Tag Archives: gator

A Gator Pen by a Gator for a Gator

by Skip.

My brother and I are both University of Florida graduates and big Florida Gator fans. So when I was watching Zac Higgins’s You Tube channel a couple of weeks ago and saw the results of his casting a piece of alligator jaw bone in an orange and blue resin, I knew I had to have one of those blanks.  This was a one-off casting so I had to move fast.  As luck would have it, I was able to purchase both blanks. [PS: Zac is a Gator fan also!]

resin/bone gator pen blank jenny skip
gator resin/bone pen blank

These were awesome blanks.  You could even see the teeth sockets in the jaw bone fragments!!  I had never turned resin blanks so this was going to be a challenge, especially since the resin casting contained bone, so it would be a hybrid material.

I decided to use a Sienna blank from Craft Supplies USA since it required a ¾ inch square blank and only had one tube. 

gator pen jennyskip
gator pen

I measured the tube and marked the blank to cut off a section about 1/16 inch longer than the brass tube.  I studied the blank before doing this to select what I thought would be the best section to accentuate the bone fragments. 

gator jawbone teeth socket pen jenny skip
part of the teeth sockets showing
gator pen barrel jennyskip
another view of the pen barrel

I put on a respirator (Zac suggested using a good respirator when working with the bone) and cut the blank on the band saw. I then drilled the blank on the drill press, glued in the brass tube with thick CA glue, and using a disk sander, cleaned off both ends of the blank down to the brass tube.

Using the proper bushings on my pen mandrel, I mounted up the blank for turning on the lathe. I understood from watching several You Tube turners, that a negative rake scraper was the best tool for turning acrylic blanks.  I had equipped one of my Easy Wood carbide finishing tools with a new negative rake cutters and used this to turn the blank. It was the perfect choice for a tool.  Cut beautifully and left an extremely fine finish.

Sierra pen kit gator bone blank jenny skip
the turned pen blank lined up perfectly with the hardware from the Sierra kit

I sanded and polished the blank and then assembled the pen.  It was a perfect match for the pen.  There was a blue section of the turned piece that didn’t have much character so I lined up the clip with that. 

pen clip gator pen jennyskip
I tried to put the pen clip over a part of the blank that wasn’t as drop-dead gorgeous as the rest of it

So, off to the post office with the pen. I know my brother will like it! A gator pen made by a Gator for a true Gator fan!

Orange and blue gator pen jennyskip
Glad to be a Gator! Go Orange and Blue!

Now a disclaimer: no University of Florida Gator students were harmed or had root canals to make these blanks!

Not sure where Zac got the gator jaw bones but it would be easy to get these in Florida, where we have alligator farms that raise alligators for their meat. Fried alligator bites are available in many restaurants.