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marcros

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dont buy the really cheap kits.

I would suggest either Beaufort ink https://www.beaufortink.co.uk/pen-kits (I really like the tempest, the others are v good quality of you like the style or need a special pen), or Taylors of mirfield. https://taylorsmirfield.co.uk/collectio ... s-pen-kits I have used several of these, but particularly like the epsilon and zeta.

you can turn on a pen mandrel or between centres (using a dead centre in the headstock). I have done the latter with the standard bushings, so dont be put off about needing special ones. When you buy a set of bushings, somehow store them together and label them. After they get mixed up, it is a real hassle to work out what you have got!

finish wise, numerous options. I use this method https://cdn.sellr.com/assets/files/5503 ... finish.pdf
 

marcros

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Ah, of course. Yeah in that case all I can really say is avoid the really cheap kits. They work ok, but having put an hour into a pen, it is spoiled by having cheap metal parts.
 

Dalboy

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Remember that when buying a kit that you will need to buy the correct bushing set for that pen. Once you have brought a set then the next time all you will need is the kit. Make sure that when you have brought the bushes that you keep them together and marked in some way to make it easier to find next time.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I did read somewhwere that if you don't know the difference between the Taiwanese stuff and the Chinese stuff, you'll find out quickly enough. :D
 

Sideways

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Do a couple of cheapies then treat yourself to a kit from Beaufort Ink, some diamondcast acrylic blank and a pack of micromesh pads to wet sand the acrylic to a high shine.
The first one of those you put together with a sparkle and shine better than most you can buy is quite satisfying :)

Best cautionary warning : Be careful drilling plastic blanks. Too much friction and you can melt the plastic, welding a drill bit inside the blank. Too much clamping pressure in the vice or chuck and the blank might crack when your drill breaks through that end of the blank. Don't grip too hard and "peck" at the holes so you pull the shavings out and don't leave them trapped in the flutes, rubbing and causing friction inside the blank. If the drill is getting hot, pause and let it cool before you continue. There's no hurry :)
 

Jon C

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As Dalboy, said. Make sure you organise and label the bushes, unless you’ve got an excellent memory :D . I’ve got quite a lot that are very similar and I’d imagine it’d be a faff having to identify them.

When I first started, I used some cheap slimline kits from Axminster. They are ok, but the transmissions are very cheap. They twist far too easily, not much of an issue for right handed people. I’m left handed and find the nib starts to retract while I’m writing, maybe I don’t hold a pen properly :shock: .

I really like rollerball kits, Axminster do one called a Scribe and the widely available Rollester kit is also a good one. These can be turned between centres if you want to.

If you plan on using a mandrel, a saver might be a consideration. I much prefer that compared to using the brass compression washer and a live centre.

If you’re turning something like this https://www.axminstertools.com/festival ... ank-103018 I’d advise against a barrel trimmer, mine shredded the blank. I made a disc sander arrangement on my lathe for things like that.

For acrylics, I’ve only used micro mesh and then car polish to finish. It is good but I’d be interested in trying alternatives (Yorkshire grit, burnishing cream, etc).
I think that is because, due to a terrible memory, I always forget the grit sequence of the MM and have lost the colour card. Plus you need to cover the lathe a bit to avoid splashes.
 

Jon C

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Phil Pascoe

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I asked my wife, who's worked for banks for 37 years how many managers still used fountain pens. The reply? None. She remembered being very junior having to change the managers' blotting paper ever day. I remember using fountain pens at school - loathesome things. My mother was still finding part bottles of Quink thirty years after I left school. :D
 

Duncan A

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Interested in the quality aspect of pen kits. Beaufort Inks and Taylors Mirfield are frequently recommended as supplying better quality kits - typically up to about £25.
Axminster are currently selling CraftProKits at reduced sale prices of £40 - £60. What is going on? Are these kits really so much better than everything else out there?
Not having a dig at Axminster; just wondering, like Phil, how much a decent pen kit costs.

On a related subject, one of the above sites refers to well known problems with the Sierra kits. Anyone know what problems they suffer from?

Duncan
 

marcros

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Phil Pascoe":wt9wy1t7 said:
I asked my wife, who's worked for banks for 37 years how many managers still used fountain pens. The reply? None. She remembered being very junior having to change the managers' blotting paper ever day. I remember using fountain pens at school - loathesome things. My mother was still finding part bottles of Quink thirty years after I left school. :D
I love writing with a fountain pen. I go through phases and my favourite is in my desk drawer at work where I haven't been for 3 months.
 

marcros

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I haven't used the Axminster kits, and have only used a few Sierras, all of which were "better" than the ones I avoided. I do know that several companies made a similar looking kit but there were differences between tube and component sizes and I seem to recall that one of the big suppliers changed the size of their components at one point.

In my opinion, a decent pen costs what it is being sold for on one of those links. If you can get a good one cheaper, it will be a few pence. Often what you seem to get for a bit or a lot more is heft and bling. Some people like them with diamantes on for wedding pens etc, but I prefer to keep them simple.

I haven't used any of the Taylor's British made range yet. They are marketed as being v high quality
 

Jon C

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marcros":2rh0ox4h said:
I haven't used the Axminster kits, and have only used a few Sierras, all of which were "better" than the ones I avoided. I do know that several companies made a similar looking kit but there were differences between tube and component sizes and I seem to recall that one of the big suppliers changed the size of their components at one point.

In my opinion, a decent pen costs what it is being sold for on one of those links. If you can get a good one cheaper, it will be a few pence. Often what you seem to get for a bit or a lot more is heft and bling. Some people like them with diamantes on for wedding pens etc, but I prefer to keep them simple.

I haven't used any of the Taylor's British made range yet. They are marketed as being v high quality
Can’t speak for other suppliers, but the cheap axminster kits aren’t great. I haven’t tried any of the more expensive kits at the moment.
The most expensive I think I’ve made were the. Scribe (which is available from other places but named differently) and the Rollester. I really enjoyed making those.
 

Jon C

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Phil Pascoe":6ufklm71 said:
I've not done pens before. Anything to look for, anything to avoid? Best and worst places to buy from?
Can we have pics of the finished products please? :D
 

Phil Pascoe

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Surely. The kits from Beaufort and abrasives from Alan Calder will be here in a day or two - I don't usually go below 320 so had to order some finer stuff - then I'll make a start. I only went on the £7 mark for the kits - a good starting point, I thought.
 

Jon C

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£7 is definitely a good starting point. I started on the £2-3 kits. Pens were the first thing I turned so starting cheap was wise.

The good thing about pens is if you mess up you can always order a new tube or turn the wood, acrylic and glue off the tube and re use it. All you lose is some material and time.

Speaking of glue, consider using epoxy instead of super glue. Even with scuffed up brass, I’ve had a couple of super glued tubes become lose when trimming.

Probably user effort but just thought I’d mention it
 
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