Now I got myself wondering...

Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

jrich7970

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
86
Location
South Jersey, USA
Discard piece from an old cutting board I made.

Maple, walnut, cherry, padauk, cherry, walnut, maple.

I have some extra slimline tubes (but no other pen parts), but I might try cutting a blank out of this and turning it. Only issue is it's 5/8" wide, not 3/4".

Guess it can't hurt to try. The discoloring of that maple running through at the top might be interesting. I can make the bottom part of the pen all maple.

20200723_155804.jpg
 
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

magpens

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
12,655
Location
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
You should be OK at 5/8".

BTW .... are you drilling on the lathe ? . That's better than any other method. . Should be do-able if you have a 4-jaw chuck, as long as the blank is reasonably square and of fairly uniform cross-section. . You can even get by without a 4-jaw chuck ... there are so-called pen-turning chucks.
In principle, a drill press and vise should work .... but that's "in principle" .... in practice it's a bit harder, LOL !
 

DrD

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
611
Location
Columbus, Mississippi
I guess I'm really old school. I have found, with my abilities, etc., nothing beats a machinist cross-feed vice mounted on my drill press. I routinely take 5/8" or maybe a smidge less, blanks (that I collected before the 3/4" and 7/8" blanks of today) and drill them out for El Grandes/Churchills with no problems. Just make sure that everything is plumb all the way around and have at it. It probably takes me 5 minutes to get the set-up right, but heck, what else am I going to do with my time? If the blank is really catewampus, it takes a bit more fanagalin' but that ok, as it would takes just as must fussin' to drill it on my lathe. Just me, and remember I might not be fast but I sure am slow.
 

carlmorrell

Member
Joined
May 14, 2013
Messages
424
Location
Cary, NC
I bought my floor standing drill press in 1995. The first thing I did was put a craftsman XY bed on it. Very happy with it, it's how I drill.
20200723_184302[1].jpg
20200128_171805[1].jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: DrD

magpens

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
12,655
Location
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
@DrD
Thing is, Don .... the lathe method gets the alignment right with almost no fuss at all.

So I can take that 5 minutes, that you spend getting things squared and plumbed in the machinist vise on your drill press, and use that time for drilling slowly to avoid overheating the blank. . Sure helps though if the blank is square and uniform in case I need to flip it around and drill in from the other end as well ( if the required blank length is on the long side). . I used to do the drilling on a drill press (without a machinist vise) and I nearly always got the hole cockeyed to the blank axis (I could never figure out why). . So drilling on the lathe is now a pleasure ... one of few left !

But ... to each his own ... as the saying goes ! 😀
 

magpens

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
12,655
Location
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
@carlmorrell
Thanks for showing your setup ..... SIR ! ... lol !

That's a pretty nifty idea to use an XY bed, and I especially like that squaring clamp .... ideal for pen blanks .... never saw one of those b4 !! . 😀
 
  • Like
Reactions: DrD

jrich7970

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
86
Location
South Jersey, USA
You should be OK at 5/8".

BTW .... are you drilling on the lathe ? . That's better than any other method. . Should be do-able if you have a 4-jaw chuck, as long as the blank is reasonably square and of fairly uniform cross-section. . You can even get by without a 4-jaw chuck ... there are so-called pen-turning chucks.
In principle, a drill press and vise should work .... but that's "in principle" .... in practice it's a bit harder, LOL !
I would love to, but I don't have a chuck. So I'm using my drill press. I made a "vise" with scrap wood and a hinge. It works fine. For my "pen assembly tool", I turned a pice of walnut to 3/8" to fit into the drill press chuck, and left the bottom part square. And I have a flat piece of maple that I lay on the table. So I assemble the pens vertically.
 

magpens

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
12,655
Location
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
@jrich7970

Sounds good ! :)

So is it the 4-jaw headstock chuck you are lacking ? . Or is it the Jacobs chuck to hold drill bit in the tailstock ?

The reason I ask ... the Jacobs chuck off your drill press could possibly be mounted on the lathe. . Needs to be removable from the drill press, and you also probably would need a "J3 to MT2" arbor ($15) in order to mount in on the lathe tailstock. . Details would depend on the Jacobs chuck.

May not be worth your while at this time to delve into that.
 

jrich7970

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
86
Location
South Jersey, USA
@jrich7970

Sounds good ! :)

So is it the 4-jaw headstock chuck you are lacking ? . Or is it the Jacobs chuck to hold drill bit in the tailstock ?

The reason I ask ... the Jacobs chuck off your drill press could possibly be mounted on the lathe. . Needs to be removable from the drill press, and you also probably would need a "J3 to MT2" arbor ($15) in order to mount in on the lathe tailstock. . Details would depend on the Jacobs chuck.

May not be worth your while at this time to delve into that.
I'm lacking both of those chucks. Hmmmm. I guess I could take the chuck off my drill press, as I recall, I had to put it on when I assembled the thing new, so, it probably comes off.

I would much rather drill on the lathe because I think it would be more precise. And, also...I have a Morse Taper #1. I would assume I can get a J3 to MT1 arbor.

But all that would cost me over $100 (a decent 4 jaw chuck and a Jacob's Chuck)...maybe I'll save up...it's not like I'm going to a craft fair any time soon.

Which brings me to another question...how many pens does everyone take? I know it's probably all over the map. Do you do other stuff? Like, maybe pen/letter opener sets? Keychains? Bottle stoppers? Bowls?

I'm also interested in bent wood rings. I did a few with NO power tools at all, gave a few away. Had similar CA problems. Takes some time and I never developed a good skill....doing it on a lathe would be nice. And a 4 jaw chuck really helps with rings too.
 

magpens

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
12,655
Location
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
@jrich7970

If your lathe has an MT1 tailstock, you might have to look harder to find an arbor for the Jacobs chuck.
The reason I mentioned a J3 - MT2 arbor is because I know that is fairly common and I thought you had a MT2 tailstock, but did not know.
Many Jacobs chucks have a J3 taper fitting (but not all) so that explains my use of the J3. . You will have to check that to be sure. . Sometimes there is a marking on the Jacobs chuck itself.

But MT1 is quite uncommon. . I would think that the required arbor does exist, but finding it could take a bit of searching.

You may be better just continuing to drill as you currently do with the drill press since you have developed a good way to do that.

Also, the need for a headstock chuck ups the overall cost, so .... carry on as you have been is my advice at the moment.

But, YES, it would be better drilling on the lathe. . And easier. . The accuracy would be improved but that benefit is not such a big deal because any drilling inaccuracies are largely compensated for after you glue in the tube and round the blank.

My view is that I like to achieve good accuracy in every step of the process .... just my obsession I'll have to admit.
I hated drilling pen blanks on my small drill press because the hole, altho' straight, nearly always came out oversize and non-aligned with axis.
And I use a metal-working lathe for the whole process ... drilling, turning, trimming, etc. ... mainly because that was my prior skill set.
If you ever become committed to kitless pen-making then you may want to upgrade your lathe and go with a metal-working lathe.

As far as your turning activities other than pens, I cannot really comment. . I've made only pens (2000+) with some of them being kitless.
Making kitless pens often leads into doing some somewhat unusual operations for which a metal-working lathe is better suited.
Some of those operations can even involve working with metals !!
 

howsitwork

Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2016
Messages
725
Location
Thirsk
Well must admit I too use a cross slide vice on my bench drill as per doc D . I extend and lock the quill out then align the side of the blank with that so I know it’s vertical. i can then retract the quill and align the drill bit to the centre , or off centre if the grains more interesting that way and drill it. If you then leave it mounted in the. i e you can also square it up accurately on one end too. I’ve even used an end mill to square it up ( very carefully) if I didn’t have the right size of pilot for my pen mill.

Like the jig for holding square mines a bit more basic but idea is the same. I find a small piece of 0ly 7nder the end of the blank prevents tear out as the drill exits ( especially on some acrylics ).
 

jrich7970

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
86
Location
South Jersey, USA
@jrich7970

If your lathe has an MT1 tailstock, you might have to look harder to find an arbor for the Jacobs chuck.
The reason I mentioned a J3 - MT2 arbor is because I know that is fairly common and I thought you had a MT2 tailstock, but did not know.
Many Jacobs chucks have a J3 taper fitting (but not all) so that explains my use of the J3. . You will have to check that to be sure. . Sometimes there is a marking on the Jacobs chuck itself.

But MT1 is quite uncommon. . I would think that the required arbor does exist, but finding it could take a bit of searching.

You may be better just continuing to drill as you currently do with the drill press since you have developed a good way to do that.

Also, the need for a headstock chuck ups the overall cost, so .... carry on as you have been is my advice at the moment.

But, YES, it would be better drilling on the lathe. . And easier. . The accuracy would be improved but that benefit is not such a big deal because any drilling inaccuracies are largely compensated for after you glue in the tube and round the blank.

My view is that I like to achieve good accuracy in every step of the process .... just my obsession I'll have to admit.
I hated drilling pen blanks on my small drill press because the hole, altho' straight, nearly always came out oversize and non-aligned with axis.
And I use a metal-working lathe for the whole process ... drilling, turning, trimming, etc. ... mainly because that was my prior skill set.
If you ever become committed to kitless pen-making then you may want to upgrade your lathe and go with a metal-working lathe.

As far as your turning activities other than pens, I cannot really comment. . I've made only pens (2000+) with some of them being kitless.
Making kitless pens often leads into doing some somewhat unusual operations for which a metal-working lathe is better suited.
Some of those operations can even involve working with metals !!
Yeah, I would love to drill on the lathe. As it is now, even though I THINK I have the center clearly marked and that bit coming down in EXACTLY the right place, it never does. So far I've been OK. I'd just like to be a little more accurate, and simpler. Upgrades are always (given time and money) in the picture.

For now, I deal with what I have available.
 
Top Bottom