• Daniel Ouimet

Art of Penmaking 4: Bonding Pen Tube and Blank

Updated: Aug 18

The next step in making a ballpoint pen, fountain pen, mechanical pencil, or rollerball pen is to secure the brass tubes that house the pen's inner workings inside the material chosen for the pen's body. A couple of important steps help ensure this process will not lead to failure at some point in the life of the pen. First, the smooth surface of the brass tubes needs to be lightly scratched to create a better surface for the adhesive. After scratching the surface with sandpaper, it is also best to clean the tubes with alcohol to remove contaminants left from machining or hands. This will prepare the tubes as well for paint if required for translucent pen blanks. I normally paint the inside of the blank as well to prevent the brass pen tube from showing through the resin.

Once the tubes are prepped for "gluing," I plug their ends with dental wax. This prevents problems later with trying to pressure fit in parts if adhesive hardens inside the brass tubes. Some penmakers use cyanoacrylate glue to fix the brass tubes inside the pen barrel material. I prefer epoxy for its extended working time and what I believe is a more secure bond. I let the epoxy cure overnight before cleaning out the dental wax and trimming the barrels.

The next step is squaring the pen blanks in preparation for turning!

Painted pen tubes and pen blanks ready for epoxy
Tubes sanded, painted, and plugged — ready for epoxy