If you own a woodturning lathe, you have the right one for turning pens. Any lathe from a benchtop mini to the biggest floor models will do nicely. Also, turning chisels that handle spindle work will at least get you started with turning pens. Most turners do not feel a need for special or mini-tools to make all but highly specialized pens.
LIKE MOST WOODWORKERS, I’m willing to try to make anything once. But there’s always been something about chairs that scared me away. Thirty years ago I made a leather sling chair in a carved frame that was interesting to look at, but very uncomfortable to sit in for more than 10 minutes. Since then I’ve made a few kits, but never got up the nerve to try one from scratch. I knew that Windsor chairs were complicated, but having read Michael Dunbar’s Windsor chair book years ago, I also felt that they were sort of a flexible work in progress. When I found out that Michael Herrel from Colonial Chair Company was going to be in town giving a Windsor chair class, I jumped at the chance.
For easy glue storage and application, I use a bottle with a slanted snout. Bottles like this one are available at women’s beauty supply stores for about $1. The design allows the bottle to be held in a horizontal position that’s comfortable to the hand and keeps the bottle out of your line of sight to the glue. The snout’s tip allows very accurate placement of the glue bead on the wood.