Best place to get "quality" pen kits

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Forum topic by Mainiac Matt posted 08-12-2018 09:26 PM 859 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mainiac Matt

9402 posts in 2938 days

08-12-2018 09:26 PM

I’ve been dabbling in pen turning and so far have turned…

Slimline (7mm tube,
Pioneer (7mm tube with 10 mm belly)
Manhattan/Wall Street/Gatsby (27/64” tube one piece)

and my market research team (wife and kids) as picked the Slimline as their favorite….

I’ve purchased pen kits from Rockler, Woodcraft and Peachtree…. but the Peachtree kits came with junk in cartridges… can’t give a fancy pen that writes like crap so I’m going to have to buy replacements.

So I’m getting ready to order a bunch of kits to get an early start on Christmas presents and am wondering where the best place to buy the kits is. So far I’m liking Rockler, but haven’t ordered from Penn State yet.

Any recommendations with reasons why are much appreciated.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

8 replies so far

View mel52's profile


1208 posts in 874 days

#1 posted 08-12-2018 09:54 PM

I haven’t started doing pens yet, but have been looking into it. It seems a lot of pen turners are getting stuff from Penn State. I get their catalog and it seems to be full of everything pens. I get a lot of other stuff for turning from them, and so far have happy with the quality.

-- MEL, Kansas

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3413 days

#2 posted 08-12-2018 09:54 PM

I’ve gotten the majority of my pen kits from PennSt. They aren’t the best there is either. I believe the pen kits out there are all pretty much the same. My personal opinion is to buy kits that use the Parker refills, because they seem to write smoother and better, plus, the receiver can get gel ink in the refills if they want. They do make great gifts at any time of the year. I tell the receiver they can get refills at stores like Staples, Office Max/Depot, etc. I always give a refill with all my pens, but, that’s just me. Good luck Matt.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View lew's profile


12938 posts in 4365 days

#3 posted 08-12-2018 10:38 PM

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Andybb's profile


2392 posts in 1213 days

#4 posted 08-12-2018 10:45 PM

Rockler and most everybody else gets them from Penn State. They all come from China or Taiwan so there really doesn’t seem to be much difference. Penn State sells to Rockler and just about everybody else. The Rockler Manhattan is the Penn State Gatsby which is somebody else’s Sierra and on and on.

I buy my kits based on customer service. I have had no issues with any of them. I do like doing business with Ed at Exotic Blanks. If I order a kit from Penn State it takes a week to get to me. I had a question about a blank and Ed called me on my cell phone to help me figure it out. If I order a kit from Ed on a Friday evening he ships it 2 day USPS on Saturday for the same price as Penn State but I get it on Monday. Penn State won’t ship it until Monday and I will get it in a week but they are a much bigger company so it’s all good. Tim at Wood-n-whimsies is another option.

Join IAP. Lots of helpful info there. They even have a phone app that lists every pen kit by almost all of the suppliers but you’ll notice that most of them are based on Penn State kits.

They even have handy charts like this that list all of the kits for PS and Rockler etc. to help you cross check.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View TheDane's profile


5729 posts in 4272 days

#5 posted 08-12-2018 11:47 PM

Give Turner’s Warehouse a look … ... the proprietor (Chad Schimmel) is pro who offers good products and great service.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Wildwood's profile


2794 posts in 2744 days

#6 posted 08-13-2018 10:17 AM

Most pen kit vendors are PSI resellers finding one that offers quanity discounts, good service, and faster shipping not hard. All the vendors listed here so far are PSI resellers some also sell Berea hardwood kits. Some vendors do sell economy line kits for little less than their main line whether PSI or Craft Supplies which doesn’t have any resellers that I know of. Stay away from economy line kits and buy mainline kits where ever you buy your kits.

These three are the main suppliers of pen kits once familiar with their lines of pen kits and prices easy to find a reseller for both PSI & Berea Hardwoods. Craft Supplies doesn’t have any resellors.

2nd joining IAP, Andy linked already. Some sections require membership to see.

-- Bill

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9402 posts in 2938 days

#7 posted 08-13-2018 12:43 PM

I can see that the kits are mostly the same…. what ticks me off is the lousy ink cartridges I received from Peachtree (and I think this is finally the very last time I’ll let myself be disappointed or ripped off by Peachtree).

The ink cartridges on the Rockler kits all have a protective blob of soft poly over the ball. The Peachtree kits did not and don’t write worth a darn.

I’m seeing off brand Cross compatible re-fill cartridges on amazon. Any recommendations for a reliable, good writing re-fill?

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Wildwood's profile


2794 posts in 2744 days

#8 posted 08-13-2018 03:54 PM

Many places but try the reserve ones, don’t remember every thing written about them been so long ago. You can also asked the folks there if need more info.

I stopped making slim line pen because couldn’t buy the refills here in town without ordering them at Stables or Office Max.

-- Bill

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