Want to start turning pens.

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Forum topic by kyscroller posted 06-16-2014 04:11 PM 2796 views 3 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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53 posts in 2949 days

06-16-2014 04:11 PM

I want to start turning pens and sell them at the craft shows my wife and I do through out the year. Looking for a good quality kit that I can sell for around the $10.00 or so over the kit price. Open to all suggestions. Thanks.

12 replies so far

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 4016 days

#1 posted 06-16-2014 07:28 PM

Penn State Industries has a lot of things for pen turning, from lathes to sandpaper. Just remember you will have more in accessories and turning tools than you have in the lathe itself. Good turning! One good turn deserves another. ;)

View Wildwood's profile


2954 posts in 3190 days

#2 posted 06-16-2014 08:20 PM

Suggest you hang out at this site, and soak up information. You can find several vendors in the link section besides PSI.

If become a member can get a lot of information from their Marketing and Shows thread which is not visible to non-members.

Knowing the different vendors, and check for specials and sales for kits, supplies & accessories will help your bottom line.

I like Sierra kits from these vendors, but other vendors carry a version with different names as well.

-- Bill

View TRHeath's profile


75 posts in 2642 days

#3 posted 06-16-2014 10:04 PM

I used to make and sell pens several years ago. It’s fun to do and you can sell a lot of them at craft shows. My one bit of advice is that you’re not going to be making any profit at that price. You have to pay yourself for your time. If it’s a quality product they will pay a premium price.

-- So much to little time.....

View kyscroller's profile


53 posts in 2949 days

#4 posted 06-17-2014 11:27 AM

I’ve watched many other pen makers that try and sell their pens at the $40* range and they don’t sell. It seems they are above the price point for the type of craft shows we have here. Our main sellers now are scroll saw work and stained glass. We don’t sell high because we enjoy what we do. As long as we pay for material and booth fee’s we’re happy with what profit comes. I just thought that it would be a good addition to what we’re selling now.

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 2986 days

#5 posted 06-17-2014 11:53 AM

Craft Supply – They have slimline kits for 1.59 and they will match anyother companies price. You can sell these slimline for 10.00 and make money . I have been selling these kits for 1 year and they work out great. You can make a lot of designs out of these kits.

-- Coach Mancuso

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2877 posts in 3977 days

#6 posted 06-17-2014 12:35 PM

Even $20 for a pen is high. I know you can turn a pen in twenty minutes so your price idea of cost + $10 sounds doable. I see them for sale at the shows I sell at and very few are sold at $20. Lots of people make pens.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View Drew224's profile


27 posts in 3377 days

#7 posted 06-17-2014 06:47 PM

Let me give you a bit of advice. A pen is something that either a person wants and sees the value in a crafted pen or not. And it wouldn’t be at any reason why you can’t sell at $10 or $20 BUT!!!!!!!!! you’d be a fool, fooling yourself. The idea of selling so and I will say CHEAP would be counter productive.
Average for any “slimline pen” is $30-$50 depending on the geo-economic area that you plan to sell in.
Better yet, I will let Hans Meier Explain the idea of selling at craft shows. Many years of advice.

-- "...Be sure to read, Understand & follow the manufactures safety rules... And there is never more importaint rule than wearing safety glasses."

View plantek's profile


314 posts in 3854 days

#8 posted 06-17-2014 08:18 PM

I get the slim line pens from PSI and sell them starting at $25.00 with no problem. I add turquoise to the pens and get $35.00 with no problem.

-- If you want it and it's within reason... It's on it's way!

View Wildwood's profile


2954 posts in 3190 days

#9 posted 06-17-2014 08:20 PM

According to 2012 poll at IAP 53% of pen turners either make no money selling pens or less than $1,000 per year.

I always recommend staying away from economy line of pen kits vendors carry. Most of those less than $2.00 slim line kits are junk. Berea Hardwoods & other vendor’s sell $3.00+ slim line kits buying more than a few can bring the price down with quantity discounts. Also choose durable plating like chrome on less expensive kits. 10KT, 24KT, & Upgrade Gold platings wear very quick. Nice reference on kit platings from Berea & CSUSA;

I like dealing Berea because of quality and least cost for shipping. Berea has many resellers for their products. I see where some of their resellers also offer PSI kits & accessories. That IAP link posted earlier will introduce you to most of the pen accessory & supply vendors around today.

Besides pens might look a Seam Rippers, compact mirror kits, 3” Mirrors, ceiling fan pulls, key chains, pepper mills, etc.

My last show sold more 3” mirrors with handles than pens. One lady asked me if could make them without handles. Guy & Gal two booths over from me sold ever seam ripper they had. Guy selling razors could not give them away.

-- Bill

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3303 days

#10 posted 06-17-2014 08:30 PM

Pens is a zero sum game. For each style you need to buy a special drill bit, bushings, reamers, etc. Also finishing and sanding consumables really add up. My wife and I only turn them on a custom order basis. Even at craft shows the 100.00 cutting boards go flying off the shelves and the 10.00 beautifully turned exotic wood pens which are priced about with about 2 bucks profit come home with us.

She only turns them via special order now.

I turn custom double edge razors. That is a niche market as there are no kits for them. There is limited demand if you know where to look. Like with pens I only turn those on a commission basis but the profit margin is high and the demand is very steady.

Kit razors are the same as pens. Can barely give them away.


View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3859 days

#11 posted 06-17-2014 10:39 PM

I’ve had fairly good luck with some pen sales. I’m not “gouging” anyone. I don’t make a big bunch of profit, but, I still like turning them. I’ve been very lucky in the old saying of “being at the right place, at the right time” sort of thing. I consign my pens at a very nice “gift/specialty” store with a very nice lady. She keeps me busy making pens. I’m very thankful. I do agree to a point of what others have said. You won’t become a millionaire, lol, for sure. You do have a lot invested for all the different kits, bushings, etc. Good luck with whatever you decide. The main thing, is, just have fun.

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

View scoobydooo9r's profile


187 posts in 4831 days

#12 posted 06-18-2014 07:09 AM

I buy my kits from The owner, David, is awesome, helpful and the prices are pretty decent. Before I placed my first order, I had some questions about the products as well as shipping (it’s an Australian company). The owner called my on the phone to answer my questions, and even gave me tips on selling pens (he sells pens as well as other woodcrafts too).

This was like a 45 minute phone call with him. I was blown away!!!

Honestly, unless you plan to sell diamond encrusted pens, find the cheapest deal you can on your kits. I have used a number of company’s kits now, and I seriously think they get them all from the same place anyway. I don’t really see a difference. From what I’ve heard, all the kits either come from one company in China or one in Taiwan. You can find people debating which one is better, but I have yet to find a difference.

One way to get an edge on the pricing is to just sell single blank kits like the Sierra’s. Sierra kits are even easier/quicker to put together than slimlines, and you can literally turn twice as many in the same amount of time as a slimline. You only have to press the rear (clip) portion of the pen, and the tip just pops in by hand.

I would also recommend checking out They sell kits, blanks, and other accessories. I’m pretty impressed with their products as well as pricing. I believe they have standard 2-day shipping (maybe at a certain price point though, not sure).

Hope that helps some. Hit me up if you have any other questions. One other thing that I do is cast my own acrylic pen blanks. I get a pretty good response on those pens, and it allows you to do pretty much anything you can imagine up with the colors or casting objects within the resin.

-- I don't make mistakes, I make design challenges!

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