HELP!!!--Question about my pen turning--PEN BLANK STOPS!!!

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Diane

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Mar 14, 2017
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I have put my pen saver mandrel on, put on the first bushing, next my blank, bushing, blank, then last bushing, and then tightened my tail stock slightly [as my instructions say]. I've tightened the tail stock more [several times] until I cracked my blank. I have my lathe at it's highest speed--I've even tried at EVERY speed!

EVERY time I barely touch my tool to my blank to turn it--the blank STOPS. I've also checked on YouTube to see that I have done everything correctly [I think}. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG OR NOT DOING?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Diane
 
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jttheclockman

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Hello Diane. Welcome to the site if i had not gotten a chance to welcome you.

As mentioned a photo of your set up will help us to help you. Also can you tell us which mandrel saver you have. If it is a PSI one when did you buy it because they had a couple versions. There is a quality difference in these things too. One other thing, what is actually stopping from turning?? Is it the blank itself or the bearing on the mandrel. Look to see if the bushing are still spinning or if you have any spacers in there. What stops spinning is key.

Also you need sharp tools and it would help if you knocked off the square corners if they have them till you get the feel for the tools.
 
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More4dan

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You can post the picture in the thread by clicking on the Go Advance button and uploading your picture.
 

Diane

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the blank is the only thing stopping--everything else is still spinning & I'm using new carbide tools. Wait:you may have hit on something, John: I don't have 'bushings' the only thing PSI sent were 'spacers'--I was calling 'spacers' 'bushings'--I bet there is a difference!! Is this my problem???? What do you think?? [since this is my first 'pen' turning--I confused the 'name--bushing/spacers'



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John T.
 

jttheclockman

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the blank is the only thing stopping--everything else is still spinning & I'm using new carbide tools. Wait:you may have hit on something, John: I don't have 'bushings' the only thing PSI sent were 'spacers'--I was calling 'spacers' 'bushings'--I bet there is a difference!! Is this my problem???? What do you think?? [since this is my first 'pen' turning--I confused the 'name--bushing/spacers'



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John T.
What kit are you doing??? You will only get spacers with the saver. They can not send bushings for so many kits.
 

stonepecker

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Diane...........Go to Exotic Blanks. Ed has a bunch of videos that explain how to make a basic pen. Watch them and see if you are doing something different.
You really are doing the right thing by asking questions. No such thing as a dumb question. Easier to deal with then an accident
IF it is a spacer or bushing problem.......you will see it right away.

Keep us informed.
 

Diane

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thanks--all--I've learned several things today--upload pix by 'go advance'; 'quick reply' to answer questions; spacers are NOT bushings; and most of all--everyone here is so friendly & helpful especially to 'newbies'--I'll order bushings now! maybe when we return from vacation I'll have the 'bushings' and will finally be able to turn & make my FIRST PEN!!!

YA'LL ARE THE BEST!! Thank you again,
Diane
 

mecompco

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pix attached
I'm assuming you have a brass tube glued into the blank. Those "spacers" are what are used for Slimline pens (7mm). If the blank is tubed, and the mandrel is tightened, then I can't see how the blank can still spin. Now if there were no tube in it, really, it still ought to spin (though not true) as the spacers put pressure on it. If you are making any other type of pen, then you will want the proper bushings as those "spacers" will go right up inside a larger tube.

Regards,
Michael
 
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stonepecker

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anyone located near you Diane that is a member here would probally let you watch them make a pen. One thing I see right away is that your rest is bigger than most of us would use. Not saying it can't be done but a smaller rest would get closer to the work and make it safer for you.

Have a great vacation.
 

Diane

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good idea!!!I have a smaller one but didn't change it out--I'll start using it when doing small turnings--thank you for your suggestion

Also, when we go through Birmingham, we're stopping off at WoodCraft store as a stop on our vacation
 
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jttheclockman

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There is so much info still left out. I see one blank on the mandrel in that photo. Still do not know the kit being used. Also how did you glue the tube in?? What glue did you use to glue the tube in?? Did you square the ends??? How did you square the ends??? From the photo the blank did not have the corners knocked off. Also not knowing your turning skills it maybe you are presenting the tool below the blank too much. As we all get acquainted more things like this work themselves out. Just a feeling out process to help you better.
 

Charlie_W

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Hi Diane,

I see from your pic that you have an offset tool rest holder in the banjo. For most turning, simply use the tool rest right in the banjo. Your current setup will allow for some chatter of your cutting tool/chisel as the force of the cutting is not directly supported by the banjo.

You have an excellent penturner between you and Birm. His name is Phil and he is in Columbiana. His IAP name is firewhatfire.
The good folks at the Pelham/Birm Woodcraft can also help you out.

Good luck!
 

larryc

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Diane...........Go to Exotic Blanks. Ed has a bunch of videos that explain how to make a basic pen. Watch them and see if you are doing something different.
You really are doing the right thing by asking questions. No such thing as a dumb question. Easier to deal with then an accident
IF it is a spacer or bushing problem.......you will see it right away.

Keep us informed.
Correction: There is such a thing as a dumb question It's one I don't know the answer to LOL
 

More4dan

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When you stop by Woodcraft, bring your mandrill and have them show you how to it set up on a lathe. I'm sure there is someone there that can walk you through it first hand.


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iMattDaddy

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Yes, you're missing bushings. The spacers that came with the mandrel saver are just to fill the space between the bushings and the mandrel saver so that you don't have to bring the tailstock as far to engage. The spacers aren't always necessary, but the bushings will be necessary. I may have missed the type of kit you're turning, but anything other than a 7mm slimline will do exactly what you're explaining is your issue. And even the 7mm kits may do this as well, not certain.

So you do need the bushings that are specific to each type of kit you are turning. The tube fits onto one end of the bushing, and you turn the blank to the size that doesn't fit into the tube, if that makes sense.

Hope that helps.


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carlmorrell

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It seems odd you can tighten the tail so much that the blank cracks. If the end of the blank shows shiny brass, then you would have to be collapsing the brass tube. My tailstock slips well before that much pressure. If the ends are not square, perhaps the bushings (or spacers) are not seating well enough on the blank and allow slippage.

It's hard to tell from the pic but are ou trying to turn an acrylic? Perhaps starting out with wood might be easier.
 

jsolie

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Hi Diane,

First, glad you sorted out your problem!

Charlie W touched on this, and this might be something to consider for the future. When I started out with pen turning, I was using the tool rest that came with my lathe.

As I began to progress, I was finding that I couldn't get the tool rest close enough to the piece being turned and there was a bit of distance between my tool rest and the piece. I began to notice some vibration, especially when getting close to the bushings.

Then I had two blanks blow up on me. One was due to insufficient adhesive, the other was from this vibration (I think). At this point, I bought a different tool rest that was maybe 3 or 4 inches along the top (the post was the same diameter and length as the factory one).

This new tool rest allowed me to get as close as I wanted to the blank, and the vibration stopped as the tool overhang got a lot less.

So, now that you have a nice mandrel saver, at some point you might want to consider a new shorter tool rest.

Take care,
 

rbrazil

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It looks like the mandrel saver is in the headstock. This should be in the tailstock and the other end of the mandrel in the headstock.
 

jrc

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Bristol, Vermont, USA.
I tried the pen saver mandrel but did not like how much I had to tighten to stop the blank from turning. A good idea but does not work well. No longer use it.
 
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