Looking for an Asheville area pen maker...

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CaptnA

Andy
Corporate Member
Hey y'all
Someone in the Asheville area make pens and have a little time (and more patience) to help a fellow out?
I'm not as dense as ironwood (don't ask LOML) but
I've read and read and looked into pen making. Is it just me or am I like missing page 2 of the manual for dummies?
It's not the turning but the rest I;ve got issues with.
I'm not sure exactly what to buy to make pens. I don't need (and can't afford) everything off the catalog or shelf.
I looked at the racks at WC (GreenvilleSC) today until my head hurt and my eyes ached. Finally found the empty rack for the one I really wanted.
that's okie I left with little more than a headache anyhow.

I have some things - a centering vise, mandrel, wood...
I know I need a pen kit and that (somehow) will determine what size drill to use. It seems I need a tool ( don't know the name) to push things together and not mash them. And there's a tool to square the wood to the metal insert.
Just seems like I've spent a fair penny ( which I really don't mind) and not really much closer to making a pen than when I still had my dollars in my pocket.
I'm not sure what else I need to get (or what it's all called) or how to use it all if I had it.
If you're in the area ( I know lots of great people out there but at $3.12 a gallon my travel budget is limited) and wouldn't mind mentoring a good intentioned but directions challenged wannabe a little, I'd appreciate hearing from you.
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
Hey y'all
Someone in the Asheville area make pens and have a little time (and more patience) to help a fellow out? I'm no where near the Asheville area but I would help you out in a heartbeat.
I'm not as dense as ironwood (don't ask LOML) but
I've read and read and looked into pen making. Is it just me or am I like missing page 2 of the manual for dummies?
It's not the turning but the rest I;ve got issues with.
I'm not sure exactly what to buy to make pens. I don't need (and can't afford) everything off the catalog or shelf. You need a few things, many that you can make yourself, and others just make everything easier.
I looked at the racks at WC (GreenvilleSC) today until my head hurt and my eyes ached. Finally found the empty rack for the one I really wanted.
that's okie I left with little more than a headache anyhow.

I have some things - a centering vise, mandrel, wood...
I know I need a pen kit and that (somehow) will determine what size drill to use. Yes that is crucial. I bought a $40 115 piece bit set from HF that has every bit I will ever need to turn pens with. That's a lot cheaper in the long run than one or something two bits per kit type at $5-10 a piece. It seems I need a tool ( don't know the name) to push things together and not mash them. That's known as a pen vice, but if you have a good parallel clamp like a Bessy you can do just fine. That is all I use. And there's a tool to square the wood to the metal insert. That's know as a end mill. It is a nice thing to have but you can easily fashion something that will square the blank and tube to the miter slot on a disk sander and square the ends up that way. If you decide to get an end mill, you don't need the whole kit. An end mill with a shaft for a 7mm kit will work fine for any kit. You just need to turn a bushing to help center the shaft in larger bore kits. A 7mm tube and some scrap wood turned down to the right size to fit into the larger tube will guide the smaller end mill.
Just seems like I've spent a fair penny ( which I really don't mind) and not really much closer to making a pen than when I still had my dollars in my pocket.
I'm not sure what else I need to get (or what it's all called) or how to use it all if I had it.
If you're in the area ( I know lots of great people out there but at $3.12 a gallon my travel budget is limited) and wouldn't mind mentoring a good intentioned but directions challenged wannabe a little, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

I would estimate that my first pen cost me around $100(not counting the lathe and chisels) to make, but the ones after that get a little cheaper :icon_thum

Dave:)
 

NZAPP1

New User
Nick
If you are ever going to be in the Winston-Salem area shot me a PM I would be happy to show what little I know. :icon_thum
 

cskipper

Cathy
Corporate Member
I'm in Forest City. If I can recall the steps in order (and if not I'm sure someone will correct me):
1. Cut the pen blanks to the correct length (this is just slightly longer than the tube you are going to insert into the blank. The extra length is so you can square up the tube and the blank (the pen mill kind of thing DaveO mentioned above). Make a mark across the cut line - that runs along the grain. This will help you remember which end of the blanks had the grain match.
2. Drill the blanks with a drill bit that is the size for the pen kit. The pen kit should have instructions which tell you what you need.
3. Place a drop of CA glue on the end of tube before you insert it into the blank. Let it dry for a few minutes.
4. Place the pen blanks on the mandrel, using the bushings placed according the pen kits instructions. Put the blanks on the mandrel so that the ends with the lines you drew to indicate the grain face each other.
5. Turn the pen and apply the finish.
6. Keep the blanks in order when you take them off the mandrel.
7. Take the pieces for the pen kit and line them up with the blanks.
8. If you have a pen press, use it to assemble the pen. Again, the directions with the kit should tell you about this.
9. Take a picture and post it on this site.

We'll probably be home tomorrow (Sun) if you want to come by.
 

CaptnA

Andy
Corporate Member
Thank you to each of you for the information and the offers!
Going through some serious medical issues in our household and well - its always something right?? Not going far from home without her and she isn't up to going far ~ or I'd just arrange to come see one of you fine folks.
I guess one of the issues I'm having comes from NONE of the pen kits I've looked at had ANY instructions.
On the other web site I go to there is a fantastic video on pen making. It goes right up to where you sand and finish the pieces. Then shows them already together. (anyone wants to see a great video on what to do to get a pen ready to assemble I can steer you in a great direction.)
Guess I am going to have to venture and buy a few basic kits and see what happens. Funny how seldom I ever EVER really read directions and now I have none :no: its a pen how hard can it be???

Okie I can do this. Going to the place and get some kits whatever they have that is cheapest ~
Again I sincerely appreciate the help!!!
 

bitbight

New User
Ray
Always up for a good video, and who knows it might give me incentive to try. If you have a link to that, I would be interested.

Thanks.
 

ebarr

New User
Wayne
Andrew,

Go to Penn State Industries web site.

Click on Pen Making Kits on the Left hand side.

Go all the way to the bottom under 9. Need more Information?

Click on DVD.

This will bring up a free instructional DVD on Pen Making. And is pretty good about walking you through the process.
Best of all it's FREE.

If you are at WC. Just ask the guys at the register for the instructions for whatever pen kit you pick out and they will print them for you.

DaveO is right in that you can make some of the items that you need. Or simply improvise with stuff you probably already own.
 

Eaglesc

New User
Eagle
Making a pen isn't Rocket science.:BangHead:
Making a particular design can be tricky.:help:
I don't believe any one pen is better for someone starting out than another.
My suggestion would be to select a kit of one design that appeals to you to get your feet wet.
If buying at Woodcraft they will tell you what bits you will need along with bushings.
If you have any questions you can send me a P.M. or any other member here I am sure would be glad to help.:icon_thum
 

CaptnA

Andy
Corporate Member
Again thanks to all of you for the information and SUPPORT!
THAT above all else is what I love and appreciate about this site - the people that make it what it is.
Mr Eagle - thank you. Not to bow too low and scrub my nose, but words from you mean a lot. Long time since I've seen anhyone wow me with anything like I've been inspired by your pens and blanks. Thanks for sharing the kind words and your art~

We were at WC Greenville SC Sunday - so far we're 50-50 on their stores. Half the time we are greeted, welcomed, and offered service. Like Sunday - we wondered around aimlessly hoping for some help- asked for some - and the ONLY help we got was when we checked out. The 'staff' were all busy talking to each other at the checkouts. And we weren't the only cutomers that felt the same way. Another man looking for pen kits just walked out after asking for help and being told he'd have to wait until someone could help him - and 5 minutes later no one had seemed to get to the punch line yet and get back to customers. Shame they didn't have a self-checkout or we could have made it a total sweep. I REALLY wanted a particular pen kit - finally found the empty slot.
REALLY needed some help/advise/answers got none. Put the vise/ put it together thing, the cutter-square the blank-tube thing back, and the drill bits in 7mm and whatever the other size bits were back on the shelf.
We spent only $80 something dollars on the wood LOML picked out for herself and a bottle of friction polish for myself.
Tell you what, a little customer service would have gone a LONG way. Near as I can figure all the things I put back cost in the $150 range not counting the sander LOML never did find. I know losing that little sale means nothing to them. We started going to the Greenville WC after the rude - RUDE way we were treated at the WC in Greeneville Tenn. Virtually the same drive to either. Now, Don't think we'll be in a hurry to go to another WC. We've spent less than but close to a thousand dollars at WC and were quite excited at finding them. oh well. This is totally off topic.
Sorry but I can ramble....
Off to find pen kits!
 
M

McRabbet

Again thanks to all of you for the information and SUPPORT!
THAT above all else is what I love and appreciate about this site - the people that make it what it is.
Mr Eagle - thank you. Not to bow too low and scrub my nose, but words from you mean a lot. Long time since I've seen anhyone wow me with anything like I've been inspired by your pens and blanks. Thanks for sharing the kind words and your art~

We were at WC Greenville SC Sunday - so far we're 50-50 on their stores. Half the time we are greeted, welcomed, and offered service. Like Sunday - we wondered around aimlessly hoping for some help- asked for some - and the ONLY help we got was when we checked out. The 'staff' were all busy talking to each other at the checkouts. And we weren't the only cutomers that felt the same way. Another man looking for pen kits just walked out after asking for help and being told he'd have to wait until someone could help him - and 5 minutes later no one had seemed to get to the punch line yet and get back to customers. Shame they didn't have a self-checkout or we could have made it a total sweep. I REALLY wanted a particular pen kit - finally found the empty slot.
REALLY needed some help/advise/answers got none. Put the vise/ put it together thing, the cutter-square the blank-tube thing back, and the drill bits in 7mm and whatever the other size bits were back on the shelf.
We spent only $80 something dollars on the wood LOML picked out for herself and a bottle of friction polish for myself.
Tell you what, a little customer service would have gone a LONG way. Near as I can figure all the things I put back cost in the $150 range not counting the sander LOML never did find. I know losing that little sale means nothing to them. We started going to the Greenville WC after the rude - RUDE way we were treated at the WC in Greeneville Tenn. Virtually the same drive to either. Now, Don't think we'll be in a hurry to go to another WC. We've spent less than but close to a thousand dollars at WC and were quite excited at finding them. oh well. This is totally off topic.
Sorry but I can ramble....
Off to find pen kits!
I'm sure the owners of the Greenvile franchise would like to hear what you've said about their weekend staff! I'm sure he/she wasn't there and some folks need to get the message that their customers are their lifeblood. Make the effort and let them know! I'm not a pen turner or for that matter a turner of anything, 'tho I've got an "el cheapo" lathe that I once turned some round tenons for the branch legs for a log seat for a friend. I'd recommend you contact EagleSC and get some good sources for pencrafting supplies -- you will get superior quality, choices and pricing on the things you need. Just my $0.02...
 

Eaglesc

New User
Eagle
You could also take a visit to the Klingspoor store in Hickory N.C.
They are resellers of HUT and as such will have many of the same kits that WC has though I have heard through the grapevine their selection may be widening..
The guys at Klingspor are fantastic and I don't think you will get the same reception you received at WC Greenville.
Send me a PM and I can pint you to some good sources for the "essentials"
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
You could also take a visit to the Klingspoor store in Hickory N.C.
They are resellers of HUT and as such will have many of the same kits that WC has though I have heard through the grapevine their selection may be widening..
Last weekend I had a chance to demo some of the new offering in pens kits available at Klingspor. I found them to be good quality. There is little plating selection, only gold, but that is because it's a new line and they couldn't get all the offerings right away. The instructions are a little lean, but they know about that and I expect that to improve quickly.
I think that Klingspor is improving greatly in their pen turning offering with this new line.
Dave:)
 

cskipper

Cathy
Corporate Member
Gosh, I hate that you had that experience at the Greenville WC. We love that store and the staff.
 
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