pen turning

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Forum topic by dmsawmill posted 04-20-2010 06:41 AM 1243 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View dmsawmill's profile


3 posts in 1997 days

04-20-2010 06:41 AM

Topic tags/keywords: pens lathe

I am intrested in learning how to start turning pens on a wood lathe. I am new at the lathe and thoght this would be a good way to learn.
I have been looking at mandrels on different sites and I do not know how to tell the difference between a #1 or a#2 taper and I would also take any advice that anyone would be willing to share with me about process, finishing or anything that would be useful. I would also like to know if there is a good starter line to learn on that anyone would recomend. Thank you

9 replies so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5782 posts in 2622 days

#1 posted 04-20-2010 10:03 AM

Why not get a loan of the dvd actually turning pens is a bad way to start out turning as they need to be turned so thin .Anyway when you get a lathe the hole through the tailstock and the headstock determine wht taper it is.I wish you were nearer I could lend you a few dvds anyway good luck.Alistair

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

View 4woodturning's profile


187 posts in 2018 days

#2 posted 04-20-2010 11:48 AM

I agree with Scotsman a dvd is a great way to start and Below is a link to Penn State Ind. you can get a free dvd how to make pens.

on a mandrel i suggest the adjustable mandrel. there are many different styles of pens out there some shorter tube than others, some with just one tube so you would have to add spacers so blank is tight for turning. To tell what Morse Taper you have #1 or #2 find the info on your lathe Specifications link below.

i would start with a 7mm slimline pen. most new mandrels come with these bushings for these pens or they use to haven’t bought one in a while. as far as a finish try a Hut (White) wax stick, just rub the wax stick against your pen and use a paper towel and a little pressure to heat it up. (Fiction Polish)

also find a local turning group in your area and check out a meeting. you-tube has a lot of pen turning on there too. hope this helps you and have fun

-- Jeff, Missouri ,"Just because your not bleeding, dont mean your turning safely!"..............

View Chiefk's profile


163 posts in 2808 days

#3 posted 04-20-2010 02:09 PM

For a DVD, I recommend “Basic Pen Turning with Bill Baumbeck,” from Arizona Silhouette. This is the best pen turning DVD I have seen. It covers a review of pen kit suppliers, identification of the different parts of a pen, selecting a blank, cutting the blank using a bandsaw, drilling, gluing the tubes into the blanks, turning and finishing the pens and final assembly. He goes through a step by step process for three different style of pens. The DVD is 2 hours and l5 minutes long. You can buy it at // Good luck. pkennedy

-- P Kennedy Crossville, TN

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2111 days

#4 posted 04-20-2010 02:10 PM

Be careful. Turning pens can be addictive. I’m a recovering penahollic.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View dmsawmill's profile


3 posts in 1997 days

#5 posted 04-21-2010 02:47 AM

I realy apreciate your advice on my questions. I am a novice hobbiest that is looking to get started in wood working. I own a small sawmill and have all the lumber I could want and at any dimminsion I would like, so in return I think this would be a very fullfiling hobby for me.
scotsman you said that pen turning was a hard thing for a new turner, would you have any suggestions on good learning projects to learn first. I understand that I will need to learn alot before I would be comfortable saying I know what I an doing.
4woodturning I ordered the free DVD that you recomended and should be here in a week or so. I also looked up that web site and found I have a #2 MT so at little steps I am getting excited at getting started on turning somthing on this lathe. I feel that this might be somthing that might be addictive.

View JerrySats's profile


234 posts in 2647 days

#6 posted 04-21-2010 03:24 AM

When I first started into turning I practiced on scarps of 2×4 ripped in half . I mostly did this to get use to how all the different gouges cut . My first turning projects were pens , not hard at all to turn since I knew what to expect from the tools . Youtube is a great resource for free wood turning videos , there’s some very good turners that post video’s there .

You also my want to look for a local turning club in your area , that’s another great resource to expend on your turning skills . Most clubs let you check them for free and aren’t that expensive to join . Find a club here >

Have fun turning .

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 2526 days

#7 posted 04-21-2010 05:46 AM

There are some great sites out there. The International Association of Penturners is a great site, and if you go to the tutorial page you can start learning and viewing tutorials on almost any subject that has to do with penturning.

The #1 or #2 morse taper is inherent to your lathe. It should be in the documentation on the lathe itself.

One good tool that has come out recently is the mandrel saver by PSI. This saves you all kinds of headaches as far as bent mandrels causing poor turnings, etc.

The last thing I will say is SHARP TOOLS! SCARY SHARP TOOLS are absolutely necessary for success at turning.

Good luck and have fun!!

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View Seer's profile


301 posts in 2679 days

#8 posted 04-21-2010 02:40 PM

You can also check out your local library for dvdx and books on penturning. I learned from watching videos on and as Padre mentioned they are a great group of people.


View millmgr's profile


27 posts in 2149 days

#9 posted 04-27-2010 09:33 PM

In addition to all the great suggestions already mentioned, you may find turning classes and demos at local tool supply stores such as Woodcrafters. Also woodworking shows generally have turning equipment suppliers and various organizations exhibiting where you can meet other turners and see some demos. Woodturning is one of the few opportunities for “Instant Gratification”. You put a chunk of wood in the lathe and in a while, you have a beautiful product all done, sanded and finished!

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