I wanna turn pens/pencils - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-20-2012, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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I wanna turn pens/pencils

Ok I'm I total newbie to the lathe but a quick learner! Im really interested in making some pens, what would an ideal shopping list be for the necessary tools / accessories?

Thanks in advanced!

Kevin
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-20-2012, 09:58 PM
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Kevin,
I just started about a month ago, so I have recently been in your shoes. Here is what I've put together in my short time.

Beyond the lathe, which I assume you already have, I would go with a starter pen kit like they have at Rockler here:

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=17820

It's roughly $65, but when I started adding everything up in my basket separately, this option made the most sense. Depending on the lathe, be sure to get the right pen mandrel. The one that comes with the set I linked is an MT2, and I needed an MT1.

You need the tools, mostly the roughing gouge. I bought this set, which is on sale at Rockler (I don't work for them, I simply go there a lot):

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=30756

These tools have been all I've needed for my turning so far. It's a good starter set without a big initial cash outlay.

Get a set of sanding pads like these, which is the key to getting your pens as smooth as possible:

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=30924&rrt=1

If you don't want to spend the money on a pen press, you can use a mini-clamp to press the parts together. You also don't have to spend money on a pen blank drilling vise. You can make one yourself out of two pieces of 2X4 and a door hinge, and it works just as good. If you would like, I can tell you how to make one that is just as effective as a store-bought tool.

You want to get both thin and medium CA glue and some accelerator to put a good finish on the pens, and you want to get some friction polish. I use the HUT Crystal Coat polish as a final finish. It runs about $10 for a 6 oz. bottle.

You also want to buy a good face shield for turning. You might not look cool in it, but it protects you better than just glasses.

Remember that different pen sets require different bushings and different drill bits, so that can be added pieces, too. But I think that's all I have for right now. I'm not saying I have all the answers on this, and there could be better options for things. But I just started, too, and that is what I've bought over the past month, and the results have been solid so far. Have fun!
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-20-2012, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info! Two quick questions

1) can I use my lathe as a horizontal press to drill out the blank? I have the drill bit attachment
2) I was looking at the pen press but I'd rather spend the $50 on something else.. So I can use a quick clamp? Cool..

There is a woodcraft store close to my office I'm too impatient to wait for ups. They might have a starter kit.

Kevin

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post #4 of 12 Old 02-20-2012, 10:42 PM
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Penn State Industries has a great pen making beginners kit. Had every thing you need. I use a wood screw ( you know the wooden clamp with two screws) to hold the blanks to drill. You can drill them on the lathe, but you need a chuck to hold them. A pen press makes assembly easy, you need to be very careful if using a clamp. I personally don't like CA for a finish, I like a wood pen to feel like wood, not plastic.
Good luck and if you have more questions, just ask.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-20-2012, 11:26 PM
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I use an Irwin clamp for pressing pens together, but as stated earlier you NEED to be very careful and make sure everything is lined up straight. I use CA for finishing, and HUT friction polish, depending on how I want the pen to look. CA is very shiny and durable, but Hut friction polish gives the pens a great look also. When you are drilling blanks keep them straight as posssible. A barrel cleaner is also a must have, it'll get the clue out of the barrels and keep your pens from cracking when you are pressing them together. The smallest bit of glue in the barrel willl cause big problems when assembling them. Make sure you get the right drill sizes for the type of pens you are turning too..... I just started turning also, but I have learned a TON from the guys and gals here, and you tube as well.....

I measured it once, and I cut it twice, and it's still too short......
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-21-2012, 01:32 AM
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Good point WMC. I did forget the barrel trimmer. That's important. And you do have to be careful with the clamp.

As for the drill press, I use mine all the time for all kinds of applications, so I strongly suggest that. But certainly you could just get a drill chuck and go that way.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-21-2012, 02:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawdustfactory View Post
Penn State Industries has a great pen making beginners kit. Had every thing you need. I use a wood screw ( you know the wooden clamp with two screws) to hold the blanks to drill. You can drill them on the lathe, but you need a chuck to hold them. A pen press makes assembly easy, you need to be very careful if using a clamp. I personally don't like CA for a finish, I like a wood pen to feel like wood, not plastic.
Good luck and if you have more questions, just ask.
I agree with everything but the CA I use it because that's what I was taught. I'm going to branch out to other finishes soon.
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-21-2012, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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This may be a silly question but is there a way to use the lathe as the pen press? It essentially does the same thing...


Kevin
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-21-2012, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobgood View Post
This may be a silly question but is there a way to use the lathe as the pen press? It essentially does the same thing...


Kevin

Alot of people use their drill press but a lathe can be used also. Just chuck a piece of wood in the head stock and one in the tailstock and hold pen in center and turrn handle. Too much work for me though. Check out all the great utube videos out there. Also Penn state Industries offers a free pen making CD. Get that too if you are ordering stuff from there. Welcome to the world where things go round and round. Good luck and look forward to seeing some work soon.

John T.
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-21-2012, 05:26 PM
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You can make really nice pens without buying most of the things listed here. Providing you have a lathe, a drill press and a disk/belt sander all you need to buy is a mandrel and the appropriate bushings and drill bits.

I use a pro mandrel from Woodcraft and buy my bushings through Woodcraft. I get my pen parts through Berea Hardwoods or Woodcraft if I need them right away. Woodcraft is a Berea reseller so everything matches. Be careful mixing and matching mandrels, bushings and pen kits. Not saying to only use one supplier, I'm saying be sure to buy bushings from the same supplier for the particular pen your making and make sure the bushings fit your mandrel properly. They are not all the same. I also like the mandrel saver from PSI. It does away with the nut and washer on the mandrel and takes away most of the flexing in the mandrel from overtightening.

As for the other things listed, I dont own any of them. My pen press is somethig I made up that fits in my drill press. I used HDPE plastic on both sides so theres nothing there to damage the pen as I'm assembling. My center drilling vice is 2 small pieces of 2X4 that I cut a v notch into with my table saw and they are connected with carraige bolts and wing nuts. It will handle blanks up to about 1" which is much bigger than any pen blanks I have seen. My barrel trimmer is a disk sander. I use the brass as my guide for keeping it square. Its all kinda done by eye but I havnt had any trouble with one having gaps or anything once assembled. For getting the glue out of the tubes, I use a drill bit. I just pick a drill bit that fits the tube and twist it in by hand before the epoxy is 100% set and it cleans it out real well. I reccomend epoxy for glueing tubes rather than CA. I like CA for a finish and stabelizing unstable wood. If you cant visualize my shop made tools, I can post a pic of them. They are very simple to mane and can be made out of scraps laying around most wood shops and work as well as the stuff sold in the store.

RRBrown, knottscott and many others were banned, they didn't just leave. They were banned for standing up to the new owners that are destroying this site. Come join us all at woodworking chat, the best new woodworking site on the net!!
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post #11 of 12 Old 02-22-2012, 10:46 AM
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I have been using CA for gluing tubes, and never thought of epoxy. What epoxy do you use? I am still very new to turning as well, and as always good advice is never ignored!!!! Thanks.....

I measured it once, and I cut it twice, and it's still too short......
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post #12 of 12 Old 02-22-2012, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by wmc1965 View Post
I have been using CA for gluing tubes, and never thought of epoxy. What epoxy do you use? I am still very new to turning as well, and as always good advice is never ignored!!!! Thanks.....
I read somewhere that CA glued tubes can fail. The same article, the auther had never had a pen fail when he used epoxy. Ive been using epoxy from day one and havnt had a failure yet but Ive only turned a few dozen pens and none have been out there for more than a few months.

I use Loctite 5 minute epoxy. I'm too impatient to wait for the other stuff. The 5 minute stuff isnt really 5 minute though. Seems like it takes 15 to 20 minutes to harden. I try to drill and glue multiple blanks though so I dont have to wait that 15 minutes every time. I buy the bigger bottles. I think it runs about 15 bucks but it goes a long way. It takes very little to glue up some tubes.

RRBrown, knottscott and many others were banned, they didn't just leave. They were banned for standing up to the new owners that are destroying this site. Come join us all at woodworking chat, the best new woodworking site on the net!!
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