Where do you get your pen kits?

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GeorgeL

New User
George
Being new to pen turning Alex and I have been getting our kits from either WoodCraft or Klingspor's. The selection is usually limited and don't get me wrong they are nice kits but they are not "NICE" like some of the pens we've seen here. So, where do you get your pen its and why? Are there places or kits you avoid?

Thanks for your input,

George
 

gator

George
Corporate Member
I get most of mine from woodturningz.com. They are PSI kits at a discounted price. Also, once you sign up, Woodturningz sends out a bi-weekly specials e-mail.

George
 

Badabing

New User
Joe
There are several other threads on this with some great info that you should check out. I'm fairly new at it too but I've been getting kits at Woodcraft (just cause it is convenient) and some at ArizonaSilhouette.com. WC is great because it's all right there in front of you to see. AS.com is great because the prices are good and the service is excellent.

Hope that little bit helps :nah:
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
I like AZ Silhouette for "better" kits, I especially like the Baron. For PSI kits which are decent I like either Woodturningz or Pens of Color. All those companies give excellent service, and a occasional freebie. The freebies from AZ Sil are always the nicest:icon_thum
I think that both Woodcraft and Klingspor carry Berea kits and they are pretty high end.
Dave:icon_prof
 

TXnNC

New User
Ken
First, I have not yet started turning pens, but wish to start one day soon. However, I was looking at some of the kits on Ebay a couple of weeks ago and found one seller (4704roberts) that had some nice looking kits. After looking into it I noticed that he is right here in eastern NC! He lives in Beulaville and does this as a side job. I contacted him via email and he offered me a tour of his shop. So, Saturday morning I drove over (about 15 mins) and my daughter and I got to check out his stuff. He was more than gracious and spent almost 2 hours showing us all the exotic woods he sells as well as explaining to us the characteristics and intricacies of each kind. He had several different species on hand (Bocote, African Coral, Zebra, Purple Heart, Wenge, Chakte, Leopard, Cocobola, Honduras Rosewood just to name a few). He has some amazing stock and does all the work himself. I would STRONGLY suggest you look into what he has to offer. An up side to it is that you are supporting a fellow NC woodworker. I know that once I get started on it, I will get all my supplies from him. If anyone wants anything, please let me know and I will be MORE than happy to go pick it up for you (although he does ship world wide).

Ken
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
First, I have not yet started turning pens, but wish to start one day soon. However, I was looking at some of the kits on Ebay a couple of weeks ago and found one seller (4704roberts) that had some nice looking kits. After looking into it I noticed that he is right here in eastern NC! He lives in Beulaville and does this as a side job. I contacted him via email and he offered me a tour of his shop. So, Saturday morning I drove over (about 15 mins) and my daughter and I got to check out his stuff. He was more than gracious and spent almost 2 hours showing us all the exotic woods he sells as well as explaining to us the characteristics and intricacies of each kind. He had several different species on hand (Bocote, African Coral, Zebra, Purple Heart, Wenge, Chakte, Leopard, Cocobola, Honduras Rosewood just to name a few). He has some amazing stock and does all the work himself. I would STRONGLY suggest you look into what he has to offer. An up side to it is that you are supporting a fellow NC woodworker. I know that once I get started on it, I will get all my supplies from him. If anyone wants anything, please let me know and I will be MORE than happy to go pick it up for you (although he does ship world wide).

Ken
Ken I hope that you mentioned the site to him, if he isn't already a member. It would be great to have him and a good asset to his business.
Dave:icon_prof
 

TXnNC

New User
Ken
Dave, I did mention the site to him and he was very interested and said he would check it out. A bonus is that he sells his "scrap" as well. He sold me a piece of leopard that was about 1/2"x3"x14" as well as about 30 pen blanks of various species so I could start to "learn" the woods. Not big enough to make any furniture out of, but would be great for inlay and detail work. He also sells bowl blanks, wine stopper blanks, and just about anything else you can think of.
 

TBone

New User
TBone
Beartooth Woods-Ernie give great service
Arizona Sillhouette-As mentioned, Bill is great to deal with
Craft Supplies USA

I buy the majority through the group buys that are run on IAP, usually get the 100+ price. Hope it was ok to mention another site.
 

erasmussen

New User
RAS
I wonder if there's enough people on here to get some kind of group deal going?
Might have to turn some more folks to the dark side
 

Eaglesc

New User
Eagle
For the most part there are three "manufacturers" of Components available to us.Berea, PSI and CSUSA
I don't believe any of them have their own factories and most of the kits are made in Taiwan or China.
There are many resellers out there.
Woodcraft, Hut, Rocklear as well as Arizona Silouhette and Beartooth Woods are resellers for Berea .
Bill at Arizona Silhouette has Proprietary kits that are similar to some Woodcraft kits but Woodcraft does not offer the wide selection of platings that Bill does.
Woodturningz and Wooden whimsies as well as others are resellers for PSI.Because of PSI's price structure it is usually a better deal to use the resellers.Since I have always gotten great service from Woodturningz I Use them for certain kits I have designed some of my pens around such as my 338 caliber Parker casing pens.
Recently PSI has gotten on board with better platings and eventuall they will invest more time in their design as opposed to copying what is already available.
CSUSA at one time did use resellers but now the only way to purchase their kits is directly from them.
When the question comes up as to what kits to avoid I get a kick out of the answers.
I have made many of the cheap gold plated kits when I first started.I do not regret it one bit.
I made a lot of pens and experimented along the way.Had I not used the inexpensive components I would not have been able to find the direction I chose to go in with glued up blanks and pens made out of different materials.
I I decided to make a slimline and it turned out especially well I couls always knock the pen apart and put it into a better quality plated kit for the most part.
Buying inexpensive plated kits also lets you experiment with altering the components or omitting them altogether.Better to experiment with a lower price kit before you try it on a TN god or platinum one.
One thig I would suggest.
When you think you have made that "master piece" put it aside for a couple of days and then give it a good look.
Show it to someone who has been making pens for a while and ask for a critique.
I can recall some beauties I have made that the finish fell short of being good yet I thought it was"perfect"
One thing I have learned in three and a half years of making pens.
I will never make a perfect pen, each will have a flaw somewhere.
Once I realized that. a lot of pressure was removed and I Started to enjoy what I was doing and it also opened many doors to different designs.
Lastly there is a habit I have noticed many fall into.
They go out and buy an expensive blank and feel it needs the most expensive set of components to compliment it.
The result is a piece of beautiful wood or acrylic in the gaudiest plated kit they can find. The end result usually looks like someone wearing a plaid suit with a polka dot tie.
If the blank is making the statement let the components be silent.
 
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