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Pen Mandrel...what's the difference?

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Forum topic by davidmackv posted 02-27-2014 04:24 PM 1750 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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davidmackv

317 posts in 1115 days


02-27-2014 04:24 PM

I am looking into purchasing a pen mandrel for my lathe. When I search on the web, I noticed almost everyone has one in the 10-12 dollar range and another one in the 24-27 dollar range. What is the difference in the cheaper one and the more expensive one? Which one would you recommend?


10 replies so far

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DIYaholic

19180 posts in 2142 days


#1 posted 02-27-2014 05:11 PM

I can’t speak to the quality of other mandrels, as this is the only one I have used.
http://www.pennstateind.com/store/PKMS2SET.html?prodpage=1PK

BTW: I like this one and recommend it.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

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lightcs1776

4153 posts in 1122 days


#2 posted 02-27-2014 05:40 PM

The one Randy purchased has the mandrel saver and doesn’t use a knurled nut, therefore the cost is slightly higher. The nut isn’t a big deal, but the design without it is pretty nice. I like Penn State Industries as they have quality products at very reasonable prices.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

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Wildwood

1887 posts in 1602 days


#3 posted 02-27-2014 05:55 PM

I always direct you to your favorite pen kit vendor. That way you know those kit bushings will fit your mandrel.

Berea Hardwoods or http://www.bereahardwoods.com

Craft Supplies or http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com

Penn State Industries or http://www.pennstateind.com

Berea’s A & B mandrels are the thickest, next comes Craft supplies then PSI. Had no trouble with Craft Supplies bushing fitting my PSI mandrel but bushing from those vendors do not always fit my A & B Berea mandrels.

Both Berea & PSI have several resellers. There are a few other vendors with different style mandrels not sure what to tell you about them.

-- Bill

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davidmackv

317 posts in 1115 days


#4 posted 02-27-2014 06:06 PM

Bill,

Are you saying where ever I get the mandrel from, I have to buy my pen kits from them?

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knotheadswoodshed

202 posts in 1640 days


#5 posted 02-27-2014 07:30 PM

I dont think thats what he is saying.
I have used my original mandrel from PSI with kits from half a dozen different vendors, never had a problem.
also, the mandrel saver is definately the way to go IMO

-- Randy - "I dont make mistakes, I make design change opportunities" www.knotheadswoodshed.com

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Wildwood

1887 posts in 1602 days


#6 posted 02-27-2014 10:42 PM

David to the answer to your question is both Yes & NO!

As a general rule it is better to buy your mandrel from the place going to be getting pen kits & bushings from.

The No comes from vendors like Woodcraft, Rockler, and Arizona Silhouette sell kits & bushings from Berea Hardwoods and other suppliers. At one time these vendors sold Berea kits & bushings exclusively. That is not true today. Seems like all vendors carry an economy line of kits and bushings today too!

That universal PSI with or without mandrel saver recommended here should handle 95% of the kits & bushings sold today.

-- Bill

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davidmackv

317 posts in 1115 days


#7 posted 02-28-2014 12:05 AM

What is your opinion of PSI pen kits? I was on another site and they were not too high on PSI kits. I like PSI so far, I bought my chuck from them and I am real pleased with it.

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lightcs1776

4153 posts in 1122 days


#8 posted 02-28-2014 01:18 AM

My wife has been using PSI pen kits and their mandrel, although only for a short time. I don’t see any issues with them. I haven’t ordered other vendor’s kits because PSI tends to be better priced. I would guess the higher priced ones are likely to be better quality, but it isn’t needed with my wife’s current turning plans. She is making pens for family and friends, not for customers.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

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thedude50

3596 posts in 1945 days


#9 posted 02-28-2014 05:47 AM

I have three mandrils they are all about the same quality. some of them i got because the kits didn’t work with the first mandril so I got a new one I have turned a shit load of pens and i am finally getting it down to a fifteen minute job. I have played with different glues and finishes and woods they do sell well to all my old work mates in the medical field. the one thing i liked about the psi is all the different bushing kits that fit their mandril made it versatile. I am currently testing a new lathe for this old workshop.com a nova comet ii and it rocks for doing pens and small bowls as well as peace pipes and the little lamps I turn I have been testing the easy wood and Rockler carbide turning tools they sure do a nice job. I love pens and especially like the cigar and super cigar sizes but the girls like the slim line ones and they buy the most those skinny pens are a tougher pen to turn. I guess you will end up buying a few so don’t sweat which one you get first just ask the clerk to sell you one that will work with the kits you buy first. Good lock and have some fun!

-- Please check out my new stores http://woodratnest.com and http://woodshopstore.com

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Wildwood

1887 posts in 1602 days


#10 posted 02-28-2014 01:01 PM

Biggest complaints on most message boards with PSI about slow shipping and not answering email in timely manner. Have never ordered online, always called to order and no problem with their shipping. Never had a complaint with my order.

Have ordered from their resellers Packard Woodworks, Wood-N-Whimsies, and WoodturningZ.
Before knew anything about PSI, place my first pen kits and supplies from Packard Woodworks. Had been dealing with them and Craft Supplies for year prior to making pens.

WoodturningZ had lower prices on some PSI products and shipping at one time, not sure if still true. Have not ordered from them in ten years. Same thing with Wood-N-whimsies, although shipping about the same as PSI. Have not order anything from Wood-N-Whimsies in awhile.

Check your PSI catalog against reseller web sites to see if will save on cost of items & shipping.

-- Bill

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