Pen turning has changed my life

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brailsmt

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Joined
Dec 6, 2018
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102
Location
Kansas City, MO, USA
I turned my first pen on December 2nd, 2018 at a pen turning class at the local Woodcraft. That day I ordered my own little midi lathe. I've been watching YouTube turning videos for about the last 6 months. My goal is to build a full woodworking shop, but that isn't this post. For a little background without too much detail, I have suffered from depression for years, and after a nasty divorce it got much worse. Nothing has seemed to help for damn near a decade, until now. I have probably 40 pens sitting on my kitchen table now. I make a few pens a day, and I'm still struggling to perfect everything from fit to finish, but I find this hobby so enjoyable and relaxing. As I sit at the lathe sanding, I think. I work through ideas and just process stuff, but while being productive, instead of playing some dumb video game. My 19 year old daughter told me last night that I'm like a new person since I started turning. This forum has been helpful with tips on how to improve my pens. I'm always looking to be better, and will not be 100% satisfied with my pens until they are perfect in every way, but along the way it has completely changed my outlook on life. Anyway, as I sit and wait for 8am to roll around so I can start some new pens (apartment living sucks), I wanted to just pop in and share that this hobby has been absolutely transformative.
 
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Loucurr

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Feb 15, 2016
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305
Location
Florida
What I also enjoy is that when I am turning the pen, especially when getting close to the bushings, you are completely focused and all those issues are not tugging at your mind. It can be peaceful.
 

robutacion

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Aug 6, 2009
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6,401
Location
Australia - SA Adelaide Hills
Sometimes, we find the most satisfying experiences in the littlest to things, pen turning or woodturning, in general, is indeed a relaxing activity, the fairly fast results have a lot to do with it, being in a positive and enjoyable state of mind beats depression any time of the day or night so, is great to see you have the courage to share that with the IAP family, in many ways, you are not alone, this place will give many ideas and hand on experience, we have a great bunch of people in here, and we also appreciate people with honesty and modesty, that we have also plenty to go around.

We (at least most of us) believe in the Karma of paying it forward, which either of the ends you find yourself in is as important, be positive, try to overcome the annoying fact that, apartment living for some activities is not the most pleasant situation if having your own "proper" workshop is that important to you, work towards it, bit by bit, day by day, if you live in a positive state of mind, anything is possible.

I wish you the best of luck.

PS: I have absolutely no association and/or inclination with any sort of religion, I'm speaking from experience...!:)

Cheers
George
 

gtriever

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Joined
Apr 23, 2017
Messages
1,135
Location
Paducah, Kentucky
Thanks for posting this. If truth be told, I'd imagine quite a few of us started this hobby by seeing it as a form of therapy, both on the mental and physical side.

Side note: I had to chuckle at your self - imposed time frame. My garage shop is 20 feet from my neighbors' bedroom, so I have an 8am start time and a 9pm curfew. :biggrin:
 

brailsmt

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2018
Messages
102
Location
Kansas City, MO, USA
Side note: I had to chuckle at your self - imposed time frame. My garage shop is 20 feet from my neighbors' bedroom, so I have an 8am start time and a 9pm curfew. :biggrin:
Out looking for homes, just sold my old home and am between places now. I mean, what better time to start woodworking than after you sell your home amdove into a temporary apartment? :cool:
 

sbwertz

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Joined
May 11, 2010
Messages
3,065
Location
Phoenix, AZ
My shop is heavily insulated with foam insulation...even the door is insulated. You can barely hear my machinery even when standing right outside. On occasion, I've had to go out and do some prep work for the blind center at 6:30 in the morning because there was a last minute schedule change and I didn't have the proper blanks ready. That's when all that insulation really pays off. Plus the fact that I'm on a corner and my shop is next to the street and a long way from any of my neighbors.
 

MDWine

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Joined
Mar 22, 2005
Messages
2,674
Location
Manassas Park, Virginia, USA.
Your truths falls on so many.

As far as IAP, it's nice to have a place among friends where you can share your successes and failures without judgement.

Congrats on finding and identifying your ZEN.... I'm a little worried though, 'cos I really wonder if we can ever make a pen that we (ourselves) would deem perfect! Seems I can always find a flaw in my own work.

good on ya' brother!
 

Bob in SF

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Feb 15, 2016
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1,478
Location
San Francisco
Fine post, Michael!

Most of the human biography and quest have centered on the precious linkage of brain-hand-tool-object, moving beyond survival to the reverential working of raw materials in order to cultivate our creative fire and build civilization.

Makers have solid cores and natural bonds.

This is a fine forum.

Keep up the good work - Bob
 
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Woodchipper

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Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Messages
3,292
Location
Cleveland, TN
Welcome aboard. I can close the door to my shop which is a basement one car garage. When I close the door, I close out the world and concentrate on turning- pens or whatever I attempt to turn. There are a bunch of great people who are willing to help in any way, sharing experiences, expertise or whatever comes to mind.
 

Curly

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Joined
Nov 20, 2010
Messages
3,824
Location
Saskatoon SK., Canada.
A friend, not a member here, lives in a one bedroom apartment and has a 6' x 7' room adjacent to his kitchen that he turns his pens in. So where there is a will, there is a way. Glad the hobby makes you happy.
 

Sataro

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Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
2,700
Location
Corsicana, TX
Glad to hear you found pen turning. I taught school for many a year. Pen turning became my stress release after a long day at work.
 

Herb G

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Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Messages
1,461
Location
Southern Maryland
I got into turning very slowly, because of lack of funds. It took me 9 years to get a lathe, chuck, drill bits, etc. I think I appreciate it more because I had to work hard to acquire my tools.

Pen turning, cooking, cross stitch, whatever you do is a great way to occupy your mind & forget your troubles for awhile.

My Grandma used to sew all her own clothes on a treadle Singer machine.
My Mom bought her a brand new electric machine, but Grandma never used it. She said it sewed too fast for her to think. It was her "Zen" to do sewing.
She never graduated college or anything like that, but she had a lot of sense.

Good for you that you found a creative outlet for pent up energy.
This is the best pen forum on the web, hands down.
I have made a lot of friends here, and this place has a sense of community like no other.
 

Timber Ripper

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Joined
Dec 28, 2017
Messages
375
Location
Burlington, NJ
After 41 years of smoking and dozens of failed attempts at quiting. I was finally able to put the cigs down for good on November 13th 2017 and haven't had a single cigarette since.
I promised myself that if I did not smoke for a month I was going to reward myself with a lathe and basic tools to get started with the all the money I would be saving.
I owe it all to the therapy of pen turning and believe it or not, the inspiration I got right here that kept me focused on this newly found hobby.. I found myself deeply involved in learning from the IAP and all the online videos.
So thank you to everyone here for keeping me focused.
-Anthony
 

Wagner11

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
133
Location
Indiana
Really glad that pen turning has been so good for you. I myself suffer from bouts of depression, more than once a new idea for a pen has kicked me out of my funk. Whatever helps you keep doing it. I could work all night in my shop but it's freezing out there right now.

Sent from my SM-S727VL using Tapatalk
 

pngeezer

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Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
11
Location
Fallston,MD
Fine post, Michael!

Most of the human biography and quest have centered on the precious linkage of brain-hand-tool-object, moving beyond survival to the reverential working of raw materials in order to cultivate our creative fire and build civilization.

Makers have solid cores and natural bonds.
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Keep up the good work - Bob


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Sent from my iPad using Penturners.org mobile app
 

gimpy

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2012
Messages
1,996
Location
Danville, Pa
So glad you have found something to take
the edge off.

I myself have had and still do have issues
so about 4 hours of shop time is just what
the doctor ordered.
 
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