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What to look for in a pen mandrel

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Forum topic by SuperCubber posted 12-02-2016 09:04 PM 694 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SuperCubber

1010 posts in 2124 days


12-02-2016 09:04 PM

Hey folks,

I’m purchasing my first lathe on Sunday, and would like to get set up to turn some pens. I’ve seen different options for mandrels, and I’m not sure which one to get. Do I need the Rockler one with all the bells and whistles? Can I make do with a $15 one from Woodcraft? I plan on getting a jacobs chuck. Any other major pieces (obviously pen kits) necessary to turn pens? Any opinions are appreciated.

Thanks,

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine


12 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2188 posts in 1974 days


#1 posted 12-02-2016 09:31 PM

Looks like Rockler sells Berea Hardwoods 15.00 mandrel and PSI universal mandrel $22. Almost the same things at Wood Craft.

http://www.rockler.com/search/go?w=pen%20mandrel&asug=&sli_uuid=&sli_sid=

Only thing to do is buy a mandrel that will fit your lathe whether MT1 or MT2. Then all about where you buy your pen kits & bushings. You can find instructions on line so know what bushing you need with each kit. If buy online from Berea, Craft Supplies, PSI and any of their re-seller sites normally sent instructions with your order.

Http://www.bereahardwoods.com

http://www.bereahardwoods.com/pen-kit/supplies/tooling-precision.html

Penn state Industries
https://www.pennstateind.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=SEARCH&q=pen+mandrels

-- Bill

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gwilki

170 posts in 1313 days


#2 posted 12-02-2016 09:33 PM

Being able to adjust the length of the mandrel is a handy feature. That way, when you turn single tube kits, you don’t need to slide a bunch of spacers onto the mandrel.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

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lew

11846 posts in 3595 days


#3 posted 12-02-2016 10:13 PM



Being able to adjust the length of the mandrel is a handy feature. That way, when you turn single tube kits, you don t need to slide a bunch of spacers onto the mandrel.

- gwilki


+1 on this!
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/145997/PROFESSPENTURNMANDREL2MT.aspx?gclid=CjwKEAiA1ITCBRDO-oLA-qn8xYSJADjBQfG4dRcozt-L0zqfa4QREeCTXukPT14MXncVuBZmgefBoC5Wrw_wcB

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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loiblb

141 posts in 895 days


#4 posted 12-02-2016 11:51 PM

I have better luck turning between centers. My pens come out round with out any defection of a mandrel.
Drilling pen blanks on the lathe is much better too.

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4040 posts in 2401 days


#5 posted 12-03-2016 12:06 AM



I have better luck turning between centers. My pens come out round with out any defection of a mandrel.
Drilling pen blanks on the lathe is much better too.

- loiblb

+1

-- Please help me help other Vets click..> http://www.gofundme.com/m1abko.....It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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SuperCubber

1010 posts in 2124 days


#6 posted 12-03-2016 01:00 AM

Thank you all for the replies.

loiblb and Arlin, if you turn between centers, I’m assuming you drill the blank out first? What do I need to drill out the blank, besides a drill chuck and a drill bit?

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

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loiblb

141 posts in 895 days


#7 posted 12-03-2016 01:30 AM

I use the pen jaws on my chuck. The keyless chuck can be used but the grip of a keyed chuck works a bit better for some reason.
Put a dead center in the head stock and live center in the tail stock. I use a digital caliper instead of bushings and a little wax on the tooling to keep ca from being a problem. This is one I did today. I use a Bessey K body clamp for my press. I have used several presses

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SuperCubber

1010 posts in 2124 days


#8 posted 12-03-2016 02:14 AM

Forgive me for sounding like a dummy…

Using your method, I would need a drill chuck and a regular lathe chuck to drill it out on the lathe, correct?

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

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loiblb

141 posts in 895 days


#9 posted 12-03-2016 02:44 AM

This is my setup. Pen plus jaws work well

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_XNlQm0bMM

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SuperCubber

1010 posts in 2124 days


#10 posted 12-03-2016 03:32 AM

Thanks, Dan. That helps a lot. I watched a few of your vids and subscribed. Looking forward to future videos. Thanks for the help.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2188 posts in 1974 days


#11 posted 12-03-2016 02:03 PM

A wood lathe makes a great drill press, especially if using Dan’s set-up (chuck & jaws). Of course will also need a drill chuck too for your lathe too. While do lot of drilling on the lathe for other things prefer to use my drill press for drilling pen blanks.

Pen kit instructions will tell you what size drill bit to use. A chart like this is handy because you can buy and use a drill index set versus individual drill bits. Yes, there will be times have to buy single bit to make a kit because nothing in your drill index works. I didn’t buy a metric drill bit index because hard to find them with 10 & 12.5 mm bits. I do use both brad point and twist drill bits. If try sharpening brad point bits with a drill doctor you’ll have a twist drill bit and will end up buying stones for that drill doctor more often.

http://www.csgnetwork.com/drillsizeconvert.html

I use this digital calipers to measure tubes, bushings, and pen components and buy replacement batteries at Walmart. Stopped buying expensive ones because found they work well.

http://www.csgnetwork.com/drillsizeconvert.html

I inspect & measure bushings when kit arrives; use bushing to get me close. Also measure components as I turn so don’t turn pen barrels too small or big.

Have three mandrels Berea A & B, and PSI universal. These days turn between centers using kit bushings, dead center in headstock and live center in tailstock. Those mandrels have served me well.

For lot of good info check out this site. Some information only available to members but, free to join.

http://www.penturners.org/forum/

-- Bill

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SuperCubber

1010 posts in 2124 days


#12 posted 12-03-2016 03:07 PM

Thanks, Bill! That’s a lot of good info!

I’ll have some time this week to watch some Capn Eddie and others to learn more about using a lathe.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

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