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Old March 19th 04, 06:24 PM
Benjamin T. Kindt
 
Posts: n/a
Default Pen Turning Initial Shopping List

Hi,

I'm about to make the plunge into the pen turning hobby, and I thought
I'd post my initial shopping list here to get some feedback. Am I
going overboard? Am I forgetting anything important?

Many thanks in advance. Here's my list:

JET 708351VS/JML-1014VS Variable Speed Mini Lathe, $299 (plus $25 off
at Amazon this month). I'm not sure if VS is that important, but I
thought I'd go for it rather than regretting not getting it later.

JET JML-S Adjustable Mini Lathe Stand, $119.99. I don't yet have a
good workbench, so this seems like it would work well.

JET 709160 3-Piece Pen Turning Chisel Set, $79.99

Mandrel Set #2 MT, Penn State, $15.70

EEE-Ultra Shine Paste Wax, Penn State, $14.35

Shellawax Cream, 300ml Jar, Penn State, $20.55

4 Grit Sandpaper set, Penn State, $19.95

Plus wood blanks and pen kits. I figure I'll start with pre-drilled
blanks so as to save on the cost of a drill press. I have access to a
bandsaw if needed as well.

Thanks again!

Ben

  #2   Report Post  
Old March 19th 04, 08:39 PM
Bruce Barnett
 
Posts: n/a
Default Pen Turning Initial Shopping List

(Benjamin T. Kindt) writes:

JET 709160 3-Piece Pen Turning Chisel Set, $79.99


Harbor Freight has a 3-piece "mini-size" set (HSS) for $5.99.
I just got the 8-piece full-size set ($29.99), and will post a review later.

There are other sets as well, like these (from Woodcraft's web site
unless otherwwise stated)

Crown Micro Turning Set - 5 pieces for $99
Woodcraft detail set - 6 pieces $69.99
Woodcraft 3-piece Pen Turning set - $39.99
Sorby 3-piece Pen Turning set - $69. (
http://www.houseoftools.com)
Sorby Micro set - 5 pieces $106 (rockler.com)
Woodcraft "Mini" HSS Turning Set - 5 pieces $39.99


Just looking at the price of $80 for 3, the average price is much
higher than all of the above.

Without even seeing the Jet pen turning set, I suspect the other sets
are a better deal, simply because of the price per tool and/or the
reputation of the maker. IMHO.

Can anyone compare these sets for pen turning?


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Old March 19th 04, 09:31 PM
Mike in Mystic
 
Posts: n/a
Default Pen Turning Initial Shopping List

Benjamin T. Kindt" wrote in message
om...
Hi,

I'm about to make the plunge into the pen turning hobby, and I thought
I'd post my initial shopping list here to get some feedback. Am I
going overboard? Am I forgetting anything important?

Many thanks in advance. Here's my list:

JET 708351VS/JML-1014VS Variable Speed Mini Lathe, $299 (plus $25 off
at Amazon this month). I'm not sure if VS is that important, but I
thought I'd go for it rather than regretting not getting it later.


The VS IS important. I have the same lathe, but pre-VS and I have been
thinking real hard about trying to the one I have and get the VS one. I
have the extension bed, and when doing spindle turning, bowls, etc. you
often change the speed quite frequently. So, you are doing the right thing.



JET JML-S Adjustable Mini Lathe Stand, $119.99. I don't yet have a
good workbench, so this seems like it would work well.


I have the stand and it is definitely a good investment. That said, I am
planning to build a really nice cabinet stand, with loads of storage for
lathe related items. Of all the tools I own, the lathe seems to require
more specialized items than anything else and I find it a pain to keep track
of everything when they are mixed with my other tools. Things like pen
mandrels, pen blanks, turning finishes, etc. etc., not to mention the tools.
So, for starters the stand is good, but you might find yourself doing what
I'm going to do sometime in the future.

JET 709160 3-Piece Pen Turning Chisel Set, $79.99

I can't speak directly about this turning set, but I agree with Bruce - it
seems overpriced. Of the ones he listed, I'd go with the Sorby pen turning
set. For myself, I bought individual tools rather than a set and think that
was a good way for myself. I'm interested in turning furniture parts, not
just pens, so my needs might be a little different than yours. So far, I
haven't found the need for the really small tools that some of these "pen"
sets seem to be made up with. I am still a beginning beginner on the lathe,
so I don't have a lot of experience to go on. From what I've seen, once you
really get bit by the turning bug you will end up with dozens of tools, so
having the small ones won't be a bad thing hehe.


Mandrel Set #2 MT, Penn State, $15.70

EEE-Ultra Shine Paste Wax, Penn State, $14.35

Shellawax Cream, 300ml Jar, Penn State, $20.55

4 Grit Sandpaper set, Penn State, $19.95

Plus wood blanks and pen kits. I figure I'll start with pre-drilled
blanks so as to save on the cost of a drill press. I have access to a
bandsaw if needed as well.


The rest of your products are probably as good as any. I haven't been too
impressed with Penn States pen kits myself - some have been o.k. but some
have been really cheaply made. I've found the following:
http://www.packardwoodworks.com/
to be a great place to find really good turning supplies.

Finally, you're going to have to think about sharpening your tools. I
didn't even think about that when I started into the lathe 'craze' and
quickly saw the error of my ways. I tried to use the tools straight out of
the box - NOT GOOD! Sure, you could turn a pen, but it wasn't really
effortless. I took a pen-making class and the gouge's the teacher handed
out were so sharp it was amazing. And boy, what a difference. So, I bought
a grinder and the Wolverine sharpening system, and a slow speed buffer and
some books! Then I had a kid so I've yet to set up the sharpening station
or use the lathe in the last six months hehe.

Hope this info is helpful!

Mike


  #4   Report Post  
Old March 19th 04, 10:28 PM
AHilton
 
Posts: n/a
Default Pen Turning Initial Shopping List

Lots of opinions that I'm sure you'll get so it may not make it easier that
you asked these questions. We all have different levels of experience and
just plain work differently so the reponses you get can (and probably will)
vary greatly. The more you get into it, the more you realize that you don't
need so much. If you have unlimited funds, just get everything you want and
don't worry about it. Otherwise, you can always add things as you go along,
if need be, and develop your own working style and needs.

With that said, I'll give you my unvarnished opinions, SPECIFICALLY related
to turning pens as you indicated you are doing this for and with MY working
style. I stopped counting around the 1200 pens/pencils mark. That was all
in the past 2 years. And for the pen makers that make their living from it
(which are quite few in fact), that's just a quick afternoon. g

JET 708351VS/JML-1014VS Variable Speed Mini Lathe, $299 (plus $25 off
at Amazon this month). I'm not sure if VS is that important, but I
thought I'd go for it rather than regretting not getting it later.



You don't need VS for pens especially. Is it nice to have, especially for
other large projects? Sure. Necessary for them? No. I turn pens start to
finish at one speed (usually in the 1800 or 2500 range depending on style
and materials used). If the price difference isn't much, then go for the VS
but realize that you'll eventually probably just stick it on one speed and
leave it there most of the time.


JET JML-S Adjustable Mini Lathe Stand, $119.99. I don't yet have a
good workbench, so this seems like it would work well.



It's alright. Nothing special. Fine for pen making a cardboard box will
do. g If you're very tall or very short you'll have to make allowances
for the fact that the standard sizing holes don't go that far. It won't
stand up to heavy out of balance pieces very well but then we're probably
not talking pen making at that point either. g


JET 709160 3-Piece Pen Turning Chisel Set, $79.99



Use a skew. 'Nuff said! No, really. Alright then. That's what *I*
use from start to finish on all of my pens/pencils. You could use just a
Sorby Spindlemaster or something similar too. Or just a spindle gouge. Or
just a small roughing gouge. If you want to make all of those beads and
coves and other things all over the place that really don't sell well (well,
maybe in the crafts shows they do alright), it's going to be tough to use
just a roughing gouge. The point is, you can do it with just one or two
tools and they don't have to be powdered metal super-crystaline
harder-than-diamond tools. This is just pen making. $80 isn't bad for a
good set of tools but are you really going to use all of them for just pen
making? I've had several students of mine just get the Harbor Freight $13
small turning set of 3 tools (looks like rejects from Sorby and are HSS by
the way) and have been making pens out of them just fine. They end up just
using one of the tools (either roughing gouge or skew) eventually for their
pens anyway.


Mandrel Set #2 MT, Penn State, $15.70



I do like the MT mandrels over the spindle threaded or chuck mounted ones.


EEE-Ultra Shine Paste Wax, Penn State, $14.35

Shellawax Cream, 300ml Jar, Penn State, $20.55



These are fine products. Overkill for me but others like them. The EEE
doesn't do much to tickle me in any way. In general, sand to a high grit
(~600 depending on material used) and maybe use a sanding sealer (usually
overkill again) before putting on a friction polish (usually shellac-based).
All kinds of finishes can be used but pen makers usually have their favorite
and stick to it. I use many of them depending on what and whom I am making
the pens for but the basic, general purpose friction polish is a good
starting point.



4 Grit Sandpaper set, Penn State, $19.95



Haven't used Penn State's (repackaged I assume) brand. It may be fine. I
use from 220 to ~600 grits and just a little at a time.... enough to cover
one of my fingers in width and about 3" long then doubled over. Cut these
ahead of time. For good general purpose sandpaper, the new 3M and Norton
papers that you can find in the common stores are fine. Use good sandpaper!


Plus wood blanks and pen kits. I figure I'll start with pre-drilled
blanks so as to save on the cost of a drill press. I have access to a
bandsaw if needed as well.



Hey, if you're getting into it this far .... G A drill press is a time
saver if you're going to be doing this very much. A simple workbench one is
fine. I still use my cheapy Grizzly one for boring holes, trimming blanks
and pressing fittings. It doesn't take many pre-drilled blanks to come up
to just buying a little drill press. Of course, you'll need a straight,
steady and safe way to hold your blanks to be drilled if you go this route.
I use just a tiny hand wood clamp with notches cut into it to hold the
blank. Quick and easy.

A bandsaw is useful but that's not absolutely needed either. Especially if
you're not making your own blanks. I make my own pen blanks but they are
usually long (3' sometimes). When I'm at the lathe and pen making bench, I
have a tiny chopsaw that I got at Harbor Freight to cut my blanks to length.
It has only a 3/4" (if that) cutting depth but I modified mine to cut a full
1" +.

You didn't mention drill bits, pen press (I use the drill press but you can
easily just use a hand clamp but you have to be careful as it's not very
precise), barrel trimmer (some use a disk sander), and glue. I use CA most
of the time but others use epoxy and polyurethane exclusively.

Just a few things for you to consider. g

- Andrew



  #5   Report Post  
Old March 19th 04, 10:42 PM
MHaseltine
 
Posts: n/a
Default Pen Turning Initial Shopping List

You will want to probably turn other things soon - least wise I did - and I
invested in 3/4" roughing gouge (Crown). It's a good medium duty tool to make
squares round. I also like to use this gouge to do the initial rounding of the
pen blank but I can get impatient.

I agree that sharpening will be a big item and you will need to sharpen/hone
your tools out of the box as well as keep them sharp. I have one of the small
Delta wet wheel grinders($55 or so at Lowes) that does okay for most of my
turning tools but doesn't do well trying to do any of the more fancy grinding
angles on gouges or on any of my scrapers. (I did get a Wolverine system for
Xmas from SWMBO.)

You will need very sharp tools for some of the more exotic hard woods which can
be brittle. A sharper tool isn't as prone to catch unless you get too
aggressive with your cut. It is frustrating to be taking the finsihing cuts on
a pen only to have it come peeling off the insert (grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr).

Would also suggest a small parting tool - Sorby has, I believe, a 1/16" partig
tool that does well with pens. Some of the kits you may want to turn require
peeling off part of the blank from the brass insert or precisely placing the
insert with part of it sticking out of one end of the blank during the glue up.
I find the peeling to be easier.

Some people really like the mini tools for turning pens and other small items.
I am not a big person but I still like tools with a bit more heft and longer
handles - I find that I can control them a bit better. This is just something
to think about.

Would suggest that you look at Craft Supplies (do a google search for them) and
I think Woodcraft has already been mentioned. Both places will have a good
assortment of tools, finishes and sandpaper.

Enjoy your new hobby - turning is addictive though. I've been hearing talk
about advocacy groups setting up treatment centers to deal with this condition
complete with in-patient detox units - gotta get the shavings and dust out of
your system. Then having those addicted attend the newly formed WTA.

Michael


  #6   Report Post  
Old March 20th 04, 12:23 AM
xrongor
 
Posts: n/a
Default Pen Turning Initial Shopping List

so thats what, 550$ and change? how many pens you gotta sell or make to
justify that? you might do better to get a real lathe that you can use for
other things. or a drill press, or even just a motor. you can make a jig
with two skateboard bearings, turn the drill press on its side, and just go
that route for a few pens...

jig like this. capital x is skate bearings inserted into wood, lower x is
the wood jig.

xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
Xxx
xxX
Xx rod through bearings to take lateral load off motor --- xX
threaded rod to power
Xxx
xxX
xxx
xxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx

if you want, i can draw up a nice picture and post it to the bin group. ya
im crazy, but it just seems like quite a bit of money just to make pens.
ive done tons of turning on a jig just like this one that i made attached to
a drill press.

just my 2 cents...

randy

"Benjamin T. Kindt" wrote in message
om...
Hi,

I'm about to make the plunge into the pen turning hobby, and I thought
I'd post my initial shopping list here to get some feedback. Am I
going overboard? Am I forgetting anything important?

Many thanks in advance. Here's my list:

JET 708351VS/JML-1014VS Variable Speed Mini Lathe, $299 (plus $25 off
at Amazon this month). I'm not sure if VS is that important, but I
thought I'd go for it rather than regretting not getting it later.

JET JML-S Adjustable Mini Lathe Stand, $119.99. I don't yet have a
good workbench, so this seems like it would work well.

JET 709160 3-Piece Pen Turning Chisel Set, $79.99

Mandrel Set #2 MT, Penn State, $15.70

EEE-Ultra Shine Paste Wax, Penn State, $14.35

Shellawax Cream, 300ml Jar, Penn State, $20.55

4 Grit Sandpaper set, Penn State, $19.95

Plus wood blanks and pen kits. I figure I'll start with pre-drilled
blanks so as to save on the cost of a drill press. I have access to a
bandsaw if needed as well.

Thanks again!

Ben



  #7   Report Post  
Old March 20th 04, 02:29 AM
Greg M
 
Posts: n/a
Default Pen Turning Initial Shopping List

That's funny, I was thinking of getting into pen turning and I was just
about to fire off a post asking for advise. I've been out of college for
about a year now and I've wanted to assemble my own woodshop for a few
years. Unfortunately, I'm in an apartment right now and it's going to be at
least a year before I can buy a house or condo that has a basement or garage
big enough for a small shop. So, pen turning seems like a good hobby to tide
me over until I have the space for a shop. It requires a fairly small amount
of equipment, it's not too loud, doesn't take a lot of space and it's fairly
inexpensive to get started. Granted, I've never turned a pen and I can't
offer any experiences on equipment,etc; but I'm taking a class for it at the
local Woodcraft next week to see if I like it.

That being said, I've been looking at the JET 708329 Mini Pen Lathe
(information can be found at http://tinyurl.com/35szo and
http://tinyurl.com/2t9kz). I've seen it as low as $99.99 at times, but the
cheapest I can find it online right now is $129.95 at several different
places. I thought about the Jet Mini Lathe that you mentioned, but its more
than I want to spend, it takes up more space than I have and it seems like
an overkill. I plan on using the Mini Pen Lathe on my apartment porch by
rigging up a removable clamping system to my porch rail (don't worry, I'm on
the ground floor), then all I need is a stool and extension cord and I'm
good to go. My Dad has drill press but lives across the state (Michigan) so
whenever I visit I'll bring a bunch of blanks and get them ready for
turning. I don't have any turning tools yet, but I'm going to buy the 5
piece "Mini" HSS Turning Tool Set (http://tinyurl.com/2xb8p) at Woodcraft
when I take the pen turning class since they don't provide the gouges
required for the class.

I'm sure there's a couple of other minor things I'll need but left out, but
I'll know more about it after the class. Maybe the Jet Mini Pen Lathe would
serve your needs as well, and I appreciate any first hand experience or
general comments anyone can give me regarding that lathe.

Greg M


"Benjamin T. Kindt" wrote in message
om...
Hi,

I'm about to make the plunge into the pen turning hobby, and I thought
I'd post my initial shopping list here to get some feedback. Am I
going overboard? Am I forgetting anything important?

Many thanks in advance. Here's my list:

JET 708351VS/JML-1014VS Variable Speed Mini Lathe, $299 (plus $25 off
at Amazon this month). I'm not sure if VS is that important, but I
thought I'd go for it rather than regretting not getting it later.

JET JML-S Adjustable Mini Lathe Stand, $119.99. I don't yet have a
good workbench, so this seems like it would work well.

JET 709160 3-Piece Pen Turning Chisel Set, $79.99

Mandrel Set #2 MT, Penn State, $15.70

EEE-Ultra Shine Paste Wax, Penn State, $14.35

Shellawax Cream, 300ml Jar, Penn State, $20.55

4 Grit Sandpaper set, Penn State, $19.95

Plus wood blanks and pen kits. I figure I'll start with pre-drilled
blanks so as to save on the cost of a drill press. I have access to a
bandsaw if needed as well.

Thanks again!

Ben



  #8   Report Post  
Old March 20th 04, 02:41 AM
Reyd Dorakeen
 
Posts: n/a
Default Pen Turning Initial Shopping List

just as a comment, I bough some mini turning tools(12$ apiece), and found
them to be somewhere around useless, and I regret spending my very low money
supply on them. they are a lot harder to sharpen, they are really fussy
about toolrest position because they have so little leverage, and I bet you
could do just as much with a cheap HF set of tools, and then use them still
if you ever upgrade to a bigger lathe. Correct me if im wrong, but for pens
don't you usually want a smooth flowing form for a lot of it? I was trying
the mini ones for some pen ideas, just drilling and gluing a bit of a
ballpoint pen inside, and it was much harder to get a good curve with the
mini ones, the only useful one being the mini round nose scraper for cutting
really little coves/beads. just my 0.02(and its worth less being canadian
too)
in article , Greg M at
wrote on 3/19/04 5:29 PM:

That's funny, I was thinking of getting into pen turning and I was just
about to fire off a post asking for advise. I've been out of college for
about a year now and I've wanted to assemble my own woodshop for a few
years. Unfortunately, I'm in an apartment right now and it's going to be at
least a year before I can buy a house or condo that has a basement or garage
big enough for a small shop. So, pen turning seems like a good hobby to tide
me over until I have the space for a shop. It requires a fairly small amount
of equipment, it's not too loud, doesn't take a lot of space and it's fairly
inexpensive to get started. Granted, I've never turned a pen and I can't
offer any experiences on equipment,etc; but I'm taking a class for it at the
local Woodcraft next week to see if I like it.

That being said, I've been looking at the JET 708329 Mini Pen Lathe
(information can be found at
http://tinyurl.com/35szo and
http://tinyurl.com/2t9kz). I've seen it as low as $99.99 at times, but the
cheapest I can find it online right now is $129.95 at several different
places. I thought about the Jet Mini Lathe that you mentioned, but its more
than I want to spend, it takes up more space than I have and it seems like
an overkill. I plan on using the Mini Pen Lathe on my apartment porch by
rigging up a removable clamping system to my porch rail (don't worry, I'm on
the ground floor), then all I need is a stool and extension cord and I'm
good to go. My Dad has drill press but lives across the state (Michigan) so
whenever I visit I'll bring a bunch of blanks and get them ready for
turning. I don't have any turning tools yet, but I'm going to buy the 5
piece "Mini" HSS Turning Tool Set (http://tinyurl.com/2xb8p) at Woodcraft
when I take the pen turning class since they don't provide the gouges
required for the class.

I'm sure there's a couple of other minor things I'll need but left out, but
I'll know more about it after the class. Maybe the Jet Mini Pen Lathe would
serve your needs as well, and I appreciate any first hand experience or
general comments anyone can give me regarding that lathe.

Greg M


"Benjamin T. Kindt" wrote in message
om...
Hi,

I'm about to make the plunge into the pen turning hobby, and I thought
I'd post my initial shopping list here to get some feedback. Am I
going overboard? Am I forgetting anything important?

Many thanks in advance. Here's my list:

JET 708351VS/JML-1014VS Variable Speed Mini Lathe, $299 (plus $25 off
at Amazon this month). I'm not sure if VS is that important, but I
thought I'd go for it rather than regretting not getting it later.

JET JML-S Adjustable Mini Lathe Stand, $119.99. I don't yet have a
good workbench, so this seems like it would work well.

JET 709160 3-Piece Pen Turning Chisel Set, $79.99

Mandrel Set #2 MT, Penn State, $15.70

EEE-Ultra Shine Paste Wax, Penn State, $14.35

Shellawax Cream, 300ml Jar, Penn State, $20.55

4 Grit Sandpaper set, Penn State, $19.95

Plus wood blanks and pen kits. I figure I'll start with pre-drilled
blanks so as to save on the cost of a drill press. I have access to a
bandsaw if needed as well.

Thanks again!

Ben




  #9   Report Post  
Old March 20th 04, 08:35 AM
Matt
 
Posts: n/a
Default Pen Turning Initial Shopping List


"Bruce Barnett" wrote in message
...
Harbor Freight has a 3-piece "mini-size" set (HSS) for $5.99.
I just got the 8-piece full-size set ($29.99), and will post a review

later.

I have a set from HF that was $10. I'm interested to read your review on
the $29.99 ones. I needed to sharpen my parting tool rather soon. I might
pick up that 3-piece set to try out.

[email protected]


  #10   Report Post  
Old March 20th 04, 08:40 AM
xrongor
 
Posts: n/a
Default Pen Turning Initial Shopping List

i give up on ascii art.. it always blows up on me..

sorry.




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