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post #1 of 14 Old 08-16-2008, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Wanting to learn.......

A friend of mine is willing to show me how to make pens my question is what kind of lathe to buy after I learn? He uses a PSI with a 18" bed. What do you use or recommend? Do pens sell very well? He told me most of his sell for about 25.00.Tell me about yours and some pics would be nice too.

Donny
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-16-2008, 09:42 PM
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I have about 5 friends that have made then in the past. None currently
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-18-2008, 07:03 AM Thread Starter
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Is there good profit in pen turning? I'm needing something to supplement my income.I like woodworking but pen turning is new to me.Any advise would be appreciated.

Donny
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post #4 of 14 Old 08-18-2008, 01:39 PM
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Don,
I guess it all depends on how much you want to make and what your time is worth. I have a buddy that turns nothing but peppermills and winestoppers. He will start hitting the craft show circuit in about another month and attend shows every weekend until just before Christmas. Some shows he does well, other shows he hardly sells anything. Keep in mind a couple of things. Craft shows normally charge a fee for a table, usually 25-60.00 for a day. Some shows are two days in a row. You normally have to reserve a spot well ahead of time and pay for your spot in advance. You never know what the people are looking for on any given day, so it is hit and miss. If you are getting into turning just for the idea of turning for a profit, in my opinion, that is the wrong reason, but to each his own. Most people that get into turning enjoy it for the relaxation, excitement, and beauty it enables us to create. Just my .02, hope it helps,
Mike Hawkins
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-18-2008, 01:49 PM
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wanting to know

Hi Don,as for the part about earning extra income.I have been into all different types of woodworking for more yrs than I can remember.I certainly don't want to discourage you from turning in any way,but you will spend a lot more than you will make before and IF the profits start coming in.I have a Nova 1624 and two Ricon mini lathes.I just got the second one yesterday.The Nova cost 1000,00 and the Ricons cost 325.00 ea.You could start with a small lathe like that or even a Jet which cost about the same,then another 200,00 for accessories for the lathe.Then you buy the turning tools and you will put out about a 100,00 more or less for a good set and the list goes on an on.You could lay out a 1000,00 bucks easy before you even get started and then in woodworking,there is no guaranty that you will make enough money to supplement your income.There are a lot of good turners out there and some that do it for a living and do well at it,so if you are willing to put a great deal of time and work in this and have the money to get started,it may work out great for you down the line.I certainly wish you the best and I hope some others here can give you some advice.
good luck
Ken
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-18-2008, 03:08 PM
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I turn a lot and sell 90 percent of my turnings but it's a break even proposition because I'm always buying something new for my shop. Pens can be fairly lucrative if you work hard and produce high end pens. There is a pen turners forum that may be able to answer your questions. By the time you figure in the time to buy or salvage wood, order the pen kits, make the pens and then travel somewhere to sell them they have to be more than $25 or you need to make a ton of them. I have a friend who make 60 a day. He uses 2 metal lathes and his pens are very plain but he can make them fast enough to make money.
I'm a big fan of the Jet mini. It is a proven performer and the company is good about backing up the equipement.
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post #7 of 14 Old 08-18-2008, 08:08 PM
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I don't turn pens, but I've talked to quite a few turners of one kind or another, and one thing always draws my attention and that's if they have something quite unusual to offer. I have a friend who makes bamboo rods and turns the grips and reel seats for them. Now as a fly fisherman, I drool over bamboo rods... But that's not what you really look at with Harry's rods. Even though they are great, what sets them apart is the grips and reel seats. He used rather exotic things to make them.

Some of the pens I've seen have been turned from oddball material like bone, phenolic, and even rocks (at least that's what he told me...)

So, that to me is as important as putting out a quality product... If you have something unusual, people will want to get a closer look. And the more traffic you have, the more you're likely to sell. Just walk around one of those craft shows and see which booths are doing the best. It's the ones that have something very unusual or very cheap.

I cut that board three times and it's STILL too short!!!...
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-20-2008, 12:26 AM
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Pen income

Hi Donny,

I own a mini Carba-Tec variable speed with a 1/4hp. This is the lathe I started on. I learned how to do pens and key chains etc. I then bought a Jet 1246 full size lathe. I turn pens on the Jet more because it has a bigger motor. I started out selling pens at craft shows with my uncle. We sold a few here and there. We did always make enough to pay for the booth, and we had a blast doing it. Talking to all the people, sharing your stories with other woodturners was great. You hang in there and have some fun, if you sell any thats a bonus, but above all, have FUN. You can see some of my stuff at www.brwoodcrafts.com

Happy turning

Brian
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-21-2008, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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can you turn pens on a regular full size lathe pretty well? I have a Ridgid lathe and was just wondering.

Donny
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-22-2008, 09:59 PM
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wanting to learn

Didn't know you allready had a lathe,but to this question,Yes you can turn pens or just abot anything else with the right chuck.Fellow I know has a one way and turns everything from two ft bowls to pens, tops,stoppers,you name it and you can just about turn it.
Ken
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post #11 of 14 Old 08-22-2008, 11:54 PM
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Yes you can definitely turn pens on a full size lathe. Don't throw away your scraps or mistakes from your pen turnings. If one end doesn't work out.. make a key chain.

Keep turnin'

Brian www.brwoodcrafts.com
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post #12 of 14 Old 08-30-2008, 12:41 PM
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I have tried selling mt pens on a few different sites. Ebay was insulting and I had 1 sale on ecrater. Ecrater is great if you want to spend all day promoting your site. Once you name gets out there you will do great! I'm having better luck on etsy.com. There is an awesome community willing to help with everything. I don't like doing craft shows because after working all week, the last thing i want to do is sit at a show when i can be home with my daughter. You can click on the link in my signature to check out my shop if you are interested in etsy to see how it works. Good luck and Happy turning!

Jenni

Come check out some of projects available in my store at http://jenspens.etsy.com
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post #13 of 14 Old 08-30-2008, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Pen turning tools

Is there a preference on turning tools for pens? I'm looking for a good set but not a real expensive set.Who has a quality tool at a fair price?

Donny
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post #14 of 14 Old 08-31-2008, 09:47 AM
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I like using craftsman. I don't use the mini set because i like having a lot of tool to hold on to. I do prefer to have a seperate set for turning acrylic. I mostly use my gouge and finish with the skew. Craftsman is kind of expensive to buy new, but I bought mine at an auction and they are still very sharp! Hope this helps and good luck!

Jenni

Come check out some of projects available in my store at http://jenspens.etsy.com
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