Pen Making Tools
All the tools and accessories you'll need to get you started!
The first and most important of all the tools used for making pens is a mini lathe. I use a small table top model because it is suited best for small projects. A mini lathe is a tool that spins the wood in a horizontal direction allowing the wood to be carved. Please remember to use extreme caution
when working with any power tools. This tool is so important to your success that I feel that it deserves a page all to itself. The mini lathe
is the workhorse of this hobby and will be your best friend along with the wood turning tools.
Some people think a wood turning lathe is safer because there is no blade but the opposite is true...the wood is spinning at extremely high speeds and can grab lose clothing and pull you into the wood. The lathe carving tools can also catch in a piece of wood and if you're not holding on tight it becomes a projectile missile. Another thing to be careful of is an exploding piece of wood which sends splinters and chunks of wood in all directions.
This brings up another piece of safety equipment that is a must...a face shield. I can't tell you how many times something has hit my protective face shield making me thankful that I had it on.
Possibly the most important tool you can get at this point is a good system for dust collection. This is a very important matter for your health as well as your family, especially if like most of us you do your woodworking in a basement workshop. Get the best dust collection and the finest filters that you can afford. You'll breathe much easier both figuratively and literally.
While this isn't required at first, it will come in handy as you get more into this hobby and that is a bandsaw. When you first start out you can purchase pre-cut wooden and acrylic pen blanks but as you get more advanced you'll want to try a few ideas of your own. Here again it doesn't have to be a huge floor model...a simple tabletop bandsaw will work fine for these projects.
Next you'll need wood turning tools which are used to carve the pen or other gift into the desired shape. These turning tools are a very important consideration...these are going to be used over and over...make sure you get yourself some quality turning tools. The better tools will work better, cut smoother and hold an edge much longer.The main tools you'll need are a skew, roughing gouge and a parting tool. There are more tools that you can add later but this is a good start and will do all the carving that you need.
Before we actually get started carving the pens we'll need a few of pen making tools, more of the pen blank preparation variety. You'll need a drill press, a hand drill just won't work here, the holes need to be straight and precisely in the center of the wooden/acrylic/deer antler blank. You don't need a huge floor model, a simple tabletop drill press will work fine. While we are talking about the drill press it would be a good time to mention the drill bits. It is essential that you get quality drill bits so that you avoid destroying expensive pen blanks.
Next you need a pen blank drilling center vise. This is a tool that holds the blank steady and allows drilling a hole through the exact center. It is very difficult if not impossible to do this without this tool consistently. Trust me, the time and aggravation you'll save will pay for this tool many times over. There are some companies where you can buy the blanks pre-drilled but in time you'll want to do you're own as the variety of wood pen blanks is limited and can get very costly.
The next pen making tool you'll need is a barrel trimming set and pen tube insertion tool. This tools is used in cleaning up the ends of the brass tubes and cleaning out the glue from these tubes after they have been installed with the pen tube insertion tool into the pen blanks.
The final pen making tools necessary are for the completion and assembly of the pens and other unique gifts. These include the sand paper in various grits, pen polish and finish and the pen assembly press. The polish is a must for great looking pens and the press is a final must in order to have enough leverage to insert the pen pieces and lock them into place during the assembly process.
I know this is a quick overview of the tools but they will be described in more details as well as how to use them on the following pages as we discuss the steps in more details.
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