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Rockler Pen Press/Drilling Jig - Is It Worth it?

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Forum topic by BlankMan posted 12-27-2009 07:22 PM 5438 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BlankMan

1487 posts in 2018 days


12-27-2009 07:22 PM

Having a lathe now I’m thinking I might try my hand at making a few pens. I’ve seen it done before, I think on TV where you drill the hole in the wood and then epoxy the metal barrel into the wood and use a press to inset it.

Rockler has this item on sale and I have some gift cards that might cover 2/3 of it but I’m wondering if it’s a gimmick, i.e. you don’t need it to accomplish the task, or if it’s really handy and makes it easier.

When I saw it I realized once again that you have to drill the hole length wise in the wood blank and the way it holds the wood and how they show it set up clamped by the runners on the drill press table would make for easy on/off the table alignment. Not really necessary I understand and my DP has a laser but still saves a little time. I really do like the way it aligns and holds the wood blank for drilling, but is it worth it for just that?

Just wondering what people think and how they do this.

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=18062

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI


17 replies so far

View RetiredCoastie's profile

RetiredCoastie

999 posts in 1848 days


#1 posted 12-27-2009 07:32 PM

NO! I have several friends that purchased this drill guide and they replaced them with either shop made guides or bought the one sold by Craft supply http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/store/Pen_Making___Pen_Making_Tools___Pen_Drilling_Vise___pen_vise?Args=

I was about to buy one myself awhile back and the store clerk at Rockler even said it wasn’t as good as the one that I linked above. There is a lot of slop in the worm drive.

Save your money and use a vise or your DP as an arbor press for assembly. You can build a very simple drill guide that is just as accurate as the retail drill guide or go with the one at Craft USA at a much cheaper price.

-- www.thepatriotwoodworker.com Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

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Padre

930 posts in 2154 days


#2 posted 12-27-2009 07:41 PM

Curt, I have the one from Wood Turner’s Catalog like Coastie says, and it works as advertised. I had to use CA glue to keep the handle from turning off the threaded rod, but other than that, it’s a handy little device.

Secondly, it’s not a gimmick, and you’ll thank yourself for getting one. Holding those blanks is tough, and using this type of clamp is the only way to go.

-- Chip -----------http://www.penmanchip.com-----------------Micah 6:8

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reggiek

2240 posts in 1935 days


#3 posted 12-27-2009 07:43 PM

I recommend a shop made vise…I made one from a video I saw on the Pen Turners of America forums…(they are free to view – I tried to list a link but my favorite for this got deleted – but I’ve seen several on You Tube also). On the really long pens I drill them on my lathe so I don’t have to keep raising my drill table (I can lathe drill all of them….but it is easier to throw them in my drill press jig).... then I use a hand click clamp with soft wood pads to squeeze the parts together….total cost – nothing – as I had all the stuff around from other projects….and of course every wood worker has clamps.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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BlankMan

1487 posts in 2018 days


#4 posted 12-27-2009 07:44 PM

Thanks guys, that one does look nice and less expensive too.

But it looks like it’s just for drilling which is ok, so then what do you use as a press or is a press even needed?

Maybe I need to watch the pen turning DVD I bought. :)

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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BlankMan

1487 posts in 2018 days


#5 posted 12-27-2009 07:47 PM

Wow. Doh! I have a Jet Metal Working lathe, I could drill them on there. Sure glad I asked, but I’m not sure the through hole in the turret is big enough but could probably come up with something, have to check that out.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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Padre

930 posts in 2154 days


#6 posted 12-27-2009 07:49 PM

I also bought this press, and it works great. You can just as easily use a tail vise if you have one, or a side vise as well.

You will also need a barrel trimmer.

And do you have a mandrel? I use this one and this one. Both are very good.

-- Chip -----------http://www.penmanchip.com-----------------Micah 6:8

View RavinHeart's profile

RavinHeart

95 posts in 1888 days


#7 posted 12-27-2009 07:52 PM

I got a cheaper one the woodcraft sells for drilling … love it … and i use my bnech vise for the press … long as you have it lined up and take your time … works great … made many pens like that already … only time i have a problem is when i rush and goof it up myslef

-- RavinHeart - Wisconsin

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interpim

1132 posts in 2124 days


#8 posted 12-27-2009 07:57 PM

You don’t need a press… some people like to have it though.

I have used my drill press to press the pens together (using a turned piece of wood in the chuck to protect the pen)
I have used the one hand clamps before.
Some have used their lathe itself, either turning custom heads/tails to protect the pen parts.

-- San Diego, CA

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BlankMan

1487 posts in 2018 days


#9 posted 12-27-2009 08:03 PM

I thought of using a vise, and wasn’t real thrilled about using the Rockler one for it’s pressing capabilities, looked like you be spinning for a while while pressing it.

Chip, no, no, and no. I knew in the back of my head there was more stuff that would be needed but didn’t know what. And I do like those presses you showed and those are more like the types I’ve seen.

What about turning tools, like this Sorby set Rockler has on sale for $39? I’m thinking that 6 piece Sorby set Rockler had on sale that I picked up might be too big.

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21551

Sure am glad I asked, that Rockler press looks like it’s off the docket. Almost bought it yesterday too, but I thought I’d ask, sure glad of that.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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BlankMan

1487 posts in 2018 days


#10 posted 12-27-2009 08:06 PM

Drill press for pressing, that’s a good idea too. And I just remembered I have a small arbor press, have to see if its stroke is sufficient.

Wow, all kinds of good ideas, thanks!

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View RetiredCoastie's profile

RetiredCoastie

999 posts in 1848 days


#11 posted 12-27-2009 08:51 PM

Curt Ive been looking at the 16” version turning tool handle system but I haven’t found anyone here with knowledge of these modular tool systems. Looking at the prices of the individual tools that go with the handle they look cheaper than the wood handled ones. The only drawback I can see is having to change out the tools, but for the price I can live with that minor inconvenience. Let me know what you come up with.

-- www.thepatriotwoodworker.com Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

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BlankMan

1487 posts in 2018 days


#12 posted 12-27-2009 09:16 PM

Thanks Coastie, I didn’t think of that, instead of just grabbing another tool having to change it out constantly, don’t know if I like having to do that constantly, I kinda think you want to keep going uninterrupted, keep with the flow.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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BlankMan

1487 posts in 2018 days


#13 posted 12-27-2009 09:47 PM

What about this one?

http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2003988/9497/Pen-Press.aspx

Chip, looks to be the same one just different colors. I think I have 15% WoodCraft coupon someplace. But looking at these I could knock one out in an hour out of aluminum and just have to buy the push clamp for it. But could probably make one of those too. All comes down to time and material costs and I wonder how much I’d be saving if any.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Padre's profile

Padre

930 posts in 2154 days


#14 posted 12-27-2009 11:03 PM

No! The best gouge to use is a normal size gouge, and then go to a 3/4” for finishing. The problem with those little sets is that you can only use them for little things!

-- Chip -----------http://www.penmanchip.com-----------------Micah 6:8

View RetiredCoastie's profile

RetiredCoastie

999 posts in 1848 days


#15 posted 12-27-2009 11:10 PM

Curt try this idea instead of buying a press. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/22488

-- www.thepatriotwoodworker.com Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

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