Woodturning is said to be the safest form of woodworking, that said it can still be dangerous and care should be taken at all times

The methods and procedures I show here are what I do at the moment and feel safe doing, I am not suggesting that you should do things the same way, that is up to you, if you don’t feel safe doing it one way find another way of doing it.

Above all take care and remember if this is your hobby it is supposed to be fun so enjoy it.

Now we are on to what can be the messiest part of the process, gluing the tubes into the blanks.

There are many options as to what type of glue you can use, I have tried super glue, two part epoxy and polyurethane.   The one I find best and have used for a few years now is polyurethane (PU), I find it gives a stronger bond and because it expands when curing it can fill any small voids between the tube and the blank.

The first thing to do is prepare the tube, when you get them out of the packet they usually have a thin coating of grease.   This needs to be removed and the outside of the tube roughed up slightly to get the glue to bond properly.

This can be done by wiping with a cloth and then giving it a light sand with fine paper.   This works very well but if you are making more than a couple of pens it can be time consuming and make your hands ache.   The method I prefer is to put the tubes in a container of cola for about an hour.    This cleans the tubes up and slightly pits the surface.   After about an hour tip the liquid away and rinse the tubes in warm water and dry.

The equipment I use for glueing is in the picture below, the glue, a tool to insert the tubes, cotton buds, water, a potato, gloves to keep the glue off my hands and one item not shown an old apron, because if the glue gets on your clothes you will never get it off.

PU sets in the presence of moisture and there is usually enough moisture in the wood to do this but I have found it works better if you slightly dampen the inside of the blank.   To do this I moisten a cotton bud and run it through the blank.   I then cut a slice from the potato and push each tube into it plugging up one end, this helps keep the glue out of the inside of the tube.

I then put the glue into the middle end of the blank and leave for a minute or two so that it starts to run down the hole.   PU works and flows better when it is warm, during the summer it is OK but during the winter I stand the bottle in a cup of warm, not hot, water for a few minutes to warm up.

Now insert the tube into the blank, I usually push it in a bit then withdraw it then push it in fully whilst twisting it, this helps spread the glue.   When inserting the tube I leave it about 2mm below the surface of the middle end.   Then put on a piece of wood or paper to set, whilst setting the glue will foam and expand so always stand it on something that doesn’t matter if it gets glue on it.

As I mentioned before when curing this glue foams and expands and at times can push the tube out of place so you need to keep an eye on it until it has started to go off and push any tubes back in if they come out.

PU sets fully in about 4 hours depending on temperature etc but I prefer to leave it over night to make sure it is completely cured.

drilling- previous   next - trimming

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