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Slimline Pen

Level of Difficulty: easy
Submitted by:

Andrew Boyd

Andrew Boyd, owner of Red Beard Customs. Creating one of a kind, hand crafted pieces of furniture, lamps, tables, bookshelves, shuffle board tables & more.

Starting Off

Purchase or make a pen blank roughly 3/4” H x 3/4”W x 5” L (Picture 1A)

Cutting Blanks

  • Using a bandsaw, miter saw, or table saw cut blank roughly in half. (Picture 2A)
  • Trim each half to roughly 1/8” longer than the length of a tube.
    TIP: Mark lines on a side of blank prior to cutting to follow the grain pattern when aligning each half later. (Picture 2B)

Marking and Drilling

  • Mark the center on one end of each blank. (Picture 3A)
  • On a drill press, drill completely thru the center of each blank using a 7mm brad point drill bit. (Picture 3B)
    TIP: If you do not have apen blank vice to secure the blank vertically on the band saw table, a hand screw wood clamp can be used. Also, by notching out a shallow 45-degree grove on each side of the clamp, it will stabilize the blank even further. (Picture 3C)

Sand and Glue

  • Rough the outside of each tube with 150 or 220 grit sandpaper. (Picture 4A)
  • Spread medium thick CA Glue on each tube. Twist and insert fully into each blank. (Be careful not to get CA glue into either end of the tube while inserting.) (Picture 4B)
    TIP: Apply accelerant to speed up glue cure time.


  • Use a 7mm barrel trimmer or crosscut sled on the table saw to trim blanks to exact length of tubes. (Picture 5A) Brass tube edges should just be visible. (Picture 5B)

Blank into the Mandrel

  • Insert pen mandrel into lathe head stock. (Picture 6A)
  • Mount blanks onto mandrel in this order: First bushing → Bank with grain line facing second bushing → Second bushing → Second blank with grain line facing back towards second bushing → Third bushing → Lock nut. (Picture 6B)
  • Hand Tighten lock nut. (Careful not to over tighten and flex mandrel.)

Turning it down

  • Turn blanks to desired shapes, no less than 11/32” outside diameter. (Picture 7A) Regardless of final shape of the blanks, slope the blanks down on each end to the thickness of the barrel. (Picture 7B)

Sanding on the lathe

  • While lathe is still turning, sand the blanks using 80 grit to help with light shaping if required. (Picture 8A)
(TIP: If final shape of blanks is a uniform thickness across entire length, attach a strip of 80 grit sandpaper to a board slightly wider than both blanks and use this to sand until blank are even across the sandpaper.) (Picture 8B)
  • Sand through remaining grits to desired smoothness. Recommend 150, 220, 320, 400 grits minimum. (Careful not to sand bushings to prevent discoloring of blanks.)
  • Turn lathe off and sand again with the final grit.


  • Wipe down blanks with denatured alcohol to clean prior to applying finish. (Picture 9A)
  • Coat blanks with preferred finish, recommend EEE Ultra Shine Finish.
  • Apply to blanks while lathe is off. (Picture 9B)

Turn lathe on low speed and use same cloth to rub finish in completely, switch to a clean cloth and polish until high shine with reflection. (Picture 9C)



  • Secure the Milescraft Pen press to a solid surface, using screws or with clamps. (Picture 10A)
  • Remove blanks from the mandrel and assemble the pen using the Milescraft pen press in the following sequence:
  1. Determine the first blank and press the tip onto the first blank with the side that had the grain line on the opposite end. (To operate the press, utilize the flip stops and micro adjustment to get the proper distance close prior to using the handle to press the tip and blank together.) (Picture 10B)
  2. Press the twist mechanism (indentation ring being inserted) into the opposite end of the first blank. (Picture 10C) (Careful not to insert twist mechanism past the indentation mark.)
  3. Slide center ring over twist mechanism and snug next to the blank. Insert the ink cartridge into the twist mechanism, blank, and tip. Turn ink cartridge until tight and twist until ink tip is withdrawn into the pen tip. (Picture 10D)
  4. Place clip on cap and press those onto the second blank. (Grain line side should be facing towards the center ring.) (Picture 10E)
  5. Push second blank with cap and clip onto the twist mechanism, aligning the grain patterns. Test the twist mechanism and adjust is needed. (Picture 10F)

Locate some paper and enjoy your finished creation. (Picture 10G)