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Old 01-25-2011, 07:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Washington, Michigan
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Hello Everyone. I have been looking at all the great posts and all the help that has been offered here. Being new here and to pen turning, I hope to sponge some of this vast knowledge up.


Being currently unemployed and a tight budget I need opinions as to what I need at a minimum to begin with. Other than MM, bushings and CA that is. So far I have slowly collected these tools.


Excelsior 10 X 18 lathe
5 pcs set of Crown miniature turning tools
WS3000 sharpener (could not afford a Tormek)
Drill bits, blanks and 3 slimline kits (thanks to Landfill Lumber)
Nobex Proman miter box


Opinions on my list of additional needs here are what I am looking for.
Pennstate chuck CUG3418CCX http://www.pennstateind.com/store/CUG3418CCX.html
7mm barrel trimmer since I can't afford a belt sander
1/2 drill chuck for the tail stock
Mandrel and saver http://www.pennstateind.com/store/PKMS2SET.html


Do I need the the dedicated jaws or will the chuck hold the blanks? http://www.pennstateind.com/store/CJAWPEN.html


All input is greatly appreciated by this newbie
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by designer View Post
Hello Everyone. I have been looking at all the great posts and all the help that has been offered here. Being new here and to pen turning, I hope to sponge some of this vast knowledge up.


Being currently unemployed and a tight budget I need opinions as to what I need at a minimum to begin with. Other than MM, bushings and CA that is. So far I have slowly collected these tools.


Excelsior 10 X 18 lathe
5 pcs set of Crown miniature turning tools
WS3000 sharpener (could not afford a Tormek)
Drill bits, blanks and 3 slimline kits (thanks to Landfill Lumber)
Nobex Proman miter box


Opinions on my list of additional needs here are what I am looking for.
Pennstate chuck CUG3418CCX http://www.pennstateind.com/store/CUG3418CCX.html
7mm barrel trimmer since I can't afford a belt sander
1/2” drill chuck for the tail stock
Mandrel and saver http://www.pennstateind.com/store/PKMS2SET.html


Do I need the the dedicated jaws or will the chuck hold the blanks? http://www.pennstateind.com/store/CJAWPEN.html


All input is greatly appreciated by this newbie
Hello, designer, welcome to IAP!

Some comments:

It looks like you're planning to drill your blanks in the lathe. That's a fine idea. Your proposed chuck should do it. The PSI website is almost correct: The direct page to your chuck does not show that the #1 jaws will squeeze down on a blank (as opposed to expand out into a recess), but they will. If you look at the catalog, it shows that the #1 jaws can hold a cylinder from 3/32" to 1 7/8". This easily accommodates your typical 3/4" blank.

I don't know your lathe, but if the headstock has a Morse #2, then, the mandrel should be fine (ditto tailstock). Ditto lathe tailstock chuck, if it's a Morse#2 chuck.

I prefer barrel trimmers to sanders for trimming barrels, frankly. I'd spend the extra $ and get the carbide-tipped barrel trimming set. You can reverse the trimmer, and glue some sand paper, if you're working with segments or inlays that will tear out. The non-carbide trimmer will quickly wear when working harder woods, and it's a real pain to sharpen. I normally clamp the blank in a vise (you could use a clamp and a tabletop) and use a handheld drill (cordless, low-ish speed) to trim barrels.

You didn't list a pen press. For a large number of years (but few pens), I used a bar clamp to press my pens. Then, I built my own pen press. Then, my family gave me a Woodcraft pen press. You may be able to use your lathe, but I'd buy a bar clamp. No woodworker ever has enough clamps!

Nitrile gloves for handling CA; you can use the top of the CA bottle as your tube insertion tool; safety glasses (I personally prefer a faceshield). These should also be on your list.

Again, welcome!

Last edited by hdtran; 01-25-2011 at 08:06 AM. Reason: comment on barrel trimming
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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A drill press would be a advantage . You can get away with a normal drill, but would need to use larger wood size, as drill will wonder.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by drphobus View Post
A drill press would be a advantage . You can get away with a normal drill, but would need to use larger wood size, as drill will wonder.
Unfortunately, I can't afford a drill press right now. I am also in an apartment so besides not having a lot of room for a shop money is tight. Yes, Still need a DC of some sorts too.

Yes, I forgot the Nitrile gloves. I do have safety glasses and a face mask. Thanks for the reminder of the mask. I would have just grabbed my glasses and learned the hard way.

The late is an MT#2 on both ends and I do plan to drill on it since I already have it.

Fast answers. Thank You.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Just for added thought--I HAVE a belt sander, yet I prefer to use the barrel trimmer. At first, I HATED that barrel trimmer, because I was new to it and not really sure how to use it. But by the time you've done a dozen pens or so, you learn that it is really quite a good tool. Because money is tight, learn to use the trimmer, and save the $$$ for the other stuff you will need as you move forward.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I think you are well on the right track. The chuck should be fine for anything you are likely to run into making pens. I don't see that the dedicated jaws would be of great benefit for someone starting out. You should be fine using the ones that come with the chuck until you get much farther along. A penmill is pretty much necessary, but don't bother with all the different size shafts. Once you get beyond the 7mm kits, you can make bushings for other size tubes with the one big thing you missed. Spare tube sets! Cheapest way to immediately improve your first few pens. Buy several and practice before you take the step of dedicating a kit to a given blank. Don't put a set of blanks you aren't thrilled with on a pen. If a finished set of blanks is really not worth keeping, you can turn the wood back off the tubes and try again. But turn lots of tubes and only put the best on a pen kit.

The mandrel saver set looks to be a good price compared to an adjustable mandrel and a good 60 degree live center, but will not be as flexible in the long run. If you get the latter and add a 60 degree dead center, you can finish your blanks between centers without sanding your bushings down, or gluing them to the mandrel (not that any of us ever did that) or getting metal dust from sanding them onto your blanks, and a host of other problems. You can also turn the blanks between centers after you square the ends and check the size with calipers when you get tired of them being out of round, or not fitting the kit hardware exactly. You can also do closed end pens on an adjustable mandrel.

Not really mandatory stuff, but may make your first few pens better and more enjoyable. And that's the point, really, is to have fun.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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A barrel trimmer is not necessary if your blanks are reasonably square on the ends . My procedure is to turn down to about 1/16 oversize , then sand the ends square by drawing the blanks toward me on a sheet of 100 grit sandpaper on a flat surface , rotating the blank a quarter turn each time . Takes a bit longer , but you will find there are issues with the trimmer too .

A small vise will work as a pen press , using a small pad of notepaper on one jaw to protect the most scratchable surface .

Would recommend ditching the miniature tools for regular ones .
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OOPS View Post
Just for added thought--I HAVE a belt sander, yet I prefer to use the barrel trimmer. At first, I HATED that barrel trimmer, because I was new to it and not really sure how to use it. But by the time you've done a dozen pens or so, you learn that it is really quite a good tool. Because money is tight, learn to use the trimmer, and save the $$$ for the other stuff you will need as you move forward.
With the carbide mill or trimmer on wood, am I correct planning on light pressure when using it? I don't want to split the wood or have chatter marks either.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jskeen View Post
I think you are well on the right track. The chuck should be fine for anything you are likely to run into making pens. I don't see that the dedicated jaws would be of great benefit for someone starting out. You should be fine using the ones that come with the chuck until you get much farther along. A penmill is pretty much necessary, but don't bother with all the different size shafts. Once you get beyond the 7mm kits, you can make bushings for other size tubes with the one big thing you missed. Spare tube sets! Cheapest way to immediately improve your first few pens. Buy several and practice before you take the step of dedicating a kit to a given blank. Don't put a set of blanks you aren't thrilled with on a pen. If a finished set of blanks is really not worth keeping, you can turn the wood back off the tubes and try again. But turn lots of tubes and only put the best on a pen kit.

The mandrel saver set looks to be a good price compared to an adjustable mandrel and a good 60 degree live center, but will not be as flexible in the long run. If you get the latter and add a 60 degree dead center, you can finish your blanks between centers without sanding your bushings down, or gluing them to the mandrel (not that any of us ever did that) or getting metal dust from sanding them onto your blanks, and a host of other problems. You can also turn the blanks between centers after you square the ends and check the size with calipers when you get tired of them being out of round, or not fitting the kit hardware exactly. You can also do closed end pens on an adjustable mandrel.

Not really mandatory stuff, but may make your first few pens better and more enjoyable. And that's the point, really, is to have fun.
What about waxing the mandrel and bushings? I do that when laminating fishing rod handles so glues do not stick. In order to keep from sanding the blocks I use I put a piece of wood laminate on the ends of the grips I make. Is there any reason I cannot do that when I sand and finish pens or pencils?
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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What about waxing the mandrel and bushings? I do that when laminating fishing rod handles so glues do not stick. In order to keep from sanding the blocks I use I put a piece of wood laminate on the ends of the grips I make. Is there any reason I cannot do that when I sand and finish pens or pencils?
Sure, you can do both, and if you are consistent with it, it will work just fine. We tend to get lazy after doing this stuff for a while and look for the easy way to do things.
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