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pen turning --- nope not just like falling off a bike

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Forum topic by Betsy posted 10-23-2007 05:05 AM 1194 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Betsy

3391 posts in 3896 days


10-23-2007 05:05 AM

I’ve had to break out the lathe and pen turning stuff tonight. I had a co-worker ask me to make a few pens for a wedding gift – his and hers. Of course, I said yes. No sweat I said – piece of cake—- no problemo. Get those right to you. YEAH RIGHT.

I would say it’s been three years since I’ve turned a pen. Seems I’ve lost a little bit of the knack. I’ve got most of it down again. But I’ve got more key chains than pens at this point. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. As I recall I had a lot of pens blow out on me before until I learned a little trick that took care of it. Can’t for the life of me figure out what that tip is.

My tools are sharp, I roughed up the blanks prior to insertion, I used two part epoxy, the mandrel is straight and tight, the tool rest is adjusted not to high, not to low.

So ya’ll what am I doing wrong that my wood is breaking off my pen tubes?

The wedding is in two weeks. Plenty of time to get it figured out. But I would prefer not to waste to many good scrapes on blow outs. I did not have the advantage of LJ’s three years ago——so I’m hoping I you can all set me straight.

As we say in my line of work——thank you in advance for your professional courtesies in this regard.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine


17 replies so far

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scottb

3648 posts in 4327 days


#1 posted 10-23-2007 05:14 AM

I can only guess there is a hidden flaw in the wood or perhaps the epoxy is old or not mixed properly.. or fully cured yet. I’ve had one instance where I was able to reclaim all the metal parts that should have been permanently epoxied to the wood, which was a surprise. I probably have turned fewer than 10 pens so far – on two occasions, and only lost one, so I can’t really speak from experience what may be going on.
But sit tight… There’s a bunch of pen turners with loads more experience than me… I”ll be interested in what they have to say.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

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Betsy

3391 posts in 3896 days


#2 posted 10-23-2007 05:20 AM

thanks Mark. I know my epoxy is new from the store—- can’t say how long it’s been sitting there of course. As far as mixing the epoxy I use the blob method. One blog matches the other blob—scientific I’m sure, but I think that’s about the best way I’ve heard of mixing epox. Now the curing may be something to that. I waited about an hour between mixing, inserting and turning. Maybe I need to wait longer.

Hopefully the other LJs will teach us both something.

Thanks again.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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scottb

3648 posts in 4327 days


#3 posted 10-23-2007 05:34 AM

I know there is 5 and 10 minute epoxies, though I’ve never glued up and tubes the day I turned them, call me scared, or frugal with materials – too bad I’m not as frugal with money as I am with offcuts!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

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WayneC

13754 posts in 4097 days


#4 posted 10-23-2007 05:56 AM

I normally use CA when I turn pens. What type of wood are you turning? Are you being agressive in your cuts?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Betsy

3391 posts in 3896 days


#5 posted 10-23-2007 06:22 AM

I’ve used both CA and epoxy. Just seems like I had better luck with epoxy before so I used it this time. I may need to try CA again.

I’m turning quartersawn oak right now to get into the groove of turning again. I did turn one mystery wood that I have no idea what it was. Just a bit of scrape from an old project. I’m not sure what the wedding pens will be – she just wants them to match in a his/her set.

As far a cutting aggressively, I don’t think so. In fact, I think I’m a little to passive. I take my time and let the wood dictate how fast to cut. You could probably do 3 or 4 pens in the time it takes me to do one.

This thing will nag me until I figure it out. I had this same problem before and it was such a simple little thing. But for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.

I know I rough up the brass tubes—- I usally use 100 or 150 grit to rough them up. I put glue on about 80% of the tube and use the insertion of the tube to push the glue up the final 20%. I also will twist the tube to spread the glue around. I usually wait an hour or so before I turn. I would think if it were cure time that the wood would just spin on the tube but not necessarily break off.

It may help to know that the wood has been breaking at about at the 85-90% finished stage.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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WayneC

13754 posts in 4097 days


#6 posted 10-23-2007 06:24 AM

Are you getting a catch? Are you rubbing the bevel to start your cuts?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Betsy

3391 posts in 3896 days


#7 posted 10-23-2007 06:28 AM

Rubbing the bevel. Now I don’t remember that. Is that the idea of starting the lathe spinning, laying your tool across the top and bringing it down to get a catch? If so, nope did not do that. I’ve been “stabbing” it for lack of a better word. We might be on to something here.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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WayneC

13754 posts in 4097 days


#8 posted 10-23-2007 06:40 AM

Yes it sounds like it. Are you using a gouge or a skew?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Betsy

3391 posts in 3896 days


#9 posted 10-23-2007 07:07 AM

A gouge

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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WayneC

13754 posts in 4097 days


#10 posted 10-23-2007 07:09 AM

Try touching the wood with the bevel and then roll the gouge to get the cutting edge to engage.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 4161 days


#11 posted 10-23-2007 01:43 PM

does this help trigger your memory re: your tips/tricks?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

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Betsy

3391 posts in 3896 days


#12 posted 10-23-2007 07:29 PM

Yes MsDebbie it does. I’ve been searching around my shop for my notes (I take lots of notes and can then never find them).

I think it may be the way I’ve been drilling the holes. I have a tendency not to let the bit clear out, then it over heats and wanders. I’ll try that out tonight and see if that may be the issue. Sometimes I get impatient with these small jobs and get in a hurry.

Wayne – that was a really good blog you had on pen turning. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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WayneC

13754 posts in 4097 days


#13 posted 10-23-2007 07:30 PM

Your welcome.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Betsy

3391 posts in 3896 days


#14 posted 10-24-2007 06:13 AM

Yee haw!!!! While a small victory – a victory all the same. I managed to get a pen completed tonight and it looks good and feels good in my hand. One down, one to go.

I think my problem last night was the drilling. I had no problems tonight. I’ll be thankful when the second is done and I can put the pen turning back to bed. While pens are really pretty and fun. I just don’t enjoy making them. Will be a bit slower agreeing to make them next time I’m asked!

Thanks for all your help.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 4161 days


#15 posted 10-24-2007 12:42 PM

congrats!!! :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

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