Can somebody tell me what is needed to start turning pens?

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Forum topic by BiggKountry posted 08-21-2012 01:42 AM 875 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BiggKountry's profile


18 posts in 2085 days

08-21-2012 01:42 AM

I have seen several people show off their pens and I think they look really cool! What exactly is needed to start turning pens in the workshop?

I would like to try this as a hobby….

Any info would be much appreciated….....



8 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2418 days

#1 posted 08-21-2012 03:04 AM

Lathe and chisels.
Drill bits to fit the mandrels.
Make or buy press to push the pen hardware into the pieces.

Also Penn State Industries has some starter kits with the bits you need. They also have a (kinda pricey) kit that includes everything including a lathe for $650 or so. Don’t know if it is a good deal. You would have to look and compare. It will however give you a good idea of what you would use.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Scott's profile


119 posts in 1644 days

#2 posted 08-21-2012 04:16 PM

That list seems complete.

I got the cheapest Rikon lathe at the local Woodcraft awhile ago for pens. $279 on sale, and a mini lathe chisel set for $25 (its crap for anything bigger than a pen). Mandrel was another $20 I believe. After that, just the materials (wood, pen kits, finish).

I never could justify spending whatever it was they wanted on a specialized press. A short bar clamp works good enough to push all the pieces together :)

View Larry Owens's profile

Larry Owens

45 posts in 1525 days

#3 posted 08-21-2012 04:32 PM

It does not take much to get started in this hobby, a few tools, get some exotic wood and let your imagination go wild.

-- Larry, North Carolina,!/woodworkin

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 1593 days

#4 posted 08-21-2012 06:56 PM

I hate to share you to another forum but I guess it is a really great help. Visit A lot of great of pen turners hang around that site. I bet they can give you lot of insights as you start pen turning.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2204 days

#5 posted 08-22-2012 12:09 AM

The first thing you need to do is muster up all the courage you can to resist the urge.
Cause once you start you will not want to stop. ;-)

-- Website is finally up and

View Raymond Thomas's profile

Raymond Thomas

180 posts in 1638 days

#6 posted 08-25-2012 01:03 AM

+1 to what D_Allen and once it’s in your blood – the dark side takes over and then the expenses start climbing!

It really is an addiction and one that you will enjoy.

-- Raymond, Charlotte, NC -------- Demonstrate the difference!

View BiggKountry's profile


18 posts in 2085 days

#7 posted 08-25-2012 01:38 AM

With this type of addiction is there a Pen turners Anonymous?

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2204 days

#8 posted 08-25-2012 01:55 AM

More likely pen turners an onerous!

-- Website is finally up and

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