First attempt at turning a pen


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3 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

I've been wanting to do some pens, aside from the lathe, what other stuff is needed to get going?

Pen mandrel, pen kits(obviously haha) and the right bushings and drill bits for the kits, I drill the blanks on my lathe which requires a chuck and jaws to hold the blanks and you need a drill bit holder for the tail stock, can't think of the actual name of that thing.  You also need a barrel trimmer which takes different size, and the right size trimmer for the particular pen kit.  I use super glue for finish on my pens, and accelerator to speed the process up, plus I sand with micro mesh and use plastic polish at the end.  Quite a list of things just to turn a pen, of course it's not all necessary, I usually stick to a handful of different pen kits so i don't have to buy different bushings, bits and barrel trimmers, crap gets expensive. 

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This is a case where Youtube is definitely your friend.  There are a lot of videos out there on penmaking.  Also, if you have a Woodcraft nearby, they should offer a class or a demo.  Definitely worthwhile.

- Pen kit (the hardware) and a wood blank.

- Pen Mandrel  and bushings (which fit into the metal tube).  This is to hold the pen on the lathe.  I don't know of any workaround.

- A way to drill a hole lengthwise in the blank.  This is to insert the metal tube.  There are a few ways do to this - You can do it on the lathe itself with a drilling setup (as mentioned above) or on a drill press.  You can buy a special clamp that holds the plank perpendicular on the drill press, or you can make one.  I chose to make one. 

- A way of squaring the ends of the blank after the tube is installed.  You can do this with a reamer (a drilling bit which lines up with the tube and reams the end of the blank and the metal tube).  I sometimes use a reamer, but often use my benchtop sander.  If the tube is aligned with the sides of the blank (which should be true, with how my drilling jig works) I can just sand the end until the blank and the metal tube are all squared up.

- Sandpaper of multiple grits.  Woodcraft sells a box that has a number of rolls of different grits.

- Finish of some type.  Many people use CA (Cyanoacrylate - Super glue) because it polishes nicely and is a durable finish.

- Polishing pads, depending on your choice of finish.

- Super glue, and accelerant (a spray which helps the glue dry more quickly.

- Most pen kits I've used need some way of pressing a piece into the finished piece.  You can buy a special press for this, but I just use the small vise at the end of my bench.  Just need to be careful to keep the pieces aligned and square, and also be careful not to chip the finish at the end of the finished pieces (CA glue, for instance, is durable but does chip).

 

Edited by Jfitz
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  • 2 weeks later...

There's more odds and ends dealing with pens then there is with any other lathe project IMO.  Most of the stuff is specialized just for pen turning. You can get kits from PSI (and other places) that include all the gizmos you need.  And as Jfiz said, there's a lot of good resources on the net.  One that I used to get started was this site.  He goes into quite a bit of detail, and doesn't have a "this is the only way" attitude.  I based my style/system off his works, and many others.  

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On 12/1/2016 at 2:19 PM, Gixxerjoe04 said:

I've never turned antler, but everyone I've seen comment on it says wear a respirator, real bad stuff to get in your lungs.

Conversely if you swallow it, will give you BIG muscles. Go figure!

Image result for deer antlers spray for sale

By the way, that's my six-pack in the pic :P

-Ace- 

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Nice job. Pens are fun. There are a lot of really cool acrylics out there in addition to wood. I think that I want to make one out of Buffalo horn sometime. I used it to make the tips on a long bow that I was finishing up and it was nice to work with. It takes a great shine. Definitely wear a respirator.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Been away for a bit. Busy with holidays, and catch up, etc.

I made a pen out of bullhorn, and antler. Gave it to a buddy for Christmas. (added a pic)  Your absolutely right about antler and bullhorn smelling terrible. Kinda like a tooth at the dentist. I use a facemask whenever I am turning. 

Here are some pens I made this weekend.

 

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I've been reluctant to link this site, as it's another forum, but they deal specifically with penturning.  Check out the International Association of Penturners.  Super friendly site, and the wealth of information is unrivaled anywhere else on the net.  Some of these guys literally wrote the book on pen turning. 

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  • 5 months later...

Nice, a woman at the company i work for emailed me awhile ago about making either 100 or 200 pens.  Guess she didn't like my price, didn't even have the common courtesy to email me back, sure as hell wasn't going to give my company a discount after seeing all the money they blow on stupid crap and useless people. :lol:

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I have been a train conductor for 20 years, the last 10 has been working passenger service in and out of Chicago. The deal all started with a regular rider purchasing one of my pens. It just goes to show that the best advice you ever hear about starting out making money selling your work, is have some of your work handy all the time. You never know when it will turn into something. I hope that these sixty pens lead to other orders from other people. Each pen will come in a plastic tube, with my business card. If nothing comes out of it, I had fun, and some of my hobby paid for itself.

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I applied for years to try to be a conductor with csx or norfolk southern whenever they had jobs around here, of course never heard anything when I actually needed or wanted the job.  Finally got an email being invited to their hiring session like 2 years ago, they gave like a 2 day notice for it and was busy at work so couldn't go.  Always thought that would be a cool job.

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