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13 Essential Pen Turning Tools: Pen Turning 101

essential pen turning tools

Pen turning projects require a set of tools and accessories. Here we will discuss the essential tools for pen turning. You will find some of the vital tools in a pen turning starter kit.

1. Pen Turning Lathe

It’s the most important and expensive tool for any pen turning project. An excellent lathe for making wood pens will allow you to make different styles of attractive pens more efficiently. 

Check out my pen turning lathe reviews, and you’ll get ten great options there.

2. Pen Blanks

Pen blanks are small square pieces of wood or acrylic intended for making pens. The most common pen blank size is ¾ by ¾ by 5 inches. Pen blank is the most crucial element of any pen turning project, so you should choose them carefully.

There are different kinds of pen blanks available on the market. Wood pen blanks, Acrylic pen blanks, Inlace Acrylester pen blanks, Alumilite pen blanks, Hybrid pen blanks are the most common.

Are you looking for pen blanks? Check some of the incredible options here.

3. Pen Mandrel

While it comes to pen turning, you can’t attach your pen blanks directly to the lathe. Pen turning mandrel mounts between centres on the lathe and it supports the pen blanks for turning.

Pen mandrel’s headstock size should match the size of the lathe headstock’s tapered hole. Depending on the size you will need either an mt1 pen mandrel (½ inch or 12mm) or mt2 pen mandrel (¾ inch or 18mm). 

If you’re looking for a pen making mandrel, check out these options here.

4. Pen Kits

Pen kits come with the required brass tubing and the pen hardware mechanism. 

There are various styles of pen hardware kits available out there such as Slimline pen kit, Bolt-action pen kit, Twist pen kit, Rollerball pen kit, Fountain pen kit, Zen pen kit.

If you’re looking for some excellent pen kits, check out these options here.

5. CA Glue

After scuffing up the pen brass tube, you’ll need to add Cyanoacrylate (CA) glue on it. It allows the tube to better grip with the pen blanks. 

If you’re looking for CAS glues for pen turning, here are some excellent options.

6. Pen Bushings

Pen bushings or spacers are simple rings. You’ll need to place them between the pen blanks onto the pen mandrel. The bushings are the indicators of the required diameter of the pen blanks you’re turning.

Bushings should match the size of the pen mandrel and the type of pen you’re turning. The 7mm pen bushings are the most common size available on the market. 

If you’re looking for pen bushings check out these options here.

7. Pen Turning Lathe Tools

These are the pen turning chisels you’ll need to wear out woods from the pen blanks. You’ll need a spindle roughing gouge, a skew chisel and a parting tool

We highly recommend you to read our in-depth article on these tools, and you’ll enjoy it.

8. Pen Barrel Trimmer

Pen mill barrel trimmer is a drill attachment which allows you to accurately squaring up the end of pen blanks with the brass tube inside. 

This process ensures there’s no gap between the brass tube and the pen blank.

Need a pen barrel trimmer kit? Check these options here.

9. Drill Press 

You’ll need a drill press to drill the pen blanks to make the housing for the brass tubes. If you’re looking for a drill press for pen blanks, have a look at these models.

As an alternative of the drill press, you can use a pen blank drilling lathe chuck to drill the blanks using the lathe.

10. Band Saw 

To cut pen blanks to the required sizes, you’ll need a saw. The band saw is the most convenient option of doing it.

You can also use a table saw for this purpose.

Check out these band saws and table saws for your pen turning projects.

11. Sandpaper

You’ll need to sand the pen blanks with 180 grits through 400 grits sandpapers after reaching a certain diameter. 

This process allows you to achieve a smoother pen blank surface. Check out these woodturning sandpapers for your pen making projects.

12. Pen Finish

After turning and sanding the pen blanks, you’ll need to apply finishing coats onto the blank for a glossy appearance. You can use the finish you like. The most common option is the CA pen finish.

If you’re looking for pen turning finishes, have a look at these options.

13. Pen Press 

Once you complete turning the pen blanks into the required shapes, you’ll need a pen press tool to assemble the pen.

You can use these woodturning pen press tools for all kinds of pen assembly and disassembly works.

However, you can also use a bench vise, or quick-grip clamps as the alternatives of the pen pressing tool.