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This is a real newbie question, I'm sure, but...

When you buy a "pen kit" it normally doesn't include the blanks, right? You're just purchasing the "guts" of the pen.

The reason I ask is that the price differential between suppliers seems pretty wide.

24K Gold Slimline Pen Kit:
PSI: $2.85
Woodturningz: $2.00
Woodnwhimsies: $1.65

I don't see where any kit offers anything that the others don't.
 

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You have to supply your own blank.

Starting out less expensive kits are okay to learn on, people enjoy getting them as gifts. You will find people selling those kits for anywhere between $5.00 to $10.00. Better quality kits and platings fetch more money.

Almost all your pen kit vendors have economy line pen kits, quality can be hit or miss. Both Woodturningz and Wood-n-Whimsies are resellers of Penn State Industry (PSI) Kits, they also carry a less expensive non-PSI kits. A good quality cross refill cost more than those kits.

You might want to check out http://woodturnerscatalog.com and http://bereahardwoods.com for plating information there is a platings 101 and word about plating articles might find useful.
 

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If you hang out at the IAP will gain a lot of knowledge on pen making. The message forum is full of tip and techniques. The library and links sections have a lot of good information too.

http://www.penturners.org/forum/

Slim Line or 7mm pen kits are popular with both new and old penturners alike. People enjoy modifying them to make them unique. Most folks migrate to different kits and plating after making a dozen or more Slim Lines, some folks never stop making them.

Some very good pen turners have posted pictures of their work right here.
 
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