3. TURNING THE PEN
Once the pen is on the mandrel I use a large gouge to turn the blank down to its final shape. I have had very good results with the large gouge. From my experience, the soft and medium hardness blanks cut very clean and have a low likely hood of chip-out. For the blanks that fall in the hard category, patience and sharp tools are the key. For the harder blanks it can be very helpful to either cut or sand the corners of the blank before turning. It will save time, and cause less wear on your turning tools. Once the final shape is acheived, I finish off with a skew to smooth out any gouge lines and make sanding a bit faster.
*As an alternative here, the Woodchuck Pen Pro works exceptionally well in turning all hardnesses of blanks. It also can be used from beginning to end, roughing the blank all the way to final shaping while maintaining a sharp edge much longer than ordinary tools.