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Old 01-20-2019, 03:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Well I tried..

Well I have tried making a couple of pens, sure didn’t turn out well.. but I learned from it..


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Old 01-20-2019, 03:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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When I started, I had already had some years experience in woodworking and finishing, but that didn't help that much in the tiny area of making a pen. I made my first three or four, then cut a piece of a 2X4 pine into about 10 to 15 blanks and made a day of learning to drill small pieces of wood, gluing tubes in, turning them down and then learning to finish. I was not trying to make a pen, but rather getting the feel of each part.

At that time, I had drilled holes in wood for nearly 60 years in making things, but drilling holes lengthwise in 3/4 by 3/4 by 2 inch blanks was quite different. Drilling in 3/4 by 3/4 can make one that thin blow out or go sideways. Turning a pen blank to size that is only 3/4 inch is quite different than turning a 4" to 8" square or round wood. Very little room for error plus the speed (RPM) for 3/4" blanks is different from turning bowls or vases. THEN getting the pen blank to the correct size is another thing. Learning how how much to turn and how much to sand with what grit. One error is getting it down to size with a 120 grit and then trying to sand the 120 scratches out with 220 up to 400 and you have sanded it way down past the bushings. DAKHIKT!

Add to that the fact that one has purchased a nice piece of wood that makes it scary that you are about to waste, . . . the best thing to do is cut some 2x4 pine and practice for a few hours. Then with getting that experience of just 5 or 10 practice blanks, you would be surprised how much you have learned and progressed!

One suggestion will be to get a set of calipers and learn from the beginning to measure the size of your blanks as you turn. Bushings will shrink as you hit it with the chisel or sand paper. Measure the nib end, the center band and the clip end and turn the blank to fit that, not to the size of the bushings. This will make for much better fittings.
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Old 01-20-2019, 03:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Or you can get pieces of dowel at the big box stores. Pen turning is a constant learning experience and you never learn all of it.
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Old 01-20-2019, 05:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I had to overcome the concern the lathe would grab my gouge out of my hand and beat me with it.

Started out turn pieces of pine 2x2 round until I got used to and went from there.


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Old 01-20-2019, 05:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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You can also simply drill your wood blanks with a 1/4” bit and mount on the mandrel without a tube for practice turning.
If you can get ahold of some hardwood, turn that too. You can even use pallet wood if you can get one.

Good luck!

Edit: many times, Home Depot, Lowe’s or Lumber yards have a scrap bin. You might get some hardwoods for only a buck or so. Also check a cabinet shop or flooring company.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I have plenty of “practice” wood.. I just need to get a drill press, or something. The hole was bad and it caused some issues with the tube, and then I crushed a transmission pushing it in.. I bought some dollar pen kits so I wouldn’t feel bad about the screw ups. I wish I had someone close to kind of show me some things.. I know I will get better. It is a hobby, not trying to make money from this..


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Old 01-20-2019, 06:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Keep at it and you will succeed.
It is unfortunate that you are having issues but they are learning tools.
And, for give me for saying so, but in a way it is refreshing to see this post as opposed to the one where the OP says 'look at my first pen' and it is nearly perfect!
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I think most our first ones are always the learning ones. When I did my first pen, I had a couple youtube videos lined up that I would watch while turning. With pauses of course. Just to watch how fast the lathe was going, roughing, shaping, sanding etc.... I would do a little turning and go back and watch each step of the specific video I had up. It really helped a lot.
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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We don’t know what part of ‘Bama you are located. You can click on the member map at the top of the page and see where other turners are in the state. There are probably more but you need to give your zip code to get added to the member map.
Also, if you are close enough, there is a Woodcraft in Birmingham/Pelham. They can help you as well.
You will find plenty of info here in the Library too.
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin View Post
I have plenty of “practice” wood.. I just need to get a drill press, or something.
This may be a little advanced for you but it is not that difficult. Many people drill the holes on the lathe. Do you have a 4 jaw chuck? And adding a drill chuck to the tail stock and you will be able to do what it will take a $150 - $200+ drill press to do.

With a bit of practice, perfect holes can be made this way.

BTW, thanks for posting. Lots of people here willing to help.
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