Article: Kurt Hertzog Demonstrates For CMW February 18, 2017

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February 20, 2017 12:28, submitted by Tina Collison (author: Ross Lynch, photos by Tina Collison and Kurt Hertzog)

Kurt Hertzog demonstrates for CMW February 18, 2017

A professional woodturner, Kurt Hurtzog enjoys everything from making turning tools to photographing his finished turnings. He particularly enjoys teaching tool sharpening, workholding, and advanced penmaking. Kurt wrote articles for Woodturning Design magazine from 2008 until they ceased publication in 2014. His regular column in Woodturning magazine began in 2012 and continues today. Kurt is past President of the American Association of Woodturners, one of the four Council Members of the Pen Makers Guild, and past Chairman of the Rochester Woodworkers Society. This is Kurt Hertzog's first demonstration for CMW and the first pen turning demonstration for the club. Kurt comes to us from Rochester, NY and is an accomplished turner, but is famous for his Pen Making.

Kurt began the morning session with a power point presentation that he calls the “20 things to do to get better pens.” He also referenced his web site as a place to read his 20 years of experience in the over 150 articles he has written. The site is:

Kurt's 20 Things to do are as follows:

1-buy better quality kits. He tends to use Penn State products and likes the titanium nitrate kits.

2-pen blanks- do not just cut in half. Use the best features of the blank. Eliminate the center ring, mark the center of the pen and keep the grain aligned.

3-use sharp decent twist drills bits-because it is end-grain wood and drill from the center of the blank to the end.

4-think about the speed and feed of drilling. go slower if smoke, squeak, or debris stops coming out of the hole.

5-tubes-scruff with sandpaper so the glue will adhere.

6-glue-he uses polyurethane(gorilla) but will sometimes use CA or epoxy. If it is old discard it.

7-glue the tubes in from the center face in a nearly flush position. Do not drill the holes until you are ready to glue the tubes.

8-use a mandrel saver! don’t use the tail center directly. It is easy to make a mandrel saver.

9-use the tool you like and are good at using (he uses a 3/4” roughing gouge).

10-bushings are to hold pieces in place-not for dimensions.

11-sanding-do the final sanding radially and rotate the piece by hand. This enables you to control the dimensions. Wipe the pieces off between grits with a paper towel.

12-use micro mesh. The next to last one(blue) is the magic one.

13-best finish-CA glue, spray lacquer, epoxy. do not use wipe on polish.

14-turn finish blank-design with a little taper at the bottom that is slightly smaller than the nib. Use a small pen mill to ever so slightly remove wood on the end until the nib fits perfectly. Then with a mandrel in the piece ever so slightly roll the edge over the ways of the lathe. This will soften the edge.

15-get better ink fills than come in the kits (Cross, Shaffer, Parker-he seems to like Cross).

16-when setting the transmission use the ink fill that will always be used because the different makes have different dimensions.

17-use the lathe as your pen press.

18-presentation-sleeves and paper boxes will be thrown away. Make a pen stand or a fancy decorative wooden box.

19-get ideas from <>.

20-pen kit necessities: good measuring tools, center mark tool, pen mill, mandrel saver, and micro mesh.

After this power point discussion Kurt demonstrated making a pen on the lathe. He did not make a complete pen but emphasized the teaching points from the prior discussion. He showed the importance of center drills and how to be frugal with sandpaper.

He also demonstrated the proper way to do a CA finish. Put a few drops of thin CA glue on a paper towel and coat the finished turned blanks radially. Cover completely by hand rotating the pieces on the lathe. Let dry and do again up to 20 coats. This will only take about 10 minutes. Now go through the micro mesh to finish. At this point we broke for lunch.

Editor's Note: It was interesting during the lunch break to see all of the tools and supplies that Kurt brought to the demonstration.

At the start of the afternoon session Kurt gave another power point presentation full of examples and pearls of wisdom. This included removing the center ring, nib variations and how to make them homemade.

Also, he talked about his preferred drill and discussed quality ink reservoirs. He then showed different type of pens and discussed how the different variations were made--plastic, desk, bic-type pen and pointed shapes.

Another pearl of wisdom was to chamfer the brass tube for easier and better fit. He suggested using “easy liner” when working with pens so that you don’t put wrenches on the components. Corian was discussed and is available from Art Specialty, Inc. Corian can be used for pens and homemade bushings.

Kurt then demonstrated the making of a desk pen. There was a side track discussion about tool sharpening and he showed how to sharpen the pen mills. He then showed and discussed the making of pen stands including steam bending.

At this point we adjourned with 20 years of pen making experience gleaned in just 5 hours. Thank you Kurt!

A DVD will be available to members in the Library soon.

submitted by Ross D. Lynch