Rockler Flat Top Pen - Confused

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Thomas1083

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Dec 28, 2018
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Waconia MN
I am new to pen turning and trying many different kits. I scored some Rockler Flat Top Pen kits at a highly discounted price on Craigslist. I'm using cheap blanks or domestic woods from the scrap bin and I don't have much invested in the pen, so a failure will not result in much lost. Just planning on making pens to give away anyway.

I clearly do not understand the assembly of the upper tube for the Flat Top pen. The instructions say to turn the blank down to the bushings (12.4mm since I was unable to buy bushings) then remove wood to expose the brass for the center band. The assembly instructions say "... press the (center band) assembly onto the exposed brass of the upper tube. If loose, carefully glue into place with a small amount of CA ...". As the picture shows, the ID of the center ring is much greater than the OD of the upper tube so no amount of CA will fill the gap.

My work-around was to leave the wood on the upper tube and turn it down to the ID of the center ring and then glue the center ring to the pen.

I am hoping that those of you who have built this kit in the past will have some great advice.

Tom
 

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Gary Beasley

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I think you might have the ring on backwards. The big inner diameter if I remember right hangs over to cover the lower barrel. Thats why the instructions dont make sense, you should be turning to the tube for the narrow part of the trim ring
 

magpens

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I think that Gary may be right about reversing the centerband.

I have made similar kits with tenon and similarly shaped centerband.

That pen kit seems to have been discontinued ... could not find it on the Rockler site.

But here is one that is similar ... the instructions are at this link ...

http://go.rockler.com/msds/summit-pen-instructions-43441.pdf

If the two are designed similarly, then your centerband has different sized openings at the two ends.

Also, it seems that the 3/16" tenon that you cut may not go all the way down to the brass of the upper tube ... that seems to be the case with this one for which I pulled up the instructions. . If in your case the tenon does go all the way down to the brass tube, then the hole in one end of the centerband should have the same diameter as the diameter of the brass tube that it fits on.

Check the size of holes in the opposite ends of the centerband ... calipers would help a lot if you have those. . Otherwise you will have to estimate by eye.

Let us know how you make out. . Feel free to ask more questions. . Email me if you want ... mgrphillips@yahoo.com ... I don't like doing private messages here on IAP.
 
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Thomas1083

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Dec 28, 2018
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Waconia MN
I agree with both comments. The center ring should be smaller on one end to press onto the brass tube. However the picture shows the brass tube going through the center band. The center band does not have different ID's on each end. My fix was to turn a tenon on the upper barrel and glue the center ring on to it, but that is not what the instructions tell you to do. If I only had one kit I might believe that it had the wrong center ring but I have another kit just like it. Thanks for the comments......
 
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I’ve made that pen before and the centerband doesn’t look right to me - from what I can see. Mine taper in on the inside to fit the tube. Does it look like it’s been drilled out? You may have gotten a huge discount because it’s been “slightly modified”... OR he put the wrong diameter tubes in the bag. Check them with a caliper to make sure they match the size of the hole the directions say to drill. Here’s what the inside of the CB should look like from both sides:


View in Gallery


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magpens

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Hope you are happy with your pen now. Please show us a picture when possible.

Partly for reference, and partly as initiation into the world of pen-making, here is a design quite similar to yours.

https://www.bereahardwoods.com/pdf/5_FlatTopAmericanStylePenAssemblyBH.pdf

This is from a company called Berea Hardwoods, which markets some very well designed pen kits, including the Sierra ballpoints which you will hear a lot about because they are (or were) virtually the industry standard, and which have been copied over and over again, and sold by different companies under different names such as Gatsby, Mesa, Manhattan, etc.
 

Thomas1083

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Dec 28, 2018
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Waconia MN
TatooedTurner has confirmed my suspicions. My center bands do not have the taper. I could probably buy the correct bands from Berea like magpens suggests but the work around resulted in a satisfactory outcome. I would like to know if anyone has bought this Rockler kit in the past which included a center band like the one shown.

MDWine I’m not a big fan of the Flat Top pen either. I did buy a Flat Top fountain pen, partly to see if I liked using a fountain pen and partly to see how to assemble the center ring, but mostly because it was the cheapest one I could find. Probably no more Flat Top pens in my future.

 
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