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Pen Squaring Jig

Pen Blank Squaring Jig

Square the ends of any pen blank regardless of tube diameter.  Simply cut your blanks to length.  Drill the correct diameter hole in the center of your blank.  Glue your tube in the hole.  After the glue sets, mount your blank on the jig.  Slide the jig and blank across the sanding disc until flat. The end will be perfectly square every time.

 

Building the jig:


Start the jig by cutting the bottom plate of the jig measuring ¾”x4”x6”.

Next, create the center support by cutting a board measuring ¾”x2”x4”.  Using wood glue and screws, attach the center support to the bottom plate as shown.  Pre drill through holes and recesses for the screw heads. Insert the screws through the bottom of the bottom plate.
Create the handle from a piece of wood measuring ¾” x 1 1/4" x 2".  Cut the bottom of the handle at a 5 degree angle.  This will tilt the handle slightly towards the center support.  Use a bench top sander, round overt the corners of the handle for a comfortable grip.  Using glue on the matting surfaces, screw through the bottom plate and center support into the handle.
Next, cut the back support as shown.  This part will measure ¾”x2”x2 ¼”.
Before attaching the back support to the bottom plate and center support with glue and screws, drill a ¼” through hole for the blank centering bolt as shown here.

Next, create a slide to a width and thickness a little less than the groove on your sander.  Mine measured 5/8” wide, 3/8”thick and 10” long. The added length of the slide allows for a 2” protrusion from each end.  This will provide for a more accurate cut when trimming your blanks.

Place the slid in the groove on your sander and test the fit.  You want it to fit snugly, but still be able to slide smoothly.  With the slid still in the groove, place the jig on the sander as close to the sanding disc as possible without it actually touching.  Drill a pilot hole through the bottom plate, near the handle, and into the slide.  Use a screw to attach the bottom plate to the slide as shown below.

Next, insert the ¼” bolt through the hole in the back support.  Place a washer, lock washer, and a nut on the bolt.  Tighten the nut securely to bolt locking the bolt to the back support.

Use a small square to true the bolt to the sanding disc.

Adjust the jig until the bolt is at 90 degrees to the sanding disc.  Once you are happy with the angle, drill a pilot hole through the bottom plate and into the slide.  Use a screw to secure the two pieces together, thereby locking in the 90 degrees between the bolt and sanding disc.

To use the jig:

Cut and drill your blanks as usual.  Glue the tubes into the blanks.  Add a wing nut to the ¼” bolt as shown below.

Once the glue has had time to cure, mount your blank on the jig by sliding the tube over the bolt. Push the blank against your sanding disc.  Bring the wing nut against your blank to keep it in place as shown.

Slide the jig and blank across the sanding disc until flat. The end will be perfectly square every time.

 

I choose a ¼” bolt for this jig to allow a small 7mm tube to slide onto the jig for slim line pens.  However, to use this jig for larger diameter pens, a spacer can be made quickly and easily.  

I use a piece of scrape hardwood approximately 2” in length.  Then I drill a 7mm hole down the length of the piece as you would to create a pen.  I mount the blank on a pen mandrel and turn it round.  Next, turn the blank down to the inner diameter of the brass tube from your chosen pen kit.  Check the fit of the tube often.  You want the tube to slide easily onto the spacer blank but not be too loose as to allow play in the piece. 

When the appropriate diameter has been achieved, write the pen kit name on the spacer using a permanent marker.  Make a spacer for each type of pen kit that you make by repeating the steps above.  Keep them in a small box so they don’t get lost.  I use a cheap plastic pen box for this purpose.

 

 

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