Ping Larry Blanchard

Hi Larry,
IIRC you work at Woodcraft. I am getting into pen turning and would like know if pen styles/turning sizes are the same from different manufacturers. Basically what I want to know is if the Woodcraft bushing set is unique to the specific Woodcraft Pen Kit that is made for or if that bushing set would work with other brand pens of the same style.
Thanks
Leon
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Leon - I have turned a ton of pens. I have turned kits from Craft Supplies, Woodcraft, and a bought a few kits here and there from different folks that are no longer with us.
The mandrels are basically the same no matter who you go with, as well as the tubes, etc. BUT, even though the bushings look the same, they may not be. My Woodcraft bushings do not work well with my Craft Supplies kits and never have. The good news is that once you have the mandrel, the bushings are usually pretty damn cheap.
So Leon old salt..... what in the world brings this on? A search for new challenges? Be careful, here. Pen turning is fun and they make great gifts. I finally made so damn many I quit!
Have you bought your lathe? (Details, please).
Have you bought all your tools and finishing supplies?
Heck, I didn't even know you were a turner!
Wait.... Festool didn't come out with a new lathe, did they? ;^)
Check out this most recent thread on the turning group:
http://tinyurl.com/4ammrf
You can see there is two different schools of thought. To me the sky is the limit on what you can make, the pen only being the mechanics. There are a couple of guys on WoodCentral's turning forum that only turn pens and their work is spectacular, much better than anything I have ever turned out.
But to others, you simply assemble the kit as is with a piece of wood as a barrel, and you are finished. What's the big deal.
You gotta tell me what got you going in this direction.
Robert
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Leon -
A trip to another world....
http://www.penturners.org/forum/default.asp
Robert
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Other than the noticeable fact that Leon is a sucker for purty wood, in any form, I was wondering the same thing (even thought, as you did, about a possible "Festool Connection" ... but I'd already stole his catalog). :)
I asked, and got a mumble about having a lathe just sitting around doing nothing.
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Great! I have some one to consult with. ;~)

About 2 weeks ago I took a class at Woodcraft and bought all the tools needed to make pens, Mandrel-$10, Euro Bushings-$7, glues-$20, micro sanding pads, $10, Pen kits 3 at about $5 ea., and insertion tool $10. The pen mill kit was/ is on back order. :~( I order that from Craft Supply for about $30 and that came in today.

I have a pretty decent Jet lathe taking up room in the garage. I have had it since Christmas od 2001 and have used it a couple of times, it was a gift from may wife. I thought that it would be nice to flood the relatives with pens for Christmas and I am considering giving one to my customers when I do a job or piece of furnature for them. I thought I would make the pen out of the same wood as the project. I am not sure how Hardi Plank or cedar turns though.... ;~) I owe a couple of customers several pens, 12 to one in particular if I give'm 1 for each piece that I have built over the years. ;~)

Yeah, see above. IIRC a 1250 or something like that.

I believe I have ist all now except for the finishing supplies. I'm thinking wax or a gel varnish. Any thoughts on that. The class used a Shelac conkoction that never dried, I suspect it was gettin old.

I'm not, yet. ;~) I thought I would start this weekend now that I have every thing but as luck would have it I got the go ahead on 2 jobs that are pretty much going to eat up the next 3 or 4 weeks.

You know if they did the lathe would have to catch 99% of all the waste and on a lathe that would be a winner.

I have seen some segmented pens that I am interested in trying.
Craft Supplies seems to be one of the better sites to get stuff from and I suspect that it will be best to keep all the bushings tagged and marked as to what brand kit it was purchased for. So far all the pen kits and bushings that I have are from Woodcraft, there is a store very close to me and that is pretty convenient.
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Absolutely any time, my friend.
Bored with flatwork and looking for something new, I started turning again back in '97, when I was intrigued with the Jet minis that came out. I bought one, and started turning away on it, and I was really surprised at the fact that in 25 years I had forgotten everything I had ever learned bout turning.
But I persisted. Then the disease took.
Any tiny little piece of wood that looked interesting could be turned into something. A pen, a cabochon, a Christmas ornament, you name it. Then when I really got the bug, I started making treen ware, pens, oil lamps, mallets, inside out ornaments, desk clocks, desk pen sets, gavels, jewelry, and on and on. Then, I started gluing bits of everything together, and all the fun started over again.
I turned every spare minute, and had a ball. I burned my self out on turning as I got to be so obsessed, but I am back at it now. Current project: double pronged kbob holders for those little anticuchos I like to make and the big shrimp the inlaws bring in from League City.
Now I do a club demo every once in a while, teach a little, and I am working hard to revitalize our club. Our next club meeting challenge is to make a top that will spin (hands off) for more than 4 minutes. We may even have a go at battling the tops. It was a hoot talking to some of the guys that were in their upper 70s that wanted to draw a circle on the floor and get with it. I am working on my own "death star" beginning this weekend.
For finish on WOOD pens, it depends on what kind am turning. When I was turning to give away, I turned the pen, hit it with brown HUT, then white HUT, then burned solid carnuba into it at high speed. Those pens had the finish applied and were polished on the lathe in about 10 minutes (after turning and sanding, not including assembly). I really like turning the Parker style pens from the '30s, and they sold the best for me. I used different finishes, but like several spray coats of clear enamel, lightly buffed at the end as the best finish. This extends the time you need to turn out your product, but the finish is worth it in the end. Once it is dried hard (48 hours or so) buff it out on a soft wheel and assemble.
Lucite, Corian, acrylics, plastics, horn, bone, etc. don't usually need any finish.
For affordable tools, I buy from Penn State Industries. They also have a dandy pen assembly press that will keep you from crushing the occasional pen tube as well.
For kits, I like Craft Supplies or Berea, occasionally WC.
For consumables I like WC, and especially like their pricing on their "Hot Stuff" gel CA glue and accompanying accelerator.
You are blessed with three excellent clubs in Houston and the surrounding areas. I have met and turned with guys from the Gulf Coast Turners, the North Houston Woodturners Club (not too sure about the name but I think they meet at WC) and there is a new one out by the Woodlands headed up by Steve Russell. Steve has forgotten more than many will ever know about woodturning (especially me!) but is still one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.
Really good folks, there in your part of the world.
Jump in Leon, the water's fine!
Robert
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Thank you Robert.
I'll keep all this information at hand. BTY I forgot to mention that I did pick up a pen press when I initially bought everything. Additionally Swingman was gracious enough to give me a spare DP vice for boring the holes down the center.
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On Thu, 29 May 2008 23:05:28 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The local club (Inland Northwest Woodturners) has a deal every year where we make tops to distribute to local childrens hospitals at Xmas. Last year they also had a top battle, but nothing went anywhere near 4 minutes. If your club suceeds, please post a photo of the winner - I'll kill'em next year :-).
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It would be my pleasure.
We timed the current champ on a wristwatch last meeting, and he got the big time on top that was about 5" across made from huisache (a southwestern shrubby tree that grows as a weed around here) and had a ipe point. It had a winder that used about 3 feet of string, and he launched it with a prong gizmo like you used to use on the gyroscope toys when you were a kid.
We didn't time the thumb spinners, as everyone was so fascinated with the big top we just forgot. They will be included next meeting as we are going to go for longest spinning, and best looking in that class.
I think I will bring up the idea of the tops for kids again in our club as we did pens for vets, tops for kids, and turned all kinds of different things for a church raffle after they had a big fire. All were successful, and everyone really got a bang out of doing that stuff. Thanks for the reminder.
Robert
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On Thu, 29 May 2008 11:20:44 -0500, Leon wrote:

Looks like nailshooter knows more about it than I do. I do a little turning, but not pens. I know we sell an enormous amount of pen kits and pen blanks. I know a given set of bushings is usually good for several different pen styles, but sometimes a set is particular to only one style.
There are several guys at the store who do turn pens. From what they say and do, after you've accumulated a dozen or less sets of bushings, you're pretty well set for most pen styles. BTW, they like small part boxes with all the compartments for bushings, clips, rings, etc..
You might also ask at rec.crafts.woodturning.
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Yeah, Nailshooter is a wealth of information and a pretty nice guy to boot! ;~) He pretty much confirmed my suspitions, other bushings "might" work with other brand kits but they certainly are cheap enough that it is probably going to be better to go ahead and buy the new bushing kit with the new "brand" kit if buying from some one else.

That certainly sound right and I'll have to look into some type of specialized storage, hummmm Systainer?, to keep the parts and bushings organized. I thought a bread twist tie and the resealable plastic bags would work out well for the bushings.

Yeah I'll have to resubscribe to that group.
Thanks for the help.
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