Question for pen turners - Are different companies bushings the same?

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Forum topic by Marcus posted 11-26-2013 01:43 AM 1682 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1163 posts in 2018 days

11-26-2013 01:43 AM

So I know both Rockler and Woodcraft use 10mm tubes for their “cuban” pens, does anyone know if the bearings are interchangeable? It would make life very easy, so I am guessing not.

7 replies so far

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

556 posts in 3055 days

#1 posted 11-26-2013 03:25 AM

I’ve got several mandrels and bushings from lots of sources. You often get mandrels from the same source as the pen parts. In my experience they are interchangeable. It seems that the mandrels are the same diameter, the beatings all have holes that fit the mandrels, and of course the bearing OD is the size in mm.

-- Glen

View PaulDoug's profile


1536 posts in 1702 days

#2 posted 11-26-2013 03:50 AM

Probably, but I don’t trust any bushings, I use them to hold the blank and get me close than I go for the calipers and measure the hardware for the pen and turn to that measurement.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2018 days

#3 posted 11-26-2013 12:58 PM

Oops, I meant to say bushings, not bearings. I guess I’ll just try it out and see if they work.

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#4 posted 11-26-2013 10:59 PM

At one time could tell the same pens sold by major three suppliers and their reseller kits even if they had different name. Talking about Berea Hardwoods, Craft Supplies, and Penn State being the big three.

Craft Supplies has no resellers but a few of Berea Hardwoods resellers like Rockler & Woodcraft franchises may carry additional brands. Even some of Penn State resellers like Wood-N-Whimsies & WoodturningZ carry inexpensive kits not sold by PSI.

Except for Berea, Craft Supplies & PSI, have added inexpensive line of kits. You can find quality kits shopping sales & specials from all vendors.

Some of those inexpensive kit platings wear away quickly and not so in expensive if have to replace them for a customer, or someone you gave a pen to shortly after presenting.

Buying bushing from the vendor you buy your kits from just cheap insurance. Inspecting bushings when you get them for flaws as important as checking rest of your order. Use my bushing to get close, and measure components with digital calipers too.

While not a complete list of all vendors good place to compare kits & supplies found here.

For best tips. tricks, and techniques might visit forum at

-- Bill

View TerryDowning's profile


1077 posts in 2116 days

#5 posted 11-26-2013 11:16 PM

This is the best reference I know of in terms of compatibility of bushings to kits

But I agree with what Paul said in post 2

-- - Terry

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#6 posted 11-27-2013 12:31 PM

Terry reference still has a lot of good information, unfortunately not complete or up to date.

Definitely does not include really inexpensive kit lines hobby and new turners buy from vendors. Quality of components and plating on those kits not always consistent.

Many vendors offer sales or special buys on quality kits all the time. Getting to know different vendors and their line of kits and supplies can actually help hobby and new turners more than a compatibility chart.

Hanging out at IAP already linked forum will also help new pen turners discover problems with kits, finishes, and what other pen tuners are making. Becoming a member is free.

-- Bill

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2841 days

#7 posted 12-02-2013 06:09 PM

I gave up on completely trusting the bushings even when they come from the same manufacturers.
Yes I use bushings. However, until I measure everything with calipers, I never take it for granted that they are correct.
When in doubt, keep a set of scrap bushing for different sized kits (7mm, 3/8” etc. ). Then measure your turnings with calipers. While bushings may be wrong, from the factory or from use, those calipers don’t lie.


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