No more wimpy pen presses

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KenB259

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Dec 24, 2017
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My wife bought me a new pen press for Christmas, a pretty well know one. Well since Christmas, I have broken it 3 times. Before that I had just used my lathe and pressed pens together between the head and tail stock. It worked fine, and whether there’s any truth to it or not, I always felt it might not be the best for my lathe. I have always been a believer in using tools as their intended use. I decided to just go ahead and adapt an arbor press that I already had. I just made a little table that can slide on and off, attached some stick on pads to the plunger and the table, to protect the pen components. I also built it up a little bit so it’s at eye level when sitting at my bench.
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larydactyl

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Jan 26, 2020
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I am glad to see this post. I have two of those one ton arbor presses in my workshop, one has been modified for leather and kydex work, the other is bone stock for the dirty/greasy work. I have yet to make my first pen but I was hoping that the modified press would eliminate the need for a pen press.
 

qquake

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That's definitely not wimpy. But my question would be, is there the possibility of damaging pens? One ton is a lot of pressure. I've always used my drill press to press pens together, and I see no reason to change.
 

KenB259

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Michigan
That's definitely not wimpy. But my question would be, is there the possibility of damaging pens? One ton is a lot of pressure. I've always used my drill press to press pens together, and I see no reason to change.
A 1 ton designation just means that is the safe operating limit. I am sure it will press pens together with ease.

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MRDucks2

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Jul 17, 2017
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Washington, IN
I use the same arbor press and it works great with a nice feel for control once you have used it a couple of times.

One thing I noticed initially and have to warn guests about is ensuring you have good alignment of parts before applying pressure. You can press through misaligned parts and damage the fit or finish.
 

larydactyl

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You can easily control how much force you apply with a manual arbor press, you get good feedback from the ram.
 

ramaroodle

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My wife bought me a new pen press for Christmas, a pretty well know one. Well since Christmas, I have broken it 3 times.

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I've noticed on this site that people seem reluctant to mention the name of specific products that they are unhappy with. Is that a site rule? I would think we would want to know the name of a subpar product. It's nothing more than a quick review. Who made it and what broke three times?
 

KenB259

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I've noticed on this site that people seem reluctant to mention the name of specific products that they are unhappy with. Is that a site rule? I would think we would want to know the name of a subpar product. It's nothing more than a quick review. Who made it and what broke three times?
Well I’m not sure if it’s a site rule, but I’ll take a chance that it is not. Here’s a picture of the press I have had bad luck with. It never broke while assembling a pen, but it did break on three occasions while disassembling pens. The rivets,on the right side, right above the black piece, simply shear off.
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ramaroodle

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Have you used it for disassembly yet?


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Yes and that was the primary reason I bought it. I have a home-built press that works just fine.


I was using the PSI vise grip pliers to disassemble but was having issues cracking the finish when trying to grip tight enough to hold the pen. Sometimes that last little bit when engaging the "vise" would crack the blank. In hindsight I guess it was worth the $.
 
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KenB259

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Michigan
Yes and that was the primary reason I bought it. I have a home-built press that works just fine.


I was using the PSI vise grip pliers to disassemble but was having issues cracking the finish when trying to grip tight enough to hold the pen. Sometimes that last little bit when engaging the "vise" would crack the blank. In hindsight I guess it was worth the $.
I too use those pliers. To be honest the only pens I’ve disassembled are the ones I want to totally remake. To that end, I never care if the old cracks or not as I’m just going to throw it away. Most of them haven’t really been damaged but a few have. The PSI press I have is still usable as I repaired it. But I doubt I will ever use it again for disassembly.


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howsitwork

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Jul 9, 2016
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Wish my workshop was that clean !

Great idea with the press , infinite control of pressure . I note you put plastic I’m guessing hdpe (?) on the surface the parts rest on. Do you jig the bits to keep em aligned vertically in use ?
 

KenB259

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Wish my workshop was that clean !

Great idea with the press , infinite control of pressure . I note you put plastic I’m guessing hdpe (?) on the surface the parts rest on. Do you jig the bits to keep em aligned vertically in use ?
Those are not plastic but a couple of those really tightly woven carpet protectors. They give the perfect amount of friction so nothing is slippery yet aren’t so soft that if hard go get parts pressed together. Haven’t needed to jig anything yet. I just make very sure everything is lined up pretty well before I apply any pressure.


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Shooter-55

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Those are not plastic but a couple of those really tightly woven carpet protectors. They give the perfect amount of friction so nothing is slippery yet aren’t so soft that if hard go get parts pressed together. Haven’t needed to jig anything yet. I just make very sure everything is lined up pretty well before I apply any pressure.


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You didn't say if it was under any type of warranty. Did you call them to see. If so, what was the resut. Curious because I just purchased the same unit. No issue so far though.
 

KenB259

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Michigan
You didn't say if it was under any type of warranty. Did you call them to see. If so, what was the resut. Curious because I just purchased the same unit. No issue so far though.
I didn’t call them, I just fixed it myself, and it still works. Hey and if I don’t screw up anymore pens, I won’t have to disassemble them.


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rmiller

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Jun 11, 2015
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Wyoming, IL
There is actually a short video on Berea Hardwoods showing how to set up the 1-ton press. They suggest using a piece of corian on the bottom and drilling a hole the button of the click mechanism to fit into. Here is the link for the video in case anyone is interested.

 
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