Friday, March 28, 2014

Red Sanders pen with Polyester Resin casting

When a friend approached me to make a pen with red sanders, I wasn't sure where to get the material from. I actually didn't know much about the wood itself, but after reading, realized that it was what our grandparents used to have as part of their home remedy. Red sanders is a medicinal herb and its powder is used for healing wounds as well as other illnesses. So, when I mentioned about this pen to my parents, they quickly suggested to look for stores selling herbal and ayurvedic medicine. Well, with changing times, this also has changed. They don't sell it as wooden billets anymore but in the powder form. After searching more, I found strips of this wood available with stores that are selling incense sticks and related items.

So, this is what I brought home, with the idea that I will find a way to make a pen out of this:

These strips were about 5-6 inches long and no more than 10mm thickness. As you can see, they are rough cut and no single strip was big enough to make a pen part from. So, I decided to cast them in Polyester resin (PR).

I aligned two strips in a pair as close to each other as possible and tied them up.

This was then cast in resin. The resin block with wood embedded in it was then turned on a lathe. The resin block did exhibit a few cracks, mostly due to the lack of pressure pot during casting. However, these cracks didn't affect the final product. Enough of the wood was covered in PR and had gotten into the gap.

The blank had to be stabilized along the way, just to ensure that the wood and PR does not separate. After much turning and polishing, this is the end result:

You can see the PR along the length of the pen. I had tried to match the color of PR with the wood, but I did not know what color the wood will turn. Surprisingly, it looked much lighter than the wood strips and also had amazing grain.

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