I like to use purpleheart pen blanks because they’re less expensive than other exotic hardwoods. Recently, I stumbled on a cool trick. I discovered that I could cause the wood to overheat and turn dark by using the back side of the sandpaper while the wood is turning. Light overheating makes purpleheart look like rosewood; further overheating makes it look like ebony. Heating alternating sections creates light and dark contrasts as if the pen was made of multiple pieces of wood. —Tom Bockman
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