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Thread: About to try a pen.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Tennessee
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    11

    About to try a pen.

    I bought the HF 10" x 18" 5 speed 1/2hp mini lathe, an 8pc HSS set of lathe tools, a set of pen drills, a drill chuck on a #2MT for the tail stock, a pen mandrel for #2MT, some pen kits, some Bubinga pen blanks. I already have sharpening equipment, a band saw, drill press, sandpaper, finish, stain and glue. I am going to assemble the lathe and set up a workstation this weekend and test turn some scrap to get the feel for the process. I hope by Monday I'm ready try to make my first pen.

    - anything essential that I forgot?
    - was Bubinga a good choice for wood for a rookie to start turning?
    - I saw other tools like a pen press but didn't want to purchase without more study. Is this a required tool? Any particular model or brand recommended?
    - do I need reamers and end mill tool?
    - am I being overly optimistic to think I might be able to learn this in a couple of days? I have not turned wood before, just metal.

  2. #2
    Many YouTube movies on pen making. -- watch them all!
    Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it
    still sings!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    don't do pens so I can't help.
    "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
    Join Date
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    Michael try Penn State Industries as they have a free DVD on pen turning. Also Barry Gross has some good stuff on pen turning.
    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Reno NV
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    I do think an End mill is pretty much a necessity. Kind of hard to get a good square fit without one.

    The pen press can be homemade, or you can use a vise, or a drill press with a couple of stop blocks.

    Pens are lots of fun to make, and more fun to use and give as gifts!

    Of course, some of the guys who are really good managed to sell them as well!

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    NH
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    Did you get the bushing for the pen kits? Almost every pen kit takes a different bushing kit.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    NH
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    Oh the other thing is to check your set of drill bits for the right size for the kits you bought. Just because you got a set of them does not mean you got the size you need for the kits you bought.
    I would also get the barrel trimmer. (end mill)
    While you can trim them up on a sander it is way easier to do it with the tool for the job.
    And they come in different sizes so again check the kits you got to get the right size trimmer.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    NH
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    You say you have glue. Is it CA glue? If not get some for gluing in the tubes.
    "am I being overly optimistic to think I might be able to learn this in a couple of days?"
    I bet you'll have it figured out in a few hours
    Last edited by Chuck Thoits; 12-03-2010 at 03:22 AM.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    reminds me why i never tried a pen. too much stuff.
    "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

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    I'll toss in another vote for the end mill/blank trimmer. There are other ways to do it, but none as easy and accurate, as far as I know. The bubinga might be pretty challenging...it's hard and somewhat brittle (at least in my experience), but it finishes very nicely. Should make for a sweet-looking pen. The pen press is a "nice to have", but by no means a "must have". As Brent mentioned, there are a number of alternatives. I use a parallel clamp like a Bessey K-body. As Chuck mentioned, bushings are pretty much a must for most of us, although some folks do turn pens with just a set of calipers. To glue the tubes in the blank, I generally use epoxy, although others prefer to use either CA or Gorilla glue. I also agree with Chuck...you'll probably have the general hang of things after the first one or two.
    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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