim and square the blanks flush with the tube.  I recently got a Tim Geist sanding/squaring jig, and I LOVE IT!  This makes squaring blanks so much easier and the need to barrel trim go extinct.

Once the blanks get squared, the blanks are prepped and finally ready for the lathe.  I get to turning and sapele was a treat to turn.  When I turn pens and other kitted items, I crank up the lathe speed to just about as fast as it’ll go and I start turning.  I prefer to start with a square carbide tool to get the piece to a round (or roughly round) state, then I continue to turn to final diameter with a round carbide cutter.  That’s just my preference and I’m sure everyone does it differently.  I’ll take a quote from Bob at RJBWoodTurner: “If it’s safe and it works for you in your shop, do it.”  What works for one person might not work for another person and that’s okay.  As long as you find what works for you and you’re comfortable with whatever it is, go with what works.

I also picked up a second new tool in this video (in addition to the sanding jig).  I decided to move away from my mandrel saver and pick up a 60 degree live center.  I have to say that I fell in love with this addition to the lathe as soon as I started using the tool.  Now my mandrel isn’t getting stuck in the mandrel saver and I’m not having those kinds of issues anymore.

After I got the blanks turned to the diameters of the bushings, I sanded them with 220, 400, 1,000, and 2,000 grit sand papers.  This made the blanks super smooth.  Once the sanding process was complete, I used some denatured alcohol to wipe the blank down.  This serves two purposes.  The first is to clean the blank of any sanding dust, oils that might have been on your hands, and any other dirt and grime that might have been on the blank.  The second is that it gives a preview of what the blank will look like finished.

I let the lathe keep spinning after I apply the denatured alcohol so the blanks can dry, and the DNA evaporates pretty quickly.  When the blanks are completely dry after applying the DNA, you don’t want to touch the blanks because you don’t want any contaminants from your hands to get on the blanks.  At this point, I apply a CA finish.  I finished a few more pens off camera with Starbond CA, and just couldn’t get it right.  Maybe I wasn’t using enough coats of thin CA or maybe it was something else, but I did use a different CA for the finish on this pen.  After I finished the pen with CA, I wet sanded from 1,500 all the way up to 12,000 grit with micro mesh.  Then, I put two rounds of HUT Ultra Gloss on the pen.  I wipe a coat onto the blanks, then buff the polish out.  This makes the pen shine and look real nice.

I finished applying the polish and was ready to take the blanks off the lathe and assemble them into a kit.  I was careful to keep the blanks oriented the same when taking them off the lathe because I wanted to have a continuous grain running throughout the pen.  Once I got to assembly, I used the PDF that woodcraft provides on their website to help me.  If you’re interested, you can find the PDF here:

My biggest suggestion with this pen kit, especially if you haven’t assembled a ton of these (like myself), is go slow and make sure you organize your pen parts.  If you organize yourself, this is a very straight forward process when assembling.  At the end of assembly, you have a gorgeous pen!

If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to contact me and I will get back to you.  I respond to all comments on my YouTube videos and will definitely get back to you if you email me or contact me.  Thanks for watching the video and checking out this article!


Purple Heart Cigar Pen

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!