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Thread: turning a pen

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    kennewick wa
    Posts
    31

    turning a pen

    I always wanted to make pens but never have. So what all do you need to get started? I do have a lathe and turning tools and thats it.
    Thanks Stacey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,014
    Stacey, ask ten turners this question and you'll probably get a dozen answers. This video is probably a good place to start:

    http://www.pennstateind.com/store/getting-started.html

    In a nutshell, you'll need a mandrel to hold the pen while you turn it, and bushings to give you a guide to show what diameter to turn it to. There are specific bushing sets for each pen kit, so once you decide what kit you want to make, you'll need to buy the bushings to match it. Other than those pieces, the rest are debatable, or there are several ways to perform the task. (Like trimming the ends of the blanks after gluing the tubes inside them.) Things like drilling vices and pen presses are handy, but not required.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    NorCal, USA
    Posts
    495
    This is what I use. The * is required. The others are nice to have and makes the job a lot easier.

    * Pen Kit $5-$20
    * Pen blank $0-$15
    * Saw to cut pen blank to size (I use a chop saw)
    * Pen Makers Bit Set $30 or individual bit for pen tube size you are going to make
    Self-centering Pen Drilling Vice $80-$100 (or make one)
    Pen Tube Insertion Tool $11 or use a dowel or pencil
    * Medium CA glue $8
    CA Accelerator $12 speeds up the drying
    CA solvent $8 helps to unstick things, especially your fingers, and to clean up insertion tool
    Pen Mill Set $35 for milling the wood even with and 90 to the tubes or use disk or belt sander
    Pen Mandrel $23 or learn to turn without mandrel (I use a mandrel)
    60 Live Center $20 you will have less wobble and will make your mandrel last a lot longer.
    * Bushings for pen $5-$10
    Turners Sandpaper Pack 120-600 $15 or use what you have. I sand to 600
    Finishing supplies such as CA, friction polish, buffing system, Poly, Micro-Mesh, etc
    Pen Press $50 or drill press or wood clamp
    Pen Disassembly Kit $15 for when you screw a kit up and need to take it apart.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    4,005
    One thing that Vaughn said but really needs to be clear is that the pen kit you buy will have what bushings go with it. You will need them. You will also need the right size drill bit for said pen kit. And depending on the pen kit you may need to have a special mandrel.
    Getting some thing like this http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...ter=pen%20kits
    Will give you a good idea of what pen turning is.
    This kit is not pricey but has every thing you need to make a pen minus the lathe.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,014
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Rodekohr View Post
    ...* Medium CA glue $8...
    Epoxy also works fine. But you are right...you do need some type of glue for bonding the brass tube with the wood or acrylic blank.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
    Posts
    4,351
    I'll go along with all that's been said... only a few exceptions..
    a lot of the pen turners on another forum I frequent have gone to turning between centers... you'll need a 60 deg dead center for the head stock and a 60 deg live center for the tail stock... I've pretty much switched to this method myself as I think my mandrel has bowed slightly... if this happens you'll get out of round barrels.
    And I use thick CA to glue the tubes in, but the medium for the finish.
    For the tube insertion I use a pair of needle nose pliers... I can grip the edge of the tubes lightly and have more control on the insertion.... I tried the insertion tool and didn't care for it.
    And for the most part, I drill all my pen blanks on the lathe... it works better for me.
    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    NorCal, USA
    Posts
    495
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Ellis View Post
    I'll go along with all that's been said... only a few exceptions.. And I use thick CA to glue the tubes in . . .
    I went out to the shop and checked - I use thick. too The mind doesn't have the same power of recall that it used to have.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
    Posts
    4,834
    You got some good advice above. One thing I have found that I use epoxy on acrylic blanks and thick CA on wood blanks. CA has not held well on acrylic's in the ones I have did. Each pen kit requires a drill bit for its size, a set of bushing for each kit and a mandrel. Penn State Industries has a free DVD on pen turning which is pretty good. Have fun.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Cotswolds, UK
    Posts
    629
    Stacey, as has been said there are as many ways of tackling the task as there are pen kits, This is a link to a my budget method (with an additional how to link) that might be of help.
    Chas. just a traveller on the road of time.

    Bits & Pieces Gallery
    My Web Site

  10. #10
    That is a real nice collection of tools. I will have to try some of those. Thank you for showing us that stuff.
    Bob

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