First real project on the S3XL

At the end of February, I had just gotten my Shapoko XL set up and was dithering about what to do as far as a wasteboard when my 92-year-old mother fell ill. As I am her sole caregiver, I have been out of the shop and the Shapoko completely for the past few months. Thankfully, she is on the mend (minus her left leg) and I am able to sneak some in some shop time. My first project is to turn some pens with stylus nibs on the back to give to the home health care nurse and the physical therapist who are working with my mother to get her back on her feet (er…foot). I used the Shapoko to carve some presentation boxes for the pens to personalize them a bit. These two are the result.

One is maple and walnut and the other is cherry and maple. I haven’t decided on the wood to use on the pens quite yet. The two shown are a couple of my trials made out of teak and tigerwood.

For my first real project on the Shapoko, I’m quite happy with the way that the carving turned out. I carved the design, hit it with a sealer coat of shelac then painted the design and sanded off the overflow on the surface. I won’t tell you the number of times I had to re-carve the tops due to stupid errors (forgetting to set the cut depth to something other than the stock bottom, forgetting to tell the software that it was using a 1/16" endmill etc. dumb stuff.).

All in all, it was both a learning experience and one that resulted in a useful product. I can’t complain about that.


Very nice job. Both on the pens and the boxes.

Beautiful work and a thoughtful thank you to your mothers caregivers. She’ll be proud!

I like your pen boxes. I make pens and am about to make about 40 for Freedom Pens. I watch a channel for Eddie Castelin. Capt Eddie has been making videos on youtube for some time. A few years ago he had a stroke and had to learn to walk and talk all over again. He is back to making videos and talking about his rehabilitation. Capt Eddie is having a contest and you get an entry for each pen you send to him. In turn he will send the pens on to Freedom Pens. Freedom Pens donates your pens to active duty service men and women. Coming up in August is Southwest Turners Association symposium in Waco Texas. Capt Eddie will collect donated prizes from vendors at the symposium and will award the prizes for the entries in his pen contest.

Caring for your parents can be very stressful but God bless you for doing it. We will all get old and need help sooner or later. I have a 94 year old Aunt in Houston that has steadily gone down hill. It is quite sad to see your loved ones get worse and worse. But every day is a new day and try to make this day the best so far.

Thanks guys. It was a quick, fun project and I’m sure will be appreciated by its recipients.

@gdon_2003, I was aware of Capt. Eddie’s channel although it’s not one that I follow religiously, in fact, his “shine juice” is my preferred finish for small projects. The pen boxes are pretty easy to make. The bottom is just a length of 4/4 stock with two grooves routed in it with a core box bit. The top is resawed from another piece of the same board and cleaned up on the planer. Put the top and bottom together and use them to cut the two end plates to size. Set up the top on the Shapoko and start your design of choice carving. While that is going, sand the bottom and end plates and glue them on. While the glue is drying and the carving is being done, go turn a couple of pens. If this hadn’t been my first project on the Shapoko it probably could have been done in an hour or so depending on the finish and glue drying times. As it was, it took most of a day to do the two boxes due to having to correct errors on the carving caused by improper setup which required me to cut another piece of stock which wasn’t quite the same size or thickness as the first which required corrections to the bottom which…