New turner, any tips?

Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

ryoko

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2021
Messages
3
Location
NH
Hi all,

Very new to turning and these are a few of the after simline kits that I turned. Thought I'd post and see if there are any initial thoughts, obvious things I'm doing wrong and all. These are in PurpleHeart, Bloodwood, and Padauk. The finish on them is Tung Oil. When done turning that purpleheart was a nasty looking grey-brown. I read about taking a torch to purple heart and it did wonders. What other woods does that work with? I was surprised that the light color line in the purpleheart was before torching actually darker than the surrounding wood.

Any good and durable finishes other than CA? I really like touching wood not a plastic coating. There is an 11+ year old post showing one person's product that seems well appreciated, but wondering if there is something newer. Sorry could not find that link.


CameraZOOM-20210503190834563.jpg

CameraZOOM-20210503191155338.jpg

CameraZOOM-20210503191203185.jpg
 
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
2,559
Location
Wolf Creek Montana
Welcome to the club!!! I use Wipe On Poly (WOP) as my finish. If you want to know more just PM me instead of wasting a lot of time here. These pens look really nice, surprised you're a beginner. Ask a lot of questions here, there's tons on of great advice from some really skilled turners (myself not included).
 

jttheclockman

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
15,432
Location
NJ, USA.
Welcome and nice pens. As far as finishes there are a few choices and processes that can be used to keep the wood feel you desire. I like to use lacquer as a top coat but have also used CA but just knocked back the shine and used less coats. As far as the purpleheart goes, that more than likely will turn dark brown over time and the more exposure to UV light will turn faster. Many oily exotic woods will change colors with time. Just the nature of the woods. Good luck as you travel down the road of pen making.
 

leehljp

Member Liaison
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Messages
8,069
Location
Tunica, MS,
Here is a link that is somewhat old, and it is long but very beneficial, even today:

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f14/if-i-had-known-earlier-46654/

I understand the love of the feel of wood. Tung oil, buffing and waxing gives that feel / touch. I gather that you have done some woodworking before and that is where you get the value of the feel of real wood.

There are a few things that get confused by woodworkers when coming into pen turning. IN general many bowl turners turn too slow because they were taught to turn slow for bowls; Flat work woodworkers greatly value the feel of wood, yet do not see where wood pen blanks are used differently from flat work. IF the pen maker knows this and understands the problems that come with it, then it is fine.

Pens are handled differently than wood tables, cabinets, bowls, furniture and even good carvings. The pen is handled half a dozen to maybe 2 dozen times a day. They are put into humid shirt pockets, handled by sweaty palms, put into purses and moved around among metal edges of coins etc. They go from warm rooms to freezing temps, left in 150° car interiors. Furniture and other wood products do not go through this. CA in general will protect better than any other finish to such wide variances in environments, with the exception of properly done urushii finish.

As to the plasticy look, many people do not like it, but if you decide to offer them for sale or even give away (except to very few people comparatively) the majority of people around the world will choose the fine finish of CA.

Urushii finish:
BTW, that finish would bring you a few thousand dollars in Tokyo. Tung oil would not get near it.

Look at this post and notice the long narrow reflection in it.
https://www.penturners.org/threads/i-wasn’t-sure-if-i’d-like-it-or-not.170091/

That is an example of a beautiful skillfully done finish that will protect the pen from grime and heat of a sweaty shirt pocket that tung oil can prevent somewhat, but can't stop the build up of grime as seen on kitchen cabinet doors where they are handled by hands repeatedly, unless cleaned regularly. Furniture is not handled like pens are.
 
Last edited:

sorcerertd

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2019
Messages
537
Location
North Carolina, USA
Welcome. I had to chuckle a little at the "any tips?" part. I still am picking up tips and expect that I have barely skimmed the surface.

I have two tips to start you out with and, for what it's worth, I'm still learning both of them.
1. Be patient. This may be the most important thing in penmaking.
2. Learn to sharpen your tools.
 

ryoko

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2021
Messages
3
Location
NH
Thank you all for the nice comments.

>> These pens look really nice, surprised you're a beginner

Wow, really was not expecting that. I'm humbled. Thank you.

>> . Learn to sharpen your tools.
I cheated there. Though I can properly sharpen a straight chisel on a stone, I really did not like sharpening toolsteel for the metal lathe, so I went the cry once buy once and got some carbide tipped chisels.

Regarding Urushi finish, well I never heard of it before but it sounds great. A younger me would jump into it, but honestly I lack the motivation to make the curing and humidity box. Penturning was something I thought was neat, but never thought I would do it because of so many hobbies/ obligations / clubs etc. When Covid hit and I was imprisoned in my home, a friend gifted me the mandrel and starter equipment to start another hobby. Well at this point I'm happy at how things are going, and hope he is not sick of a ton of pens coming from me :p

>> As to the plasticy look, many people do not like it, but if you decide to offer them for sale or even give away (except to very few people comparatively) the majority of people around the world will choose the fine finish of CA.

Thank you friend, I will try to look more fondly to a ca finish.
 

penicillin

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
546
My best single tip for beginners is to buy extra pen tubes for the kits you make. It takes a lot of the stress out of penturning. If something goes wrong, just toss it, grab a new pen blank and start over with the same pen kit you had before, which is still good to go.

Regarding purpleheart, I had not heard of the "torch" trick. After turning, I leave them exposed to the light to "purple up" before finish and assembly. It is slower, but might be more gentle. Over time all purpleheart will darken and change towards brown. There is no stopping it:

See:
https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/preventing-color-changes-in-exotic-woods/
 
Top Bottom