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cd

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Hi all,
For some time now I've been wanting to have a go at turning pens, problem is I don't really know where to start equipment wise. I've looked a pen kits, mandrels, presses, barrel trimmers, bushes etc. These all seem to come in different shapes and sizes :? . I know several members are pen turners so what I'm wondering is what do I need to get started ?

Thanks in advance
cd
 

trevtheturner

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Hi cd,

I bought most of my kit from Turners' Retreat stand at the Stoneleigh Park Show last autumn. I'll just list it for clarity:

1. a mandrel with a morse taper to fit my lathe, complete with 7mm bushes.

2. a barrel trimmer to square the ends of the blanks with the tubes, so that they fit snugly on the mandrel for turning.

3. a set of Crown pen-turning tools comprising a small gouge, a small skew and a parting tool. This set, in the light of experience, was not essential. In place of the small gouge you could use a small bowl gouge for the roughing, followed by a small spindle gouge for the remaining turning. The small skew can be useful for final planing cuts, especially on difficult woods. The small parting tool I have never used because I use the barrel trimmer, although I do use a 1/4" beading/parting tool as a scraper for final finishing when turning acrylic and corian.

4. a few ready drilled blanks.

5. a few pen kits - standard 7mm slimline click-pen kits, 24ct gold plated, about £3 per kit.

6. some good quality superglue, or Titebond polyurethane (takes a few hours to set but is gap filling if you get a loose tube).

7. sanding and polishing materials (I use different processes depending on the material I have used) which you no doubt already have.

That is all you need really to get started. I haven't bothered with a press. I saw a demonstrator at a show using a 'quick clamp' of suitable size. I do the same, having added hardwood facings to the soft jaws of the clamp to provide enough resistance to the components to press them in place (some bits will otherwise just sink in to the soft jaws!)

I now cut all my own blanks from woods with interesting colours/grain patterns and for drilling them use a 6.9mm bit (from Axminster, who will no doubt have the rest of the stuff listed above) as I find this provides a better fit for the brass tubes than a 7mm bit. I made a very simple jig to hold the blanks vertically on the drill press table for drilling.

Essentially, to start with, you just need to stay with a mandrel with 7mm bushes together with 7mm pen kits.

If I can help with anything else, ask away.

Cheers,

Trev.
 

cd

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Thanks Trev,
Just what I was looking for, I'm hoping to go to Stoneleigh this year, so if patience allows I might wait and pick up the bits there.
It would be nice to start using up some of the small offcuts I've been saving up :)

cd
 

geoff_tulip

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i agree - i make them using the 7mm mandrel, for the 7mm kits - other mandrels are available for 'thicker pen kits' - but not alot of kits available in these sizes in uk- standard turning tools will do fine- you can make a simple 7mm mandrel from a piece of 7mm threaded bar with two flanges on either end, and nuts on both ends for tightening, and grip using jacobs chuck on one end and tailstock into punched/drilled centre on other.
i have an excess of pen kits if you are interested - £1.50 each , a good drill bit is essential for straight drilling and a pot of superglue should be everything you need.
 

cd

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Thanks for the offer Geoff,
I'm going to try and get to the stonleigh show and see what I can pick up there. Once I've got the mandrel and bits I may come back to you about the pen kits if the offer's still there.

cd
 

trevtheturner

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Hi cd,

If you can get to the Stoneleigh Show on the Sunday, let me know and I will bring a few ready-drilled pen blanks along for you.

Cheers,

Trev.
 

Jaco

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Trev, you want to drop some off at my place on the way???? :shock: :D :shock: :D
 

cd

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Cheers Trev,
Unfortunately SWMBO has plans for the sunday :( , I'm probably going to go on the saturday all being well.

cd
 

Taffy Turner

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Inspired by this thread, I bought the Planet Complete Pen Turning Kit at Yandles on Saturday, together with some exotic pen blanks.

As soon as the cricket season finishes (two more weekends), I will be back to the turning and will have a go at some pens. I will keep you all posted as to the results.

Regards

Gary
 

Taffy Turner

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Trev,

Cheers - that's a relief! It wasn't a planned purchase, I was just wandering around idly browsing as you do, when I noticed Planet Tools were selling complete pen turning kits for £35, so I thought "what the heck - lets give it a try". I'm glad that I didn't buy a lemon!

Regards

Gary
 

trevtheturner

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In addition to the mandrel, what else did you get in your complete kit, Gary? Sounds like a good buy to me. Planet is generally good quality kit - but look where it is made! :wink:

Cheers,

Trev.
 

cd

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Sounds like a good buy Gary,
I've seen some kits at around the £50 mark so I too would be interested in what you got with it. Was it a show offer or is it generally available ?

Charles
 

Taffy Turner

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Trev, Charles

Uuummm :-k - from memory (I am in work, and the kit is at home), the kit contains a mandrel (available in No1 or 2 Morse Taper), a barrel trimmer, various sized spacers for the mandrel to allow different size / bores of pen to be accommodated, a couple of allen keys, a small spanner for locking up the mandrel, 5 pen kits and a set of instructions, all housed in a good quality plastic case.

I think that the normal price for the kit is around £50, but the £35 was a special show offer.

The kit seems to be good quality, and I have several other items made by Planet, drive centres, calipers etc which I have been pleased with. They seem to make good stuff, but as they are a small, relatively unknown manufacturer, their prices are realistic, especially compared to Robert Sorby et all.

Regards

Gary
 

Jaco

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trevtheturner":2ac7eav2 said:
Wouldn't mind, Jaco. Need to bring my gun? and snake bite antidote? :wink:
Trev, not quite sure why you want to do that.
Its the Tigers. gaitors and pythons that become a problem, but then we just arm-wrestle them!
:D :D :D
 

Taffy Turner

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Jaco,

I will be coming to South Africa at the end of January on a cricket tour - make sure all the snakes have been cleared away from the pitches before then please mate!!

Regards

Gary
 
A

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Ive just received an email from rutlands about a new range of pen kits and accessories. I normally buy my pen stuff from craft supplies but recently Ive been disapointed with the quality. Looking at rutlands website theres a big selection and it looks good stuff too. I'm going to order a couple of kits as soon as I can reclaim my credit card off SWMBO!
 

cd

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Update:

Well, I had a good day out at Stoneliegh on Saturday, took my Dad and enjoyed some good demo's and picked up some great tips. Missed getting to Terry for 12 :oops: in fact I didn't get to the chestnut stand until about 3:30.
I got all the bits I wanted for the Pens from the guys at Turners Retreat including a personal demo of how to make a pen from scratch, very helpful :) .

And despite swmbo's best efforts to keep me decorating, I found a half hour this evening to have a go.



The wood an offcut of Paduak I had lying around, finished with some friction polish.

cd
 

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