Pen Turning Supply Storage

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howhale

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Dec 5, 2019
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23
Location
Waleska, Georgia
Pretty new to turning and pen turning specifically. As I look at the wide variety of pen styles, I see that there are many different bushing sizes, drill sizes, etc, etc. I was wondering if anyone has found a simple way to keep it all organized. Also, I wondered if anyone has found a document that summarizes the various pen styles and the assortment of components required to complete each? As I try new styles, I find that I am accumulating so many different pieces and hate to duplicate what I have if a new style requires the same components. Thanks for any suggestions you experienced turners may have found helpful.
 
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its_virgil

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Jan 1, 2004
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Wichita Falls, TX, USA.
I'm not the one to answer questions about organization. Just ask any of my turning friends.😆 But, there are several charts in the library that have the info you seek about kits names, drill sizes, etc. The charts are sorted by vendor and there is one master list with all vendors. Check out the library for lots of other useful information on most all aspects of pen turning. Welcome.

I'm sure you will get some comments about organization.
Do a good turn daily!
Don
 

elyk864

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Joined
Jun 12, 2017
Messages
317
Location
Phoenix, AZ
There is a document that is maintained here on the forum that has part numbers and measurement for the kits. As far as home organization I get crafting organizing bin things for the bushings and label each spot. Nut and bolt organizers help with the kits them selves.
 

jttheclockman

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Joined
Feb 22, 2005
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13,562
Location
NJ, USA.
There are way too many kits on the market to have a complete list and more added every day seems like. But look in the library here and you will see a fairly complete list of pen kits showing tube sizes, and bushing sizes. There is also an app that can show this. At one time there were people working on making some sort of crossover list that shows what kits use the same size tubes and or bushings but I have not seen anything come forward yet.

My suggestion to you if you are just starting out is to not get too many different kits. Just find ones that sit well with your eye and if selling your customers. you can vary platings to give you variety. I also suggest you always buy a set of bushings for each different kit and if using that kit alot a couple sets. They are cheap part of this hobby. Also suggest you always buy a couple sets of extra tubes for those kits in case you make a mistake and you will not lose the kit then. Buy the appropriate bits for the kit and keep them organized so when you change kits they may take the same bit. Those can get expensive. Also suggest you get a set of multi numbered and letter bits. They come in sets and suggest get a fairly good set so you have for a long time. These come in handy just in case you have to drill a hole slightly larger than what is required per instructions. This happens when you start painting the inside of blanks for transparent blanks. Also some materials expand some after they are exposed to heat from a drill bit.

So to sum up take it slow and do not get hooked on all the gadget pens PSI shows. They are constantly adding every week. All they are is gadgets and most times gaudy. Ask questions here and we all will help if we can. good luck.
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
1,465
Location
Wolf Creek Montana
I store my bushings in the box below. I get my from Joann's and there just a few bucks. You can easily label each little compartment by using the sticky labels that come with the bushings, and they don't take up a lot of space.

Artbin Purple Bobbin Box
BY ARTBIN


ITEM # 12513065

I store all my pen kits and other kits in the plastic shoe storage boxes you can get from any big box store and right now most are on sale on line. I write whats in the box on masking tape so I can remove it later.
My kit instructions are all stored in a binder in plastic sleeve covers. Everything you need to know about the kits is there on the instructions and in one place.
I store all my drill bits in artbin containers also. These are the ones that you can put dividers in so you can set them up however you want.

The thing to remember is that everyone finds their own way to store kits etc. You can mix and match all of the suggestions and find what works best for you.

Happy turning.
 

leehljp

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Feb 6, 2005
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Location
Tunica, MS,
If you have a Dollar General store near you, they have light weight plastic shoe boxes for $1.00. They have others but the $1.00 each do a good job for keeping things. I keep white duct tape on hand, put a 4 to 5 inch piece on the front of each box and label it with a black marker. Then if needed, take the tape of an re-label it as needed.

When It comes to drill bits and bushings themselves, small tackle boxes work well. A hint is to not put drill bits loose in a compartment with other bits. That is a good way to dull the edges.
 

its_virgil

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Jan 1, 2004
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Wichita Falls, TX, USA.
Ever heard "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket"? Storing bushings in one container, tackle box or other similar container may seem like a good idea and may be for lots of us (i am not one of them). But you will think differently when they end up on the floor and you spend hours sorting them. Keeping them in on container works better if each set is in another container such as a baggie or pill bottle or the container that 35mm film once can in. Those film containers are available online. I like the box of flip top containers sold by Harbor Freight.
Do a good turn daily!
Don
 

leehljp

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Feb 6, 2005
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Location
Tunica, MS,
Ever heard "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket"? Storing bushings in one container, tackle box or other similar container may seem like a good idea and may be for lots of us (i am not one of them). But you will think differently when they end up on the floor and you spend hours sorting them. Keeping them in on container works better if each set is in another container such as a baggie or pill bottle or the container that 35mm film once can in. Those film containers are available online. I like the box of flip top containers sold by Harbor Freight.
Do a good turn daily!
Don
I think these are the flip top HF boxes you are writing about, but if not, please correct it:

AS to the "all in one box " for bushings , Some day that is going to happen, but so far it hasn't - for me. Don, you made me think! ->Put the bushings into a bag or flip top box in the shoe box with the pen components/kits that it fits. Keep them together. I recently started using quart or smaller freezer bags for non-scratchable parts (and label them) and then put them into a larger container. I haven't moved most to that method yet, but need to.

Thanks Don for "pushing the button" to make me think! 👍
 

magpens

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Feb 2, 2011
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11,737
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Coquitlam, BC, Canada
To avoid the problem of bushings getting mixed up (and you having to spend hours sorting them out),
keep each matched set of bushings in its own plastic baggie with label. . When bought they usually come in a baggie but not always of appropriate size, and not always appropriately labelled. . So you need to keep a roll of 3/4" masking tape handy for making labels.

If a set of bushings fits different pen styles, then you can put multiple labels on the plastic baggie.

For drill bits, a compartmented "tackle box" can be handy, if the compartments are of appropriate size. . Keep each drill in its own compartment so that the drills don't collide with each other and dull the cutting edges .... as Hank stated above. . If you have to put multiple drills in one compartment, then some loose-fitting tubing (eg. heat shrink) can be slipped over the drills to protect them. . Or put each drill in an envelope with the size written on the outside. . Even a rolled paper sleeve can be used.

As for the parts for pen kits .... keep them in the baggies that they come in and don't buy too many kits ahead of time. . You may need to discipline yourself to use what you have before buying more ..... DAMHIKT !!
 

its_virgil

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Wichita Falls, TX, USA.
I think these are the flip top HF boxes you are writing about, but if not, please correct it:

Thanks Don for "pushing the button" to make me think! 👍
You're welcome Hank. I've had the "tackle box on the floor spillage" once and do not wish that on anyone. The HF 24 container box storage is what I use. I label each container with a sharpie or a label from a label maker and keep them in a drawer. I have a lot of bushings and every set I have will fit...even bushings for the larger kits.
Do a good turn daily!
Don
 

jttheclockman

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Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
13,562
Location
NJ, USA.
I bought those about a couple months ago from HF to do just that. I bought them when I cleaned the shop and game room. Have not built the pen kit cabinet yet but when I do that I will go through all kits bushings and other things and organize. Have been organizing all the blanks and started before I hurt my back with organizing all my plastic sheets and metals and small things I use for segmenting. Found a few things that I have not used before and did not know I had. In fact some of those are on the list of pens we are working on so hopefully they can be used like I want and you will get to see them soon. I am excited with a couple of these things and the pen I have in mind will be a keeper for me. The gift from me to me. Again stay tuned.
 

howhale

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Dec 5, 2019
Messages
23
Location
Waleska, Georgia
As always, great feedback and support from the members of this group. Thanks for your suggestions and sharing your experiences. Have some good ideas to apply now as I continue.
 

MTViper

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Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
621
Location
Clyde, Texas
I went through several different options for storage and finally bought a few of ammo boxes from Harbor Freight: https://www.harborfreight.com/ammo-dry-box-63135.html

When I get a new pen/bushing set, I use the plastic bag the pen kit came in for storage. I put a piece of cardstock inside that sticks out the top of the bag. On the cardstock I put a printed label with the name of the pen kit. I put a copy of the instructions in the bag as well as the bushings and the plastic bag they came in (so if I lose one I know which one to order again). They stand upright in the ammo box. They fit tightly in it. The lid closes and latches so if it tips over they don't spill out. I put them in alphabetical order because I'm anal and want them easy to find.

Steve
 

ramaroodle

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Feb 15, 2018
Messages
353
Location
Seattle
I think these are the flip top HF boxes you are writing about, but if not, please correct it:

AS to the "all in one box " for bushings , Some day that is going to happen, but so far it hasn't - for me. Don, you made me think! ->Put the bushings into a bag or flip top box in the shoe box with the pen components/kits that it fits. Keep them together. I recently started using quart or smaller freezer bags for non-scratchable parts (and label them) and then put them into a larger container. I haven't moved most to that method yet, but need to.

Thanks Don for "pushing the button" to make me think! 👍
+1 on the HF storage boxes. Along with a label maker they are great for bushings. Just put 'em back when you're done.
 

GraiDawg

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Mar 16, 2019
Messages
105
Location
montclair new jersey
+2 on the HF box +1 on the remember to put them back. Also get digital calipers (i like the home depot ones that do metric and imperial in fractions and decimal) you will want them for when you forget to put them away
 

ramaroodle

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Joined
Feb 15, 2018
Messages
353
Location
Seattle
Also, +1 on picking 5-10 kits. You can sort by tube and drill bit size in the app. Download the app. Just to get started you can probably pick 2 or 3 drill bits that will do 40-50 kits and not go crazy on a huge variety.
 

howsitwork

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Joined
Jul 9, 2016
Messages
492
Location
Thirsk
Strongly recommend a set of digital vernier calipers to aid in matching, sorting bits out. I label the bags with the kits matched to it.

I also recommend a set of metric drills in 0.1mm steps from 6 to 10mm cos they come in a box and are easy t9 keep track of.

I make my own bushings after measure the parts but am currently highly miffed as I made a set last night . Fit perfectly in the barrels but on end drilling I didn’t concentrate on what I was doing So I now have a set of smoothly fitting offset bushings . So that’s a remake tonight!🤦‍♂️
 

mick

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Joined
Mar 13, 2005
Messages
2,267
Location
Decatur AL, USA
These are the wayS I have things organized but your shop may be laid out differently or of a different size so YMMV. One super simple idea for dull bit storage. Use a small block of 2x4, length depending on number of bits you use frequently. Drill then take that bit out of the drill, flip it over and insert it into the block. Repeat with all your most used bits.

Bushing storage. I use small clear bottles about the size of film canisters for each set of bushings. (Wifey had them for some craft)I label them on top with the kits they fit and they all fit in a plastic tray that fits perfectly in an upper drawer by my lathe bench. I can open the drawer and see at a glance the ones I want.

Kits, I have hung on pegboard above my desk where I assemble and just generally sit and think... and drink coffee.

Blank storage, I have one rolling cabinet that's around 2 blanks deep and with 5 or 6 shelves. All my common woods are on these shelves. It's rolls into a wasted space between a chimney and a air duct. As a bonus my sander sits on top. I just roll it out to use the the sander or choosing a blank.

All my specialty blanks are on a separate set og shelves mounted on the wall beside my desk where I generally sit and think... and drink coffee.

Hopefully these will give you a starting point or spark your on ideas.
GOOD LUCK!

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