Making a resin 4 finger ring

This week I decided to channel my inner LL Cool J and cast and shape a resin 4 finder ring. I cast a thin blank that I cut the letters out of and then cast those in more resin to create the larger blanks.

Below is the resin, dye and pearl used for this project. (Amazon Affiliate Links)

Alumilite Clear resin:
Alumilite dye:
Jacquard Pearl Ex powder:

Making resin NJ & Lake Ontario for the #USMakerProject

The US Maker Project is the brainchild of DA Woodworking and is a  collaboration of 50 makers each making a US state using the material and style of their choice. Once each state is completed they’re being assembled into an 8′ map that will them me displayed to the public.

Browse all of the US Maker Projects on Instagram:

DA Woodworking

Making a Monster High skull with resin bow – Shogun Jimi Skull Challenge 2017

This is my entry to Shogun Jimi’s skull challenge 2017. I was initially planning to go in a different direction, but decided at the last minute to make something for my youngest daughter. So here it is, a Monster High skill with an Alumilite resin bow!

Skull Challenge 2017 Playlist
Shogun Jimi’s channel

Making a pencil holder from scraps of plywood

This week we get one of the girls back into the shop to make a pencil holder to organize her art supplies.  We started with a sketch and used scraps of plywood to bring it to life.

The supplies and tools we used are:

  • 3/4″ Plywood
  • Wood Glue
  • Table Saw
  • Band Saw
  • Router with roundover bit
  • Drill Press with hole saw and forstner bits
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane

Checkout the below video to see how we did it.

Walking Dead Valentine’s Picture Frame

Here’s my entry to Shogun-Jimi’s Valentine’s Day Maker Challenge.

This year I decided to make something classy for my wife.  With the return of The Walking Dead falling so close to Valentines day we had zombies on the mind, so she was bound to get something fun.  Checkout what I put together below.

Valentine’s Day Maker Challenge Playlist:

Shogun-Jimi’s channel:

Whittling a dip pen from firewood

Here’s the pen I made for Bill Livolsi’s No Lathe Pen Challenge.  Since I wasn’t doing it the easy way I decided to go the basic route, a dip pen.  I started with a piece of oak firewood, cut a chunk out of it and whittles it into shape with a pocket carving knife.

No Lathe Pen Challenge:

No Lathe Pen Challenge Playlist:

Bill Livolsi’s Channel:

Flexcut Whittlin Jack pocket knife: (Associate Link)

Making a wood turned pen

Now that I’ve had the wood lathe for a few months and have made an unusually large number of pens during that time, I thought I’d breakdown how I make my pens.  It may not be the right way, it may not be the best way, it may not be your way, but it’s my way right now and that could change tomorrow if I find a better way.

We’ll start off with a video of the process.  Start here:

So, first things first.  You need wood.  You can buy a blank or do like I do and scrounge for it.  That scrounging comes in the form of firewood, logs, or cutting down that dead cherry tree in my back yard.  If you’re cutting your own wood you’ll need to let it dry too.

Next, take that blank and cut it to size.  That size depends on the pen kit you’re using.  What you cut the blank on depends on your equipment.  I cut my blanks on the table saw, but you can use a hand saw, band saw or a sharp rock if you’d like.  Just leave each piece a bit longer than the tubes.

After the blank is cut to size you need to drill the hole for the tube.  The hole is also dependent on the pen kit and size of the tube.  Take your time to make sure you drill this hole square down the center of the blank.  I’ve ruined a few blanks rushing through this step.

Now that you have a blank with holes in it, it’s time to glue the tubes in.  Start by scuffing the tubes with sandpaper and then glue them in using epoxy or CA glue.

With your tubes glued into your blank, you can now use a pen mill to trim and square the ends of your blanks to the tubes.  The wood should be flush with the tubes.

This is where the fun starts!  Chuck your blank onto the pen mandrel and start turning your pen.  Take your time here since it’s super hard to add wood back after you take it off.  When I turn the pen I’m shooting to have the ends flush with the pen hardware.  Once I have the shape I want I sand through 220, 320, and 400 grits before I apply a finish.

It’s time to make it shine!  I use a CA finish on my pens.  There are other options out there, but this is the only one I’ve tried so far.  I swap out my bushings for non-stick bushings, set the speed as low as I can on the lathe and apply 7 coats of CA.  My first coat is thin and the rest are medium.  I also use CA accelerator to speed up the curing time between coats.

We now have a good layer of CA on the pen that we can now polish up.  I use Micro Mesh polishing pads for this and go from their 600-12000 grit pads.  After I work through all of the grits I use Meguiars PlastX polish to buff the pen out.

With that shiny pen blank in hand, the last step is to assemble the pen.  For this follow the directions from your pen kit.  I use an arbor press for this step since we don’t have a pen press.  Be careful not to use too much force when pressing in the parts as you can easily crack the finish or separate it from the wood.

Making Personalized Pokemon Signs

I won’t claim to understand the Pokemon thing, but I do understand that our kids and their friends go nuts over them.  We thought it would be cool to make a little something for some great friends that are also Pokemon maniacs.  We wanted to do something unique that you can’t just go out and pickup at Target and decided to go the personalized route.

To get started we needed to find a good Pokemon font.  We found what we were looking for at

Next, we took a Pokemon card to Home Depot to match the colors.  We found some quarts of paint on clearance for $1.98 and had cans of blue and yellow mixed up.

Once we had the paint ready to go it was time to cut out the names.  We went with 1/2″ MDF because it’s easy to cut and it’s thick enough to give them dimension.  The thickness also lets them stand up on their own.  After using spay adhesive to apply the printouts of the names, we cut them on the band saw (you could use a jig saw or scroll saw if you have them).

After the names were cutout, we sanded all the edges, primed them, and painted the yellow base coat.  We then covered the letters with painters tape and used the original paper names to cutout the areas to be painted blue and then finished the paint job.

To see how we made the signs checkout the video below.