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sturner

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
Messages
12
Location
Alabama
Thanks for accepting me into the association. I have been retired from the Air Force for a few years. Shortly after my retirement I bought a 79 Corvette and tore it down to near nothing, including engine and transmission removal, and restored it. I turned my garage into a paint booth and even painted and clear coated the car. I didn't have every single tool I needed but made do by improvising and only buying new tools when absolutely necessary. I even used a skateboard to lift and align the transmission for re installation. By the time I was done I had had enough of restoring cars. I sold the car and now I'm looking for another passion that's not so physically demanding. So, I am new to pen turning and didn't even know it existed until a few weeks ago when a friend presented me with a pen he had turned. I was hooked as soon as I held it. I've never used a lathe but used many power tools to gut and remodel a condo. The wife and I did everything ourselves except tool the granite countertops. That project is completely done so now I'm researching the tools to get started pen turning.

I've read through some forums and have many of the same questions most newbies have. My biggest concern is the lathe since it seems to be the most pricey. For my price range (established by the wife) it seems I have two choices...the basic pen making starter set with turncrafter commander 10 inch VSML for $399.65 or the rikon 70-100 12x16 MSML lathe alone for $375.99 on sale. My gut says the Rikon but my lazy brain says the VSML.
1. Which is best?
2. If I go with the Rikon how do I figure out which pen mandrel it requires (#1 or #2)?
3. And does the PennStateInd drilling haed/tail chucks work with the rikon for drilling blanks? If not, how do I know what to order elsewhere?

Please let me know if I'm missing something but to get started I need: a lathe, pen mandrel, turning chisels, blanks, tubes, barrel trimmer, CA glue, bushings, sandpaper, polish, pen press, and pen kits.

If I want to drill my own blanks I need: some sort of drill press or chucks for the lathe, pen kit (size) specific drill bit, vice to hold the blank square, and blanks.

When ordering pen kits, does each pen kit come with bushings, tubes, and drill bits? Or does it all vary depending on the pen kit?

So many questions and this is probably not the right area but I thank you in advance for the patience. Thanks again for accepting me into the association.
 
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magpens

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
15,764
Location
Canada
WELCOME to IAP !!! . Let the fun begin !!!

Pen Mandrel #1 or #2 does not depend on which lathe you buy. Both mandrels will work.
But you have to buy the correct Morse Taper adapter (arbor) for the mandrel to match your lathe.

Sounds like you will be buying a lathe which would have a Morse Taper 2 spindle.
So you would need a Morse Taper 2 adapter for your mandrel.

Most pen kits use bushings which fit a Mandrel #1; a very few kits use a Mandrel #2.

So, for now, buy a Mandrel #1 with a Morse Taper #2 spindle adapter.

Check to be sure your lathe has a Morse Taper 2 spindle. That is preferred. They buy your mandrel adapter to suit.
 
Last edited:

JimB

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
4,673
Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
Welcome! Both those lathes will do the job. Personally I would want variable speed but I would also prefer a Rikon or Jet over the Commander. If all you will ever do is pens and similar size items then the Commander is fine. The problem is very few people just stick with only doing pens. They eventually want to do bowls and other things. Buy as much lathe as you can.

Both those lathes are MT2 taper and have a 1x8 threaded spindle. That is good as that determines most accessories such as mandrel and chucks.

Both are 1/2 hp motors. That is sufficient for pens and small bowls. It may struggle if you put larger pieces on there.

The Swing, 10" and 12" determines how large a piece of wood you can use for something like a bowl. Bigger the better.

There really isn't a right answer to your questions. It really depends on what you will use the lathe for both now and in the future.

The "all included" package is good and bad. Yes, it has what you need to start turning pens but it may not be what you want. As an example, The 3 turning tools are small pen making tools. They are just that, small. IMO, regular size tools are much better.

Your list of things needed to get started is a good list.

When you buy pen kits they are only the kits. No drill bits or bushings. A few kits, not many, can be bought as a package as well and include the bit and bushings.

I hope I have answered a few of your questions and not confused you even more.
 

Edgar

New Member Advocate
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
6,328
Location
Alvin, TX 77511
Welcome from Texas, Stafford.

You will need two chucks for drilling on the lathe - one on the headstock to hold the blank and one in the tailstock to hold the drill bits. For the latter, you can get two types: one with a threaded end or one with a tang end.

Either type will work for use in the tailstock, but I prefer the threaded type because you can also use it to mount things in the headstock for other purposes. I like this one from Woodcraft & it's on sale right now (sale ends today though).
Buy Heavy Duty 1/2" Keyed Lathe Drill Chuck #2 MT at Woodcraft.com

What the threaded end does is allow you to screw a drawbar into the chuck while it's mounted in the headstock so the chuck doesn't come flying out while you're turning. All you need is a 12" piece of all-thread bar from Home Depot or Lowe's to go through the spindle & screw into the chuck, then secure it with a knob or nut. Then you can safely use the chuck in the headstock.

I hope you will join in on some of the BASH contests & activities. Let me know if you have any questions.

Edgar
 

sturner

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
Messages
12
Location
Alabama
I searched around the PSI site but couldn't find a mandrel #1 with #2 spindle adaptor. I only found #1 or #2 mandrel. Tried to locate the mandrel PSI sells with the turncrafter since it has head/tail stock MT #2 but it won't locate that specific part. I need that visual reference, lol. Also found a 12 inch MS lathe for $199 at harbor freight but it only mentions the tail stock MT #2. Is it safe to assume that the headstock is also MT #2?
 

stonepecker

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2012
Messages
4,382
Location
central Minnesota
BEFORE YOU GET TO DEEP INTO THINGS................

May I suggest going to the top of this page and in the middle you will find a small blue box with "Member Map" on it. Click on that and see if anyone that is already a member is close to you. You can also search the local chapters in Alabama.

Find someone that is willing to show you what you are talking about. Look their shop over. See what is going on. Listen to them and read here to find out what you NEED before you buy.

You might just find a great deal with someone local that wants to upgrade and is willing to make a deal with you for some very good equipment.

One thing I know........You don't have to have the top of the line or every piece of equipment to do a great job turning pens. You can start out with used tools and learn before making the investment a complete shop requires.

Craiglist........IAP ads.......word of mouth........all can get you what you need.

WELCOME TO THE IAP!
 
Last edited:

jsolie

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
2,100
Location
Sunny Murrieta, CA
Welcome from Southern California!

I'm don't shop much on PSI's site, but I think this mandrel will cover most of your needs

https://www.pennstateind.com/store/PKM-FLC.html

You can get either a mandrel saver for that

https://www.pennstateind.com/store/PKMSTS2.html

Or go with a 60 degree live center https://www.pennstateind.com/store/LCENTLT2.html

If it were me, I'd go with the live center just because you can use that with other turnings like bottle stoppers, pepper mills, etc.

That Rikon lathe you mentioned will take a #2 Morse taper (don't confuse that with PSI's #2 mandrel), and all these pieces are for a #2 Morse taper equipped lathe. That Rikon also has a 1"X8 TPI headstock which is a very common size so it's easy to find chucks, adapters, faceplates and other goodies that will easily fit. FWIW, the lathe I have has #2 Morse tapers in both the headstock and tailstock and a 1"x8 TPI headstock.

Hope this helps!
 

JimB

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
4,673
Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
I searched around the PSI site but couldn't find a mandrel #1 with #2 spindle adaptor. I only found #1 or #2 mandrel. Tried to locate the mandrel PSI sells with the turncrafter since it has head/tail stock MT #2 but it won't locate that specific part. I need that visual reference, lol. Also found a 12 inch MS lathe for $199 at harbor freight but it only mentions the tail stock MT #2. Is it safe to assume that the headstock is also MT #2?

The #1 or #2 is the MT aka Morse Taper. The lathes you are looking at take the MT2.

As far as the HF lathe, it is probably MT2 in both the tail and head stocks.
Maybe someone who has one will chime in.

HF also has a decent set of tools for about $65. It's a good starter set. I still use mine after having them for 8 years. They also have a cheaper set for about $20 but they don't say HSS. You want them to be HSS (high speed steel).
 

JimB

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
4,673
Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
The HF lathe also doesn't say what the threading on the headstock is. The most common for the size lathes you are looking at is 1x8. There are adapters for other sizes.
 

boatemp

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
196
Location
NoCal
RE: the HF lathes. The smaller variable speed lathe takes a #1 morse taper. The larger one takes a #2 morse taper. I have one of each. the smaller, variable speed has a 1/3 hp motor while the larger (mini) lathe has 1/2 hp motor.
Hope this helps. Good luck with your turning.
 

sturner

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
Messages
12
Location
Alabama
I'll have to call those guys in the morning. I was reading their Q&A and they state that both their #1 MT and #2 MT mandrels fit all the pen kits, including 7mm. Built a nice workbench in my garage for $48. Haven't figured out how to post pictures yet...couldn't find the on off switch ;)
 

Mr Vic

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2008
Messages
1,864
Location
Falcon, CO
BEFORE YOU GET TO DEEP INTO THINGS................

May I suggest going to the top of this page and in the middle you will find a small blue box with "Member Map" on it. Click on that and see if anyone that is already a member is close to you. You can also search the local chapters in Alabama.

Find someone that is willing to show you what you are talking about. Look their shop over. See what is going on. Listen to them and read here to find out what you NEED before you buy.

You might just find a great deal with someone local that wants to upgrade and is willing to make a deal with you for some very good equipment.

One thing I know........You don't have to have the top of the line or every piece of equipment to do a great job turning pens. You can start out with used tools and learn before making the investment a complete shop requires.

Craiglist........IAP ads.......word of mouth........all can get you what you need.

WELCOME TO THE IAP!

I totally agree... You might ask the friend who made your pen if you could check out his shop. Might even let you try making one. I don't want to discourage you but make sure it's something you want to pursue before throwing money into it.

And also, Thanks for your service.
 
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