which pen press - Rockler or Woodcraft? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
duncsuss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,609
View duncsuss's Photo Album My Photos
which pen press - Rockler or Woodcraft?

<edit> sorry, I wasn't clear -- I'd like to know the pros and cons of the STYLE of press, not necessarily these specific brands </edit>

My next purchase is going to be a pen press, but before I go ahead I'd like to ask for opinions about which kind to get.

The Rockler pen press doubles as a drill press vise (self centering), and it's driven by a crank handle.

The Woodcraft pen press is just that -- but with a long lever arm to actuate the press.

I don't mind dual-purpose jigs provided they perform as well as the two single-purpose jigs they're attempting to replace in a single unit.

Any opinions as to whether the crank-wheel or the lever is a better way to press pen kits into the barrels?

Thanks for any & all advice ...

Please visit my website, Fruit of the Lathe

Last edited by duncsuss; 12-21-2011 at 05:01 PM.
duncsuss is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 04:55 PM
Senior Member
 
sawdustfactory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North Bend, WA
Posts: 4,801
View sawdustfactory's Photo Album My Photos
http://www.pennstateind.com/store/PENPRESS4.html or try this one. It's what I use.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
sawdustfactory is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to sawdustfactory For This Useful Post:
duncsuss (12-21-2011)
post #3 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 05:00 PM
Senior Member
 
Whaler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Sequim, WA
Posts: 264
View Whaler's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by duncsuss View Post
My next purchase is going to be a pen press, but before I go ahead I'd like to ask for opinions about which kind to get.

The Rockler pen press doubles as a drill press vise (self centering), and it's driven by a crank handle.

The Woodcraft pen press is just that -- but with a long lever arm to actuate the press.

I don't mind dual-purpose jigs provided they perform as well as the two single-purpose jigs they're attempting to replace in a single unit.

Any opinions as to whether the crank-wheel or the lever is a better way to press pen kits into the barrels?

Thanks for any & all advice ...

I have both. My Woodcraft pen press is about 5 years old and still going strong.
I never used the Rockler as a pen press only a drilling vise and it fell apart after about 1 year don't waste your money on it. Rockler can't supply parts for it either.
Whaler is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Whaler For This Useful Post:
duncsuss (12-21-2011)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
duncsuss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,609
View duncsuss's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by sawdustfactory View Post
http://www.pennstateind.com/store/PENPRESS4.html or try this one. It's what I use.
thanks sdf ... any observation on how well it functions, what you'd like changed, etc ?

Please visit my website, Fruit of the Lathe
duncsuss is offline  
post #5 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
duncsuss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,609
View duncsuss's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whaler View Post
... it fell apart after about 1 year don't waste your money on it. Rockler can't supply parts for it either.
Yikes ... message received loud and clear! Thanks!

Please visit my website, Fruit of the Lathe
duncsuss is offline  
post #6 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 05:04 PM
No Longer Here, BY CHOICE
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,442
View BassBlaster's Photo Album My Photos
Im a complete noob when it comes to pens. Last weekend was my first time making any and I have turned exactly 6 pens to date. IMO these assemble so easily that an expensive press is unnessisary. I pressed my first one together with my wood vice and that was kinda a pain. Not having any quick clamps I decided to make my own and it works extremely well. Probably better than anything being sold as a pen press. It cost me exactly $2 to make it.

I ran to the local hardware and purchased an elevator bolt. These are the ones wih the large flat heads. I also purchased a roll pin that was just slightly smaller than the threads of the bolt. I drove the pin over the bolt. This was just to hide the threads because I was gonna be chucking this in my drill press and didnt wanna mess up my chuck. I then epoxied a small piece of HPDE plastic to the head of the bolt. Next I cut a small piece of 1/2 ply (any kinda scrap you have laying around will work) and then epoxied HDPE plastic to it as well. I put this piece in the lathe and turned it round and smooth although that wasnt necissary. The point of my live center created a divot that was perfect for fitting the pen nibs into. That piece just sits on the table of your drill press. Thats all there is to it and it works extremely well. Most woodworkers will have the parts laying around to make this free of charge with the exception of the elevator bolt.

If you cant picture what this looks like, I can run down to the shop and get a pic.

I also made a drilling jig but it still dosnt work perfect. Its a first prototype though and took about 2 minutes to make so it will improve over time. If you cant tell, I hate spending money when I can make the same thing in the shop, especially when I can make it out of scraps and it work better than one that costs $50, lol!!

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!!
BassBlaster is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to BassBlaster For This Useful Post:
duncsuss (12-21-2011)
post #7 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 05:15 PM
Senior Member
 
sawdustfactory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North Bend, WA
Posts: 4,801
View sawdustfactory's Photo Album My Photos
Mine is actually the earlier version without the spring loaded feature. I like a press versus a quick clamp just from a control factor. There are plans out there to make your own lever operated one if you like to do that sort of thing. For drilling I just use an old fashioned wood screw clamp.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
sawdustfactory is offline  
post #8 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
duncsuss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,609
View duncsuss's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by BassBlaster View Post
If you cant tell, I hate spending money when I can make the same thing in the shop
Me too -- I made a drill-press fence with a vertical 90 degree notch (set at 45 degrees) for almost nothing. However -- it needs to be re-centered under the drill bit for every different sized pen blank I drill.

This is a pain when I'm preparing a bunch of blanks, let alone what happens when I get it not-quite-right.

And I've been using a wooden handscrew clamp as a pen press. It works, but the two faces of the clamp have a tendency to move independently. I already lost one pen when the nib twisted instead of going straight in -- another loss like that and I would have been ahead if I'd bought a real pen press.

So, I think I'll just suck it up and re-invest some of what I got for selling a couple of pens on equipment designed to do the job.

Please visit my website, Fruit of the Lathe
duncsuss is offline  
post #9 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 05:51 PM
Slightly seasoned amateur
 
WeekendTurner's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 118
View WeekendTurner's Photo Album My Photos
Send a message via AIM to WeekendTurner
I just use my lathe. I made small wooden caps to fit the head and tailstock, then just use the pressure form the tailstock screw wheel while I hold the parts in my other hand. There isn't enough pressure to damage the bearings. Yeah, I'm cheap too ;-)
-- Norm
WeekendTurner is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to WeekendTurner For This Useful Post:
duncsuss (12-21-2011), slicksqueegie (12-22-2011)
post #10 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 05:58 PM
The village amadán.
 
Mr Mac's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Lula, GA
Posts: 780
View Mr Mac's Photo Album My Photos
We have the Rockler press and if it wasn't purchased for us I'd have surely gone a different route like the Milescraft unit. I say that because I have already had to repair the handle and the jaws flex a touch too much to press evenly. We actually started using the drill press to press them together until I get off to Woodcraft and buy a decent one.

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
Mr Mac is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Mr Mac For This Useful Post:
duncsuss (12-21-2011)
post #11 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 06:15 PM
No Longer Here
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6,847
View rrbrown's Photo Album My Photos
My vote is Woodcraft.
rrbrown is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to rrbrown For This Useful Post:
duncsuss (12-21-2011)
post #12 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
duncsuss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,609
View duncsuss's Photo Album My Photos
Well thanks everyone ...

2 strikes against the Rockler, I'll compare the Woodcraft with the PSI and try to see which offers the best control over the operation.

Please visit my website, Fruit of the Lathe
duncsuss is offline  
post #13 of 19 Old 12-21-2011, 08:08 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Big Woods Morehead, Kentucky
Posts: 43
View rejames44's Photo Album My Photos
I used an old Pecan Cracker for the longest time and it worked great and still does. I did purchase the PennStateInd model last year and modified it by making 3 wood blocks to slide over the ram plunger to save time re-adjusting it and it works fine. All of my equipment that I have purchased has paid for itself from the sale of my writing instruments including my 3 Lathes, Hitachi Belt and disc sander, Delta drill press, Hitachi Plunge and Standard Router and recent purchase of Porter-Cable 14" bandsaw. I have been very fortunate with sales for pens around Christmas time but still have to watch buying due to my Fixed SS disability income, but I am thankful for what I have. I've made it my policy to give away at least one pen each month and always give a veteran a pen at no cost and am very happy to do so as I am a Vet myself. When you see one on the street, Give them a Big Smile and a Thank you for what you do.

Sincerely,

Bean
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	2nd3rd SparkPlug50-0403.jpg
Views:	1280
Size:	85.1 KB
ID:	33894  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Pecan Cracker-Pen Press_0342.jpg
Views:	587
Size:	101.5 KB
ID:	33895  

rejames44 is offline  
post #14 of 19 Old 12-22-2011, 06:34 AM
Senior Member
 
Big Mack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Whitestone S.C.
Posts: 178
View Big Mack's Photo Album My Photos
I use my drill press.Put two pieces between two pieces of hard wood,and press.Very simple;Mack
Big Mack is offline  
post #15 of 19 Old 12-22-2011, 07:47 AM
Really underground garage
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: mnts of Va
Posts: 2,553
View BWSmith's Photo Album My Photos
Just for S&G's.......but it may spurn an idea or two?

In metal fabrication theres press brakes.Within that "world" they have whats termed a "bulldozer" style.Instead of usual press orientation bulldozers are in a different plane.

Imagine screwing a 8" pce of 2x4 down to workbench.......parallel to that,but spaced whatever you want in between,goes another pce.Squeezing one or the other in a vise like manner, so they never come up off bench.....is an oversimplification.The key element is that the bench supplys the "non moving object".

You could use a horizantal log splitter as an example......might be overkill for a pen.But hey,never know?For pens you'd obviously scale it down.BW

Those who say it cannot be done shouldn't interrupt the people doing it.

Last edited by BWSmith; 12-22-2011 at 07:50 AM.
BWSmith is offline  
post #16 of 19 Old 12-22-2011, 09:15 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: VA
Posts: 124
View Mose's Photo Album My Photos
I have the Milescraft linked above. I just got it a couple weeks ago to finish up Christmas gifts. It'll get wrapped and put under the tree in the next couple of days.

I had to return the first one to Woodcraft. The plunger bent up and did not align with the black stop. I don't think we had applied any undue pressure on the mechanism and had only done a between 10-20 pens. We were just putting together some Atlas and Slimlines. So I would double check the you have the pen in straight to make sure it goes together well of course, but also to make sure that doesn't push the plunger up.

Woodcraft gave a replacement no questions asked, great service. I hope it was just a fluke because I really like the press, the spring loaded feature is wonderful and the flip up stops are very handy. I'm a beginning turner and don't have much to compare it to.

My neighbor has the woodcraft press linked above as well and it's great, I do enjoy the Milescraft better because of the spring and flip stops. I was using a vice and clamps before and having the press far better, at least in the ease of use. It still gets to the same end.
Mose is offline  
post #17 of 19 Old 12-24-2011, 12:19 PM
4Woodturning
 
Jeff4woodturning's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Cedar Hill, MO.
Posts: 352
View Jeff4woodturning's Photo Album My Photos
Woodcraft pen press all the way, nice long arm more pressure. to hold blanks for drilling and milling i made one of these http://www.hutproducts.com/prodinfo.asp?number=0275

Jeff,

"Just because your not bleeding, don't mean your turning safely"..
Jeff4woodturning is offline  
post #18 of 19 Old 12-25-2011, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
duncsuss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,609
View duncsuss's Photo Album My Photos
Once again, thanks for all your input.

In a few days I'll wander down to the local Woodcraft store and take a look at the models they have in stock.

Please visit my website, Fruit of the Lathe
duncsuss is offline  
post #19 of 19 Old 12-25-2011, 06:06 PM
Senior Member
 
don716's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: North Georgia (USA)
Posts: 623
View don716's Photo Album My Photos
I would save your money and use your drill press. I made a press a few years ago but broke the oak handle after a few uses and someone mentioned it about using my drillpress. I tried it and never looked back. It works like a charm.
don716 is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
uh oh...went to woodcraft..... jraksdhs Hand Tools 15 10-10-2011 10:33 PM
Bandsaw Blades from Rockler or Woodcraft Joe Garfield Power Tools & Machinery 3 08-02-2011 11:04 PM
Woodcraft or Rockler? Weekend Quiz! sanchez General Woodworking Discussion 25 02-12-2011 05:04 PM
Rockler drill press vise thekctermite Classifieds 1 10-25-2010 09:44 AM
Woodcraft! frankp General Woodworking Discussion 15 12-11-2008 02:27 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome