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Old 01-25-2011, 12:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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If you send me a PM with your shipping address, I'll send you the spare 1/2" drill chuck I have. It is mounted on a MT #2 mandrel. The mandrel is a bit long, but I've used it on a couple of mini-lathes with no problem. I'll also send you a few blanks and such to help get you started.

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Old 01-25-2011, 12:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'd like to echo 1080Wayne. Don't get the mini tools. Get regular, full size turning chisels. If money is tight, you can get a good starter set from Harbor Freight. I got the red handled ones, and they're fine. High speed steel and great for the money. I think that I gave about $50-60 for the set of eight chisels, which will give you everything that you'll reasonably need except for a bowl gouge. With full size tools, you can turn pretty much everything from toothpicks up. With mini tools, you're pretty much stuck with small stuff.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by designer View Post
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.
Yes, use a handheld cordless drill if you have it. For me, my inexpensive black & decker cordless is great. I can make holes in my walls, unscrew my cabinet door handles, etc. Basically, clamp the blank (w/ tube glued in), insert the trimmer in the tube, start the drill, and lower into the wood. With a freshly sharpened mill, you get nice shavings immediately. With carbide, your sharp mill stays sharp, even after cutting through epoxy goop & hard woods. Basically, the pressure is about the weight of the cordless drill. You get pretty good control hand-held; you can apply a bit more pressure or less, stop the drill, & lift to see if the blank is at the level of the brass tube.

One thing that I do (I don't know that it makes a difference, but it makes me feel better): I generally use epoxy to glue in my tubes. When I insert the tube, its barely inside the blank on the side it's inserted (1/32 to 1/16 deep inside the hole). I then use my epoxy mixing stick (take out chopsticks are good if you're too cheap to buy craft tongue depressor sticks) and swab the top of the blank. The epoxy soaks a bit into the end grain and hardens the end grain. I like that on the sides where the pen twists against the center band.
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:53 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Just plan on turning between centers and buy a 60 degree dead center and 60 degree live center. This saves you the cost of a mandrel and you don't have to buy any bushings. Just buy a $12 digital caliper from Harbor Freight.

Also, I really like using my disc sander to square the ends of the blanks instead of a pen mill. It cost $50 on sale at Harbor Freight. It can also be used to sand the corners on blanks to save you time turning. As a economic alternative, use your lathe as a disc sander. Hold the blank perpendicular to the disc using your Jacobs chuck in the tail stock and the blank slid over an appropriate sized transfer punch (punch set about $10 at Harbor Freight).

Dave

P.S. For pen turning, a carbide tipped tool such as a Woodchuck Pen Pro or one of the many similar tools out there would be high on my list.

Last edited by Dave Turner; 01-25-2011 at 06:57 PM. Reason: turning tool
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Just plan on turning between centers and buy a 60 degree dead center and 60 degree live center. This saves you the cost of a mandrel and you don't have to buy any bushings. Just buy a $12 digital caliper from Harbor Freight.

Also, I really like using my disc sander to square the ends of the blanks instead of a pen mill. It cost $50 on sale at Harbor Freight. It can also be used to sand the corners on blanks to save you time turning. As a economic alternative, use your lathe as a disc sander. Hold the blank perpendicular to the disc using your Jacobs chuck in the tail stock and the blank slid over an appropriate sized transfer punch (punch set about $10 at Harbor Freight).

Dave

P.S. For pen turning, a carbide tipped tool such as a Woodchuck Pen Pro or one of the many similar tools out there would be high on my list.
Dave, Thanks for the sander suggestion. I don't want to spend the 50 bucks on a sander right now, but using the lathe as a disc sander works for me. I think I will turn a mandrel for this use from aluminum tomorrow. I already have about 4 pair of calipers so that is not a problem. Being from the fastener industry, I am used to metal not wood. I will as soon as I can upgrade to carbide anyplace I can. I am already looking at making a pen trimmer with 4 or 6 carbide bits. I think I can make it pretty easily.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:14 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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If it were me, I'd skip that scroll chuck in favor of a collet chuck.

Turn the blank round between centers to fit a collet then you can drill it on the lathe with much greater accuracy than a scroll chuck allows.

Then glue the tubes and return between centers to true it to the tubes (sometimes it will be dead on from the start, some times not so much, depends on the grain direction, drill bit sharpness, etc.)

Then put back in the collet chuck and true the ends with a skew. (saves the need for the trimmer)

Forget the mandrel and go straight to turning between centers for all but 7mm kits. (you can turn any kit with stock bushing between centers except for the 7mm ones)

But this is what I'd do in your shoes.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:31 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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I've migrated to doing just about everything on my lathe. I've made a sanding disk that fits in my chuck jaws to square my blanks, drill my blanks holding the blanks with the chuck and drilling with the Jacobs chuck and turn between centers with JohnnyCNCs kit. I have the bushings but with a cheap set of calipers and attention to detail you don't need them.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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There are so many ways to skin a cat. Russianwolf has a way that works but sounds more experienced and professional than the level I am at.

There are lots of suggestions to using my lathe for just about everything (which for reasons of money works for me). After some of the videos I have seen, I am thinking of using it as a pen press as well with some pieces of wood turned down for each end as push blocks. Looking and reading, I plan to move to turning between centers after I get some experience.

Everyone has thrown out so much info that my notes are growing rapidly. I think as I start turning that everything will fall into place.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:26 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Sounds like you're a metal machinist. I have some metal shop experience. I found that there were things woodturners would do that boggled my mind (riding the bevel, then, lifting the handle to bring the cutting edge into the part; rolling the tool; changing cutting angles so the skew goes from shearing to scraping; shearing cuts on the skew; sticking your fingers/hands into the workpiece to sand; etc.). I'm still a novice, but I have to say that you'll have a blast!

Stay safe, and have fun!
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:12 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Your about an hour and a half from me, If you like PM me and well work out a time you can come to my shop and "play" for a few hours or so, I have probably all the above mentioned stuff (and then some) that way you can see what works for you, save some time and a lot of money buying the wrong stuff. I don't have a lot of experence in pen making but I make about 8 or 10 a week and have all kinds of equipment to play with
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