Pine Peg Pen – Using Reclaimed Wood to Capture a Memory

Hi Fellow Penturners,

I’d like to share a story with you from Philip Morris, a pen turner from Alabama. Phil has be turning pens from a variety of materials for almost three years. You can see his work on his webpage Phil’s Pen Studio. Read more about Phil in the following- Phil’s Pen Studio Artist Profile.

Here’s Phil’s story of a pen he crafted from a reclaimed pine wood peg.
In Shelby County Alabama, the house you see in the photos was built in 1880. The house survived until 1965 when it was destroyed by a tree falling on it. In the first picture you can see the tree in the background that did the damage.

I have been commissioned to make a pen for one of the descendents of that home.  It is from a Heart Pine Peg that was used in the construction of the house.  One of the great thing about this peg and house is that it was from the very property that my current home sets.

Pine wood peg reclaimed from old house.

Pine wood peg reclaimed from old house.

I was honored to be asked to make the pen from the pine peg.  The first thing I did was to seal the ends of the peg with a coat of thin CA then clamped it to close the visible cracks that I could see.  When getting ready to make the pens, as there was enough wood for more than one, I made my first cut on the saw and WOW what a smell.  That deep rich odor that can only come from sealed in pine pitch–the kind you close your eyes and takes you back to childhood and playing in a pine grove.

I was asked to make a Bolt Action pen with one piece and I decided that a Zen style pen would be the other choice as to give the great piece of wood a chance to be seen.  While drilling, the sap clogged the bits and had to be cleared about every ¼ inch, but each clearing of the bit made that smell evermore present in my Pen Studio.

I started turning the Zen pen first and had the pitch from the inside slinging everywhere. I placed a paper towel underneath to catch some chips so I could bag up the smell to take back to the customer.  About halfway through the turning the blank separated, which after some glue and clamp time it was back to the lathe where it was turned to size.

For the finish I chose to apply my CA Finish. The pitch residue on the surface of the wood would prevent a good finish so a thorough cleaning with acetone solvent was required prior to applying the first layer of CA.

The Bolt Action pen turning went along smoother as I was prepared for things to watch for. I ended up with that sap stuck on me and my lathe which required a good scrubbing for both of us.

Below are the two pens created from the peg. The Zen style is the top pen and the Bolt Action pen is the lower pen.

Heart Pine Peg pens crafted by Philip Morris. Copyright Philip Morris, used by permission.

Heart Pine Peg pens crafted by Philip Morris. Copyright Philip Morris, used by permission.

Phil Morris
Phil’s Pen Studio
Phil’s Pen Studio Artist Profile

Thank you Phil for sharing your pine peg pens with us. I completely agree with your choice on the Zen pen kit to showcase the wood. The color and grain is spectacular. I’m guessing that it looks even better in person.

Tim McGill, editor
Pen Turning Network

About the author /

Pen turner, pen designer, custom pen artist, writer, publisher, father, husband, avid book reader, office man, outdoorsman, handyman, runner....these are just a few of the things that define me.

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  1. Zeke Willard

    Great story, and pens turned out awesome!

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