A Pen Maker’s Collection Box

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By Doug Stowe

Craft this unique walnut storage box for your prize pens and learn a new technique. 

Do you find your collection of turned pens is growing larger than you had imagined it would? Whether you make them all yourself or trade with other craftsmen, it’s easy to accumulate a rather large number of pens. Even so, you want to keep them organized and tastefully displayed. 

I designed this walnut pen storage box to hold 40 turned creations. I had hoped to come up with a box of unique design, with an out-of-the-ordinary method of accessing the stowed pens.

I also want to share a simple but fascinating technique I discovered. By making an accurate story piece for use in setting up drilling or routing operations, very precise operations can be accomplished without the usual frustrations that can arise from the very precise measurements and markings required in making a box. I call this technique “flipping story sticks” because it involves flipping reference parts over for setting up stop blocks left and right for symmetrical operations.

In this box, the “flipping story sticks” aren’t actually sticks, but are precisely dimensioned parts cut from thinner stock that allow me to control set-ups more quickly, easily and accurately than measuring tools, which would cost a great deal more time, careful preparation and attention. You will note that a hole on one side of the piece serves as a reference for setting up the opposite side, by merely flipping the object over. This is a technique I find useful in all kinds of woodworking operations, from drilling symmetrical holes to routing accurate hinge mortises on the lid and base of a box.

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