Penmaking articles Penmaking Tips
24-Karat “Slimline” Pen and Pencil Kits

24-Karat “Slimline” Pen and Pencil Kits

by Scott & Kathy Griffith, premiere turning artisans Reprinted by permission from Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine


Carba-tec Lathe CT-Lathe-1
Duplicator CT-Dup (optional)
Lathe Mandrel Set, PK-1001
Barrel Trimmer Kit, PK-1390
Pen Press, PK-1008
Lace Sheoak Pen Blank, PB-1631
Shellawax Cream, PK-1009
Abrasive Rolls, PK-1276
Slimline Pen Kit, PK-1013
24kt Comfort Pen Kit, PK-1015
*All of the supplies listed above are available from Steebar at:


The "Slimline" kits are some of the simplest kits to make and offer an extraordinary number of variations. The 7mm tool components (drill bit, barrel trimmer, and mandrel) form the basics for many of the other kits available to turners. The " you-design-it" clips and bands available here... allow you to customize the basic Slimline pen and pencil. There are also Slimline kits available in satin (pewter), flat black, and titanium finishes. These kits offer an economical option for learning and experimenting with your woods. If the blanks crack or don't finish as well as desired, simply order extra tubes for the kit and try again. Once your pen is assembled, be sure it operates properly; if the pen point does not retract completely inside the pen tip, the brass tube was trimmed too short. There is a disassembly kit available that allows recovery of parts, and once new brass tubes are added you have a complete kit ready for another try.


The standard Slimline is a basic straight line cut which can be made using a skew chisel or gouge. The duplicator is a popular accessory to use with Slimline pen kits, and there are a variety of templates available. If you have turned a particularly pleasing pen design, you can use it as the master in the duplicator and make many more. The duplicator and the templates allow for the production of multiple items with matching designs. For example, turn a Slimline pen and pencil, letter opener, magnifier, key ring and a detachable pen or clip-on pen using the same template in the duplicator. Use one of the available glass-top display boxes for them and you have a unique presentation set for sales or gifts. The duplicator and templates expand the variety of designs and allow production of matching repetitive patterns.

Getting started

The following directions and photos illustrate our process of turning, so be sure to also read all directions related to your particular tools and kits. If you are cutting wood for a number of pens, here's a few tips to help keep them matched: cut long strips the proper width for your blanks; use a marker and the brass tube of the kit being made to mark lines down the stick 1/4" longer than the length of the tube; then number the pieces (see Fig. 1). The two pieces marked " 1" will make pen No. 1, the two pieces marked " 2" will make pen No. 2, and so on. This allows both pieces of each pen to have a continuing grain pattern. New turners should check

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