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Old 01-25-2012, 05:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Question Suppliers of quality pen/pencil kits

I have been making pens for about a year now and have purchased all my kits from WoodTurningZ. For the most part I have been happy, but have had some concerns with the slimlines. I have found that the black ink is normally terrible (blotchy) - not the quality I would want wen selling them. Also, I find that the cartridge (turning mechanism) is also suspect. Sometimes they are great and other times they are very loose and the cartridge turns back on the user. Craft USA seems to claim that their pen kits in general are at least as good and in most situations are better in both quality in finish and parts. Does anyone have any info to share to support these claims?

I was going to try a few new pen styles from Penn State to broaden my offering, and like the ability to see others comments. Craft USA doesn't have this and makes it hard to know what pen or pencil styles may not be as good as claimed.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Craft USA is, IMHO, a good operation. I purchase from them pretty often but, until recently, have only purchased the "Clicker" in any quantity. That pen is one of my staples and I have never (read NEVER) had an issue with a Clicker kit. Any issues I've had were my own doing.

Penn State is the place I purchase the majority of my pen kits. They have a long product line and seem to be updating (adding new and removing slow/no-sellers) regularly.

As far as the refill that comes with the kit (any kit) I am sure you won't find anybody here who will say they prefer them. Some folk even make it a selling point to replace the refill with a better quality one when the pen sells. I haven't gone that far (yet) but ...........

When I do a show, I keep a bunch of different refills handy. There's always someone who wants blue ink. Or gel ink. Or a fine point.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Like Ted, I have good luck with Penn State and Craft USA. I find both to be highly reputable, tho' Craft USA is MUCH faster shipping. My absolute favorite place to buy kits though is from ExoticBlanks.com. Great kits at good prices, excellent service and good communication.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I like the pen kits from CSUSA. They are reasonably priced and I haven't had issues. Their customer service is good and they are a prompt organization.

I order from PSI also and like their variety of kits and quality. They have a knack at making feminine pens that I have not seen the equal. Their Customer service is not the best and make sure you give plenty of time for delivery or pay for faster shipping and handling.

My first supplier was Woodcraft and I stick by them for a lot of the duplicate pen kits like Wall Street II's and Atlas pens. They are nice kits but some have complained about the price. I like the quality so I continue to buy from them. Shipping isn't too bad and their customer service is good. I have received responses from them and CSUSA within a day of talking to a CSR or from an e-mail.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Isn't Woodturnings a PSI reseller? if so then you are getting a PSI kit for a lower price. If not there are several other members here that are PSI reseller's who sell the same products for less. They also help out turners on this site. i.e. they support us so we should support them.
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for all the feedback guys. Just to respond to a few comments above. Yes, WoodTurningZ is a reseller of PSI but do have some of their own exclusive items like the Mesa. I think this is a very sharp looking pen, writes well, but my personal feeling is that the outer tube should have a slightly better fit over the inner tube so to eliminate the shake which can make it feel cheap. Also, when I commented to WoodTurningZ that the slimline cartridges are not always very good (to loose, rollback etc.) that they agreed and stated that the replacements are usually better for some reason. In my opinion, that's great, but it bothers me that I buy a kit, and then need to buy replacement ink, and then replacement cartridges. These are all costs that you need to pass on to customers thus raising the price. As you all know just the increase in shipping has been substantial over the last couple years.

Are Craft USA version of the slimline (which I believe is the Artisan Slimline starting at $2.99) really better? This would include quality of finish, cartridge, and possibly the ink.

Mike
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdwilliams999 View Post
Are Craft USA version of the slimline (which I believe is the Artisan Slimline starting at $2.99) really better? This would include quality of finish, cartridge, and possibly the ink.

Mike
Opinions on these questions can be subjective.

One thing that can be stated as FACT is: CSUSA stands behind what they sell. If you have a problem with one, call them and they will replace it!

Try a few and decide for yourself.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtrimyer View Post
Isn't Woodturnings a PSI reseller? if so then you are getting a PSI kit for a lower price. If not there are several other members here that are PSI reseller's who sell the same products for less. They also help out turners on this site. i.e. they support us so we should support them.
Woodturningz resel SOME PSI kit. Most of their slims are not PSI kits anymore but the other cheap company equivalent to CSUSA apprentice or PSI funline.
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