pen harware quality - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-19-2011, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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pen harware quality

so recently i bought several pen kits at a woodworking show from a vendor. the vendor was Pen Making Supplies, a Steebar company and turned several pens. upon putting them together, the tips where the wood meets the pen tip was all funky, it was lopsided, the wood was heavier on one side of the barrel than the other. I was furious that i just turned 3 pens and they all SUCKED. the gap is about a 32nd of an inch, so very noticeable since that's where the fingers go. I checked my mandrel, it's perfectly straight, doesn't even seem to be a hair off. I looked at the bushing and the hole wasn't centered in the steel itself. i was furious. One pen also sticks out of the tip even when fully closed, it sticks out just enough that it'll draw on whatever it touches. the barrel wasn't trimmed to short either. I've also purchased a few pen kits from Lee Valley. I had a similar problem with the wood not meeting the pen tip, that time it was the pen tip itself, the metal was just poor quality and not centered.

So, that all being said and having got all my anger and frustration out, I really enjoy making these pens but would prefer to sell them rather than have to give them to family members as gifts, I know that they appreciate that, but i'm losing a bit of money by doing that. Any reccomendations as to where i should get my stuff from, i'm looking for quality, at a decent price. I don't want to spend 20 dollars on a pen kit but you get what i mean.
Thanks guys!

-Tyler
www.TJGwoodworking.com

GOT WOOD?
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-19-2011, 11:10 PM
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If the pen is a twist pen and the tip sticks out you probably inserted the mechanism too far. Wobbly barrels means either an out of true mandrel or wrong fit bushings. Make sure you're not cranking down too hard on the lock nut on your mandrel as this can cause it to flex a little. If the parts aren't matching up to the wood, are you truing the blanks after inserting the tubes? If all these are taken care of and you just have lower quality kits, try Craft Supplies USA http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/store/Pen_Making?Args=. Their kits are good and their service is top notch.

Good luck.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-19-2011, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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thanks alot for the tips. I feel i probably did insert the mechanism to far on the one pen. I am indeed truing up the blanks after i insert the tubes. i could be cranking on the nut a little to hard though, i'll give that a try for the next one. the bushing for the one kit i've got is definatly out of wack. but those tips will probably help with the other kit. thanks.

-Tyler
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-20-2011, 12:51 AM
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One other thing...some kit manufacturers make two different sized mandrels...might be why the bushing doesn't seem to fit.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-20-2011, 04:58 AM
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Penn State Industries and WoodTurningz (PSI outlet of sorts) are two good sources. I tend to deal with Ryan at WoodTurningz more than anyone else unless I need something now and then I'' head over to either Rockler or Woodcraft.

Try Ryan first.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-20-2011, 09:20 AM
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Here is a list of vendors not already mentioned they either sell Berea or PSI kits and supplies. If you shop the sales will find a lot of bargains. They have received either 4 or 5 star rating over at IAP.
http://laulauwood.com/Default.asp
http://www.beartoothwoods.com/catalog/
http://www.bereahardwoods.com/
http://www.exoticblanks.com/
http://www.penturnersproducts.com/
http://www.woodnwhimsies.com/
http://www.woodpenpro.com/index.html
http://woodenwonderstx.com/ZC_WoodenWonders/
This vendor has a lot of sales and is also very popular with penturners
http://www.arizonasilhouette.com/
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-20-2011, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the list of suppliers

-Tyler
www.TJGwoodworking.com

GOT WOOD?
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-20-2011, 01:12 PM
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Here are a couple more to add to the list, www.Exotic Blanks.com, Ed and Dawn are fantastic people to deal with, and /www.indy-pen-dance.com Mike and Linda are also fantastic people to deal with. You can even check penturners.org/individual classifieds as members are always thinning out their pen stock, Smitty 37 also imports pen kits and offers great prices on them from penturners.org or from his store. There is no shortage of suppliers obviously. Good luck.
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-20-2011, 04:25 PM
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I have purchased kits from www.penstateind.com and www.craftsupplyusa.com and had good results. I have on occasion got a bad kit but all it takes is a phone call and a new kit is sent to me no questions asked.
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-20-2011, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawdustfactory View Post
If the pen is a twist pen and the tip sticks out you probably inserted the mechanism too far. Wobbly barrels means either an out of true mandrel or wrong fit bushings. Make sure you're not cranking down too hard on the lock nut on your mandrel as this can cause it to flex a little. If the parts aren't matching up to the wood, are you truing the blanks after inserting the tubes? If all these are taken care of and you just have lower quality kits, try Craft Supplies USA http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/store/Pen_Making?Args=. Their kits are good and their service is top notch.

Good luck.
I would have to agree.

I find the barrel trimmer works good for trimming the ends.

If you tighten down to much when turning it bows the mandrel and causes the out of round pen.

You definitely pressed the twist mechanism in to far if the pen tip is sticking out.

I use PSI, Rockler and Craft supplies USA. I have used only 7mm pen kits so far but the only ones I find a problem with is the Funline from PSI and that problem is flimsy clips.

I'm getting ready for nicer more expensive pen kits now.
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