No lathe needed !!

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plantman

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As I read the threads I see more and more new people itching to get started in making pens. Some are waiting for lathes they ordered to be delivered, some are waiting for a good deal on the internet or sale at their local wood store, some just don't have the money right now, and others are asking for help on what they need to get started. After pondering this for a few days I came up with a way to make a unique pen without using a lathe. The kit I used is a PSI Gun Metal Civil War Pen. The blank is an end cut piece of Bocote with a hole drilled out to 3/8th inch to fit the brass tube. My guide and mandrel is a 3/8th bolt 4 inche long, for this PSI kit, and two nuts that are the same size as the bolt head. The head of the bolt is a polygon having 3 or more straight sides, in this case it has 6 equal sides making it a hexagon. The bolt is slid into the blank and the two nuts are added on the other end. The first nut is aligned with the flats of the bolt head, and the second locks the first one on tight and must also be aligned with the bolt head. Next I took the blank to the band saw and knocked off the corners a little proud of the flats. I draw lines on my blanks so that I don't cut in to far and stay on the plus side of the line on the blank. Now take the assembly to the disk sander and sand the blank down to the six flats. Take your time and make sure you get the flats as close to the same size as you can. You can straighten out any uneveness on a belt sander, or you colud do the whole process on a belt sander. You should now have a near perfect 6 sided hexagon that needs the tube glued in, cut to length, suqared, a light finish sanding, and the finish of your choise. Polish to the amount of shine you want. When sanding the flats by hand, use some type of flat backer so you stay level and don't round over the edges. On this kit I had to match round fittings, so I took a file and rounded the sharp corners down to match the size needed. This should give you something to try and let you get started in pen makng. Normaly, if I were making a run of pens, I would use one of my indexing lathes or the oversized ( 4 feet ) Pen Wizard like attachment I have for my Shop Smith that cuts spirals, coves, beads, and flats with a trim router on a moving carriage and hand crank. It just takes to long to set the system up for one pen. Start to finish, this pen took less than an hour to make. Hope some of you out there find this method useful. Jim S
 

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turncrazy43

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Jim, cool alternative to the lathe. The pen turned out great and the blank grain were beautiful. May have to try that myself.
____________________________________________
Everyday I'm vertical is a great day
 

Timebandit

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Seems complicated and expensive. If they can't afford a lathe, why would a solution that involves a band saw, belt sander, and an $8 dollar pen kit appeal to them. Just send them a harbor freight link and have them sign up for a 20% coupon. Boom, lathe for ~$100! And a link to the PSI funline section.

Maybe they already have the bandsaw and belt sander and only need to buy a kit. This is a penturning forum, but a lot of people started out as woodworkers with a decient amount of woodworking equipment already, but had never turned and therefore didnt own a lathe. Soooo.....they only need a piece of wood and an $8 kit.
 

BSea

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Seems complicated and expensive. If they can't afford a lathe, why would a solution that involves a band saw, belt sander, and an $8 dollar pen kit appeal to them. Just send them a harbor freight link and have them sign up for a 20% coupon. Boom, lathe for ~$100! And a link to the PSI funline section.

Maybe they already have the bandsaw and belt sander and only need to buy a kit. This is a penturning forum, but a lot of people started out as woodworkers with a decient amount of woodworking equipment already, but had never turned and therefore didnt own a lathe. Soooo.....they only need a piece of wood and an $8 kit.
I agree. I know I had everything except the lathe & bandsaw. But I did have a table saw and a miter saw. So I could have done this without a lathe to start. And the fact that it's a little complicated might appeal to them. I know it would to me. Different stokes.
 

keepanionme14

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I think bocote is among my most favorite woods to use. The grain makes it so eye pleasing. What an excellent idea for the lathe challenged. Great job!

On another note, I have that exact HF lathe and love it. Although I got mine through a price snafu. The person transposed the SKU numbers. I ended up getting the lathe for just under $10. I was surprised at their reaction when I realized their mistake. Quoting the person "Oh well, it's our mistake. Don't bring it back."
 

plantman

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How did you align the nuts?

Joe; I aligned the nuts by placeing the head of the bolt in my vice and lining up one of the flats with the flat side of my blank. Now add the first nut and tighten until the nut flats line up with the bolt flats. At this point the alignment is by eye and need not be perfect, the disk sander will do that. Once you do the first flat, you can set the blank on a flat surface and make any small adjustments that may be needed. Add the second nut and line that one up also. Jim S
 

plantman

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Seems complicated and expensive. If they can't afford a lathe, why would a solution that involves a band saw, belt sander, and an $8 dollar pen kit appeal to them. Just send them a harbor freight link and have them sign up for a 20% coupon. Boom, lathe for ~$100! And a link to the PSI funline section.

My first comment would be that you can not make a pen with just a lathe. Second would be that you can not turn a hexagon or any other flat sided object on a lathe without some expensive add ons. This method involved 1 bolt, two nuts, the cost of whatever kit you want to use, and a scrap piece of wood, in this case just over $8.00. If you want to make pens you will need some type of saw to cut your blanks to length, a drill of some sort to drill the holes, bits, the list goes on and on !! I would think that anybody looking at this site has some or most of the tools needed to make pens or do woodworking. I could have made this pen with a hand plane also and finished it with a wax polish. That would keep the cost down to the hardware only. It's only complicated if you have never done it before or you don't understand the concept. Once explained, there should be no problem. If you have questions just ask. Thats what this site is for and the people are on it to help answer questions. Jim S
 

plantman

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Good looking piece of wood! I think the flats are actually pretty appropriate for the Civil War series

Thanks Harry !! I have made several black power guns in the past and most had octagon barrels with a few hexagons here and there. Many of the mass produced guns were restocked by the owners with highly figured and carved woods during their down times. I made another one today in satin finish with a straight grained spalted maple blank. It surely doesn't stand out like the end grain Bocote blank I used on the first one. Jim S
 
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plantman

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That looks great! That might look good with the Vertex-style.

Thanks Brian !! I have one made up, but not on a Vertex kit. I can't show it to you however at this time. Reason #1, I would have to steal it out of my wife's purse. #2, I can't show it at this time. Jim S
 

OZturner

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Brilliant Lateral Thinking, Jim.
Great Idea and Exercution.
Beautiful Bocote Blank.
And it won't easily roll off the Table.
What more could anyone want.
Congratulations,
Brian.
 

twinsen

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Seems complicated and expensive. If they can't afford a lathe, why would a solution that involves a band saw, belt sander, and an $8 dollar pen kit appeal to them. Just send them a harbor freight link and have them sign up for a 20% coupon. Boom, lathe for ~$100! And a link to the PSI funline section.

Maybe they already have the bandsaw and belt sander and only need to buy a kit. This is a penturning forum, but a lot of people started out as woodworkers with a decient amount of woodworking equipment already, but had never turned and therefore didnt own a lathe. Soooo.....they only need a piece of wood and an $8 kit.
I agree. I know I had everything except the lathe & bandsaw. But I did have a table saw and a miter saw. So I could have done this without a lathe to start. And the fact that it's a little complicated might appeal to them. I know it would to me. Different stokes.

I see your point. But if I can drill the blank out to insert the tube, it makes more sense to mount the blank to the drill press, hand drill (or what ever i drilled with) using a dowel or metal rod so that it is cylindrical. See here and here.
 

Timebandit

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Seems complicated and expensive. If they can't afford a lathe, why would a solution that involves a band saw, belt sander, and an $8 dollar pen kit appeal to them. Just send them a harbor freight link and have them sign up for a 20% coupon. Boom, lathe for ~$100! And a link to the PSI funline section.

Maybe they already have the bandsaw and belt sander and only need to buy a kit. This is a penturning forum, but a lot of people started out as woodworkers with a decient amount of woodworking equipment already, but had never turned and therefore didnt own a lathe. Soooo.....they only need a piece of wood and an $8 kit.
I agree. I know I had everything except the lathe & bandsaw. But I did have a table saw and a miter saw. So I could have done this without a lathe to start. And the fact that it's a little complicated might appeal to them. I know it would to me. Different stokes.

I see your point. But if I can drill the blank out to insert the tube, it makes more sense to mount the blank to the drill press, hand drill (or what ever i drilled with) using a dowel or metal rod so that it is cylindrical. See here and here.

Greg, i think you are missing the point of the OP. He doesnt want to make a round pen. He wants it to be the shape of the nuts. So using your method is out of the question. It doesnt really have anything to do with owning or needing a lathe, but rather to make a hexagon shaped pen. It just so happens that his method doesnt require a lathe to do this, so if you dont own a lathe, and would like to make a pen like this, it is still possible. Lets pretend he didnt say anything about needing a lathe, and this thread is about making a hexagon shaped pen.
 
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plantman

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Brilliant Lateral Thinking, Jim.
Great Idea and Exercution.
Beautiful Bocote Blank.
And it won't easily roll off the Table.
What more could anyone want.
Congratulations,
Brian.

Thanks Brian; Actually it was horizontal thinking. I was lying in bed one nite when the idea came to me on how to make this pen without having to set up one of my lathes to cut and index flats on a blank. It took will power not to get up in the middle of the night and go to the shop to try the method out. I never thought about the rolling off the table aspect, but when you hold the pen in your hand your two fingers and thumb each land on a flat, giving you a feeling of real control. From up over!! Jim S
 
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OZturner

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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantman

Thanks Brian; Actually it was horizontal thinking. I was lying in bed one nite when the idea came to me on how to make this pen without having to set up one of my lathes to cut and index flats on a blank. It took will power not to get up in the middle of the night and go to the shop to try the method out. I never thought about the rolling off the table aspect, but when you hold the pen in your hand your two fingers and thumb each land on a flat, giving you a feeling of real control. From up over!! Jim S[/quote]

Thanks for the correction, of "Horizontal thinking", Jim.

Like you, I do all of my Creative Thinking, and Solving problems that, don't and may, never have existed.
Also, just about all of my Brilliant, Earth Shattering, Original, Life Changing, Ideas, develop in my head at night in Bed.

My fortune, and life style could immediately improve, If only I could just remember them in the Morning.
Ah well I'll just have to go back to the Drawing Bed.
Love your work,
Brian.
 
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plantman

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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantman

Thanks Brian; Actually it was horizontal thinking. I was lying in bed one nite when the idea came to me on how to make this pen without having to set up one of my lathes to cut and index flats on a blank. It took will power not to get up in the middle of the night and go to the shop to try the method out. I never thought about the rolling off the table aspect, but when you hold the pen in your hand your two fingers and thumb each land on a flat, giving you a feeling of real control. From up over!! Jim S

Thanks for the correction, of "Horizontal thinking", Jim.

Like you, I do all of my Creative Thinking, and Solving problems that, don't and may, never have existed.
Also, just about all of my Brilliant, Earth Shattering, Original, Life Changing, Ideas, develop in my head at night in Bed.

My fortune, and life style could immediately improve, If only I could just remember them in the Morning.
Ah well I'll just have to go back to the Drawing Bed.
Love your work,
Brian.[/QUOTE]

Brian; Lateral would have been correct also, as I sleep on my side frequently. Most of the great inventers and thinkers in history always kept something to write on by their bedsides or in their pockets. That way, if they thought of something while sleeping, resting, or if something came to them out of the blue, they could jot it down and come back to it later. Many of the projects I have built, I have had no formal plans for, only a rough sketch on paper, yet I have drawn every line, measured and cut every board, glued, nailed, and assembled every joint before I have touched or even selected any lumber for the project. It's just the way I work !! I do a lot of designing and building in my sleep as you do also. From Up Over. Jim S
 
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plantman

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Awesome idea!!!! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for passing on the idea (too many people get "proprietary")!

Thank you !! I can understand why people who do this for a living or as a side income get proprietary with new ideas or methods and try to keep them to themselves as long as they can. I, on the other hand, seeking no monetary gain have no problems passing on ideas, methods, or past experience and passing on information or answering questions that are asked. Information is like a sir-name. If there is no male member of the family ( no offense to you ladys out there ) to pass it on, it will be lost forever. Jim S
 

plantman

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Here is a photo of the mandrels I used to make this hexagon pen. Also one to make the tapers on the pen I have added. Sometimes a photo is better than words. First is the blank mounted to the bolt ready to have the flats sanded down. Second is the tapering mandrel used on the second photo minis one size washer. Third is a 3/8th inch bolt and nuts from the store. Last one is a mandrel I used for a two barrel pen. The tape snugs up the fit for the larger tube. Total cost for nuts and bolts 50 cents. Third photo shows you what a bad choise in grain in a blank can do. The brushed Satin pen is made exactly the same way the Gun Metal was made. Only difference is the choise of woods and the way the board was cut and turned. Dark one being Bocote and cut across the grain. Second lite one being Spalted Maple and cut with the grain. You realy have to look close to notice that it too is also a hexagon because the grain runs in the same direction with the points. Jim S
 

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