Pen turnng mandrel?

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Woodchipper

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Mar 15, 2017
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Cleveland, TN
I have one of the reeeaaaal long ones that I got from Woodcraft several years ago to turn cork fishing rod grips. Didn't know the difference in mandrels. Now I'm turning pens. FWIW, SWMBO keeps asking when I'm going to get a cheap hobby. Is there such a critter? Back on topic.
I notice that this mandrel seem to have a tiny bit of flex in it. I just finished a pen with an acrylic blank. By applying light pressure with a roughing gouge, I can eliminate the OOR aspect. But I'm thinking if I have a shorter mandrel or one that is adjustable, I can cut out a few minutes on turning a blank of wood or a synthetic. I really don't have to turn two pieces at a time like a Slimline. I have a Woodcraft store within 30 minutes. I have spent so much money there, they are all driving new cars.:tongue: Your help is most appreciated.
 
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wouldentu2?

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Jan 27, 2011
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Oak Creek WI
I have one of the reeeaaaal long ones that I got from Woodcraft several years ago to turn cork fishing rod grips. Didn't know the difference in mandrels. Now I'm turning pens. FWIW, SWMBO keeps asking when I'm going to get a cheap hobby. Is there such a critter? Back on topic.
I notice that this mandrel seem to have a tiny bit of flex in it. I just finished a pen with an acrylic blank. By applying light pressure with a roughing gouge, I can eliminate the OOR aspect. But I'm thinking if I have a shorter mandrel or one that is adjustable, I can cut out a few minutes on turning a blank of wood or a synthetic. I really don't have to turn two pieces at a time like a Slimline. I have a Woodcraft store within 30 minutes. I have spent so much money there, they are all driving new cars.:tongue: Your help is most appreciated.
Yes but they leased the cars . By now you should be selling $200.00 pens as fast as you make them. I hear boats are also a good hobby to spend your money on,:)
 

Curly

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Nov 20, 2010
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Saskatoon SK., Canada.
Someone will come along and suggest you turn between centres and keep the mandrel for what it was made for. You eliminate the out of roundness and the dead centre is cheaper than another mandrel. All you need is a 60 degree dead centre for the headstock and a live centre with 60 degree cone for the tailstock. Then it is up to you if you want to use regular bushings, modified bushings, spacial bushings or no bushings at all. A little searching on the site will provide you with lots of details about all the methods.

Looks like I'm that someone. :)
 

Nikitas

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Nov 7, 2009
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Hampton, Va.
My opinion is TBC is the best way to go. I make them....But you will find out that as many pen turners out there you will have as many opinions. Just find a way that works best for you.
 

Woodchipper

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Cleveland, TN
Sign at a boat dealer- Big toys for big boys.
Thanks. I'm wanting to learn to TBC as it will save a lot of time and $$$ since i wouldn't need a sackful of bushings. Will search this forum and Youtube which I have found to be somewhat useful but have to watch as some WWing sites have some safety issues.
 

keithlong

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Mar 14, 2009
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Athens, Alabama
If you get a mandrel saver it will help with chatter, and also allow you to be able to use a piece of 1/4 inch steel rod. I have a couple of different lengths for different projects. The rod is cheaper to buy than a mandrel.
 

dogcatcher

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TX, NM or on the road
If you have the collet chuck system and the mandrel unscrews from the Morse taper, I would use the collet chuck and turn one piece of a 2 part pen at a time. If not, I suggest the PSI adjustable length mandrel system that uses a collet system with the Morse taper head. It allows you to shorten the mandrel to be able to turn only one part at a time.
 

RyanS

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Jul 19, 2019
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Oklahoma
As you get older, your hobbies become far more expensive.
As a 22 year-old getting back into turning, I cannot imagine how much I’ll be spending when I’m older!

(Sorry for resurrecting this thread, but I’m having some chatter and OOR turnings. Hoping I don’
 

randyrls

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Feb 2, 2006
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Harrisburg, PA 17112
If you are getting the adjustable mandrel, get the silver one, NOT the black one. The silver one is MUCH better. Because of the clamping adjustment, you will not be able to put an extreme amount of pressure on the mandrel. If you try, the mandrel will just creep backward into the head stock.

Hope this helps.
Off to our woodturning club hands-on event.
 

SmokeGSU

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Apr 18, 2019
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Location
Georgia
I'd like to add my two cents....

I had a pen turning mandrel set that I bought from Penn State several years back. I turned all of my pens on it. With rare exception most likely just out of shear luck, almost all of my pens would be slightly out of center, and you'd notice one "side" of the wood would sit a little proud of the tip or the rear cap. At the time, as a new'ish starting out pen turner, I didn't really understand why it was doing what it was doing, but over time I came to realize that the rod had to have a slight bow in it that I couldn't see with the naked eye. I bought a new mandrel not long back and I've noticed the same thing happening, regardless of if I was using a live center or mandrel saver on the end.

I purchased a dead center from Amazon for like ten bucks and started turning directly between centers (dead center at the headstock and live center at the tailstock) and also started using calipers to determine my final widths for blanks and man has it made a difference! I don't have the slight runout like I did before when using the pen turning mandrel, and with using calipers I'm also saving money by not having to purchase bushings anymore (I still use the HDPE bushings for applying CA finish).

That's my experiences, and hopefully somebody will find it useful!
 

sbwertz

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May 11, 2010
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Phoenix, AZ
A compromise is a TBC mandrel


It allows you to turn with your existing bushings. We use one at the center for turning keychains and fan pulls because it makes it possible to turn with slimline bushings that do not fit inside the tubes. Otherwise you need to buy tbc slimline bushings and the way we go through bushings down there......
 
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