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Forum topic by northwoodsman posted 10-10-2020 02:16 AM 784 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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northwoodsman

510 posts in 4759 days


10-10-2020 02:16 AM

I have been turning pens for about 10 years and I have a question out of curiosity. Why do some turners turn the barrels so thick or fat in the middle? I see this mostly with turners that use the cheaper “economy” priced pen kits. On two part pens you have a skinny center band that quickly morphs into a barrel twice the size, and then skinny ends. I’m just curious, that’s all. To me many of them of a them look like a girl in a 1950’s cartoon with an hour-glass figure. They also look like they are going to snap in half in the middle. They just don’t look like a normal pen.

I turn the ends of my barrels down to the bushing size and the thickest part of the barrel is maybe 1-2 mm thicker at the thickest point which is typically in the center of each blank. I go for a smooth transition and even flow from end to end.

-- NorthWoodsMan


22 replies so far

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woodbutcherbynight

7799 posts in 3421 days


#1 posted 10-10-2020 02:41 AM

Couple of reasons. Artistic look over functional, some people just collect them. I personally prefer mine shaped to had a slight bulge just above the tip due to the way I hold a pen to write. I have made some kits for kids / people with disfigured hands. To accomplish this task I take a pencil and put clay on it and have them hold it as if to write. Taking that impression I turn a pen for them to that shape. May be odd for a normal person but it works for them and they can actually write and write well. Just got a card from a woman I made a Calligraphy pen for using this method. The penmanship is awesome.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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TravisH

760 posts in 2948 days


#2 posted 10-10-2020 02:43 AM

Simple.. they like the look.

I don’t like it but have turned some bulbous/strange designs at the request of some that had physical issues with gripping narrow pens/pencils, crochet needles, etc..

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ibewjon

2275 posts in 3806 days


#3 posted 10-10-2020 03:38 AM

I like the look and the feel. A straight, skinny pen looks cheap, like a straight, plastic pen or pencil. I see this as handmade creativity. If all hand turned pens look the same, what’s the point?

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pottz

14921 posts in 1997 days


#4 posted 10-10-2020 04:55 AM

i think it looks cartoonish myself,a slim pen thats 3x the diameter.it’s like the pen is pregnant-lol.i did try that look in the beginning and well,they didn’t sell.gave that look up a long time ago.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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WoodenDreams

1256 posts in 923 days


#5 posted 10-10-2020 05:57 AM

I didn’t get my lathe to turn pens, so maybe I’m a bit naive. I have not turned any pens, but my grandson has. I personally don’t like the feel of narrow pens like the Slim Line pen. Looked at many pens from vendors at craftshows to see their work. So I would ask, If you want to turn a wider pen, Why not start out with a wider pen kit, or a cigar pen or such… Is it primarily because the Slim Line kit cost less…

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Wildwood

2945 posts in 3147 days


#6 posted 10-10-2020 09:14 AM

Don’t turn pen anymore and like you don’t care bubbles or like you say over sized beginning, middle or ends on pens! Whether going to sell your pens or just turn them for fun better learn the term bushing to busing.

-- Bill

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ibewjon

2275 posts in 3806 days


#7 posted 10-10-2020 12:49 PM

Interesting opinions. I never saw any rule that the pen must be the same diameter as the bushings end to end. Slimline or larger kits, make them how you like them. Be creative and unique!!

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Arlin Eastman

4544 posts in 3574 days


#8 posted 10-10-2020 05:16 PM

Some like the look but mostly it is to fit the hands of a guy who does not like the slim ones or they do not fit in the hand to well.

That is me to some extent I have big fingers and hard to handle the thin pens.

One other option is to not use the center band and keep the pen big all the way to both ends and then taper them down. I have done that many times as well. Just because a kit comes with a band or cap does not mean you need to use them.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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Wildwood

2945 posts in 3147 days


#9 posted 10-10-2020 07:35 PM

I don’t know of any rule either. Just a matter of personal preferences. Not to mention people will find them hard to use! Why never made anything you see in the link!

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=%2FQX6U%2Fo3&id=76E3F04F2BA147772C3B5FAB34F041625578D2D7&thid=OIP._QX6U_o3qf1VkT6Vq2jgNQHaEK&mediaurl=http%3A%2F%2Fimg0.etsystatic.com%2F007%2F0%2F5292206%2Fil_fullxfull.400929656_77je.jpg&exph=506&expw=900&q=Handcrafted+Wooden+Pens&simid=608007205689887653&ck=54352151BEB30A3F1213A0F83F2D2B24&selectedindex=10&form=IRPRST&ajaxhist=0&vt=2&sim=15,16&ajaxhist=0

Yes friends & love ones will find them very interesting and people will stop to look if lay them out on a table for sale. If you are giving one away free not sure anyone would turn you down. Actually using one turned like those e picture might not see lot of use.

-- Bill

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AndyJ1s

485 posts in 768 days


#10 posted 10-10-2020 08:04 PM

I prefer to write with a fatter pen. It is more comfortable to hold and write with.

-- Andy - Arlington TX

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northwoodsman

510 posts in 4759 days


#11 posted 10-10-2020 08:55 PM

I should have asked in my original post, if you want a larger barrel why not match the pen kit to the desired finished size (i.e. a larger kit)? I don’t prefer a slim pen either but I have large strong hands. I’m sure the hefty pens that I like to use are way too much for someone that writes all day, or has small hands, or carries it in a pocket. There is obviously a demand for various sizes.

-- NorthWoodsMan

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pottz

14921 posts in 1997 days


#12 posted 10-10-2020 11:47 PM

as woodendreams said the slim lines are cheap so people try to make a fat pen with a kit that really doesn’t work well inmho,but to each his own.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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Arlin Eastman

4544 posts in 3574 days


#13 posted 10-11-2020 11:34 PM



as woodendreams said the slim lines are cheap so people try to make a fat pen with a kit that really doesn t work well inmho,but to each his own.

- pottz

Yep I can buy 3 or 4 slim lines for the guys for the price of a big barrel one. If it was just for me I might do the more $$ ones.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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pottz

14921 posts in 1997 days


#14 posted 10-12-2020 12:08 AM


as woodendreams said the slim lines are cheap so people try to make a fat pen with a kit that really doesn t work well inmho,but to each his own.

- pottz

Yep I can buy 3 or 4 slim lines for the guys for the price of a big barrel one. If it was just for me I might do the more $$ ones.

- Arlin Eastman


i agree my friend for what your doing slim lines feed the masses.id be doing those too.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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Gadabout55

48 posts in 2923 days


#15 posted 10-12-2020 04:01 AM

The short answer is – you can teach craftsmanship, but you can’t teach good taste. ;)

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