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So i'm pondering getting into making turned pens/pencils.

 

i have a lathe, but i think it's a little big for pens, and yesterday I got the Penn State Industries catalog, that features all manner of turned pens/pencils stuff you need to make these things.

 

i'd mostly give them away, although if you offered me some $$, i'd say yes.

 

so what should i look for/avoid in this?

 

they have a little starter kit, including a little lathe just for pens, that looks like a good place to start and learn how to do this.

 

i appears that there are standard sizes/dimensions for size of pen, size of hole in the middle.

 

any advice or warnings?

 

thanks.

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Unless you just want a new lathe, there is no reason to buy one. A large lathe works perfectly fine for small turnings. The little bird on this ornament was turned on a PM 4224, a massive lathe. The bird  is about 1/2" high overall.

DSCN0912.JPG.42bb57d68edc5c6f68a681e264df4254.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may need a smaller tool rest but that's about all. Personally, I'm not a fan of Penn State Ind. and I were  buying a smaller lathe it would probably be Jet 1221vs or a Delta Midi. I have the Delta only because I found a great deal on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve

Edited by Steve Krumanaker

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Every new projects requires a new piece of equipment, at least that what I tell Mimi.

 

I turn pens on a full sized lathe with no trouble. Things you really do need-

Pen Mandrel- get a good one that allows for adjustable lengths

 

If you have a lathe chuck- pen jaws (Check back in "Wednesday's Wisd..." One of our turners made a set)

Jacob chuck for the lathe

The jaws and chuck allow you to do all the drilling on the lathe with no special vice.

 

When making a pen/pencil you have to square the blank with the end of the brass tub. If you have a sanding station, that works just as good as a pen barrel trimmer.

 

When you buy the pen kit, make sure you have the exact sized brad point bit. Most are in mm. Also make sure you get the exact bushing for the kit. After a while you'll get a collection of bushings. Keep them labeled, they are easy to get mixed up.

 

Everything else you can make or adapt.

Old_Jail_Pen090.thumb.JPG.38b29ead180f3a63e754fd3239d54215.JPG

 

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found a few "how to" videos and articles elsewhere.  most helpful.

 

since i have a lathe, what i need is fairly reasonable, so i think i'll sort thru the catalog next week, order some parts and pieces, and see how big a mess i can make.  worst case, it's a modestly affordable lesson in what i'm not good at.  best case, i make something cool.

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Rockler has the most complete kit for first time pen turning if you have a lathe.  Right below the kit it says see it in action.  It's a video in how to do it.  One stop shopping. 

 

http://www.rockler.com/starter-pen-turning-kit

 

 

 

Edited by HandyDan

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I have a pen mandrel but now a lot of people are turning between centers without bushings. The bushings Lew pointed out are sized so when the wood is turned to the size of the end of the bushing it will then match the pen parts. Of coarse that means you have to use a caliper to size the ends.

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17 hours ago, lew said:

Pen Mandrel- get a good one that allows for adjustable lengths

The standard pen mandrel uses a knurled nut to tighten up the bushings to the blanks to enable the turning with a dimple in the end of the mandrel shaft, which receives the point on the live center of your tailstock.  I've heard if you try to tighten up too much with the tailstock, it can deflect or warp the mandrel shaft.  Look into a mandrel saver.  It allows the end of the mandrel to pass through the center hole of your tailstock, and it tightens up directly on the bushings. 

 

17 hours ago, lew said:

If you have a lathe chuck- pen jaws (Check back in "Wednesday's Wisd..." One of our turners made a set)

I made that set, just for fun.  Be aware that his design seemed to me to be sized for 1/2" square blanks.  I didn't realize that until I tried to put in a 3/4" blank, and I couldn't get it in until I enlarged the cut-outs to fit the blank.  Although, that may have been a limitation of my chuck, I use a super nova 2.  Just FYI.

 

I had a problem with tubes coming out when I was squaring up the blanks to the tubes.  Read my post about this on this forum.  I got some good advice and it might save you some problems.

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