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Next steps? Pen kits

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 2:52 pm
by nuhobby
Hi All,

My local pen-kit dealer already told me I'm getting a bit "rich" in my tastes. I'm mostly going for the 'designer' kits, like some of these:
IMG_1866.JPG (104.45 KiB) Viewed 18478 times

Anyway, I'm wondering if any of you are going for higher-end pens. Also, any favorite functional features? For example, I've never tried a Fountain pen... have any of you? I'd love to hear more on what you've made and how they work for you.


Re: Next steps? Pen kits

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 6:08 pm
by reible
Nice looking pens!

I have not gone to anything high end. The most expensive pens I've turned were the coffee ones which are about $10 per blank and I wrecked one of those so I'm only 2 for 3 but with newer tools and better techniques I could do better now.

I stay to the low end since I give the pens away. Both the kits and wood/plastic blanks need to be very reasonable due to the volume I've done.

One thing I regret is not keeping better records, and now I've lost count but I know it hast to be in the area of 375 including the ones now in process. If I paid say even $15 for wood and kits that would have amounted to $5625. As it is the amount if far less, Somewhere in the $5 each range. Of course there was the up front cost for the tools and then the reoccurring costs for supplies.

I'm actually trying to get out of the business, it is no long as much fun as it once was. I'm not one to like to make a lot of something. I'm turning 6 more pens to go with the last batch of 17 I just finished up. That about does it for my blank supply but I must have maybe another 10 pen kits to go. Saving a few of those to take up by my brothers so I can let him have a go at pen turning. He's 83 so it is about time he gives this a go.


Re: Next steps? Pen kits

Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 8:55 pm
by benush26
I’ve only tried one fountain pen. It was a kit from Rockler (I think). Not much different to make and turn than any other pen style, but the nib that came with it was horrible. I later found out that most who make fountain pens to sell or as a special gift that will actually be used, go through companies which specialize in fountain pens. Where the kit from Rockler is about $10 (or used to be), just the nib for a good one is $20 or more and I remember seeing kits that were in the $40 range for just the internals. I don’t remembered any of the company names, but a quick search should turn up a few.
I did try to break in the Rockler nib, but the lines were always blotchy and I was always scratching the paper.
I did see a few kits that allowed a variety of ink delivery systems (siphon, cartridge and bulb), but they were from companies that appeared to only sell fountain pens. When I start back again, I’ll go with a better quality kit, but it’s going to be a gift.
As a side note, there are instructions that let you make the threaded sections from the wood or acrylic pieces, but that skill is so far above me that I’ll stick with the kits that have the metal threaded pieces.
Good luck!

Be well,

Re: Next steps? Pen kits

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 8:10 am
by nuhobby
Ed, Ben,

Many thanks for your feedback. These are great points and they'll help me prioritize where to go next.

- Chris

Re: Next steps? Pen kits

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 9:28 am
by amboyna
Never made a fountain pen. But I have made lots of pens. My favorite kit is the Statesman Jr. from Craft Supplies. Once in a while I sell one. But most are gifted.
For a while the Bullet kits were very popular. But now the Steampunk Kit from Penn State Industries is the rage. Can't make them fast enough. Even selling them at Real Mother Goose in downtown Portland.
Examples of my work-
Top pen is Snakewood. The Steampunk is spalted Briar Burl. And the bottom one is Amboyna Burl.
I do not recommend Snakewood as it cracks most of the time.

Re: Next steps? Pen kits

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 9:30 am
by wa2crk
I have been getting my pen kits from Berea Hardwoods. I turn mainly the Euro design pens. I buy the pen kits ten at a time and they cost me four bucks per pen kit. When I have to have professional work done ( washing machine repair etc) the service guys come in through the garage. One guy was fascinated by the bowls and especially the pens. He even took pictures of all of it. When he left I gave him his tip by putting the money under the pen clip. By his reaction you would think that I gave him a bar of gold. I always get a kick out people's reactions when I give them a pen. I think that is my real reason for turning them .
Bill V