Reply by Minorhero

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Posted on Beginning Pen Turning

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373 posts in 3117 days

#1 posted 06-02-2011 04:48 AM

Do you have anything currently? (ie do you own a lathe?)

You need the following equipment:

1) Lathe
2) Chisel (I did a lot of research and found that a 3/8” spindle gouge to be the best tool because not only can it turn a pen quite easily, but it also can be used for other things)
3) Wood Blanks
4) Some sand paper
5) Some form of finish (friction polish is the easiest thing to apply)
6) The pen hardware, sold in kits from various suppliers
7) Pen mandrel
8) Chuck for pen mandrel if your mandrel did not come with one
9) Some method of sharpening the chisel (don’t skip this you will need it right away, literally – I use a 6” 150 grit grinder stone and a wooden shop made jig that replicates the wolverine system, took me all of 10 minutes to make).
10) Set of punches (I bought mine from harbor freight) for removing pen hardware from blanks when you make a mistake (this will happen)
11) Some Crazy glue or epoxy.
12) Videos, I watched a bunch of youtube videos on pen turning before starting, really helped me figure out what I needed.
13) Bushing’s for use with the specific pen kits you have.

As for specifically what equipment to buy… Well midi lathes are pretty popular and the easiest way to get into the hobby. A used lathe can run about the same as a midi lathe but they tend to be bigger, though chances are you won’t get as good a range of speed control so there is a big trade off there. If you just plan to do pen turning and never anything else, then a midi lathe is all you will ever need.

You will want to resist the temptation to buy a set of chisels, they cost a lot and won’t be of much use most of the time. Spend 60 dollars on a spindle gouge, you won’t be disappointed. I bought a Henry Taylor Kryo and I’m quite happy with it.

Hope that helps.

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