Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Another question for pen turners

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Posts
    10,604

    Another question for pen turners

    I think the kids are pitching in and buying me a lathe for our wedding anniversary this weekend. Not sure but I think it's the Excalibur sold by Rockler.
    I've watched a couple of videos on pen making and I've figured out that I probably need some smaller tools that the old Shopsmith ones I have. The main question is that I see that a mandrel is needed. Do you have to have a different mandrel for every style pen I make?
    Is there anything else I need to get started? I have to keep the cost down. Business ain't getting any better.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Bradford, Vermont
    Posts
    425
    I use my reg'lar size tools for penmaking. I bought a little bitty set (got it cheap) some time ago, but haven't found any call to put any of 'em to wood, since the full-sized ones are turnin' the trick.

    You'll need a 7mm mandrel (it's really 0.250" in diameter) for most pens - the slimlines, the Euros, the Americana style, the Polaris & the cigars. For some few kits, you'll need a bigger mandrel (I only own 7mm myself). You WILL need a bushing set (cheap) for each different style of pen... and they're not quite style-standard. When you buy your kits, be sure to use the bushings that're recommended for THOSE KITS, by THAT manufacturer. I've found some discrepancy between same-style kits by different manufacturers... not an issue, now that I make my own bushings, but it can vex the spirits of anyone who doesn't own a metal lathe.

    EDIT: You are gonna' LOVE turnin'!
    -- Tim --

  3. #3
    When you buy the kit the dealer will state what you need to do the kit. I use one mandreal for all that I turn. But I stay away from the ones that need a differant one than I have. Still a lot of kits out there so theres still lots to do.
    Dennis

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    5,172
    When you go shopping find the guy or gal in the store that actually makes pens. Better yet, teaches the pen making classes. Then ask what to get based on their 20/20 hindsight.

    I just started pen turning and no pen turning stuff. I bought the upgraded mandrel because it is the only one I'll ever need. I hate going cheap to begin and then spending even more money down the road to get what I should have bought in the first place! Other than that get the bushings to match the kit and go from there.

    I got my stuff at Woodcraft and spent about an hour with the pen turning teacher who happened to be working that day. He helpfully gave me the pros and cons of everything. I think I went through 5 or 6 kits before I had what I considered the right stuff and for the lesser amount and prepared to make more pens in the future. Now I need to make storage properly labeled for the bushings and tubes and spare bushings, etc. My reasoning was that with a few things on hand, a gift set could quickly be turned, and presto, instant hero. People do love homemade gifts.

    BTW folks, the wedding pen was a hit, even if it was mostly acrylic!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Bradford, Vermont
    Posts
    425
    Carol, I might make one suggestion. Two, in fact. The first one is... when you have a set of bushings you'd like to keep together, slide 'em onto a common 1/4" bolt & thread a nut onto it to keep 'em in place. That's especially handy for certain bushing sets that must be kept in a specific order, pointing a specific direction. I like to put the headstock end of the stack of bushings toward the bolt head & the tailstock end toward the nut - then I can set up the lathe with my eyes closed. Not that I'd WANT to...

    Then WalMart sells their version of the ubiquitous plastic organizer, with drawers galore. Drop the bushing-laden bolts into individual drawers, and if a special drill bit is required for one set of bushings, drop that in the drawer with the bushings. Label the drawer according to the pen style (and, preferably, the vendor). They also sell flat organizers with pockets & one flap lid - I've got several of the largest ones out there; they're handy for all SORTS of things around the shop.

    I'd warn you to avoid the double-thickness boxes with one flap on each side, the ones you stand on one flap while you open the other flap. It's just TOO easy to accidentally unhook that bottom flap... and if you DO, you'll be crawlin' the floor rounding up bushings & tubes & ink refills & drill bits & unused parts & experimental pieces & cetera.
    -- Tim --

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    5,172
    Thanks, Tim. I really like that bolt storage idea. I have a roll around cabinet with 6 or 7 drawers that I made some time ago thinking I was going to put the lathe on top of it. But now I am building a lathe bench. I'll use the cabinet for 'stuff.'

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Posts
    10,604
    Thanks for helping the "rookie" out.
    I think I'll take a trip to Rockler tomorrow and pick some brains
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Reno NV
    Posts
    13,361
    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Hofstetter View Post
    when you have a set of bushings you'd like to keep together, slide 'em onto a common 1/4" bolt & thread a nut onto it to keep 'em in place. That's especially handy for certain bushing sets that must be kept in a specific order, pointing a specific direction. I like to put the headstock end of the stack of bushings toward the bolt head & the tailstock end toward the nut - then I can set up the lathe with my eyes closed. Not that I'd WANT to...
    Thats just brilliant! I've been keeping mine stored in boxes, and always use a digital caliper to figure out which one is which. Next time I get out my pen turning stuff, I'll be using that idea
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
    Posts
    4,352
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gibson View Post
    I've figured out that I probably need some smaller tools that the old Shopsmith ones I have. The main question is that I see that a mandrel is needed. Do you have to have a different mandrel for every style pen I make?
    With the exception of a few Berea kits, you only need a 7mm mandrel... a few of the Berea kits call for either an "A" or "B" mandrel... the "A" is still a 7mm... I think the "B" is only slightly larger. I also own an 8mm mandrel, but haven't used it but about 2 times since I got it... it's mostly rusty now.

    I use full sized.. 14" - 16" handled tools for all turnings... pens, bowls, stoppers or what ever.

    You will need a separate set of bushing for each kit style... they run $3 to $6 per set.

    If you get a good 60 deg dead center from Johnnycnc... you can turn between centers and not use a mandrel at all... Just learning to do that myself and it's much easier and I'm getting truer pens. You will need a special set of bushing for the 7mm pens.. also available from Johnny.

    You can see hit products here.
    http://www.penturnersproducts.com/
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    WNY, Buffalo Area
    Posts
    873
    Bob,

    The advice from the previous posts is right on.

    I teach a basic pen turning class at my WoodCraft Store. Part of what I cover it what items you need to make pens. Like was noted perviously you will need a mandrel (make sure you get the correct morris taper for your lathe) I'm not sure about your model, but the minis/midis from Jet and Rikon use a MT#2. It is pretty standard. You will also want a 60 degree cone live center. The mandrels have a 60 degree recess in the threaded end. If you use the standard live center that comes with most lathes it doesn't fit quite right.

    Next you will need the bushings that match the pen kits you choose.

    As far as turning tools, like I tell my class, you can turn a pen with just about any turning tool that you feel comfortable with. For the class, we use a 1/2in spindle gouge.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
    We create with our hands in wood what our mind sees in thought.
    Disclosure: Formerly was a part-time sales person & instructor at WoodCraft in Buffalo, NY.
    www.tinyurl.com/thewoodshoppe

Similar Threads

  1. Question for pen turners
    By Tom Baugues in forum General Woodturning Q&A
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 12-05-2013, 02:47 PM
  2. Question for pen turners
    By ed sautter in forum General Woodturning Q&A
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 12-23-2011, 04:58 PM
  3. A question from a flatworker to turners
    By Toni Ciuraneta in forum General Woodturning Q&A
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 01-10-2010, 01:46 PM
  4. Question for pen turners!
    By Tom Baugues in forum General Woodturning Q&A
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 11-13-2009, 03:28 PM
  5. Question for Burl Pen Turners
    By Doug M Jones in forum General Woodturning Q&A
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-29-2008, 07:18 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •