Pen turning supplies questions

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Forum topic by PhillipRCW posted 08-24-2017 02:40 PM 723 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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517 posts in 2036 days

08-24-2017 02:40 PM

I am buying a new lathe soon for bigger items. I would like to use my small lathe for pens, rolling pens and smaller items. I’m brand new to pen turning though, so I’m a little lost on what I need to have for the turning and construction processes. I’ve seen a ton of videos, but it seems everyone uses a different variety of equipment.

So does anyone have a specific set of items that are must haves in the turning/ assembly process?

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

2 replies so far

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1108 posts in 1160 days

#1 posted 08-24-2017 03:03 PM

Generically you’ll need a pen mandrel and bushings to fit your pens, a barrel trimmer, a drill (to fit) and jig to drill through the pen blanks, sand paper and some kind of finish. I’ve added a pen press and it works for me but not everyone feels the need to have one. Check out Rockler or Penn State Industries both have complete kits or partial kits just make sure you have bushings that match your Mandrel and Pen and a correctly sized drill. The kits will tell you what size drill/bushings you need. Happy turning!

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View Dustin's profile


707 posts in 1512 days

#2 posted 08-25-2017 01:22 PM

Hey, Phillip, Bluenote makes all great points above re needs.

I’d add that for me, I prefer to drill out my blanks on the lather, rather than using a pen vise and drill press. If you choose to do it that way, you’ll need a chuck to fit the taper on your tailstock to hold the bit, and a chuck with small jaws (I use the Nova 3 with the pen jaws…NOT the pIn jaws) to mount the blank.

I also highly recommend, as he mentioned, the barrel trimmer. I tried squaring my blanks for a while with a jig and belt sander, but was never too happy with the outcome. The barrel trimmer was much easier to use, and they are simple enough to sharpen.

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

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