Turning on the TV

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Forum topic by Woodminer posted 08-18-2007 02:07 AM 1294 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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69 posts in 3905 days

08-18-2007 02:07 AM

Ever watch TLC and catch the Canadian produced show, How’s It Work? Caught two episodes while catching up on some computer housekeeping.

Since I commented on the “fast turn” pen video and then watched Mot’s video on the same, I thought I’d share that they showcased an unnamed turner whose specialty is the making of wooden pens. They showed maybe 30 variations on the Slimline style pen. And they did a pretty good quickie explanation of the process. The guy does not use expected tools for assembly, but his turning is fine. Used a yellow plastic mallet instead of a press, and a regular woodworking vise to press the guts into the lower tube. Made my sensibilities twitch. Did not even pad the darned thing with wood to protect the plating. And it looked like he used a dead bushing to hold the part of the kit where the refill actually protrudes from the unit off the bench so he could whack it! YOY!

The second feature was much better. Showed a professional conga drum turner! Pretty darned cool. Nothing fancy, but took it from stave construction to hair removal on the cowhide and of course final assembly. Played it a few beats and smiled on the way to black.

-- Dean, Missouri

3 replies so far

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4004 days

#1 posted 08-18-2007 02:35 AM

I’ve seen some of those “hit it with mallet pen turners,” I’m too afraid of making a mistake. One of the original videos I saw after reading WayneC's blog, showed a guy assembling them with a front vice and gauge blocks that set the length. I thought that was pretty cool, as using the pen vice is more of pain in the neck. I sure wouldn’t call it a precision tool. I like that show, however, and have watched it quite a few times.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4128 days

#2 posted 08-18-2007 02:17 PM

I’ve noticed the show a few times but never watched it. Might have to stop by a few times, now

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4055 days

#3 posted 08-18-2007 02:55 PM

How It Works and How it’s Made are really terrific shows, IMHO.

I use my bench vise to assemble pens. Works fine. I have wooden inserts on the jaws. I had a home made
blank holder for drilling but bought a commercial jig when I started doing bottle stoppers. I’ve used the pen assembler sold by most suppliers and I don’t see that it is worth the cost, but I think the blank holder is.

My $.03

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

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