Teen pen turner from harrisonville, mo

Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

Teenpenturner

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
15
Location
Harrisonville, MO
Hi everyone!! I am a 14 yo who has been turning/selling handmade pens. I am not very rich so I have about the cheapest tools around. Due to being 14 my whole income is from the pens I sell. My parents are upper middle class but show no interest in paying for tools ext. they just like the finished product. I was just recently able to purchase the carbide finisher with replacement cutting heads from woodcraft. Have only been able to turn one pen with it but so far I'm liking it a lot. Thanks for reading and for turning pens and I have absolutely no experience with skews what do you all recommend in size and type/style or skew.
 
Last edited:
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad
Joined
Aug 5, 2009
Messages
2,928
Location
Seattle, WA
Hello from Washington. As for a skew I like a 3/4" just remember when you first buy it, it won't be sharp enough to use and it is just about impossible to learn how to use a skew if it is dull. Don't be scared to ask questions. We also like to see pictures of your work.
 

Teenpenturner

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
15
Location
Harrisonville, MO
Hi thanks for you opinion! I appreciate it. I will upload pics as soon as I figure out how to. Also for sharpening in general I currently own no sharpener. My uncle sharpens my tools occasionally. This is why I bought the carbide replaceable tool. What do you use to sharpen your tools? Do you have any cheep sharpeners to reccomend?? Thanks
 
Last edited:

gvarnador

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2013
Messages
11
Location
Sharon, South Carolina
Hi and Welcome to the addiction also about your carbide finisher replacement cutting heads check around some of your local woodworking tool suppliers ask for carbide planner blades. I've been getting round cutters for a little over $10.00 and square ones for $3.00
 

robutacion

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Messages
6,014
Location
Australia - SA Adelaide Hills
Hi thanks for you opinion! I appreciate it. I will upload pics as soon as I figure out how to. Also for sharpening in general I currently own no sharpener. My uncle sharpens my tools occasionally. This is why I bought the carbide replaceable tool. What do you use to sharpen your tools? Do you have any cheep sharpeners to reccomend?? Thanks
G'day mate, welcome to IAP all the way from the land of the Kangaroos...!

Sharpening tools, can be a bigger issue than turning pens however and from what you shared with us, shame that your parents aren't willing to contribute for your passion for turning/making pens, etc., particularly in our days where young people of your age, are more interested in drugs, alcohol and all sorts of mischief than, staying home and be productive while getting an education so, my 10 points to you for being one of us...!

As for sharpening a skew, you can do a very good job with a medium quality wet stone, found in any hardware store for a few bucks. Any straight edged cutter can be sharpen on these type stones, a little slow but efficient and when you hit something bad that damages the edge, you can always ask your uncle to get it a new edge and then you continue to keep it sharp with the stone.

Later on, when you can afford a sharpening system or simply a good grinder with quality wheels, you have then a number of possibilities to assist the various gauges shapes sharpening, with accessories that can make that job a quite easy one.

Don't forget to watch lots of Youtube videos on the use of the skew, taking particular attention of how much higher the tool rest has to be set at, position of the harms and what part of the skew edge touches the wood and how much, than is practice, practice, practice, any piece of clean wood you find, is good enough for that...!

Good luck...!

PS: As mentioned previously, we have a say here that goes like this, "No pics, didn't happen...!" this means that we all like plenty of pics...!:wink::biggrin:

Cheers
George
 
Last edited:

Teenpenturner

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
15
Location
Harrisonville, MO
Thank you!! I think my dad has a wetstone somewhere I could use. It is a shame that my parents won't help pay for anything. It sucks not being able to have a job also. I do make about 200 dollars a month but every nickel goes back into tools. Also I have watched about every YouTube video that has anything to do with skews and pen turning so I do know the do's and don't of skews. Thank you again!!!
 

PeetyInMich

Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2012
Messages
358
Location
Monroe Michigan 48162
Welcome Marcus from Monroe Michigan. I think the carbide was a good decision until you develope your sharpening and honing skills, it will give you a chance to work on your turning. Give your parents some time, I dont have any idea what they do for a living, but your turnings may be a little "artsy" or "bohemian" for their sensabilities. Or they may want to see how you are able to take your earnings and re-invest them and grow your fledgling business. Either way you have found a fun way to spend your time, and a great resource here at the IAP.
 

OOPS

Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
674
Location
Spokane, WA
Hi Marcus, from Washington State. As for trying to get started without much money, I would postpone a purchase of a skew. I would concentrate on learning to use your carbide tool first. Why? Because many people decide they really like how it performs and go no further with a tool which will just sit. I have made pens for three years and don't own a skew, and don't plan to get one. What you have to remember is that there will be proponents of all different types of tools, techniques, etc. It is extremely easy to get caught up in the hype, and buy more than you need, which in this case would be detrimental to your development as a turner, because money would be wasted on something you don't need, and at the same time prevent you from getting something you really COULD use.

I hope this helps. I have learned that there is NO END to the things you can buy in this hobby, but not all of them are essential, especially when on a budget.
 

mredburn

IAP Activities Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
8,286
Location
Fort Myers FL
Welcome Marcus
It apparently may suck that your parents wont help out with the financial aspect but that means that you will appreciate the value of every thing YOU earn from YOUR efforts. You dont have a Job yet you do have an opportunity to make money that relies solely on your efforts to overcome the obstacles you have.. Dont get a job, learn to sell, sell yourself sell your pens. You will have to budget every penny you earn and plan every purchase. SO really your parents are teaching you to be self reliant and preparing you to be an adult. If Your sincere and you post regularly with pictures of your progress members will be glad to support you, possibly with kits or blanks definetly lots of Advice. Learn to Think, PLan, Execute, have fun and ask questions even the dumb sounding ones.
 
Last edited:

markgum

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
3,788
Location
Littleton, CO
Welcome from the mile high city. Looking forward to learning from you. It takes time to build the tool collection so keep working at it and you will soon have a wonderful collection.
 

lucky13

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
121
Location
Saint Peters, MO
Greetings from St. Louis, sounds like you have started in a great way. I just recently as of December started turning pens myself, and the only tools that I own right now is a Easy Wood Tools square cutter and a spindle master. I do recommend the Spindle Master as it does a wonderful job and it is probably the easiest tool to sharpen. To sharpen a spindle master all you have to do is rub the flat side on a sharpening stone back and forth a couple of times and there you go, it's all ready to be used and Wood Craft sells the sharpening stone packages for about $25. As for skews I have used a flat, oval, round, and one of the Alan Lacer signature skews. The Alan Lacer signature skew was very easy to use and can be purchased from Rockler or CSUSA. Keep up the good work and have fun.


Brandon Harris
St. Louis, MO
 

randyrls

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2006
Messages
4,145
Location
Harrisburg, PA 17112
carbide finisher replacement cutting heads

To join the thread; Marcus; It is easy to sharpen a carbide tipped cutter head with a diamond hone. Get one of the credit card sized solid metal hones. Put a drop of water on the hone, turn the cutter upside down on the hone, and swipe in a figure 8 pattern say 8 times. Now rotate the cutter 90 degrees and repeat until you have done the set of swipes 4 times. Dry the cutter before remounting. Clean the hone after every honing session. I have a cutter I purchased in 2008 and it still is my go-to tool for hard acrylics. I recently had to get another cutter though, the old one has been honed much thinner than it was originally.

Welcome to our little piece of heaven!

Added later: you can also use sandpaper to hone the carbide, but it doesn't last very long and should be discarded after a honing session.
 
Last edited:

Teenpenturner

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
15
Location
Harrisonville, MO
Thank you I was wondering if you could sharpen these tips.. This will save me lots of money!! I didn't know you could sharpen these I was told at woodcraft that you had to replace the tip when it dulls.
 

Joe S.

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2012
Messages
1,998
Location
South Lyon, MI
I just liked your page. FB pages are way cooler after you hit 30 likes! It took me FOREVER (it seemed:biggrin:) to get to 30. Have fun and welcome to the forum!
 

Sataro

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
2,476
Location
Corsicana, TX
Welcome from Corsicana, TX!

Another inexpensive method of sharpening tools is a simple benchtop sander. I have a Delta with a 1 x 30 belt on it. It keeps my tools sharp enough to use. I know it is not the best method to go. But it has kept my tools sharp enough to use for the last 4 years. Looking forward to seeing some of your pics on here.
 

Teenpenturner

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
15
Location
Harrisonville, MO
Billy, what I have been using for sharpening is taking a 6 inch faceplate that came with my lathe and attaching a sticky back round orbiting sanding pad, I think to sharpen. I have been using 150 grit. It seems to be working well enough for my needs but I do want to purchase a slow speed grinder at some point.
 

monophoto

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
1,451
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
Marcus - welcome.

To add to what others have said - you do need to be able to sharpen your tools as you turn, but until you are able to afford a grinder, using either a wetstone or a diamond stone works just fine. The aren't as fast or as glamorous, but the result is the same - sharp tools.

If you have a wetstone, I suggest using a light 'sewing machine' oil as a lubricant. Three-in-One is the most common brand, but you probably can find an equivalent at the Dollar Store that will work just as well. For a diamond stone, tapwater with a few drops of dishwashing detergent is the recommended lubricant. You can find wetstones and diamond stones at Lowes, Home Despot, or if one is convenient, Harbor Freight.

Your faceplate/sandpaper idea is an excellent way to sharpen tools, and for a penmaker that is probably fine. Its a bit less convenient if you need to sharpen several times during a project. There is an old thread that someone revived this morning about making handwheels for lathes (such as the small Harbor Freight tabletop lathe) that you can combine with the sandpaper idea to make a handwheel that serves double duty as your sharpening wheel.

By the way, there are a number of guys around your age who have done YouTube demonstration videos that are really very good. The most extensive collection is from Alex Harris in England. Alex is a few years older than you (he graduates from 'college' - what the English call high school) this year, but he does some pretty neat stuff and many of his tools are shop made. He has two channels - This Woodwork and the Teen Woodworker.
 

keithbyrd

Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
1,886
Location
Mount Wolf, PA
Marcus - keep up the good work - as others have said getting the tools yourself, learning to sharpen, figuring out how to do something with what you have when another tool would make easier is all part of the creativity that others show on this site!
Nice job on the pens!
 

Teenpenturner

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
15
Location
Harrisonville, MO
Hi everyone I just posted about 20 pics of my turning projects if anyone is interested. Also I update my Facebook page with every project. Facebook.com/marcusshandmadepens. Also if you wouldn't mind liking my page.

Thanks everyone
Marcus
 
Top Bottom