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Thread: Ready to start need suggestions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    South Central Idaho
    Posts
    13

    Ready to start need suggestions

    The question I am going to ask is probably going to give me a hundred different suggestions. But if you don't ask then you never will know the answer.

    I am wanting to start making pens. I would like to purchase a kit/setup that contains what is needed to begin. I am needing to start from scratch. Based upon the photos that have been posted on the forum you all make some great looking pens. So, let me know what you suggest for getting setup. Can you purchase a beginners kit that has a lathe and other items needed?

    Is there a place where one can find used lathes and other items in good shape to purchase? This might be the way to start out and then purchase better equipment if I decide this is really something I want to continue with. Do items come up for sale on this forum once in a while or another forum?

    Anyway, these are some questions I have for now.

    Thank you in advance for any help or suggestions that you can provide me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Orem, Utah
    Posts
    936
    I'm not a pen turner, and although I use a midi lathe I have no experience with this particular brand ... but here's one possible answer to your question about a "beginner's kit". (Click on image to go to the webpage):

    Old avatar: First Grade, 1968-69 Current avatar: Fifth Grade, 1972-73

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    6,000
    I see that Kerry has already led you to Penn State Industries, which is a great resource. I'm not a pen turner, but I bought enough starter kits a while back to prove I could do it and made a few pens.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clyce, Texas
    Posts
    187
    John,
    I am a pen turner and I'd recommend you start with buying "The Pen Turner's Bible" by Richard Kleinhenz. It's a great resource and it takes you through everything you need to know and will give you some good ideas. It will also let you know what equipment you need.

    I'm not sure how far you are from Boise, but there's a Woodcraft store there and someone there can walk you through everything you need to get started. You'll need a mandrel for sure.

    Penn State has a variety of starter kits for pen making. You can look through them here: http://www.pennstateind.com/store/pe...html?concept=3 . The good thing about them is that these kits come with several kits in the same style with different platings, drill bits that fit the tubes, and bushings for the pen kits (almost every pen uses different bushings, few are interchangeable). Penn State also has good prices on their kits so you can get into it fairly economically to decide if you want to keep doing it.

    If you get hooked, there are several great places to get different kits, but I recommend you find a couple of them and stick with them. You'll find there are several different names for pens that look a lot alike. Each major seller seems to have its own name. Sometimes the kits are interchangeable and sometimes not. That's one good reason to stick with one retailer for a particular type of kit. Sometimes there are minor but important variations among kits.

    Good luck with it. I love turning pens cause I can do it quickly and have something to show for it when I won't want to take time to make something that I then spend 3 days finishing.

    Steve
    Last edited by Steve Kniffen; 07-31-2013 at 12:51 PM. Reason: Misspelling

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Reno, Nv
    Posts
    3,632
    I'd bet there is a club in your area. See if you can hang out with those guys for a weekend and get your hands dirty. No sense in spending several hundred bucks to find out you don't like it. Woodcraft has classes all the time so catch one of those and see what you think. My first pen cost about $1600, my second was $4.95
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,833
    Good used lathes are unusual to come by. The occasional one might turn up but rarely when you are in the market. As suggested, PSI is a good place to start with equipment and tools. However, I seriously do not like the quality of their pen kits and won't use them. For a lathe, check all the usual sources. Grizzly has a couple great small lathes, Jet is popular as are others. For pen kits CSUSA is probably my #1 'go-to' source. Don't get carried away with 'stuff'. Make a few pens then figure out where you want to go from there.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    Posts
    4,944
    A STRONG SUGGESTION: Do not purchase a lathe that does not have a standard thread on the head. The standard is a 1" x 8 tpi thread. If you do not do that, WHEN (not if), you advance into other lathe things you will find that you cannot purchase the accessories you want because they won't work on your lathe. DAMHIKT.

    Enjoy,
    JimB
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Reno NV
    Posts
    13,364
    Here's a tip, Be careful with your mandrel, especially if you are doing a 2 piece pen and you turn both pieces at once.

    It's very easy to put too much pressure on the mandrel and have it bend every so slightly. This will cause your turned tubes to not be perfectly round.

    There are ways around that, such as turning between centers, using a mandrel saver, using a collet chuck. Took me quite a while to realize that and a couple of bent mandrels.
    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
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Reno NV
    Posts
    13,364
    As far as kits and bushings go, it's also very useful to get yourself a digital caliper.

    Before I blindly assume that any bushings go with any kit, I measure the bushings and the parts of the kit where the bushings are supposed to match up to make sure they are the right size. DAMHIKT
    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


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
    Posts
    4,834
    I think this is the one Kerry put up. http://www.pennstateind.com/store/TCLC12VS-B.html My BIL got this one and is extremely happy with it.
    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.

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