First, I find the perfect blank for the customer. Some of the wood I have was gifted to me, some was salvaged from my property, and most I buy through various online vendors. For example, the above blank is a certified piece of oak from a Jack Daniels barrel. And it smells just like it. :)
The blank is then cut to size on the bandsaw, marked for center, and then I drill the proper size hole to accept the brass tube.
The blank is then mounted on the lathe. This can be done either between centers (i.e. between two points..for a single barrel pen) or on a pen mandrel (usually done for two-piece pens).
Sometimes, this is the hardest step. Some wood seems like it was made to sand into a pen. On the other hand, some are stubborn and refuse to cooperate. I usually start with 150 grit sandpaper and work my way up through 400-600 grit for wood pens and all the way up to 12,000 grit micro mesh pads for acrylic blanks.
When I can, I will make several pens of the same style. This cuts down on set up time at the drill press, lathe, and assembly line. When I do, and unless a customer asked for a specific combo, I usually play around with the finished pens and the available kit finishes to find the perfect match.
Thanks for reading along. If you have any other specific questions, let me know below.
Take care and God Bless,