My sincere recommendation is to get a bunch of SLIMLINE
PENS. Also, a mandrel and the bushings. You will also
need the 7 mm drill bit, I think a letter J will do also.
The fit is slightly loose, when I tried a tighter fit
between the wood and the brass tube I had problems. The
wood would split when I inserted the tip. I used CA gel
when I started, now I am using epoxy which fills the void
and I think is more flexible, so the wood does not split
I said pens for a couple of reasons. Most people I deal
with are only interested in pens. Second, a set means
that you have to match the barrels. While this looks
real nice, turning only pens at the beginning gives you
some freedom to experiment. Actually I still have pencil
kits from the first batch.
You can get assorted clips and centerbands from Berea
when you buy the slimline pens.
As for woods, I started with an assortment of blanks
that was part of a starter kit. Now I am using mostly
blanks that I cut myself from scraps I get from a local
cabinet shop. I have turned maple, cherry, mahogany,
walnut, and a couple others that came from scraps.
Some of the exotics are very hard to work with, they are
kind of oily, which makes it difficult to finish, and
some are very hard. Rosewood is nice, and Padauk, which
is an oily wood seems to hit it with the ladies. I use
a rag with some alcohol on it after sanding to about 400.
This gets rid of the surface oil. Also stains like crazy!
You will also need sandpaper in all the grits to at
least 1200. Right now I start sanding at 150 with a
piece 2" wide folded in half lenghtwise. As the grit
gets finer I just cut pieces about 1/2" x 4". I cut
quarter sheets, and then cut the strips from it.
After the 150, I apply a coat of finish as a sealer, and
this also pops the grain, and then sand again to 150,
lightly, and start with the grits. Don't use the sealer
if you will use friction polish (alcohol, shellac, and
wax). I use Minwax PolyCrylic both for the sealer and
finish. I use computer wipes to apply it. They look
like a thick napkin. Being a cheapskate, I cut a lot
of 2 x 3" pieces from one, and fold in quarters. You can
get a mirror like finish with it if you put on enough
coats. After each coat, I use a hair dryer to speed up
the drying, or just lay mandrel and all aside and work
on another pen.
My mandrels are 1/4" threaded rod with a coupler epoxied
on one end, about 3/8" from the end. If you are using
the lathe's live center, be aware that it can wear out
from contacting the metal. Another coupler in that end
that sticks out about 1/4" from the mandrel will act
both as a nut, and save your center, since the point will
not contact metal.
Be sure you cut the blanks a bit longer (2-1/8" for the
slimlines, and center the tube when you glue it. Then
trim it to the brass tube making it PERFECTLY SQUARE or
when you tighten the nut on the mandrel, the whole thing
will bow, and you will get off-center barrels that don't
fit the metal parts.
Well, in a few days you will be turning away !!! Have a
lot of fun !!!
Quart, email Ryan@WoodTurningz.com or call him (888) PEN-KITS(or 736-5487) Nice guy who will take the time to answer all your questions. Prices are great. I got 20 cigar pens(Berea) and 40 slimlines(Penn State) from him to start off with, although I haven't started anything yet :) I also got the mandrel, bushings, drill bits and a book. $210 total for that round. Like anthing else with a lathe, it can get spendy quick!
I use Cocobolo, which is a rosewood, for my pens. I started out trying a bunch of different woods, Maple, Walnut, Bubinga, Koa etc. but Cocobolo is so hard it polishes to a beautiful finish, like Ebony which I've used, but Cocobolo has such a beautiful grain.
I tried a couple of other pen kits when I started doing them but have found that so much can be done with the slimline ones that they are the only ones I get anymore. The real beauty is in the wood anyway.
As to what woods to use, such small pieces needed gives one the opportuniy to try all sorts of exotics and real expensive woods that you would not normally include in other types of projects except in very small quantities, so I let your imagination run wild.
A pen mill, for trimming the blanks to exactly 90 degrees to the tube hole, is one thing I have found that is indispensible.
I've got a page on my web site with some basic info and tricks I learned by errors. Well, actually two pages but the link below is the first one, and there's a hot link to the second on that page.
I started off with cigar pens, myself.
1st - I like them.
2nd - I figured it gave me more to "sink my teeth into" until I got the hang of it.
I began with Woodcraft stuff, myself. A Pro mandrel, some kits, and an assortment of blanks (undrilled), and I don't remember if there was else.
2nd order got a bit more serious. I had the tiger by the tail (or the bear had me in it's paws) I don't recall, but I was hooked.
By then I had several pens "under my belt", I had decided on a direction for blanks (Native and found woods to/of my State), and was on a mission to see what I could do. This was a serious addiction!
Now here I sit, with a pile of pen kits, a pile of wood to be cut up in front of the shop, and still to damn hot to go fart around, with little ambition left after I get home from work.
But when the mood strikes me..... :7 LOOK OUT!
Look Robert, If my 14 year old Grandson, Tommy, can do this (see pictures) right out of the gate, YOU can!
Jump in! :7
[link:www.sonnyedmonds.com | Sonny Edmonds]
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
God Bless America !
One Nation Under God!
"If a flaw is detected,
Within the eye of the beholder,
Possibly the eye of the beholder is wherein the flaw lies?" S.E. 2003
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