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new to penmaking- wondering if I can do it...


jessigirl1979

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So... the story... I was sitting at my computer and admiring a fountain pen I bought in Brussels last year. I was in the Grand Place and bought from a street vendor a fountain pen. After speaking to the man, I learned that what he did was put a small piece of fabric in a tube and melt it (in an oven). Then he used that tube to make the pen. I was wondering: (excuse the basicness of these questions)

a. is this the sort of thing that can be done by anyone?

b. are there kits out there that I can purchase to do this?

c. does doing this require "turning" skills?

d. can anyone recomend suppliers or resources for doing this?

 

Thanks so much for anyone's help!!

Jessi Bishop

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Jessi,

There are as many ways to make pens as there are ideas. Pens made of acrylic, wood, corn cobs, pinecones, denim, ad nauseum. The common denominator amongst those pens is the pen hardware. I would suggest doing a google search and you will be inundated with more information than you needed. I also suggest you visit forums such as The Pen Shop. There are others to visit as well, and despite what you've read, they're not all populated with red headed step children :ltcapd: .

 

Feel free to ask questions, that's why we're here. :happyberet:

Tom

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Jessi,

There are as many ways to make pens as there are ideas. Pens made of acrylic, wood, corn cobs, pinecones, denim, ad nauseum. The common denominator amongst those pens is the pen hardware. I would suggest doing a google search and you will be inundated with more information than you needed. I also suggest you visit forums such as The Pen Shop. There are others to visit as well, and despite what you've read, they're not all populated with red headed step children :ltcapd: .

 

Feel free to ask questions, that's why we're here. :happyberet:

 

 

Radman,

 

Thank you so much!! I did a google search and was a lot more confused than before I started. The way the guy told me, he made it sound very simple... I am wondering if maybe I need some specialized equipment (and a lot more time than I think I have...)

 

jcb

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Jessi,

 

I've seen some folks make pens without the use of a lathe using polymer clay. If you live in a metro area, visit a local wood store. More than likely they'll have some videos or even a few books you can scan through. The recent woodturning magazine also has a few articles.

 

Hope this helps!

Tom

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HI Jessi Girl, My Name is Toni, I am a pen turner and I am female. (there is plenty of female turners Andy..LOL) I love making pens nothing gives me more pleasure. As for the time thing, I have five children and I still have time to enjoy making pens. I will attempt to answer some of your questions for you

 

a. is this the sort of thing that can be done by anyone?

Yes as long as you have a lathe. I have heard it done by hand or drill press but to do the pens we do you will need a wood lathe.

b. are there kits out there that I can purchase to do this?

There is heaps of kits out there to start have a look at Craft Supplies USA or Berea hardwoods that will show you some of the kits.

 

c. does doing this require "turning" skills?

Pens turning is pretty safe and straight forward. I know I self taught as there was no on around plus the internet has heaps of wonderful guys like Radman

 

d. can anyone recomend suppliers or resources for doing this?

http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/store/Pen_Making?Args=

http://www.bereahardwoods.com/new/

 

 

I have uploaded a picture that you can see I do honestly make them. This pen is the colours because it was made for an egyptian doctor and this was a resemblance of his flag.

all the best with your decision

bye

Toni

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post-8644-1188641785_thumb.jpg

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Jessi,

 

Please remove from your head any notion that this whole is some sort of magical mystery :)

 

Anyone can make a usable pen. The rest depends on some practice, some very basic tooling and most importantly an eye for what you like yourself.

If you are making pens for sale then you have to pander to the market to a certain extent, but when they are for yourself the world's your oyster :D

 

a. is this the sort of thing that can be done by anyone?

In most cases a reasonably priced small lathe will do the job fine. Carbatec, Bonnie Klein (below), Jet and many others make small lathes.

Tools - You should get by initially with a smallish spindle gouge (for roughing out) and a very good quality skew chisel for finishing.

The oval skew needs a little more practice, but pays off big time :)

You will need a smallish (6" is fine) grinder and a couple of sharpening stones.

I have another post in here somewhere about using oil filters for faceplates for sharpening & such - have a poke about :)

 

BE CAREFUL about the woods you use however (there's a post about this too) - a dust removal system is VERY necessary. These are not hugely expensive but remember how many sets of lungs you have :D

 

b. are there kits out there that I can purchase to do this?

As others have said - Yes.

 

c. does doing this require "turning" skills?

Generally, yes. The level of turning skill needed however is very basic, so pens are generally regarded as an excellent entry level project.

 

On the subject of women and turning - some of the finest turners in the world are women.

Check out Betty Scarpino and Bonnie Klein

If these ladies don't blow you away, nothing will :D

BTW - The threading jig shown on Bonnie's site is not particularly suited for cutting the sort of threads you would use on a pen. Most kits have these parts already threaded, so no big deal.

 

Regards,

Ruaidhrí

 

If you should decide to dive in, give us a shout first before splashing out wads of cash - there are lots of things you will THINK you need, and won't actually need at all :D

Administrator and Proprietor of Murphy Towers

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another terrific female turner:

Cindy

Larry Korn

Virginia Beach, VA

 

"An armed society is a polite society." -- Robert Heinlein, "The roads Must Roll"

 

Some people are like Slinkies. They have no practical use whatsoever,

but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

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another terrific female turner:

Cindy

 

Yep :)

 

There are so many superb lady turners it is hard to remember them all !

I was just looking at a picture of Barbara Milton of the Bristol SMEE in the latest issue of ME - boy does she know her stuff :)

 

Regards,

Ruaidhrí

 

Administrator and Proprietor of Murphy Towers

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Along with making pens I make blanks that are for sale.

I do not consider myself a turner. I use a lathe as a tool just like I use a tablesaw or a scroll saw in my blank making and pen crafting.

To answer the question "Can anyone make a pen?"

Almost a year ago I asked for some "gunea pigs" to turn a blank that I was going to market.

My three testers were a father an 2 sons a 12 year old and a 16 year ol all with limited woodworking experience.

Between the 3 of them they had turned less than 20 pens and considereded themselves "newcomers" to the craft.

This pen was done by Josh Anderson, 16 years old at the time.

I made the blank, he prepped, turned and finished it.

 

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"Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art". -- Leonardo da Vinci

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