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Thread: pen turner's kit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southern Louisiana

    pen turner's kit

    wanna buy my dad a pen turnin kit. any suggestions on a good one? he has never turned a pen before. i don't know what questions to ask. im sure it's just like everything else. everyone like a different kind, or is it really that important? not sure how different they are. any help is appreciated


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    You can't do much with a kit alone.
    For a beginner, he will need a mandrel and the bushings required for that particular kit.
    I suggest you should pop for more than just a kit and get him some starter tools.
    Normally, I don't reccomend PSI for pen stuff, but they do have a fairly good CD for beginning turners and starter sets. Sometimes they give away the CD, other times they charge. Don't ask me why.
    But, do peruse their catalog and call for assistance.
    You asked how different they are. Have him start with a simple slimline style or something similar.
    BTW, those lower end kits are inexpensive. You may want to crack open the check book for several so he can get some practice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Carlyle IL
    slimline pens (7mm) are a good starting point. The top and bottoms are the same length.

    Woodcraft has instructions.

    the Cigar pen (10mm) pens are a bit more complicated and woodcraft's instruction are ambiguous.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    North West Indiana
    Chris, I will assume a few things here and then you can straighten me out on the facts.
    You and dad haven't turned pens yet?
    Dad has turning tools and a lathe? (Skew, bullnosed chisel, parting tool?)
    Dad has a lathe?
    Do either of you have a mandrel? Set of bushings?

    I am trying to determine the starting point to explain what it is dad will need so he isn't frustrated.

    Chris, forget the information above from my original post. I just talked with a mother of one of my students and she had primarily the same question. So thought I would provide this information and it should help. Holler if you need more information.

    This page puts you (or should put you) right on the pen starter kit page. It includes everything needed, wood, pen kits, mandrel, glue, sandpaper, bushings. No lathe or tools. Not a bad price when you check them out singularly.
    Last edited by Jonathan Shively; 12-01-2008 at 02:27 PM. Reason: additional info
    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake.

    I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Reno, Nv
    Craft Supply ( has a great selections of kits and even has starter sets with glue, mandrels and all the junk needed to start.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  6. #6
    If you or dad already has a lathe and basic tools, all you actually need are kits, appropriate bushings and drill bit. Slim line kits will require a 7mm or 9/32 bit. If you have a live center and a dead center for your lathe you will not need a mandrel as you can turn each barrel between centers. Epoxy or CA will work for gluing the tubes into the blanks. Drilling the blanks should be done on a drill press but can be done by hand if careful. Squaring the ends of the blanks will need to be done and using a pen mill works well. Other ways can be devised and work sufficiently enough to assemble with a good fit. You can also check with Ernie at Bear Tooth Woods for kits and supplies.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southern Louisiana
    thanks everyone. sorry, i messed up my explanation and question. he has a lathe and some tools, that's it. he will need everything else.

    thanks for the replies.

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