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Old 11-26-2017, 09:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
Drcal's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Tampa, Florida
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I am an experienced woodturner who has taken a 3 year break because of serious back problems.

I built a stand so I could sit while turning but, because I am very short, it did not work well. I used a small Nova lathe for that.

The problem always lies in the distance under the lathe between the lathe bed and the stand. I do best with as close to a zero clearance as possible. If not, when I make the stand high enough for me to get my legs under, the center point for turning is way too high for me. So, I know it sound foolish, but I am looking at the PenPal from Penn State.

I just want to turn pens, bottle stoppers and simple duck calls. I have a few lathes and I love them and I know in a lot of ways the PenPal will be a disappointment.

My question: Has anyone used the newest version? Honest reviews would be appreciated.

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Old 11-26-2017, 10:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Coquitlam, BC, Canada
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You may find some info in some of these links. . I don't trust the Amazon reviews, though

Don't ASK ... I might lie. Don't TELL me ... Iíll forget. But if you SHOW me I might remember; and if you INVOLVE me Iíll probably get it.

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Old 11-26-2017, 10:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have one and it works great for what you described. Lots of new features for drilling blanks, etc. I donít think you will be disappointed. Here are some pens I made with it.

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Old 11-26-2017, 10:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Tunica, MS,
Posts: 5,637
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When I saw the lathe you asked about and also read your requirements, - and then I thought of the Taig lathe. I started turning pens on a Taig back in late 2004 when I lived overseas.

It has a small clearance between the lathe and base is around 2 to 2 1/2 inches if I remember correctly. The base is about 2 inches thick also.

Taig Miniature Lathe for Wood or Metal - Lee Valley Tools

It is a tad expensive as add ons keep adding up like it does on a regular lathe!
Hank Lee

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!
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Old 11-26-2017, 11:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Have you tried a bar stool. Because of medical problems I use one, most of the time I am half sitting and half standing. I have to use a walker to get around and need support if I am standing. The half sitting is enough to keep me going. This is with an old Delta or my Rikon mini. You will have to play with both the stool height and the lathe height.

I also agree with Lee about the Taig, with the Taig, I set it on the table and it is about the right height and I can get close to the action. If you go that route, if you get the metal attachments, you can make your own bushing etc. and other specialty things. The Taig is not my primary lathe, but no way would I give it up.
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Old 11-27-2017, 04:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Tennessee
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Originally Posted by Drcal View Post
So, I know it sound foolish, but I am looking at the PenPal from Penn State.

Why does it sound foolish? Go with what works for you. I have seen some amazing things done on some very simple machinery.

Often we forget that the turner is the most important part of the equation.

I have seen home runs hit with dime store bats and others who never made it to first base with the best out there.

Glad to see you keeping on.
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Old 12-01-2017, 06:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Salome Az
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I happen to use a bar stool, that I cut the legs of about 6 inches so that I can sat during the sanding and finishing process. They also make a lathe that is side ways so that it can be used by some one in a wheelchair.
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