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Thread: Pens with metal lathe?

  1. #1

    Pens with metal lathe?

    I went to busy bee tools the other day and one of the workers said that people skilled in making pens usually use metal lathes because it is for smaller objects and intricate designs can be made, as well as, better wood that can be used.
    I am interested in turning pens and was just wondering if this was true.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I'm sure it can be done. I would question his assertion about the "usually" bit. There are many (probably most) skilled pen makers who do not use metal turning lathes. I don't know anything about metal/machinist lathes but wonder if they can turn at the 2,000 rpm, or so, necessary for turning wood. I have heard that wood shavings are bad news for the delicate mechanisms of machinist lathes. Dunno if that's accurate, but I have heard it.

  3. #3
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    I had a metal lathe and used it to learn on. The first thing I learned was that I needed to sell it and get the proper tools to do the job. Yes it ran fast enough but the lack of a good tool rest and a lot of other thing led me to sell the metal lathe on Craigs list and use the money to buy a 12 Inch Mini from wood craft. I believe the guys at BusyBee were trying to sell you a metal lathe.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    ...I don't know anything about metal/machinist lathes but wonder if they can turn at the 2,000 rpm, or so, necessary for turning wood. I have heard that wood shavings are bad news for the delicate mechanisms of machinist lathes. Dunno if that's accurate, but I have heard it.
    Frank,
    My 9" metal lathe tops out at 2000 rpm, and I have used it a few times to (successfully) make pens. The Jet mini does them better, though - although it hasn't been used for anything other than a few plane knobe in the past several years. Making spinny stuff is boring!

    The only way that I can think of that wood shavings would damage a metal lathe's ways would be if they were wet, and you left them on there long enough to cause rust.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Goodland, Kansas
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    4,834
    Had a friend of mine try to turn pens on a metal lathe. He got so frustrated with it. I loaned him my Delta midi. After the first pen he bought it. He didn't want to give it back. So I got a Rikon with the 12" swing. I agree with Don just get the proper tools. Sounds to me like they were trying to get rid of some metal lathes.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day
    and say, “Hi, Honey, I’m home – forever.”

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Whittier, CA, USA
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    512
    Welcome Faraz!

    I think you found a place that rather make a quick buck than develop a relationship with a customer. Stay away from them! A good reseller doesn't need to lie to make a sale, they will provide the best service they can in order to have you come back and hope that you will tell your friends.

    Cheers.
    Dan Gonzales
    Whittier, CA, USA
    Dona nobis pacem

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    sydney australia
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    149
    I
    had a metal lathe and used it to learn on. The first thing I learned was that I needed to sell it and get the proper tools to do the job. Yes it ran fast enough but the lack of a good tool rest and a lot of other thing led me to sell the metal lathe on Craigs list and use the money to buy a 12 Inch Mini from wood craft. I believe the guys at BusyBee were trying to sell you a metal lathe
    Spot on Don with your assessment. As a semi retired Toolmaker I totally agree, your being pitched a load of heifer dust to sell something that wont do the job.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
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    Nah I don't beleive it.

    I have a metal lathe - and I have worked in metal cutting all my life.

    I do pens on a wood lathe - I would not consider the metal lathe for pens.

    I am SURE wood can be done on a metal lathe - but it is not the right tool for the job.

    "Most" - "Usually" --- when people talk like that, it says to me that they have no idea what they are talking about, and they are blowing smoke in yer face.

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