Full Review Woodpecker's Ultra Shear Pen Mill-Ci - International Association of Penturners
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
Swagopenturner's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Childress, Texas
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Default Woodpecker's Ultra Shear Pen Mill-Ci

I ordered one of Woodpecker's new Pen Mill last December and received it around the 5th of January. I bought the 13 piece set with all the pilot shafts available. Yeah, it was expensive compared to other pen mills available.

Since then I have been putting it through its paces making 75 or so pen kits, both single and double barrel blanks.

Overall impression: Extremely well built and engineered. Very aggressive! It cuts anything I have put to it with ease; Stone, metal, acrylics, and very hard wood blanks.

Warnings: Go VERY slowly and lightly when using this tool! I highly recommend using one of those locking plies with the rubber coated jaws to hold your work. I used to just grab the blank to be trimmed in my hand and hold it up to the spinning pen mill. This tool can be very scary! I equate it to putting your hand very close to a spinning router bit and hoping note to let your skin come in contact!

Don't drop the tool on a hard workbench or floor. The carbide cutters can easily break.

Would I buy it again? Most definately. Even with the added expense, the kit is a very good tool for the serious pen maker. Compared to the other pen mills (I compared the Woodpecker's to PSI and Whiteside), I believe it is a better value, works faster, and cleaner.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I hadn't seen this tool before, thanks! I really like the idea of removable/replaceable carbides, despite the claim on their website that:

Proudly made in the USA, the Woodpeckers® Ultra-Shear Ci Cutterhead features two replaceable .44 square carbide inserts that never need sharpening.

I guess that's technically true if you throw them away when they dull...
"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is."-Yogi Berra
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How well does it cut end-grain on blanks? That was my one concern.

I had two carbide pen mills and they did not cut end grain too well. It was either - almost no cutting - to digging in and gouging. However, this is "WoodPecker" so it "should" do much better than the norm.

I think they do strongly advise putting the blanks in a vise and using the DP for better control, and I agree with them. All the blank has to do, and end grain is far more likely to do this - is to dig in and cause a catch, and it will twist out of the hand, with the blades digging into the hand too!
Hank Lee

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Old 02-07-2019, 03:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Still waiting for mine, Mark. At what speed do you use it?
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't have much WP stuff, but what i do have is very good. That said, since i started sanding the ends on a jig (with a light touch)--no issues at all, and i really don't have to worry about what material it is. Faux bone and real antler sand without issue.

Great to know it worked for you, but for the moment i'll stick with my sanding jig.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It cuts well on end grain - as long as you go SLOW. Since it is very aggressive, it can get away from you. The softer woods need special attention, again, go slow at around 2000-2500 rpms. I don't feed the drill press down, just hold the blanks in the pliers and GENTLY lift into the spinning end mill.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree with Mark - expensive set, but a great set of tools - working very well on wood and resins.

Requires a feather-light touch to get the work done.

Works fine on end grain.

I use a vise.

Warm regards - Bob
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Given the fits of the reamers, I would be wary using this at such high RPM. Any dwell time and you are likely to have friction heating in the tube and possible glue failure as a result.

I find the "sweet spot" to be around 700 rpm with a vice, and as Bob in SF said, a feather light touch to get started. Once the cutters are full face, you can let it eat!

BTW: I wouldn't want my hands, appendages, anything at all near this thing while turning 2000+ rpm!!!

Paul E. Turley
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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As one who gave up using end mill tools some 5 years ago I am bewildered by the $$$ spent on this process when it can be done by simply chucking up the blank and using a round nose scrapper to take off the excess wood so that the metal shows true. OK, the hard part is making sure the blank is true to the plane of the tailstock. Easy does, easy is. Philip
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Interesting. . Thanks for your report.

When I go to the appropriate Woodpecker page, I see "Expected Ship Date: 03/31/2019"

Did they bring forward their release date ?????

One question ... the replaceable carbide cutters ... are they another instance of proprietary cutters sized and shaped specifically for this product ? . Or are manufacturers finally getting together and standardizing the cutters they use for their products ? . It sure would be nice if the latter were the case.
Kids rule the world !!! .... eventually if not already !

Last edited by magpens; 02-12-2019 at 10:53 AM.
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