Dec 2006 23

Polyester Resin Pens

Hobbies Wood turning, Wood working

Black Toddy Coconut Palm Pen

Something I used to do years ago, and have started to do again was making pens. Wood turning is a lot of fun and you can create some very pretty pens if you take the time. Here is an example of one I made - click for full image;

It's a fun hobby and I enjoy it - it allows me to be creative on a completely different level than anything a computer could ever give me (Unless I managed to turn one out of wood).

A week or two ago my father sent me a PDF about making pens from a polyester resin. Basically instead of using a "blank" of wood as seen in the picture above, I would use a blank of this hardened resin. Well add to that the fact that I would actually be making the blank from scratch and my interest was piqued..

What's amazing is how easy it is. You just have to buy the resin and colorants!, mix them up.. let it set.. zing! You're done. Oh I'm sorry did you expect it to be hard? It wasn't. Here's basically what I did:

  • Buy a 1 gallon jug of polyester resin and the catalyst hardener.
  • Buy some colloRants! to mix into the resin before it sets .
  • Find a roughly blank sized mold, in this case I used a ziplock container
  • Fill it with water to find out how many oz. it is. (it was 14) Pour out the water.
  • Fill the mold with the resin and put in 7 drops of the catalyst for ever ounce of resin.
  • Stir.
  • Stir some more.
  • More stirring please..
  • ... More cowbell! er.. stirring! for about two minutes actually.
  • Now grab some of the colorant powder and mix it in. I used 4 big scoops, I should have used 6.
  • Once the colorant is stirred in and you see the pretty swirls.. walk away man..
  • Go have a coke and a smile.

That's pretty much it. It took probably 15 minutes for the liquid resin to go into a gel state.. about 1 minute for it to go from a gel to a rubbery solid and maybe an hour for it to completely set. It got extremely hot too - gotta love that chemical reaction.

I then cut a couple blanks and tried my hand at making a pen out of it. Here is what I got - click for full sized image; It's not perfect. I clearly didnt add enough colorant because you can see through to the brass tube where the resin gets thin.. so mental note: add a touch more next time. But really I'm very happy with the results.

This stuff is easy to work with and it's much less expensive than wood. I have a feeling I will be making a lot of resin pens.