Quality Wood Crafts


Pen Turning Organization Part 1

Sewing Table

About three weeks ago, i got a free sewing table off FB Marketplace from Dublin, Pa. The woman i got it from used to be clothing for really small dolls. I cant remember what kind of dolls they were, but they were really small and could fit in the palm of your hand. She made the shirts, pants, hats etc for them, and she also sold CDB oil as part of her multi-level marketing group (i hope she is gonna make it out of there).

Well, anyways I liked that table cause it was very sturdy (solid wood) with a solid top. On top of that, there were 6 drawers in the legs also made of solid wood and besides the planing i had to do on three of the drawers so they could slide easily in and out of the table, they functioned properly. After I finished planing all of them and they all fit nicely, I made little separators our of Balsa wood is two of the drawers. I did it really without thinking to hard. I seperated each drawer into six sections. Six because there are six different types of pen kit trims, and I wanted to store all the slim line kits in one drawer… so one drawer was completd with effieciency. But what am I to do with the other two drawers that have been split into six seperate secitons? But the pen blanks in there? Well, I didnt think that far ahead and the drawers are not tall enough to fit 5” tall pen blanks. Sooooo. i think I will just save these drawers for when i start venturing out to other types of pens..


The most varied part of the pen is the blank. The blank can make or break a pen…. the color, the depth, the grain, the type, etc. It is hard to see what I have in stock when they are in the drawers at the bottom of the sewing table…. so I want to make a cheap and inexpensive way to store the blanks, in an easy way that I could see, hopefully right in front of my face. Now, I have a sewage return the runs around the basement walls right in the middle of the wall. This is a terrible hindrance on my shop organization. I cannot use almost any inspiration from any online source for organizing, because of this horizontal monstrosity. So everything I put on the wall, must go around the pipe.


Pallet Wood

For the construction of this shelf, I do not want to use any clean wood. Since I have broken down pallet wood planks with all the nails (that I can see) removed, I am gonna use this wood for the shelf. Using pallet wood is a very temperamental idea. It has its upsides….it cheap… so cheap it only cost you some of the energy that the universe transferred to you throughout the day, and some gas money….and maybe a truck rental and a good driving record of you are serious about it. But for most, it is shit wood.

  • Most of pallet wood is chemical treated, so using it as firewood can be harmful when breathing in.

  • Pallet wood does not have consistent strength. It is abused and beaten more than the front suspension on your car after you let your 16 year old start taking it to and from work.

  • Even the pieces that appear to be solid with no defects, one piece may have a hairline fracture in it which leave out using the wood for any structural work.

  • Its dirty and uneven wood. Some pallet wood, even though chemically treated still get moldy or at least very dirty. You need to get that off. sanding it off is the cheap but slow way, but you also risk breathing in all the particles you just sanded off…dirt….mold….alot iof things that should not be breathing in. You try planing or jointing the dirt off (the quick way) you risk dinging you blade. Then you have two choices… spend more than an hour on the diamond stone and get a 99.9% level, flat cutting blade (or use a sharpening wheel to sharpen it, but then it wouldn’t be as perfectly flat or straight as it would on the diamond stone) OR you can spend the money on a new set of blades. Blades an range in price. As inexpensive as $15 for a pair of Delta 6” jointer blades off amazon, to $250 for a quad set of 20” planer blades from Grizzly. And the worse part is knowing that you COULD have looked for that nail in the pallet wood a little harder, and this whole situation SHOULD have been avoided.

  • But not all nails are visible in Pallet wood. Some nails are hidden very well, especially at the ends of the pallet wood were many inexperienced hammermans and hammerwomans may have used their tool of the trade to mis-insert nails into the ends of he wood in order to attempt to connect the two pieces of pallet wood together. The ends of pallet planks can end up looking like the Mississippi Delta.

Pallet wood for shelf.

Pallet wood for shelf.

So this is the wood i am planning on using to make the shelf. I have glued the smaller pieces that had came off the larger pieces. My only concern is how to connect them. If I glue them, then i will have to make the corresponding ends flat so that the glue can reach the entire surface, giving me a firm hold, plus a few brads. Or i could drill out a pilot hole through both pieces, so that when I go to the next step in the projects and screw them together, the screw will not alter any structural integrity that the pallet wood planks may still have.


Nick Valenza