Woodworking Talk banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My 11 year old daughter expressed an interest in making pens...turning them herself, etc. I have no experience with lathes. Any suggestions on a beginner lathe? Has to be benchtop and I don't want to spend more than 300. Thanks guys.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,801 Posts
Look at PennStateIndustries, they have inexpensive starter kits for pen turning.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
7,222 Posts
I do not see you being able to keep to the $300 budget unless you find a used lathe locally.

This is the Penn State Industries lowest cost small lathe kit.

http://www.pennstateind.com/store/TCLC10-B.html?concept=3

In addition your daughter needs eye protection.

I prefer a good face shield. I have this one. I do not know if it adjusts to fit your daughters head size.
http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=56669&cat=1,42207

Child safety goggles.
http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=31223&cat=1,42207,42216&ap=1

Drills for the specific pen kits. Different kits use various diameter.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=32838&cat=1,330,43243

Penn State sells the pen kits and pen blanks.

You also need a method of pressing the brass insert into the hole which you drill into the pen blank.

Milescraft make a good pen press.
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2083869/35759/Milescraft-TurnersPress.aspx

You could see if there is a local woodturning club. If there is one, highly likely a few pen turners. Go to a monthly meeting and ask if anyone willing to show your daughter how to turn a pen. I think most pen turners would be happy to show a youngster how to get into the hobby.
 

·
No Longer Here, BY CHOICE
Joined
·
2,442 Posts
I agree staying in that budget will be difficult because it requires so much more than just a lathe. You can stay budget minded though.

Id reccomend this lathe...

http://www.harborfreight.com/5-speed-bench-top-wood-lathe-65345.html

No, its not a top of the line model but its a decent beginner lathe. It gets excellent reviews and parts are readily available through many places such as Grizzly. This lathe is sold under many names but its cheaper at HF than anywhere else. Use a 25% off coupon and it makes it right about $150 bucks. Thats hard to beat. (Ill send you a coupon if you need one) Ive own this lathe and have been turning on it for 2 years without any problems. Yes, I would like a much bigger lathe now but it is perfect for turning pens and stoppers and other small things. It will be great for an 11 year old and should serve her well for awhile. I also turn pepper mills and other items allthough that requires a bed extension.

Id reccomend this tool set...

http://www.harborfreight.com/8-piece-high-speed-steel-wood-lathe-chisel-set-69723.html

They sell a cheaper set but I believe they are carbon steel. This set is HSS and is a good bang for the buck. I have upgraded most of these tools now but still find myself using these regularly. Many people will tell you not to buy a set but rather buy individual tools as you need them. Thats true to a point but with a coupon this entire set is about 40 bucks. You will need a way to sharpen these tools but I used them for several months without sharpening before I set up a sharpening station. They will hold an edge for awhile if your just turning pen blanks. Just dont let this go for too long because dull tools are a safety hazard. Hooking up with RusDemka or one of the other guys that make carbide tools is another option. I turn my pens with a set of Rus carbides almost exclusively.

Now you have about 100 bucks left to buy a pen mandrel, some drill bits, some kits, etc. Id start her on slim lines. They are cheap and they only require a 7mm bit, also cheap. Assembling pens can be done with a clamp so no need to break your budget buying a pen press. If you have a drill press Ill show you how to make a pen press jig for it and youll never need a pen press.

When you get serious about getting her into turning, send me a PM. My mom works at a safety supply warehouse. I buy lots of overstock items and items with damaged packaging, etc. Ill send you a brand new face shield, safety glasses, dust masks. I think I still have a new respirater too, if so Ill send that, all free of charge, you just pay the shipping. Ill fill the voids in the box with pen blanks!

Thanks for introducing a kid to the wonderful world of turning!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,609 Posts
+1 on what BassBlaster wrote.

Plus ...

Assembling pens can be done with a clamp so no need to break your budget buying a pen press. If you have a drill press Ill show you how to make a pen press jig for it and youll never need a pen press.
You can use the lathe itself to press parts together -- all it needs is a couple of pieces of wood (or other material) turned so they slip into the morse tapers of the headstock and tailstock.

Added advantage -- cranking the tailstock advance is far less likely to twist than using a clamp, and has much better control than a drill press.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,223 Posts
If there's a Woodcraft in your area they might have classes for that-- might be able to make one there and decide if it's worthwhile.
Just a thought.
 

·
Pain in the A$$
Joined
·
1,904 Posts
Have you tried contacting local penturners or at least people with a lathe. Maybe someone on here can help so that you can see if interest stays before you make the investment.

You can also look for local Woodturning Clubs here http://www.woodturner.org/community/chapters/LocalChapters.asp

I wish you the best of luck. I'd love to have a common interest with my daughter!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I am still here...been a busy Sunday since I posted my question. Thank you to everyone for the advice. I looked online at the Harbor Freight lathe and liked what I saw, the reviews seemed good. I should have clarified that I meant 300 for the lathe only. My grandfather has agreed to give me the lathe tools. I am definitely gonna look into a face mask and apron...hadn't thought of those.

Again thank you to everyone for the replies...y'all have brought up some good points. My biggest concern is that she loses the interest but I guess I will then have access to the lathe if I need it.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top