Turning in acrylic
I have been asked to make 9 pens in school colors as a graduation gift. The requested medium is acrylic. This is a new venture for me and my first impression so far is that this stuff stinks when you cut it, drill it, turn it, etc! It also takes the edge out of your tools really fast. Finally the shavings get statically charged and stick to everything. All those complaints aside however, it does turn well with no risk of chip out and it finishes to a beautiful polish quickly.
Here is the line up of the remaining pens waiting to be squared and turned so you can see how the acrylic looks in its raw form.
I had to solve a problem on this project and that is what I like most about woodworking is that in every project I am faced with something that requires me to get creative. Normally I used the brass tubes that come with pen kits, but with this acrylic, the brass shows through in this slimline style pen. I bought some white tube but they came in 12″ lengths. My problem was to figure out a way to cut the tubes safely and in identical lengths that are square. Here is the little jig I made for my band saw to accomplish this. The jig is customizable to length and tube diameter so I can use it in the future for other styles of pens.
I cannot say that I am going to be using acrylic a lot because I still prefer the natural beauty of wood, but it is a good experience to have under my belt.
Check out the finish product…