Recently, Bill Livolsi with put on a challenge to “turn” a pen without the use of a lathe. Actually, you can make a pen out of whatever you want. I opted to go the route of using all the traditional parts to make a pen except the lathe, which was the only rule. Read on to see how I used a chainsaw to make a pen.
Of course the first thing I did was create pen blanks from scrap wood. Like I said, I went through the traditional steps of cutting the blanks to size, drilling the holes, installing the tubes and adding everything to the mandrel, which is what you would use on the lathe to turn the pen, but that’s where I made a left turn. I drilled a small hole in the end of a log with drill bit, tapped the mandrel into that hole with a rubber mallet to secure it. This is where I cranked the chainsaw and proceeded to “turn” my pen. In the video you can see that the chainsaw didn’t leave a smooth finish like traditional lathe tools would have. After I turned the wood down as far as I could without damaging the bushings or mandrel I continued the process of turning the pen on the drill press by sanding down the bumps with sandpaper. I started out with a really coarse grit then worked down to about 600 grit. I intentionally left the imperfections in this pen to show the chainsaw marks. There ended up being one place where the wood came apart towards the top of the pen, which is fine. I think it adds character. I finished the pen off by rubbing it down with butcher block oil. You can see all of this in the video here.

Tools I used in this project are listed below…

Pen kit:

7mm pen drill bit:


Gorilla epoxy:

Quick clamps:

Forstner bits:



Pen mandrel:

 Other tools I use: My Tools Page

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