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Thread: Pen Mandrel Purchase Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Palm Springs, Ca
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    1,169

    Pen Mandrel Purchase Question

    Christmas time and have someone that likes the pens that people turn - Thought I may order one as a present - I know Pen state has alot of stuff but thought someone may know what exactly to buy - broad question I know but I don't turn pens so looking for some suggestions ..........Thanks Dan
    First you have to learn the rules - Beginner
    Then you have to learn advanced rules - Professional
    Then you disregard the rules - This takes you to the master level................

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    S E Washington State
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    Yes, it is a loaded question. You will need more than just a pen mandrel. You need pen bushings for the type pen kit you select, correct size drill bit, method of squaring the ends of the blank with the tube once it is glued in the blank, i.e., a pen mill, sander jig or such. Insure get the correct size mandrel for the pen kit. There is an "A" and a "B" size. "A" for smaller kits and "B" for the larger pens. You need a live center for your tail stock that has a 60' angle to it. Pen mandrels have a 60' indentation in the end.

    My suggestion, if you have never made one before is to get a video. PSI use to have a free on, which is pretty good. As far a purchasing from PSI, it is not a favorite for a lot of people. They are slower than most, but I have never really had any problems with them. For faster service and good products there are a bunch of places on the internet. You also get better prices if you stay away from PSI, Woodcraft or Rocklers those types. Here are a few:

    http://www.arizonasilhouette.com/

    http://www.beartoothwoods.com/catalog/

    http://www.woodpenpro.com/pen_kits/index.html

    That is just a few, there are many.

    You may know about the http://www.penturners.org/ if not it is a good place to learn any and everything you want to know about pen making.

    I'm sure others will chime in here.
    "We the People ......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    new york city burbs
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    no matter what you do, you are going to order and have to reorder, till you get a grip on all of it.
    I suggest finding someone near you from here, or from another pen turners site, and go hang out with them for a few hours so they can give you all the little pointers you may not get from videos.

    I call people from this site, Ive always found them more than happy to share their experience.
    Human Test Dummy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North West Indiana
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    6,098
    Dan, are you buying the mandrel for yourself to turn pens or for someone else that has a lathe and you think they want to get into turning pens?

    Let's assume it is a mandrel for yourself and your lathe. Which morse taper your lathe has (1 or 2) determines which taper you get on your mandrel of course. The price of the adjustable mandrels is very comparable and for different pens or projects requiring a mandrel it is quite useful to be able to adjust the length of your mandrel so I would suggest an adjustable mandrel. Common diameter 7mm.

    Again, if it is for you, pick a pen style. Slimlines and or Saturns are quite easy to turn. Since you mentioned PSI, they generally have a starter package that is a little more economical as it includes 3 or 4 pen kits, the correct drill bit and the correct bushings. With this starter kit and the appropriate number of pen blanks, quite easy to get into the pen turning vortex.
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Palm Springs, Ca
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    I am buying it for a gift to one of the kids that wanted to try pen turning - But I also will be the one setting it up and using it to I suppose sing as it will be on my lathe - Thanks for the tips and comments ill check the websites - A kit would be easiest for starters - Squaring the blanks I would use my mitre box saw I guess - Ends sanded up on a drill press with a disk in it - pressing with a clamp or in the drill press - watched some U-tube videos interesting even though im really not into making pens but who knows after I set it up - LOL.................
    First you have to learn the rules - Beginner
    Then you have to learn advanced rules - Professional
    Then you disregard the rules - This takes you to the master level................

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North West Indiana
    Posts
    6,098
    Nope on the sanding disc or miter box. Get a barrel cutter. You want a 90 degree angle, otherwise it will not fit flush and look horrible no matter what you did to the blank. I buy a lot from woodturningz because they are in my state but they also give my students deals and we get stuff within a couple of days without the hurried shipping. http://www.woodturningz.com/Tools_and_Accessories.aspx
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Hillsborough, NC
    Posts
    58
    Jonathan is right but if you have done this before that statement might be confusing. What's crucial is that the ends are trimmed at 90 degrees to the glued tube, not to the edges of the blank. If you square up to the blank and the tube is not square to the blank, you'll get noticeable gaping in the final, assembled pen.


    --dave
    --dave

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Hillsborough, NC
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    58
    Oops. "If you haven'tů"


    --dave
    --dave

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    S E Washington State
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    PSI still has the free DVD on how to make a pen. Here is the link: http://www.pennstateind.com/store/DVD.html It is pretty good and the price is right.

    For the beginner, you want the "A" mandrel. And, I'd recommend one that lets you adjust the length of the rod. I always had better luck turning one blank at a time on a two blank pen. The shorter the mandrel rod, the less wobble.
    "We the People ......"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Reno, Nv
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    3,632
    CSUSA has a good pen starting kit. I'd move away from mandrels as soon as you/they can. You don't have to be an expert pen turner to appreciate BTC pens. Stay as far away from a mitre saw with a pen anything as you can. They are to small and can't be held in a secure manner...DAMHIKT. Disc sanders are a well accepted idea, but you have to make sure you are 100% level on X and Y planes. If you are just doinig Slims, get a 7mm barrel trimmer and save yourself a lot of grief. Or...you could head up here for the day and we can make any kind of pen you want...as soon as I figure it out!
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

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