Serea Pen and Pencil

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Kcimdrib

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Saw these kit advertised and I've not made a Pencil before, quite pleaed with the result used Leadwood for the first time excellent wood to turn and finish for these I used Microcrystalline Wax.
The pencil mechanism in my mind is poor quality and comes with one .7mm lead.
I will try to locate some spares.
The Pen very good quality used Leadwood again
Please feel free to comment.
 

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jrista

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Aug 12, 2021
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I heard that some of these Sierra-type pencil and click pen kits are due to get some updates with better click mechanisms. I forget where I read that, but it was only about a week or so ago. I think they are going to be getting one of the Schmidt mechanisms.

One critique about the pens. There is some noticeable inward bowing near the clip/finials. I had that problem a lot myself recently, and I found that it stemmed from insufficient stability of the tail-stock end when turning. I have used several different mechanisms to attach the bushing at the tailstock end, including normal mandrels, the PSI TBC system, true TBC with just the bushings and two 60 degree centers, and even TBC without bushings at all. The only truly stable option was TBC sans bushings.

TBC with bushings is quite stable, although for a while I was using a live center that actually had a slightly soft/loose bearing, and it was wobbling, causing vibration. I replaced that with a better live center, and most of the vibration is gone. The PSI TBC also has a soft/loose bearing, and it can cause quite a lot of vibration. All my normal pen mandrels seem to have less than perfectly strait shafts, and my mandrel-saver live centers all seem to have soft bearings as well (blows my mind that no one seems to be able to manufacture a live center with a properly tightened (not overtightened, not undertightened) bearing). So of course, those have vibrations as well.

I kept getting that bowing, as I was trying to turn the tailstock end of the blank "down to the bushing", which ends up being pretty much impossible when its vibrating. Even if I purposely left some bulging in the blank, I would still end up with out of round/non-concentric blanks when fully turned, because you can actually only turn to the outermost reach of a vibrating bushing.

It was only when I started doing true TBC, with the bushings just set between two 60 degree centers, than I finally was able to turn the tailstock end of my blanks down to the bushing, properly round, without that inward bowing (which, I think, is a consequence of trying to turn the blank down properly and not actually being able to when the bushing is vibrating...either that, or over-sanding trying to compensate for the vibrating when I start the sanding process.) Its very important to have stable, non-vibrating bushings at both ends to be able to properly turn the blank. Even a small amount of vibration, a deviation of say not even half a millimeter, can lead to problems. Since changing my process to use just bushings between centers, and then for my final turning I actually take the bushings off, put the brass tube with the blank directly between centers, and turn it down to the final size that way, I've been able to get much better results, perfect matching between the blank and the pen kit parts, and even turn the blank slightly thinner than normal if using a CA finish (I generally prefer an alternative kind of finish if possible, something that doesn't turn my beautiful wood into plastic!)
 

howsitwork

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Jul 9, 2016
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Thirsk
Michael

I actually prefer the look of the pencil to the pen but both look excellent . I have some leadwood somewhere I think after seeing that I might go searching the wood stock. Mind you still working my way through a few lifetimes supply of Walnut currently . It’s such a joy to plane smelling delicately almost of of vanilla , makes even my rudimentary planing skills look good
.
 

Kcimdrib

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Nov 1, 2020
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UK
I heard that some of these Sierra-type pencil and click pen kits are due to get some updates with better click mechanisms. I forget where I read that, but it was only about a week or so ago. I think they are going to be getting one of the Schmidt mechanisms.

One critique about the pens. There is some noticeable inward bowing near the clip/finials. I had that problem a lot myself recently, and I found that it stemmed from insufficient stability of the tail-stock end when turning. I have used several different mechanisms to attach the bushing at the tailstock end, including normal mandrels, the PSI TBC system, true TBC with just the bushings and two 60 degree centers, and even TBC without bushings at all. The only truly stable option was TBC sans bushings.

TBC with bushings is quite stable, although for a while I was using a live center that actually had a slightly soft/loose bearing, and it was wobbling, causing vibration. I replaced that with a better live center, and most of the vibration is gone. The PSI TBC also has a soft/loose bearing, and it can cause quite a lot of vibration. All my normal pen mandrels seem to have less than perfectly strait shafts, and my mandrel-saver live centers all seem to have soft bearings as well (blows my mind that no one seems to be able to manufacture a live center with a properly tightened (not overtightened, not undertightened) bearing). So of course, those have vibrations as well.

I kept getting that bowing, as I was trying to turn the tailstock end of the blank "down to the bushing", which ends up being pretty much impossible when its vibrating. Even if I purposely left some bulging in the blank, I would still end up with out of round/non-concentric blanks when fully turned, because you can actually only turn to the outermost reach of a vibrating bushing.

It was only when I started doing true TBC, with the bushings just set between two 60 degree centers, than I finally was able to turn the tailstock end of my blanks down to the bushing, properly round, without that inward bowing (which, I think, is a consequence of trying to turn the blank down properly and not actually being able to when the bushing is vibrating...either that, or over-sanding trying to compensate for the vibrating when I start the sanding process.) Its very important to have stable, non-vibrating bushings at both ends to be able to properly turn the blank. Even a small amount of vibration, a deviation of say not even half a millimeter, can lead to problems. Since changing my process to use just bushings between centers, and then for my final turning I actually take the bushings off, put the brass tube with the blank directly between centers, and turn it down to the final size that way, I've been able to get much better results, perfect matching between the blank and the pen kit parts, and even turn the blank slightly thinner than normal if using a CA finish (I generally prefer an alternative kind of finish if possible, something that doesn't turn my beautiful wood into plastic!)
Don't think its bushings they were TBC. I had not noticed this on the actual pen but will look closer next time. Thank you for you detailed response I will take this on board.
 

Kcimdrib

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From one Mike to another, they look excellent.
Query-does the pen not have a domed finial ?
Mike
No Mike it doesn't I thought I was buying a matching set but got that wrong both plating and shape. They were reduced in a sale and I was too eager to get a bargain .
Because they are both called Serea they are different.
 

Kcimdrib

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Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
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Michael

I actually prefer the look of the pencil to the pen but both look excellent . I have some leadwood somewhere I think after seeing that I might go searching the wood stock. Mind you still working my way through a few lifetimes supply of Walnut currently . It’s such a joy to plane smelling delicately almost of of vanilla , makes even my rudimentary planing skills look good
.
Ian
Thank you for your comments although I bought the kits in a sale I like them. Also I'm a fan of Leadwood.
 

Kcimdrib

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Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
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I heard that some of these Sierra-type pencil and click pen kits are due to get some updates with better click mechanisms. I forget where I read that, but it was only about a week or so ago. I think they are going to be getting one of the Schmidt mechanisms.

One critique about the pens. There is some noticeable inward bowing near the clip/finials. I had that problem a lot myself recently, and I found that it stemmed from insufficient stability of the tail-stock end when turning. I have used several different mechanisms to attach the bushing at the tailstock end, including normal mandrels, the PSI TBC system, true TBC with just the bushings and two 60 degree centers, and even TBC without bushings at all. The only truly stable option was TBC sans bushings.

TBC with bushings is quite stable, although for a while I was using a live center that actually had a slightly soft/loose bearing, and it was wobbling, causing vibration. I replaced that with a better live center, and most of the vibration is gone. The PSI TBC also has a soft/loose bearing, and it can cause quite a lot of vibration. All my normal pen mandrels seem to have less than perfectly strait shafts, and my mandrel-saver live centers all seem to have soft bearings as well (blows my mind that no one seems to be able to manufacture a live center with a properly tightened (not overtightened, not undertightened) bearing). So of course, those have vibrations as well.

I kept getting that bowing, as I was trying to turn the tailstock end of the blank "down to the bushing", which ends up being pretty much impossible when its vibrating. Even if I purposely left some bulging in the blank, I would still end up with out of round/non-concentric blanks when fully turned, because you can actually only turn to the outermost reach of a vibrating bushing.

It was only when I started doing true TBC, with the bushings just set between two 60 degree centers, than I finally was able to turn the tailstock end of my blanks down to the bushing, properly round, without that inward bowing (which, I think, is a consequence of trying to turn the blank down properly and not actually being able to when the bushing is vibrating...either that, or over-sanding trying to compensate for the vibrating when I start the sanding process.) Its very important to have stable, non-vibrating bushings at both ends to be able to properly turn the blank. Even a small amount of vibration, a deviation of say not even half a millimeter, can lead to problems. Since changing my process to use just bushings between centers, and then for my final turning I actually take the bushings off, put the brass tube with the blank directly between centers, and turn it down to the final size that way, I've been able to get much better results, perfect matching between the blank and the pen kit parts, and even turn the blank slightly thinner than normal if using a CA finish (I generally prefer an alternative kind of finish if possible, something that doesn't turn my beautiful wood into
 

magpens

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Feb 2, 2011
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Canada
I heard that some of these Sierra-type pencil and click pen kits are due to get some updates with better click mechanisms. I forget where I read that, but it was only about a week or so ago. I think they are going to be getting one of the Schmidt mechanisms.

I believe that to be highly unlikely, given both the design and success of the Sierra as well as the design of the Schmidt mechanisms.

BTW, I had never heard of the "Serea" until I read this thread. . . It seems to be solely a Prokraft (UK) product. . Am I right on that ?

The name of that kit is strikingly similar to "Sierra", one of the longtime successful products marketed by .... BereaHardwoods . com .

Several Sierra look-alikes have appeared over the years; some are : Gatsby, Mesa, Manhattan, Zodiac, and others whose names I forget.

The appearance of yet another similar pen kit is hardly remarkable.

What I do find remarkable is that the original design idea is not protected by a "patent" or something equivalent to "copyright" law.
 
Last edited:

Kcimdrib

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Nov 1, 2020
Messages
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Location
UK
I believe that to be highly unlikely, given both the design and success of the Sierra as well as the design of the Schmidt mechanisms.

BTW, I had never heard of the "Serea" until I read this thread. . . It seems to be solely a Prokraft (UK) product. . Am I right on that ?

The name of that kit is strikingly similar to "Sierra", one of the longtime successful products marketed by .... BereaHardwoods . com .

Several Sierra look-alikes have appeared over the years; some are : Gatsby, Mesa, Manhattan, Zodiac, and others whose names I forget.

The appearance of yet another similar pen kit is hardly remarkable.

What I do find remarkable is that the original design idea is not protected by a "patent" or something equivalent to "copyright" law.
 

Kcimdrib

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Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
1,122
Location
UK
Think several companies in UK sell a similar pen with a slight name change.
But its a nice pen and bushings seem the same whatever one you choose.
 

jrista

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Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
1,256
Location
Colorado
I believe that to be highly unlikely, given both the design and success of the Sierra as well as the design of the Schmidt mechanisms.

BTW, I had never heard of the "Serea" until I read this thread. . . It seems to be solely a Prokraft (UK) product. . Am I right on that ?

The name of that kit is strikingly similar to "Sierra", one of the longtime successful products marketed by .... BereaHardwoods . com .

Several Sierra look-alikes have appeared over the years; some are : Gatsby, Mesa, Manhattan, Zodiac, and others whose names I forget.

The appearance of yet another similar pen kit is hardly remarkable.

What I do find remarkable is that the original design idea is not protected by a "patent" or something equivalent to "copyright" law.

So, it took me a bit, but I found the pen that I think I was referring to:


I am on the Exotic Blanks mailing list, and it was several months ago that I first saw them mention that they were going to be discontinuing the "normal" click mechanism for these pens (which, AFAIK, is a "sierra-style" pen...not necessarily "Sierra" itself, just one of the many in that style, with that size tube (diameter and length), that can be used with the numerous sierra-style tub-in resin cast blanks out there, etc.)

I thought the emails said they were going to use a Schmidt click mechanism, but I guess the one they chose is a Le Roi?


I haven't used this particular pen kit yet. I have turned several of the Wall Street clickers, which are basically the same as the "diamond knurl" kits from Exotic Blanks. The clickers on those have been rather terrible...within a couple of drops on the clicker, and the clicker is usually toast. I was interested when I saw there was a kit of this style, with a clicker specifically chosen for reliability...
 
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