In pen turning is a pen press better to have

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by watcher posted 09-08-2009 12:18 AM 9033 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View watcher's profile


34 posts in 3152 days

09-08-2009 12:18 AM

hello i am just starting up my pen turning workshop and i have everything i feel i need but the one thing i have been looking at are the pen presses and as i have seen alot of people use clamps of differant types besides the real pen press and i have heard that by useing differant types of presses besides the pen press you can mess up a pen alot eisier doing it without the pen pres so i thought i would put this out there to find out what you all have to say on the subject as most of the pen presses cost anywhere from 35.00 to 50.00 is that money well spent or not. i dont see any pop up on ebay very often and have been looking around at sales, auctions that kind of places and still do find them so any thoughts let me know thanks BYRON

-- in wood working there is no need for perfection as inperfections just go to show that the project was done by hand with love and care

17 replies so far

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3335 days

#1 posted 09-08-2009 12:28 AM

I’ve been making pens and pencils for about 5 years now and all I use is an Irwin quick clamp.

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 3261 days

#2 posted 09-08-2009 03:54 AM

I have a pen press from WoodCraft. It sold for $50 and I got it on sale for $40.
I use it because I have it and have never tried anything else. I like it, it works well for me.
I suppose a clamp would work just as well, but I didn’t think about trying that before I purchased the press.
I think you could try a quick clamp, if it doesn’t work for you- go with a press.



-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3543 days

#3 posted 09-08-2009 04:18 AM

I use a full court press. Sorry I couldn’t resist

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View watcher's profile


34 posts in 3152 days

#4 posted 09-08-2009 04:37 AM

hey you got to get em in when you get the chance

-- in wood working there is no need for perfection as inperfections just go to show that the project was done by hand with love and care

View DaneJ's profile


56 posts in 3175 days

#5 posted 09-09-2009 05:43 AM

I like to think my solution is super simple and, most important, cheap.

I put a piece of 1/2” dowel in the chuck of my drill press and a block on the table and go for it… One end of the dowel has a countersink, I use that end when pressing the pointed end.

I know that some would say that is abuse of a drill press, but I rationalize it by saying that I would use as much pressure to drill a large hole in hardwood.

BTW—for safety sake I unplug the drill press.

-- Dane, Fairview Pk, OH. The large print giveth and the small print taketh away... Tom Waits

View MaxS's profile


46 posts in 3160 days

#6 posted 09-09-2009 05:56 AM

I use my bench vice. I like the control I get with turning the vice gradually tight vs pulling on the ‘pen press’.

-- Socrates: "I drank what?"

View Kevin's profile


24 posts in 3297 days

#7 posted 09-09-2009 06:42 AM

just like papadan i use a quick clamp. sometimes i have problems with that or just need some more pressure and just use a small bar clamp

View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 3149 days

#8 posted 09-09-2009 06:59 AM

Check out this idea I found here in the projects area I have the press from woodcraft as well but it does slip sometimes. USCJeff’s idea looks like a better way to press pens. Save your money for pen kits and blanks and use your lathe head and tail-stock. If you don’t have a chuck, you can still use a tapered plug with a shoulder in the head stock. By using the tail stock you have more control and micro adjustment capabilities.

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3447 days

#9 posted 09-09-2009 07:05 AM

Mostly I use my vise. I do have the same press as the one Dustbuny shows, but I find that if you’re having a little difficulty pushing the part in, it will bend it out of alignment. If you want to save a little money, here’s a plan to build one.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View LesB's profile


1684 posts in 3409 days

#10 posted 09-09-2009 07:11 AM

I use my drill press with soft wooden pads on each end. The quill end can be a wood dowel held in the chuck. Works great and it is a tool I already had.

-- Les B, Oregon

View watcher's profile


34 posts in 3152 days

#11 posted 09-09-2009 10:59 AM

i want to thank you all for your inputs as i have trouble thinking i need the best or at least what they say is the best made to do that certain job then find out there is a better and cheeper way to do it so thanks all and still anymore input is welcomed

-- in wood working there is no need for perfection as inperfections just go to show that the project was done by hand with love and care

View 3285jeff's profile


152 posts in 1684 days

#12 posted 01-12-2015 04:54 AM

I use my drill press also,,i have a flat piece of wood with 3 -1/4-20 flathead screws coming up from the bottom at different lengths,,i drilled and taped the holes and countersunk them so they would sit flat,,i put the pen blank on these screws to keep them for the most part aligned with the push I made to go in the chuck,,which is just a round piece of solid plastic about 2 inches in dia and about 1 in thick with a 1/4-20 screw in it to put in the chuck,,i also tapped it,,WORKS GOOD!!!!

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3551 days

#13 posted 01-14-2015 07:00 PM

I simply, after making many pens ,still prefer to squeeze up using a standard woodworking bench vice with wooden or mdf facings it is easy to turn the lever slowly, and so far I have never been in hot water with this method.
MY two cents on this below.

Whenever something becomes popular there will always be a series of gimick merchants, waiting to coin in on our ineptitude and an also your love of all tools and gadgets.We are fundamentally as woodworkers, machinist ,golfers, sailors, guitarists,etc,etc, gullable and easily persuaded we need to buy a lot of basic useless guff, most of which lies unused in a drawer for ever more.
Talking about penturning they even sell a tool for removing the inserts basically an old screwdriver with the head removed so you are left with a handle and a steel rod.But according to those in charge we really badly need TO BUY at least one and , don’t whatever you do, make one from an old screwdriver.
Get my drift?
Most of this rubbish we keep being bombarded daily with is basic psychology .Which is used a lot in selling.
I spent many hundreds of pounds on an almost complete tormek set up.And used to set aside a full day for sharpening.Guess what they were all really shiney and very well although time consumingly made good as new .Then I lost interest in spending all that time sharpening , and learned without jigs to sharpen my own tools,and guess what ? they don’t need to have a mirrored edge,but we believe it does because we are told we do need it especially if we want to turn much better bowls. Sorry that’s all sales hype and bull shit. Simply not true .I sharpen mostly on a normal grinder and more often on a 12 inch disc sander .Normally now within five seconds on that, they are cutting like better than new.Don’t lets be fooled brothers have safe fun yOUR PAL BIG Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Troy Cleckler 's profile

Troy Cleckler

385 posts in 1337 days

#14 posted 01-14-2015 07:55 PM

the lathe works just as well and the tail stock wheel gives you good even presure control.

-- Troy. - Measure twice, cut once and fill the gaps....

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3340 days

#15 posted 01-14-2015 08:01 PM

+1 Bench Vise. Slow and smooth.


-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics