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Making torches and pens

Does anyone on here make them and why

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Bazyle18/11/2015 13:06:03
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Triggered by a mention on another thread I thought I'd start a thread on this subject.
I know that pen making and torch making often come up (more on American forums) as the reason for buying a lathe and pens especially have become rather popular amongst woodworkers.

So does anyone on here do it, and Why?

Pens are so close to obsolete and seldom used I find my handwriting is deteriorating. I couldn't do without one around but seldom write more than a sentence, address, or doodle and wouldn't want a big fat wooden or metal one for that. Plus even in the days before computers and I had decent ones they would tend to get lost too quickly.

Torches - well not needed that much even though I live in a village with only one streetlamp and have a long dark garden path to the front door I only need a torch if the ponies / bullocks have been wandering around since the last rain. I use a headband for preference for 'hands free' operation.

JasonB18/11/2015 16:39:12
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I think pen making is very much a woodturners thing, they are suitable for those with a smaller lathe which makes them popular. They don't need to be any chunkier than a regular pen though quite a few seem to make them on the thick side. Same with Torches.

As to usefullness the same could be said for wooden bowls, turned boxes etc. it's not so much the end product but the doing it that people enjoy. I have more than my fair share of woodturnings collecting dust on the shelves, you can only give so many to friends and family a gifts.

I suppose you could say the same about some aspects of ME who actually needs say a miniaturte stationary steam engine but there are a lot of people out there who enjoy making them.

J

Nicholas Wheeler 118/11/2015 16:54:03
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Posted by Bazyle on 18/11/2015 13:06:03:

Triggered by a mention on another thread I thought I'd start a thread on this subject.
I know that pen making and torch making often come up (more on American forums) as the reason for buying a lathe and pens especially have become rather popular amongst woodworkers.

So does anyone on here do it, and Why?

Pens are so close to obsolete and seldom used I find my handwriting is deteriorating. I couldn't do without one around but seldom write more than a sentence, address, or doodle and wouldn't want a big fat wooden or metal one for that. Plus even in the days before computers and I had decent ones they would tend to get lost too quickly.

Torches - well not needed that much even though I live in a village with only one streetlamp and have a long dark garden path to the front door I only need a torch if the ponies / bullocks have been wandering around since the last rain. I use a headband for preference for 'hands free' operation.

I learnt a long time ago that the only way I don't lose pens is to use a nice one, Having a customer sign the paperwork with a nice stainless steel Parker also looks much more professional than a chewed Bic.

Small torches are like pocket knives; I use them often enough that I rarely leave leave the house without them.

Asking a craft forum why anyone would make things like that is very odd!

Jon Gibbs18/11/2015 17:10:07
738 forum posts

I suppose I'm primarily a woodturner, whose engineering work was at least initially motivated by wanting to make accessories and tooling to support the woodworking. Now it has a bit of a life of its own but that's another story.

The problem with asking questions such as "why" is like the proverbial stone throwing in glass houses since I think that many of us if we're entirely honest spend at least some of our spare time doing things that could be construed as pointless and not cost-effective. I make plenty of things that represent very poor value if I were to value my time at anything even approaching half the minimum wage, let alone the real value and they're to support another pastime that's a bit pointless too!

I think the simple answer to "why" do we do any of it is because we can and because we enjoy it.

Having said that though, and I don't make them, but pens do sell quite well as presents, especially at this time of year. Wooden boxes are my thing and as Jason says there's a limit to what you can give away but I enjoy it none the less. I haven't seen torch kits and prefer a headtorch too but suspect that they may be fun to make.

HTH

Jon

NJH18/11/2015 17:40:49
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Well I guess the pen makers could say " Why do ME's spend time making models?" Whilst I have far too many projects already to go down the pen route they can be a thing of beauty. ( I must also say that I do like writing with a nice pen).

Have a look HERE at some of the blanks available to turn into works of art - or at least Xmas presents!

Norman

Roger Provins 218/11/2015 18:11:28
340 forum posts

I've never been into pen making but I see them sell very well at craft fairs - and some at high prices!

V8Eng18/11/2015 18:36:03
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Having watched someone demonstrating pen making at my local Axminster store, I have to say that it is a very skilled process, with a useful, decorative and saleable end product. I have not actually tried making them.

As to torches, powerful compact ones are so cheap that I would not even think about trying to produce those.

Neil Wyatt18/11/2015 19:15:24
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We did have a very skilled pen-turner on the forums for a year or two.

The decline of handwriting has made a decent fountain pen all the more desirable as an object whose function can be combined with fine aesthetics.

Much regret the loss of my Parker Sonnet after many years

I do have a little bag full of peculiarly coloured wooden pen blanks picked up a show somewhere.

Neil

JasonB18/11/2015 19:49:31
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I suppose an enterprising person could start turning out USB stick coversidea

V8Eng18/11/2015 20:01:33
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Posted by JasonB on 18/11/2015 19:49:31:

I suppose an enterprising person could start turning out USB stick coversidea

Well I've certainly seen USB Sticks clad in wood at recent Craft Fairs.

Bandersnatch18/11/2015 22:13:40
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Posted by Jon Gibbs on 18/11/2015 17:10:07:

I think that many of us if we're entirely honest spend at least some of our spare time doing things that could be construed as pointless and not cost-effective.

Is any hobby activity supposed to be "cost-effective"?

Ian Welford18/11/2015 22:47:14
274 forum posts

In answer to the question Bazyle - Because it's fun

I enjoy it.They make great gifts for friends and there are countless models/variations you can make.

It can also get really, really exacting as you adapt the shape you make to fit your hand.

I make all my own handles for my files,chisels etc to fit MY HAND. Made some for a friend and he initially looked at the width I had made them , then he used them( he has large hands ) and he's never looked back-so comfortable to use.

Cost effective-hell no-what hobby is ?

Jon Gibbs19/11/2015 10:14:46
738 forum posts
Posted by Bandersnatch on 18/11/2015 22:13:40:

Posted by Jon Gibbs on 18/11/2015 17:10:07:

I think that many of us if we're entirely honest spend at least some of our spare time doing things that could be construed as pointless and not cost-effective.

Is any hobby activity supposed to be "cost-effective"?

Clearly not wink

...but I was trying to give an honest answer to Bazyle who I think must have just got out of bed the wrong side yesterday.

Jon

David Colwill19/11/2015 11:39:20
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I read the original post and think it a very valid question. I also didn't think Bazyle had got out of bed on the wrong side. If such a question is asked in the right spirit (and I don't see any reason to suspect it wasn't) then it can lead to a better understanding of other ideas. Whilst I can't see myself ever making a pen, I would be interested to learn what is involved from someone who is passionate about it.

Regards.

David.

Jon Gibbs19/11/2015 11:52:39
738 forum posts

Well I'm sorry if I mis-interpretted Bazyle's intent by the question which could well have been entirely innocent.

...but there did seem to be at least an implied "bother" after the "why" from my reading of it i.e. "Why bother?"

Jon

David Colwill19/11/2015 11:57:22
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I think if anyone who reads this forum says why bother, I think they are throwing stones in glass houses.smile p

David.

Tim Stevens19/11/2015 17:24:13
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There are several related questions for us all. Start with 'Why make a model of an obsolete means of transport as a hobby when real full size obsolete ... etc ... are readily available, take just as much skill and ingenuity to keep going, and you can go on holiday in/on them?'

One answer I would suggest is 'Because I can and its none of your business anyway.'

Cheers, Tim

Bazyle19/11/2015 17:55:13
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I wasn't trying to diss anyone's hobby and it is interesting to see peoples' perspectives on the activity. Also both are 'making stuff'' so legitimate subjects for this forum that don't get much of a look in. I remember a comment on here once saying that one pen forum had so many thousands of posts every day that he couldn't keep up so it is obviously very popular.

Ian's comment "there are countless models/variations you can make." is the most telling answer to my original question as I discount the 'make to sell' being in a different category of making a living for which repetition is expected.

I also think it is in different category from say making a traction engine owing to the time it takes hence the number you end up with.

Just reminded me of some old friends - the wood turner who filled his house with round things to the consternation of his wife, a little old lady who got unlimited wool at the day care centre but could only crochet square shawls (about 50 a year), and an artist who left her output of 200-300 paintings and sketches to the village. I have samples of each of their work.

V8Eng20/11/2015 19:19:47
1271 forum posts
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I had a promotional email from Axminster today, they obviously think Pen Making is Worth producing equipment for.

**LINK**

Edited By V8Eng on 20/11/2015 19:22:06

JasonB05/01/2019 17:14:08
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 Recent posts above removed, this does not seem to tally with the link being to a non commercial venture

for sale.jpg

Edited By JasonB on 05/01/2019 17:16:15

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