Reply by northwoodsman

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Posted on Beginning Pen Turning

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250 posts in 4258 days

#1 posted 06-02-2011 03:31 PM

In addition to the items listed above, I would go with (in addition to a lathe):
- Drill press (it doesn’t have to be a large floor model).
- Easy Pen Turner (made by EWT) it’s aka the Carbide tipped iC3 rougher and is available from Craft Supplies USA or Woodcraft – Your lathe tool must be razor sharp and be able to cut paper thin ribbons of shavings otherwise the wood, acrylic, antler, truestone and etc. will chip off. With this tool you don’t have to spend another $100+ on a good sharpening system. It’s really the only lathe tool that you need for pen turning. The carbide tip has 4 sides so when it get dull you just rotate it. It’s about $90.00.
- Adjustable pen mandrel.
- Wood turners sanding strips.
- Pen press.
- Blank drilling jig – the blue one from Rockler can also be used as a press. If you get it just be sure to remove the 4 set srews from the carriages before you use it, apply Locktite Thread Lock to the screws, then put them back in. If you don’t do this, after about 3 – 4 pen blanks they will fall out and you won’t find the bearings and springs in the shavings and saw dust on your shop floor.
- A good compartmental tool box for sorting and storing all of your bushings, tools, blanks, kits and etc.
- For each pen kit you will need the appropriate bushings, pen mill and drill bits.
- Tube insertion tool.

I would start with the Wallstreet II from Woodcraft, or the Sienna from Craft Supplies USA or the Sierra (?). They are all the same kit with different names. They are a one piece tube kit. You can get very elegant versions of them or cheap ones. They are great to learn on and won’t get you frustrated starting out. My kids make them all the time. They made 20 over the past 2 weekends to give to their teachers as end of the year gifts. Stabalized blanks are nice becuase they don’t take a lot to finish them, but the downside is they can be expensive and brittle. Get a nice pack of bulk blanks (20 or so) for around $10 to practice on. Acrylic is also easy to turn an unique. Trustone is nice but I have found that some colors are MUCH easier to turn than others. Certain colors are EXTREMELY brittle.

Good luck. It’s addicting and can be expensive.

-- NorthWoodsMan

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