A little help from the Turners

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Forum topic by clieb91 posted 07-21-2008 11:02 PM 1373 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3520 posts in 3897 days

07-21-2008 11:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe tools lathe

Hi All, seeing some recent posts has reminded that I bought a Lathe a few months ago and was able to get it into my basement workshop and back together in working order, but I have not done a thing with it. Witht he upcoming Anniversary sale at Woodcrafters I decided to spend my Christmas gift card on soem pen making supplies and hope to make a pen on my own lathe by next week.
Now for my problem, my lathe came with a pretty complete set of tools; but I have no idea which ones are which and which ones I need for pen turning. I took some pictures and have them below:





The numbers starting with 28 are the numbers on the tools. The rest of the handle reads ” Craftsman High Speed Steel” Any help anyone can give me in identfying which tool is which would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Hoping to join the ranks of turners soon.

-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

10 replies so far

View Critterman's profile


599 posts in 3772 days

#1 posted 07-22-2008 12:08 AM

Sorry Chris, can’t help you here, I don’t have a lathe…well, I do kind of, my Dad bought a used one years ago and said I can have it…just haven’t gone all the way to get it. There are a lot of turner web sites out there though and magazines that are dedicated just to turning. The woodcraft guys should have classes as well. I’m with you don’t know very much at all about it other than they say start by practicing with a green log, yup that’s right green firewood. They say it’s the easiest to work with and learn. Not much but I hope it helps.

-- Jim Hallada, Chesterfield, VA

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3729 days

#2 posted 07-22-2008 12:22 AM

Talk to the guys at Woodcraft. I have been to several in different cities and states. They are always helpful. From the looks of the tools displayed, you have more than enough to get started. You will need a sharpening system such as the Wolverine. You will also need a pen mandrel, drill bit, and the proper bushings for the style of pens you will make. Most beginners start with the slimline style. I would recommend taking a class through Woodcraft, reading books, watching DVDs, and checking out your local AAW wood turners club. They all are great resources.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3983 days

#3 posted 07-22-2008 12:33 AM

1. Roughing gouge
2. Small Skew
3. Spindle gouge
4. Possibly Bedan sizing tool
5. Large shear scraper
6. Another skew
7. Small shear scraper
8. Large shear scrarper
9. Large skew
10. Parting tool
11. Wide parting tool
12. Medium spindle gouge.

1.A Where’s my Beer? <g>
1. B Get a book and read it , then ask some questions.
It’s too complex to explain long hand.



-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View ToddO's profile


80 posts in 3785 days

#4 posted 07-22-2008 12:50 AM

Chisel 1 is a roughing gouge
Chisel 2 is an angle skew
Chisel 3 looks like a bowl gouge (or maybe a spindle gouge)
I’m not sure what chisel 4 is might be a small skew
Chisels 5, 7, & 8 are all scrapers
If chisel 6 comes to a sharp edge like #2 then it’s a skew
Chisel 10 is a parting tool
Chisel 12 is a gouge
I’m not sure what chisels 9 & 11 has a bowl and a pen turning video that are very informative, you should check it out.

-- Todd, Richfield MN

View Chiefk's profile


163 posts in 3733 days

#5 posted 07-22-2008 03:14 PM

Chris, I recently purchased a used lathe. I got several DVDs along with the lathe. One of the DVDs was Titled Hand Crafted Pens – Then Basics. This DVD was made by Penn State Industries. I watched it last night. I found this DVD to be very helpful. Like you I have never turned a pen. The DVD takes you step by step through the process explained what tools were need and how to use them. I recommend you try and find a copy of this DVD as it is for the beginner. pkennedy

-- P Kennedy Crossville, TN

View Keen1's profile


103 posts in 3808 days

#6 posted 07-23-2008 10:25 PM

For some reason the pictures are showing up right now but based on the answers above I can help a little bit. I’ve been turning pens for almost a year now. So keep that in mind as I’m certainly not an authority on the matter but I turned enough to know what works for me. The roughing gouge, exactly what sounds like, take it from square to the rough “cylinder” shape. Spindle gouge, used to “shape” your pen in to the basic profile you want. A lot people say you need a skew to turn pens, and I guess they are right, you don’t have to have it, but I do like to use for 1-2 passes before I start sanding. I also use a small round nose scraper where the wood meets the bushings to get an exact fit and small (1/4” I think) square nose scraper to make the tenons on the “Euro-Designer” pens.

The way I got started was simply turning some scrap oak I had between the centers. Then moved on to some ash pen blanks (because ash was the cheapest blank I could find). You don’t have to get a drill chuck for the lathe if you have a drill press (at least not for pen turning). I use poly glue for my brass inserts and have not had a problem yet. I know most people use CA but the poly glue works better for me.

The only hardware specifically for pens that I have seen mentioned is a milling bit to square the ends after you have inserted the brass tubes. Finally, you’ll want more than your usual safety glasses for turning. You’ll want something to protect your entire face. First you’ll find the wood flying off can be uncomfortable hitting you at a high rate of speed and when you start slinging different finishes off of there, they can irritate you as well. Nothing like a little CA on your face. And this may be obvious, but I’ll mention it anyway since the downside can be really bad is a dust mask of some sort. The fine dust on some of the exotic woods is really nasty on the sinuses.

Hope this helps.

-- Dad to 5, Son of The One

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


510 posts in 3559 days

#7 posted 07-26-2008 02:04 AM

I bought a lathe last year as well, almost sent my tool into the ceiling and destroyed the piece of wood I was working on. Fortunately we have a local Rockler and they do turning classes, it is well worth the money, the hands-on experience with an experienced turner is priceless.

You might also be able to find a local turning club where you can find an experienced turner willing to show you the ropes.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View EEngineer's profile


1098 posts in 3575 days

#8 posted 07-26-2008 02:32 AM

For free – here’s something I found useful when I started with my lathe.

Go to Project Gutenberg and search for a book called A Course In Wood Turning by Archie S. Milton and Otto K. Wohlers. It was written in 1919 but, you know what, the basics haven’t changed a bit!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4208 days

#9 posted 07-26-2008 02:47 AM

Believe me, you’ll never have enough tools of any kind, for the lathe or anything else so just find a good woodcraft lay your money down and start buying anything related to the lathe, then you’ll have it all covered. Don’t forget the “how to” books and the “what you need to buy to succeed at the woodlathe” books. Then you’ll be all set. I’m just kidding. Welcome to LJs. Yea! Martins Gone! Lets raise heck!

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3897 days

#10 posted 07-29-2008 01:56 AM

Hey All, Thanks for the information it is greatly appreciated. (EE thanks for that gutenberg tag, as a history buff I love looking at those kind of things for ideas) I picked up some items at the sale this past Saturday and planning to get down to the shop this week. So hopefully by the end of the week I will post some type of finished Lathe project.
What I bought:
Mandrel, Pen Press, 2 Slimline pen kits, asst ornament kits, key chain kit, wood block clamp to use on drill press


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

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