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Thread: Preferred tool for turning pens?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Preferred tool for turning pens?

    I know we've got quite a few pen turners here and I was just wondering, what is your preferred tool to use for pen turning?

    Right now I'm using a spindle gouge to rough the blanks, and then a square scraper to clean things up.

    Just curious what the pro's around here use?
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
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  2. #2
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    Dec 2007
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    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
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    I wouldn't count myself as a pro, although I've been turning pens a number of years... my preferred tool is the skew... on occasion I'll use a gouge to take the corners off a blank, then switch to the skew.
    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.

  3. #3
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    Curses, I was afraid that was going to be the answer

    I've got those laser kits I'm working up to, and right now I'm just practicing on some stabilized blanks, and acrylics.

    I've been practicing on sharpening my tools tonight, and I'm getting pretty happy with my ability to get the tools sharp.

    I'll be even happier I suspect in a few days. (stealth gloat)

    I'm using my Grizzly tormek clone right now to sharpen the tools.

    I was just able to shave hair off my arm with the 3/4" spindle gouge and my 1/2" scraper. Wasn't necessarily trying for that, but hey, if it shaves, it shaves.
    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


  4. #4
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    Yep, sharp skew. I have my students set their tool rest 2/3's of the way up, so the skew is riding on the top edge. Lot less likely to have a catch this way. I like about a 45 degree angle and cut. Now when entering, DO NOT start at the end of the blank. About 1/3 of the way in start the skew and go all the way to the end. Then come in 1/3 of the way and go the other direction to the end.
    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
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    Do you have a good video I could watch on that technique? I think I understand. I'll make some practice blanks and mess around with the skew tomorrow.
    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


  6. #6
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    Aug 2008
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    Dude...thats like "what's your favorite beer"! I'm having a ball with the carbide tool...great on plastic, metal and wood with stuff. If that gets boring the skew is in my hip pocket. Then i have this bowl gouge that works really well for shear stuff. So anyway...
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  7. #7
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    Ok...Stacey gave me the laptop! I do pens with a 3/8" Thompson and a 3/8" Taylor skew or a 1/2" Capt Eddie carbide. Get comfy with something then change it up; you never know when something will break or get lost and you have to use something else. Technique...not the tool is what counts.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  8. #8
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    It's been fun playing with the turning tools, thats' for sure. The only one I seem to stay away from is the skew.

    Seems to me, it might be like a lot of things woodworking related, and making sure it's sharp is part of the problem.

    Going to whip this problem into shape soon.
    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
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    Bouvard, Western Australia
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    Have a look at this guy. I have seen many videos but this is great.
    IMHO this is the best instructions I have ever seen for the skew chisel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMIwqFDMIhA

    HTH

    Col
    A tidy workshop is the sign of a sick mind.

    www.bouvardbush.com

  10. #10
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    Thanks Col!

    Still watching, but this video is making a lot of sense to me. I'll have to get my skew sharpened up and do a little practice.

    Seems like the key tips are:
    rub the bevel, lift the handel
    45 degrees
    Cut below half way on the chisel.
    Don't put the tip into the wood.

    Watching part 2 now.

    Part 2 was very helpful, where he shows 'how' to get a catch! Thanks again!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Brent Dowell; 07-30-2013 at 05:06 AM.
    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


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