October 6, 2019

How To Turn A Pen with A Mini Lathe

If you’re a woodworker, there’s a good chance you’ve turned a pen or two. It’s a fun and easy project that doesn’t require much in the way of specialized equipment. This blog post will show you how to turn a pen with a mini pen lathe. We’ll also offer some tips for getting the best results. So, if you’re ready to learn how to turn a beautiful pen, keep reading!

What you will need

  1. A mini lathe
  2. A pen blank (we recommend using a blank made from exotic wood for a truly unique look)
  3. A set of turning tools (a roughing gouge, a skew chisel, and a finishing gouge should suffice)
  4. A sharpening system (a honing guide and a set of sharpening stones are all you need)
  5. A set of calipers (to ensure that your pen blank is the correct size)
  6. Pen mandrel (to mount the blank on the lathe)
  7. Bushings
  8. Glue
Mini wood lathe on a table

Safety gear

Pen turning is quite a safe woodworking activity, but there are a few safety precautions that you should take. First, always wear eye protection. A full-face shield is ideal, but safety glasses will suffice. Second, wear hearing protection to protect your ears from the noise of the lathe. Third, make sure that your clothing is loose-fitting and doesn’t have any loose strings or other hazards that could get caught in the lathe. Finally, keep your hair pulled back away from your face.

Now that you have all of the necessary safety gear, it’s time to get started!

The pen blank

The first step is to select a pen blank. We recommend using a blank made from exotic wood for a unique look. You can find these blanks at most woodworking stores or online. Once you’ve selected your blank, it’s time to prepare it for turning.

To prepare the blank, you’ll need to use a set of calipers to measure its diameter. The blank should be slightly larger than the mandrel that you’ll use to mount it on the lathe. Once you’ve determined the correct diameter, use a sharpening stone to smooth any rough edges on the blank.

Mounting the blank on the mini lathe

Place the blank securely on the mandrel, ensuring it’s properly centered. Next, use a set of bushings to secure the blank in place. The bushings will also determine your pen’s final size and shape, so be sure to select the ones you want carefully.

Once the blank is mounted on the mandrel, it’s time to start turning!

Turning the blank

Begin by shaping the blank with a roughing gouge. This will remove any large amounts of material quickly and help get the blank into the rough shape you want. Next, use a skew chisel to refine the shape of the blank. Finally, use a finishing gouge to smooth the surface of the blank and give it a beautiful finish.

As you turn, check the blank for any imperfections frequently. If you see any, use a sharpening stone to remove them.

Once you’re happy with the shape of the blank, it’s time to cut the threads. Use a thread-cutting tool to cut a series of grooves into the blank to do this. Once the grooves are cut, remove the blank from the lathe and use a tap to cut threads into them.

Sanding and finishing

Now that the blank is shaped and threaded, it’s time to finish the pen. First, sand the blank with progressively finer grits of sandpaper until it’s smooth to the touch. Next, apply a finish to the blank. We recommend using a natural oil finish, but you can use whatever you like. Finally, allow the finish to dry completely before proceeding.

Polishing the pen

The last step is to polish the pen. First, mount the blank on the lathe and increase the speed to its highest setting. Next, use a soft cloth to apply a small polishing compound to the blank. Finally, move the cloth in a circular motion over the entire blank surface until it’s polished to your liking.

Now that the pen is finished, it’s time to enjoy using it! Thanks for following along. We hope that you found this guide helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us. Happy turning!

Tips for turning a pen on a mini lathe

– Always wear safety gear, including eye protection, hearing protection, and gloves.

– Use a sharpening stone to smooth any rough edges on the blank before mounting it on the lathe.

– Be sure to use bushings to secure the blank before turning.

– Use a thread-cutting tool to cut threads into the blank after shaping it on the lathe.

– Apply a finish to the blank before polishing it. We recommend using a natural oil finish.

Things you should know before starting to turn pens on a mini lathe

– How to use a mini lathe

– How to sharpen a mini lathe

– The different types of mini lathes available

– What size mini lathe is best for you

– How to pick the right size pen blank for your project

– How to finish a pen blank


Thanks for reading, and happy turning! Turning a pen on a mini lathe is a great way to get started in woodturning. It’s also a great way to make unique, one-of-a-kind gifts for your friends and family.

David D. Hughes

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