Three Pens, Two Mistakes, One Beauty

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EricRN

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Joined
May 16, 2019
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138
Been that kind of week. Finished up three pens. The one on the left is a JR Gent with Black Ti fittings (maybe its gunmetal) and blue royale Conway Stewart. That one turned out real nice. I'm a huge fan of the black Ti JR series kits. The dark gray finish strikes me as very modern, very masculine. And I cannot get enough of the blue CS material. It has an iridescence that seems to dance throughout the pen as you move it. The picture does not do it justice. Takes a great shine as well.

The middle pen frustrated me. I was quite happy with the blank, a red mallee burl finished with pens plus. Has a bit more luster in real life. What frustrates me is that the bushings that came with it did not fit snug within the tube for the cap. The end result: there was maybe 1/32 inch of play, which led to my turning being off center by about that much. And one of the pieces for the lower part of the pen was just a little loose when I pushed it in, so I used epoxy to glue it in which means I can't even pop the fittings out, trash the blank, and start over. Very frustrating. Not sure what I'm going to do. I can't sell it. Don't really want to give it away as the mistake is that obvious. I'll probably just use it around the house here. At least I'll be able to enjoy the great piece of timber.

On an unrelated note--Any thoughts on how to make the bushings useable? I've got two more kits. I was thinking I'd wrap a few turns of masking tape around them to make them fit the tube a bit more snug.

Finally, the third pen, second mistake. I turned the base of the blank maybe 1/64th of an inch too short on one side. Actually, I think it probably happened while I was doing my longitudinal sanding--I think I stayed in one place and sanded too much. Anyway, I've got the other half of the blank that I'd used to make this one, and some extra tubes. So I'm going to pop out the fittings and give it another go.

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Sly Dog

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Nov 16, 2018
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221
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Boise, Idaho
Beautiful pens, really. I’ve turned a few Conway Stewart blanks (not that particular blue one) and love how they finish. The burl is gorgeous.

As for the bushing issue, I’m not sure I’d trust tape to cure the issue, though I can’t see how it would make it worse. My concern would the tape failing or just not wrapping uniformly. Sounds like the bushings should be returned. Have you tried turning between centers? That’s the best way to ensure concentric turnings. If you have the necessary dead and live centers, and decent calipers, you’re golden. If you don’t have them, they are a wise investment, IMHO.
 

EricRN

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Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
138
Beautiful pens, really. I’ve turned a few Conway Stewart blanks (not that particular blue one) and love how they finish. The burl is gorgeous.

As for the bushing issue, I’m not sure I’d trust tape to cure the issue, though I can’t see how it would make it worse. My concern would the tape failing or just not wrapping uniformly. Sounds like the bushings should be returned. Have you tried turning between centers? That’s the best way to ensure concentric turnings. If you have the necessary dead and live centers, and decent calipers, you’re golden. If you don’t have them, they are a wise investment, IMHO.
Yeah, I was turning between centers when this happened. The issue is that the part of the bush that sits inside the tube is too small, so the tube was essentially at an angle between the bushings and I just didn't realize it. I agree that I should probably return the bushings, but I ordered them a long time ago and they sat before I had time to turn the pen.
 

Dehn0045

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Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
1,033
Location
Houston, Texas
Ditch the bushings and TBC using calipers. An inexpensive digital calipers (harbor freight or Amazon) will do. You can probably get the calipers for only a little bit more than the cost of a set of bushings - you'll never have this kind of worry again...
 

magpens

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Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
11,429
Location
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
I would heartily agree with learning to turn pens using the "turning between centers" method (TBC).

Well done on the first (blue) pen !! . And, I love the blank on the third pen ... very nice with the black hardware !! Looks like a Beaufort Ink pen kit.

Frankly, I don't SEE the problems you described in relation to pens 2 and 3 ..... but I know that's not the issue; I accept when you say that there ARE some problems !!!
 

jttheclockman

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Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
13,300
Location
NJ, USA.
First of all forget the tape idea. You can never wrap the tape evenly because it will always have an end and that side will be thicker. Just order new bushings and i am sure there will be other things you need from the vendor too. so combine the order. Some kits you can get away with a small amount of sanding too far and other kits are finicky. If you are talking about the Sierra style kit I am surprised because many times you can get away with some slop.
 

leehljp

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Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Messages
7,134
Location
Tunica, MS,
If you have a problem with the bushing being loose, and you are turning TBC, - then take the bushing off after you get it basically round and use the drive center directly in contact with the blank. It won't be loose then.
 
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