Part of the appeal of woodworking, at least for a lot of people, is that it is something that you do by yourself. Working alone, with just your own thoughts as your companion, helps you to relax and allows your work to be a reflection of your inner self.
Having said that though, some of the most fun I have had while woodworking has been in a room full of people all working away. I don't know if I could do it all the time, but once in a while you need a different energy to keep things fresh.
That is why, when my wife Lee proposed that we work together on something, I was happy to oblige. She is a fantastic artist in her own right. You can check out her blog here and see more of her work here.
People have referred to pen making as the 'gateway drug' to wood turning. I understand that now. Making this first pen was a lot of fun. A big part of that was using a blank that Lee made using Alumilite casting resin. This pen was made using the five minute casting resin that dries to an opaque white colour. She added a swirl of blue dye to give it some visual interest. I want to go into more detail about the process we used to make the blanks for this pen, but I'm going to save that for another post.
This pen blank was made using the 24 - 48 hour casting resin, which dries clear. She added blue and red dyes to the blank but very little of the red made it to the centre of the blank so it all but disappeared on the lathe. The gold colour in the pen comes from the brass tubes of the pen kit. If you click on the picture you can see a cool 3-D effect that comes from the way the dye swirls through the clear resin. This pen was made using the standard technique of casting a rectangular blank and then drilling the blank to glue in the brass tubes with CA glue.
This pen was made with the five minute resin and red dye. We goofed up and didn't mix enough resin, so we had to do a second pour. The nice thing about this stuff is that it bonds to previous pours seamlessly. Colour matching is a little more difficult.
I made this box just for another example of a way to use these resins in woodworking. Lee poured the five minute resin into a flat mould and added colour and glitter.
It was hard to decide which side to use as the top of the box. In the end I went with the side that had more glitter, because I think that was Lee's intent.
Working with these resins and making pens has been a lot of fun. Like working with wood, you can never be sure exactly what the finished product will look like. You can, however, choose the colour combinations you want, add effects, and play with the resins in a way that you can't with wood. I will definitely be doing more projects with this stuff in the near (and distant) future.