On Saturday, November 6 – the weekend prior to Veterans Day – Woodcraft stores nationwide will host the seventh annual Turn for Troops National Turn-a-thon. Woodcraft customers and the general public are encouraged to join in making handcrafted wooden pens that will be distributed to American service personnel actively deployed overseas or in rehabilitation facilities in the US. “With the help of our customers and local communities, we were able to create more than 62,000 pens during our 2004-2009 turn-a-thon events,” said Jeff Forbes, president of Woodcraft Supply, LLC. “Hundreds of people — many of whom were first-time turners — have donated their time and talents to creating pens for our troops. We hope that this year volunteers will turn more pens so that even more soldiers can be reminded that people back home remember and appreciate their efforts.”
A Marine gunnery sergeant, one of many pen recipients who have expressed their thanks for the pens, writes: “As I sit here in the sand of Afghanistan looking at one of the pens crafted in support of the troops, I have an overwhelming sense of support. To think that someone took the time to craft a token of appreciation has really made my day. Thank you!”
Here are some of this year’s pen turning volunteers at our Woodcraft Parkersburg West Virginia store. Shown below in the first picture are Pastor Brian King with his son Joshua. Pictured on the right is Jason Rose.
Larry Nealy instructs Pastor Brian and Joshua in this video:
From our Turning Tuesdays Group which turn for the troops all year long are Mikey Ellison and Jim Morrison:
This particular Turning Tuesday yielded these woodturned pens plus a few “WVU” acrylic pens:
Pen turning is one of the fastest and easiest woodworking skills to learn and enjoy, according to Forbes. A first pen project takes about 30 to 45 minutes, but after creating a few pens this time can drop down to just 15 minutes each. “Using basic lathe skills,” Forbes said, “anyone can produce a good quality pen for our troops quickly.”
Speaking of anyone, here is yours truly having a little fun on acrylic pen turning thanks to John Wolf and Mike Tice:
Here is, as they say, “proof of the pudding is in the eating” or in this case “proof of the turning” is the pens:
If I can do this anyone can. Some of the important factors I learned from John was keep the tool sharp, position the tool correctly, especially when creating angles close to the mandrel edge. Slow down the lathe speed so as not to heat up the acrylic while turning. Apply pressure lightly when sanding the acrylic material for the same reason. As you go from 220 grit paper, then 600 to 800 grit or higher, wetting the paper with water also reduces the friction heat, followed by buffing it using the BEALL 3-On Lathe Buffing Mandrel (Item #823903), or use Micro-Surface Finishing Product Inc’s, Micro-Mesh Sanding Kit (Item # 142940), both from Woodcraft. Even when I created a mess, I was still looking professional in my Woodcraft 22 Pocket Apron (Item #145838)!
Not only is this a great project with Turning for Troops, but whether you are a hobbyist, professional woodworker or looking for a holiday gift or special occaision, what better way to accomplish this than to make it yourself because it will mean so much more. This is a bonding family function as well, with your kids or relatives. Stop by your local Woodcraft store to check out the variety of pen kits in stock.
Woodcraft customers and the general public are encouraged to participate in Turning for Troops. To get involved, contact a Woodcraft store near you. To locate a store or for additional information, click HERE.
2010 - 7th Annual Turn for Troops Update:
Boise took Top Gun with 1,253, followed by San Carlos with 1,177, and a close third of 1167 by Tucson. In truth, every store is appreciated right down to the last one. Thank you.
US Congressman, Charlie Dent - 15th District of Pennsylvania and
PA State Representative, Justin Simmons - PA District 131
US Congressman, Charlie Dent
PA State Representative, Justin Simmons