truning without a mandrel?

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leehljp

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I don't know if there is a video. There are a few pictures around somewhere. However, I think that everyone that is doing it - did it without benefit of a video. It is not hard, more simple to set up than a mandrel.

If you have a mandrel, then you have a live center on the tail stock already.

1. Put a bushing on a tubed blank. Next put that bushing onto the tail stock to see how it fits. Simple enough.

2. Now, with a dead drive (like a live center but the head does not rotate separate from the MT taper) - insert the dead drive into the head stock.

3. Place a bushing on the other end of the tubed blank. Place this end to the dead center (head stock end). Fits fine.

4. Now bring the tail stock up snug and lock.

5. Turn on lathe, and turn the blank like you would on a mandrel.

6. Once near size is achieved, take the bushings off, and place the turned blank on the live center and dead center (without using the bushings). Bring the tail stock up snug and lock. Very easy to do.

7. Sand down to size checking with calipers and no bushing sanding dust to worry about.

8. Finish on the lathe unless you use the lacquer dip method.
 

Marc Phillips

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Like Hank said... :D

Here's a pic... sort of... kind of... might help visualize it anyhoo..

The bushings from JohnnyCNC work a lot better than off the shelf bushings... plus if you are going to be turning 7mm stuff then you need some bushings that go inside the 7mm tube, as the stock bushings don't go inside the tube but just slide onto a mandrel...

 

Ligget

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Gentle cuts with sharp tools is also the way to go!:)

Bushings from Johnnycnc are required for turning Slimlines, Comfort, Europeans etc.., that don`t have the bushings with the smaller part on the bushings that inserts into the tube. If you know what I mean! lol [:I]:D
 

kenwc

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Ok so I've been busy at work for a while and have not been following some of this but can someone tell me what the advantage of not using a mandrel? I "assume" this would eliminate any play that a slight bend in a Mandrel might have????
 

leehljp

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Ok so I've been busy at work for a while and have not been following some of this but can someone tell me what the advantage of not using a mandrel? I "assume" this would eliminate any play that a slight bend in a Mandrel might have????
That is about it. But that is a BIG "about it". :biggrin:

1. Bent mandrel for one reason on another.
2. Mandrel flex from being too tight against the tail stock.
3. Mandrel flex from too much pressure of the chisel on hard wood, especially for beginners.
4. Mandrel / bushing fittings being slightly loose fitting will cause OOR.

Bushings with the hole drilled off center will cause the same problem on the mandrel-less method as it will for the mandrel, however it will be amplified a bit more on the mandrel.

Tail stock out of alignment will still cause problems.

However, when you eliminate 1, 2, 3 & 4 above, the difficulty in finding an OOR problem is GREATLY reduced.

ADDED BENEFIT: after bringing the blank to size or near size, take the bushings off and finish sanding to size, as measured by calipers. NO Sanding dust! Finish in this set up (no bushings) and not problem with CA/bushings.
 
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Rifleman1776

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That is about it. But that is a BIG "about it". :biggrin:

1. Bent mandrel for one reason on another.
2. Mandrel flex from being too tight against the tail stock.
3. Mandrel flex from too much pressure of the chisel on hard wood, especially for beginners.
4. Mandrel / bushing fittings being slightly loose fitting will cause OOR.

Bushings with the hole drilled off center will cause the same problem on the mandrel-less method as it will for the mandrel, however it will be amplified a bit more on the mandrel.

Tail stock out of alignment will still cause problems.

However, when you eliminate 1, 2, 3 & 4 above, the difficulty in finding an OOR problem is GREATLY reduced.

Lee, you forgot mandrel flex just because that's what mandrels do. Doesn't require doing anything wrong. Just part of what happens with them.
 

leehljp

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Lee, you forgot mandrel flex just because that's what mandrels do. Doesn't require doing anything wrong. Just part of what happens with them.
LOL, You said it best! :biggrin: Thanks for the input and reminder! And a big thanks to you 18 months ago for pushing me into the mandrel-less direction.
 

heinedan

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Hello,

I've been turning without a mandrel for about a year now. Since switching, the quality of my finished pens is 200% better. No more out of round, no more overlap when pressing the components in. I use Johnny CNC's bushings for the Jr. Gent/Jr. Staesman pens and the bushings take quality and fit to the nth level. Amazing, a perfect pen every time. Unfortunately, Johnny CNC lost everything he had in a flood last spring. Paul in OKC is workign hard to take up the task of making bushings designed strictly for mandrelless(sic??) turning. Hopefully, he will have the production ready soon. Contact him if you want to buy some of these bushings.

Turning between centers also eliminates catches that ruin blanks, and teaches you the best way possible to present the tool to the blank. If you try to present the tool at the wrong angle, the blank just stops turning. This forces you to learn the best way. Once you have learned this, you pens will look a lot better when finished.

Dan
 

jkeithrussell

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I'm taking this plunge tonight. I have had some trouble with blanks being out-of-round, but mostly I'm tired of trying to get rid of the sanding crud that comes off (or out from under) the bushings. This system looks like it will marginally increase the amount of time that it takes to turn a pen, but I'm confident it will make for better pens.
 

leehljp

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I'm taking this plunge tonight. I have had some trouble with blanks being out-of-round, but mostly I'm tired of trying to get rid of the sanding crud that comes off (or out from under) the bushings. This system looks like it will marginally increase the amount of time that it takes to turn a pen, but I'm confident it will make for better pens.
Keith, it decreases it for me.

Steps for Mandrel:

1. put bushings on the blank
2. put spacer bushing on mandrel,
3. place bushing/blank on mandrel
4. add another spacer
5. place and add nut and tighten
6. pull up tail stock and check as to just right tightening.
Turn

Remove to check and see if it is OOR anywhere, replace and go through the 6 steps again.


For no mandrel:
1. add bushings to blank
2. put bushing/blank on lathe and hold
3. pull up tailstock and lock
Turn

Remove to see if it is OK
repeat with three steps OR leave bushings OFF and:
1. place on lathe
2. finish sanding to size without bushings and check with calipers
3. Apply finish and sand, wax, buff

Much less steps on single blank pens. DOUBLE for two part pens which makes it come out about the same, but with less chances of OOR from mandrel related issues.

Where this REALLY speeds things up is the quickness with which you can remove and check a blank for size or for how it will look against the pen kit parts, and then replacing. On some pens, I take the blank off two or three times to check something. It takes less than 10 seconds to do this with mandrel-less but 30 - 45 seconds or more (take off and put back) with mandrel set up, and more if you drop a spacer!
 
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PenTurnerJohn

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Hank,

You've been a great help to me - both on and off the forum - to understand what's involved in mandrel-less turning. :)

My basic question now is: why was I not taught this method from the beginning? It seems that this is the better way to go - even for beginners.
 

Rifleman1776

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Hank,

You've been a great help to me - both on and off the forum - to understand what's involved in mandrel-less turning. :)

My basic question now is: why was I not taught this method from the beginning? It seems that this is the better way to go - even for beginners.
Call it habit and the accepted way of doing things. And, sellers of mandrels could not sell them if they weren't used.
BTW, I cannot be credited with originating this method. Someone else did several years ago. But, I did sorta revive it a little more than a year ago.
 

leehljp

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Hank,

You've been a great help to me - both on and off the forum - to understand what's involved in mandrel-less turning. :)

My basic question now is: why was I not taught this method from the beginning? It seems that this is the better way to go - even for beginners.
A good discussion for Psychology class! :rolleyes: :biggrin:

I will be a little more blunt that Frank! :biggrin: People hate change. The learning curve of overcoming all the little problems associated with a mandrel is a little high. (OK, quite high for a beginner.) However, once you become proficient enough to recognize just where a problem might be, you don't want to let go and learn a new method. Call it the Stockholm syndrome. :biggrin:

In addition to what Frank said above, - Because the mandrel has been around for a good while, - If we were to just come out and say - Don't go the mandrel route, it is too complicated - then we would probably be in for a fight and Jeff would throw all of us off! :biggrin: And besides, when you as a beginner see all the catalogs, online store set ups and videos that show "mandrels" - would you believe a few others who said "Don't go this way, Go mandrel-less"? People generally follow the larger crowd or commercial entities as Frank pointed out.

Most people that ask about it on this forum - think that it is complicated! Why? Because mandrels are complicated with their own inherent problems. Why believe that more precision can be more simple? Most people equate higher precision with more complication!

In this case, less IS more!

By the way, I do use a mandrel for my duck calls.
 
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JimB

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I think another reason beginners start with mandrels is that they are usually directed by someone to start with the slimline as their first pen and you need the mandrel for that since the pushings aren't stepped.
 

PenTurnerJohn

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1. Yes, Hank and Jim, I can see that reasoning and psychology. And I was first shown the art of pen turning by someone who used mandrels - who was probably taught by someone who used mandrels - who was probably.....

2. My second lesson in pen turning came from a class I took offered by a company that sells pen kits AND mandrels. The class was excellent and I learned a lot. But I can also see some motivation in teaching a method which will result in the student going out onto the sales floor and buying mandrels along with everything else "needed" to get started in pen turning.

3. And yes, my first pen turned was a slim. So I can see the reasoning for the mandrel there.

4. It would be good if there were more people selling the high quality bushings like Johnny and Paul. That would make more people aware of the alternative.
 

johnnycnc

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I think another reason beginners start with mandrels is that they are usually directed by someone to start with the slimline as their first pen and you need the mandrel for that since the pushings aren't stepped.
3. And yes, my first pen turned was a slim. So I can see the reasoning for the mandrel there.

4. It would be good if there were more people selling the high quality bushings like Johnny and Paul. That would make more people aware of the alternative.
Gentlemen,even the slimline is a go between centers,with solid bushings.
I made many,many sets of my custom bushings just for slimlines,and they work like a dream!
Maybe Paul will make Y'all some soon.:biggrin:
 

JimB

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Gentlemen,even the slimline is a go between centers,with solid bushings.
I made many,many sets of my custom bushings just for slimlines,and they work like a dream!
Maybe Paul will make Y'all some soon.:biggrin:

That's it, rub it in that I don't have any custom bushings yet:frown::eek:. I've only turned a few pens between centers but I used the regular bushings. I see the custom ones in my future but if I spend another dime on 'stuff' i think LOML will kill me.
 

johnnycnc

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That's it, rub it in that I don't have any custom bushings yet:frown::eek:. I've only turned a few pens between centers but I used the regular bushings. I see the custom ones in my future but if I spend another dime on 'stuff' i think LOML will kill me.
Sorry,Jim :tongue::biggrin:
The "stuff" obsession will grow stronger with time,and turning hours.
do not attempt to resist..it is futile!:hypnotized:
 

Hucifer

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This makes a whole lot of sense. And if my brain is hitting on all cylinders this may just be the solution to everything for me. I have a drive center that inserts into the jaws of my chuck. So... I can go from bowl turning to spindle turning to pen turning and never have to change out anything. The chuck stays on and I only have to insert the drive center to switch to pens. I get better pens, and way less hassle when changing over to bowls... Oh happy freakin' day! I'll be calling, Johnny...
 

Mac

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I don't use the head stock dead center, that you can buy ,I did'nt have one and wanted to try a the ca finish that I had learned at north Texas IAP meeting, so I made one out of wood . I also don't use bushings I slide blank on cones and use calipers for fit. I use hardwood make #2taper on one end ,to slide into head stock, then press in then cut the other end down to make cone . I leave the indention made in the cone from my tailstock so I can use it to line it up. Also everytime I mount it to do a pen I trim it with a skew this will line it up everytime. You can also do slimlines this way.
This way also makes it easy to trim ends of blanks right on lath,after putting ca finish on.
 

PenTurnerJohn

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Thanks for the custom bushings!

I would be remiss if I didn't take time to thank both Paul and Johnny for their custom made bushings that I've recently purchased from them both. They make my barrel turning accuracy so much better. Thanks guys.

To all of you who have not yet dipped your feet into the water of mandrel-less turning...give it a try. You won't regret it.

Now all this talk has made me want to turn a pen...and I'm in a hotel room down in South Carolina where I've been speaking in a church this weekend for special missions services. When I get home tomorrow I'll be heading for my workshop for sure! :)
 

TonyInPa

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Just great! I have never turned a pen, and just joined here after ordering a beginner's pen turning kit that includes a mandrel.

I have watched videos on pen turning with a mandrel, and don't yet understand turning without a mandrel. Using a mandrel you mount two pieces of wood, the pen top and bottom, between a bushing. Right?

With no mandrel do you turn each half independently? This is what I don't understand. Did I miss something here?

Help, please.
 

jleiwig

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Just great! I have never turned a pen, and just joined here after ordering a beginner's pen turning kit that includes a mandrel.

I have watched videos on pen turning with a mandrel, and don't yet understand turning without a mandrel. Using a mandrel you mount two pieces of wood, the pen top and bottom, between a bushing. Right?

With no mandrel do you turn each half independently? This is what I don't understand. Did I miss something here?

Help, please.
Nope..nothing missed. That's how you do it :biggrin: Welcome to IAP.
 

mdburn_em

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Just great! I have never turned a pen, and just joined here after ordering a beginner's pen turning kit that includes a mandrel.

I have watched videos on pen turning with a mandrel, and don't yet understand turning without a mandrel. Using a mandrel you mount two pieces of wood, the pen top and bottom, between a bushing. Right?

With no mandrel do you turn each half independently? This is what I don't understand. Did I miss something here?

Help, please.
I use the mandrel to turn both barrels down to just above proud. Then I light sand and apply finish to both independently. I place them back on the mandrel for final sanding/polishing.
 
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