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Do you make Pens?

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Forum topic by StumpyNubs posted 01-12-2012 08:56 PM 3847 views 2 times favorited 85 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1546 days


01-12-2012 08:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question turning lathe

I’ve been thinking of making some pens. Everybody seems to be doing it, and I have always had a weird fascination with writing instruments. I have a massive collection in my office. Plus, I have to make some gifts to get a few people off my back. SO…

How may of you turn pens?
Do you use mini turning tools or your regular ones?
Give me an basic list of the tools I need. (Chisels, pen press, mandrels, etc.)
Where do you buy your kits?
What is your favorite material?
How do you finish them?

ANY input would be appreciated.

(The greatest woodworking show mankind has ever conceived is now online!)

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com


85 replies so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7934 posts in 2798 days


#1 posted 01-12-2012 08:58 PM

No

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1546 days


#2 posted 01-12-2012 09:00 PM

Thanks, Joe. That was certainly to the point. So, for a guy like me who has never done it before, and is therefore not biased in any way… tell me… why not?

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3581 posts in 2706 days


#3 posted 01-12-2012 09:00 PM

Nope! I have more than I’ll ever use, and just don’t have the inclination.
Wanna buy a swell Mont Blanc?
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1546 days


#4 posted 01-12-2012 09:02 PM

I was considering making an offer on the Mont Blanc, but when you said “swell”, all I could do was giggle…

You have more pens than you’ll ever use? Well, I have more hand planes than I will ever use. But I WANT MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Mwa-ha-ha-ha!) And I may even make a few soon…

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

6039 posts in 2174 days


#5 posted 01-12-2012 09:03 PM

No. Don’t turn. Have several drawers full, already. Need a nice, slightly used, Bic?

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51450 posts in 2226 days


#6 posted 01-12-2012 09:03 PM

Not me…it looks interesting, but I have never tried it.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1546 days


#7 posted 01-12-2012 09:06 PM

This is interesting… When I go into woodcraft I see two isles of pen stuff. SOMEBODY is making pens…

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Chris 's profile

Chris

68 posts in 1100 days


#8 posted 01-12-2012 09:13 PM

I also want to get into pen turning … looks fun …. but still havn’t decided if I want to go with a mini lathe or delta midi …. so I would like to hear what everyone uses for lathes tools ect…

-- Chris ~ Central Michigan

View GMman's profile

GMman

3902 posts in 2443 days


#9 posted 01-12-2012 09:15 PM

No?

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7186 posts in 2049 days


#10 posted 01-12-2012 09:21 PM

nope, i know enough folks who already do it..get that chicken of yours to peck out some pens, cheap way to do it…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2605 posts in 1796 days


#11 posted 01-12-2012 09:23 PM

I don’t own a lathe yet, but will likely be buying one sometime this year. With that being said, I turned my first item, which was a pen, back in November at the Woodworking Show booth that was sponsored by Craft Supplies USA. We could choose our pen blank, then they mounted it up for us on an Apprentice 812 VS Mini Lathe. I used the Easy Wood Tools to turn the pen, then cleaned it up with sandpaper and added the finish. Although I had to rush through making my pen (long story), I think you can easily crank a pen out from start to finish in about 10-15 minutes, including mounting, turning, sanding, finishing, and pressing the pen together without feeling as though you’re rushing.

I’d probably turn pens again. Heck, they’re super-easy and very quick to churn out. I plan on buying a full-sized lathe though, rather than limiting myself with a mini lathe. You can turn a pen on a full-sized lathe just as easily as on a mini lathe.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

811 posts in 1889 days


#12 posted 01-12-2012 09:31 PM

I turn pens. Got into it because it was the only thing I could really make, considering my workspace was my college dorm room.

I mainly get my gear (including the carba tec mini lathe) from Penn State Industries. I have sold a few finished pens on Etsy too. I use small-size turning tools (a set of three from PSI) but would like to get proper “mini” tools as it’d be easier to make some of the decorative lines I like to make.

I happen to have a PSI catalog here at work; at lunchtime I will go through it and make some recommendations of things I’ve found useful. Are you going to get a mini lathe or do you have a lathe that will work?

I finish with stick wax usually – also a PSI product.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3974 posts in 2409 days


#13 posted 01-12-2012 09:35 PM

Stumpy—Yes! I have turned about 60 pens in the past 6 months … 50 for the Freedom Pens Project, and another 10 or so for gifts.

Q: Do you use mini turning tools or your regular ones?
A: Regular tools … the mini tools are pricey and I think you can you do just as well with regular tools.

Q: Give me an basic list of the tools I need. (Chisels, pen press, mandrels, etc.)
A: Spindle roughing gouge, detail spindle gouge, skew, mandrel & bushings. Pen press is nice, but you can assemble with other tools in the shop like your vise. Grizzly has a reasonable priced pen press … that’s the one I bought.

Q: Where do you buy your kits?
A: Mostly from Penn State Industries, some from Rockler.

Q: What is your favorite material?
A: Brazilian Rosewood (because it was FREE), and cherry.

Q: How do you finish them?
A: Mostly use O.B.’s Shine Juice … a home brew I learned about from Eddie Castelin ( http://eddiecastelin.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/shinejuice.54184110.pdf )

I made my own drilling jig …
Click for details

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1546 days


#14 posted 01-12-2012 09:36 PM

Elizabeth: I have a full size lathe that I would like to use. Any info would be appreciated…

Gerry: Thanks for the tips!

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View KenBry's profile

KenBry

449 posts in 1193 days


#15 posted 01-12-2012 09:39 PM

I have a small Jet 10X14 lathe that I have made probably 100+ pens on. It’s really fun. I have gotten to the point where I challenge myself and create acrylic segmented pens.

The lathe tools I use, a gouge and a skew. And a good sharpening method of your choice.

Mandrel and shaver will help out BIG time.They allow for a nice flush/square end to press your pen parts too.

A pen press is nice but I honestly don’t use it much anymore. I just use my bench vise with thick leather on the jaws to protect what ever I am pressing in. Brass works well too.

The nice thing is you can make more than just pens and the Lathe/turning world becomes more and more interesting.

I use Craftsupplies for 90% of my parts.

-- Ken, USAF MSgt, Ret.

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