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Lumberjocks Pen Swap Round 3

9 years ago

First of all if you don’t know what Lumberjocks is then stop reading this and immediately click on the link and sign up to be a member on this Facebook for woodworkers site. This is an amazing community full to inspiration and comraderie and a great addition to any woodworker’s toolbox.

OK that said, the Lumberjock pen swap is in the middle of round 3 and I was visited by the pen swap fairy this past Friday. I came home from a trip up to Lancaster county, PA to find a mysterious box on my front step. It was extremely heavy but I knew by the sounds it made that it must be my turn in the pen swap rotation. I quickly took it down to the shop and tore the box open.

Wow, this thing is full to bursting with pen kits, pen blanks, and completed pens. This is the second time I have participated in this swap and it is becoming more and more obvious just how great woodworkers are. The overflowing box is a testament to their generousity. It took me at least 15 minutes to unpack everything and be able to take stock of what was inside. My entire benchtop was covered with stuff. This go around several of the Jocks has put in some local “exotics” from their part of the country like Kentucky Coffee Tree, Pecan, River Birch, and Mesquite. Of course there were samples of the pen turning standards like Cocobolo, Ebony, Pink Ivory, and Curly Maple; however, this round is unique in that several of the Jocks had also dropped in some “challenge” blanks.

These challenge blanks are from locally harvested woods usually on the Jock’s property that are unusual in some way. The challenge part of it was not only to take a blank, but to make a pen with it. The taking is no problem because these two blanks: Cherry Burl, and Spalted Willow are both stunningly beautiful. The making however is the real challenge. Both blanks provide their own tests as the burl is very unstable and the willow is just plain punky and soft. They will take a steady hand and fine tool handling technique to turn effectively. I think this will be a good opportunity for me to try some home stabilization techniques that I have been reading about on the forums. Whatever happens, I am up to the challenge!

I admit that since this box was so full that I may have taken more than I put in just so that I could get the box closed again. We Jocks are probably abusing the flat rate shipping box and the US postal service must be losing money on this deal because the weight alone would drive up the shipping cost. I tried to offset the space and weight issue by putting in more pen kits and less blanks since they take up less space. I also put in more exotic and expensive blanks and kits to balance out the karmic effect.

Here was my take:


2 Laminated Walnut/Poplar
2 Apple
Spalted Willow
Cherry Burl
2 Cocobolo
Pink Ivory
2 KY Coffee Tree
2 Pecan
Walnut Crotch

Pen Kits

A cool satin nickel Euro


Great Euro turned in acrylic
Beautiful Slimline in Big Leaf Maple burl

And here is what I put back in the box:


2 Quilted Maple
2 Bird’s Eye Maple
2 Very Curly Koa
Kamani (Hawaiian hardwood)
2 Yellowheart
2 Quartersawn White Oak
2 Quartersawn Sycamore (from my backyard)
2 Buckeye Burl (see my Euro Screw Cap post)

Pen Kits

2 Classic Screw Cap
2 Rhodium Euro
Refrigerator Pen

I didn’t put in any of my own pens mainly because everything I am making now is going towards my craft show in two weeks. Next time around maybe I’ll put some of my own creations in there. I can’t wait to try out some of this interesting wood I pulled from this. Thanks to everyone who is participating and especially to Tim D for organizing the whole thing. Now it’s time to package this up and ship it off to the next lucky Jock!

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