My favorite kind of bar

As you learn a little more about me you may have wondered what a pen maker’s favorite kind of bar is. And the answer is a draw bar, of course! What’s a draw bar? I’m glad you asked! (Wait, you didn’t really ask? Well I’ll tell you anyway)

On a lathe, there are 2 ways primary tools attach to the headstock (the side where the motor is): by either screwing onto the threads there, or by sliding into a tapered hole called a Morse Taper. One of the tool sets I use is a collet…a tool that grips cylindrical objects with equal pressure from all sides.

The collet holder I use slides into the Morse Taper and sort of self centers. It’s great, really. For custom pen making it’s one of the Must Have tools in the arsenal.


And although the piece you are working on is usually supported at the other end by the tailstock, sometimes it’s not practical to do so. What then? How does a tool that was slipped into a tapered hole stay in place while its spinning at deadly speeds? Enter: The Draw Bar.

The collet holder I have is threaded on the inside. So to keep everything where it should be at 2400rpm I screw a length of threaded rod into the the tool, running it through the spindle, and secure it on the other side. This picture might help you understand what I’m saying:

And now that I have my collet set ready to be used I even went ahead and got started on the first GW GemPen prototype! Here’s the pen body being crafted and then the finished piece.

And speaking of the GemPen, I’m happy to say things are moving forward faster than anticipated!! Keep an eye out as I announce not one but TWO additional gemstones that will be used in the KickStarter pen collection Saturday (tomorrow) night!

As always, thank you for reading another entry from the GW Pens back room!