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Old 05-12-2018, 07:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Myerstown Pa
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Default New pen Turner question

I am getting ready to turn my first pen.. have done some turning but no pens..
What is a good kit for me to try, and where do I get it?

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Old 05-12-2018, 08:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The vendor forums lists several suppliers that are all reputable and can supply your needs. Most people start off with slimline kits because they are cheap. A good starter pen could be a Sierra because it is a single barrel and easy to put together.
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I like the zen from CSUSA. Itís not too difficult to turn and is a nice rollerball with a magnetic cap. It makes a good everyday use pen, everyone Iíve given one to loves it.
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Old 05-12-2018, 10:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The slim and trim lines are good because they are less expensive and each kit will require you to turn two barrels (more practice). I wood just use inexpensive wood ($1 or less per blanks.) If interested. If your prefer something quicker, but more expensive, I would try any of the single barrel kits where the both sides of the final diameters are the same (like the PSI executive .420 on each side). I think it is going to hard to beat the "value" of a slim or trim line kit especially for practice (there's also nothing at all wrong with them - in my opinion). Happy turning!
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? Abraham Lincoln



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Old 05-12-2018, 10:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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+1 on Tony's advice.

I rarely turn kits, but I suggest buying a large handful of spare tubes. They're cheap, and particularly when paired with a cheap blank great for practice. If you get a good result put the kit together; if you don't, toss it and start over with no remorse.


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Old 05-12-2018, 10:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My recommendation for a first pen kit would be the 30 Caliber Bolt Action from PSI (many vendors sell it as well, but get the genuine PSI kit).

It has a single barrel, which looks good straight-sided. The satisfaction level from turning this kit is very high. You will be very pleased with the result.

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Old 05-12-2018, 11:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I would recommend the Le Roy ballpoint or the Gatsby ballpoint. Both are on the lower price range and single barrel. They also have a rounded point where the blank meets the kit which makes them a bit more forgiving if you end up slightly out of round or not matching the bushings perfectly. You can also upgrade to a Schmidt 9000 refill which will enhance the writing experience

"He (Jesus) must increase, I must decrease." John 3:30
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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There are basically two directions as has been suggested:

1. Least expensive - Slimlines

2. Simple - one piece (to turn) pens.

The least expensive (a variety of slimlines) are sometimes the hardest for new turners IF they are trying to make them straight. But they give leeway for free shaping which gives good practice.

Slightly more expensive are pens that use one piece blanks such as the Sierra type. Much more simple to make - rather than trying to make matched dual blanks as on slimlines.

For me - as Bill mentioned - get some extra tubes and practice turning. I made 3 or 4 pens and then bought a bunch of tubes and cuts a 2x4 pine piece down and made several pen blanks, drilled holes and spent a few hours turning those and finishing those - not to make a pen but get used to the tool, sizing and finishing. It will help in the long run.
Hank Lee

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Pick a kit you like and one you'd use and carry. Possible make it 2 in case you muff up the assembly. Then buy a bag or two of spare tubes. Turn several blanks until you are pleased with on and assemble it.
Mr Vic

Keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down.......

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Old 05-12-2018, 11:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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222 posts and I know I have seen your name here many times so I had to look you up. All this time all you did was sell pen blanks and never made one pen with all the blanks you sold????????????? have to say that is strange. May I ask what got you into this in the first place?? I mean no disrespect I am just trying to scratch an itch. Usually people start turning pens first and maybe someone asks about a blank they make or gotten and and the sale of blanks begins. But to sell blanks and never made one pen.

Hey I am not judging, to each his own. As mentioned I believe the best kit for a beginner is a one piece or single blank kit such as any of the Sierra line or the Zen line. Simple straight forward shape and only 2 bushings. I hope you have all the tools necessary. I like to buy from either Exotic Blanks or Bear Tooth Woods.
John T.
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