Pen turning tutorial as promised - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-25-2012, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Pen turning tutorial as promised

Ok, first off let me say that this is just the way I do things. Some might be ok for you, some might not. Do it however you like/feel safe with what you have.
Here is most of what you'll need to turn pens:
Pen turning tutorial as promised-pen1.jpg
Here is the pen kit I'll be doing, and I'll do 3 of them.
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Here I show my miter saw. I put some tape on the table to mark the length of the tube. This kit the tubes are 2" and line right up with the scale on my auxillary fence.
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Here are the cut blanks. I've marked them for grain orientation so I make sure they assemble in the right direction (not very much grain on these but you get the idea.
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That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...

Last edited by sawdustfactory; 02-25-2012 at 02:09 PM. Reason: Added text after pics uploaded
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-25-2012, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Next steps

I use this center marker to mark the center of each blank.
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Here is my drill set up. I just use a wood screw to hold the blanks and use a brad point bit whenever possible to make sure I'm as close to center as possible.
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Here are the blanks drilled.
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To scuff the brass tubes, this is the method I've finally arrived at. I place as many tubes as will fit on the mandrel and pull the tailstock tight. This is one of several reasons why I prefer the mandrel saver.
Pen turning tutorial as promised-pen8.jpg
I use 150 grit and just spin the lathe by hand as I sand lengthwise on the tubes.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-25-2012, 02:16 PM
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Go for it sawdust.
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-25-2012, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a sanded tube. All you're doing here is making sure the glue has something to grip better.
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To glue the blanks, I set out two folded paper towels. One for blotting off the excess glue from the end of the tube, the other for cleaning off the tube insertion tool. Nothing worse that getting a tube stuck on there as you're trying to get into a blank. I also wear gloves. Trust me on this one. I use medium CA glue.
Pen turning tutorial as promised-pen10.jpg
Here is a tube with glue. I "squiggle" the glue on the tube and apply to 3 different "sides"...just making sure to get glue as evenly spread as possible.
Pen turning tutorial as promised-pen11.jpg
Here are the blanks glued up. Normally I do more kits at a time and would no let these sit overnight to really cure. But for the sake of this tutorial, I'll resume after lunch.
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That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #5 of 17 Old 02-25-2012, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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And on we go

So here's how I trim/true my blanks. I use a barrel trimmer in the drill press. I hold the blanks with a pair of channel locks.
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Here they are all trimmed,
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and mounted on the mandrel,
Pen turning tutorial as promised-pen15.jpg
being cut.
Pen turning tutorial as promised-pen16.jpg

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...

Last edited by sawdustfactory; 02-25-2012 at 04:57 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #6 of 17 Old 02-25-2012, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Sharpening

Here is a pic of one of a set of angle setting tools I use.
Pen turning tutorial as promised-raptor.jpg
Setting the tool rest angle.
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These come in 35, 40, 45, 50 and 60 degrees. They work for the tool rest as shown, or also in the V-arm for use with Vari-grind or other tool holder. Worth every penny for repeatability. If you want to make your own, I believe John Lucas has a how to somewhere.

Roughing gouge sharpened
Pen turning tutorial as promised-sharp.jpg
I don't use any other gouges turning pens. With a good sharp roughing gouge and the proper angleboth ground and when cutting and I get almost as smoot a finish as with a well sharpened skew. Since I'm going to sand anyway, why bother with anything else?

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #7 of 17 Old 02-25-2012, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Sanding

Here's the sand paper I use, PSI's rolls, from 150-600 grit. I like to fold the pieces in half lengthwise.
Pen turning tutorial as promised-pen17.jpg
Here is the sandalwood sanded to 600. Notice the sanding lines, I'll now sand them lengthwise with 600 grit to remove these (forgot to get a pic).
Pen turning tutorial as promised-pen18.jpg
For finish, I apply Doctor's Woodshop shellac/walnut oil/carnuba wax blend with a piece of paper towel. I fold 1/2 a paper towel in 1/2 3 times and apply enough finish to give me a quarter sized blob on the towel.
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When I apply the finish, I let the turning blanks grab just a little from the leading edge and then back off to the drier edge of the towel to buff it in. I can usually get 6-7 coats on this way quickly.
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That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #8 of 17 Old 02-25-2012, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Almost done

Here are all the tubes turned and finished, lined up as to their grain orientations from before.
Pen turning tutorial as promised-pen21.jpg
Assemblling the pens per instructions with a press.
Pen turning tutorial as promised-pen22.jpg
Finished product.
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This is the basic kit I started with all those many (5+) years ago.
http://www.pennstateind.com/store/PKSTART1B2.html

Hope this helps some of you get going. Any questions, please ask.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #9 of 17 Old 02-26-2012, 01:30 AM
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Thanks for posting this Sawdust! Those pens turned out fine lookling! I just got my first Lathe and ordered a few pen blanks and want to give pen turning a try (along with segmented vases). This will help me get started on the pens! I am still waiting on a few items to come in before I can get started. I will be refering to this post the first few pens I turn. Appreciate the pictures.

Dave
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post #10 of 17 Old 02-26-2012, 02:25 AM
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Nice tutorial Sawdust. I mentioned one night and you had 1/3 or more of the tutorial up the next day. I hadn't even seen the promise part yet, Now that's fast service.
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post #11 of 17 Old 02-26-2012, 11:16 AM
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That was cool to look at.
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post #12 of 17 Old 09-29-2012, 10:21 PM
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Now that's a great tutorial. Thanks for putting that together for us. I never get tired of the generosity of members of this forum. Thanks again Steve.

There is a very fine line between a "hobby" and a "mental illness"
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post #13 of 17 Old 09-30-2012, 04:45 AM
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That's cool. On my one of these days list....
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post #14 of 17 Old 09-30-2012, 09:41 AM
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thanks for the tutorial steve its great
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post #15 of 17 Old 09-30-2012, 10:24 AM
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Nice tutorial dusty. Beautiful job.
I turned a pen at a woodworking show before and it was quite fun. I gotta get me a lathe some time. Thanks for sharing.

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post #16 of 17 Old 09-30-2012, 09:21 PM
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Fantastic tutorial, gives me more inspiration to get out there and make shavings. This one is going to the top of the to do list.
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post #17 of 17 Old 09-30-2012, 11:04 PM
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I agree with everyone else. This is great. Thanks for posting this! It has really helped me understand pen turning. I think I'm going to put together an order from PSI and turn a pen. Thanks again!
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