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Thread: What chisel(s) for pens?

  1. #1
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    What chisel(s) for pens?

    I am going to try turning a few pens and not sure whats is needed. For now I would like to stay with the cheaper chisel(s). Penn State has a set for 29.95 for a 3/8 gouge, 1/8 parting tool and a 1/2 oval skew. The brand name is Benjamins best and are made from M2 HSS. Will these work for starters or should I look else wear?

  2. #2
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    Al, I'm by no means an expert pen turner, but I use a 3/4" roughing gouge for 90% of the pen, a 1" straight skew for about 5%, and sandpaper for the last 5%. If it's fancy or fragile wood, I'll use the sandpaper for a bigger percentage. I've blown up a few nice pen blanks by getting a catch when it's almost to the right diameter, so now I just resort to the 80 grit gouge on a block of wood if I suspect things are dicey. I'm not proud, but on the other hand I've also never blown up a turning with sandpaper. Yet.

    I don't have any experience with the little short chisels like the Benjamin's Best pen turning set, For pens, I'm still using the Harbor Freight set I bought when I first got a lathe. I do like the Benjamin's Best chisels I own (I have their bowl-turning set), and would buy that brand again.
    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
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    Alan, sounds about right, but really, I too use my BIG STONKING roughing gouge for about 90% and then the skew or the spindle gouge, with a fingernain grind, for the rest. I use the #80 grit gouge only a little, I'm trying my best to get off of the sandpaper thing.

    The HF set is a good value.

    The most important thing is sharp tools, if they are not sharp, don't matter what you are using, or how good you are, this applies to the #80 gouge as well.

    When sanding, keep the speed way down, heat is you enemy, and don't forget to stop the lathe and sand with the grain.

    Cheers!
    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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    I go the cheap set from HF and have turned a bunch with them. I find that I only use the gouge and scraper for 95% of the work. A parting tool should round out what you need. (no pun intended)

  5. #5
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    I use a 3/8" spindle gouge to get to round then finish with a 1" skew. Occasionally I'll use a 3/8" skew to get perzactly down to bushings. I know, I know, a point is a point regardless of whether it is on a 1" or 3/8" skew, but that's what I do. Don't ask me why.

  6. #6
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    Thanks all for your help.Hopefully I will be able to start turning within a few weeks.

  7. #7
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    All I use for my pens are the tools from the Harbor Freight 8pc HSS set. Bought it for $25.00 2 years ago and I hardly made a dent on the length of them yet.

    I just use the roughing gouge, parting tool and skew from it for pens.

    I do use the other tools for other turnings...and if needed, I know I can modify some of them for other use...and won't hurt me any if I mess it up
    -------------------------

    Dario

    http://www.aoturnings.com/

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario Lucchesi View Post
    I go the cheap set from HF and have turned a bunch with them. I find that I only use the gouge and scraper for 95% of the work. A parting tool should round out what you need. (no pun intended)

    I know this is an old thread but I just joined today.

    Mario is a good friend of mine and I have one of his pens. They are NICE!

  9. #9
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    Welcome to the Family Jim
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Olson View Post
    I know this is an old thread but I just joined today.

    Mario is a good friend of mine and I have one of his pens. They are NICE!
    Welcome aboard, Jim. Next time you see Mario, tell him we say Hi, and don't be a stranger.
    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

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