Today we are talking about the best mini lathe for pen turning. Although we have covered which wood lathes we believe to be the best, it is important to understand the nuance between a full-size lathe, a midi wood lathe and one which is the most suitable for turning pens.
Choosing the right lathe for your particular projects can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re looking to focus on something as specific as turning a pen. Rest assured that we will cover the most important considerations and offer you several choices of lathes which are suited exactly for this purpose. We believe that if you are interested in making pens, your goal is to stir away from websites which recommend large expensive lathes and focus on something small which will get the job done time and time again.
Best Mini Lathe for Pen Turning
You should be considering several factors when it comes to buying your pen turning lathe: price and speed. There are many others factors which come into play during a wood lathe selection process, but unless you are willing to spend extra money, we recommend sticking to these two.
Why is Speed Important for Pen Turning?
Taking a look at the first selection criterion, you might be wondering as to why wood lathe speed is important.
Generally speaking, a faster turning speed allows the user to work on their project faster. Furthermore, turning wood at faster speeds will create much smoother surface patterns as the blade of our wood lathe tools penetrates the wood at a higher force.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t crank up the speed of your lathe as you please. The smaller the diameter of your piece, the higher the speed can be. If you aren’t careful about your turning speed, wood may crack, fly off the spindle and cause damage to the tool or the user. Make sure to always start at a lower speed until you are comfortable with increasing it.
What’s the Deal with Low Price?
Regardless of what anyone tells you, you don’t need a powerful feature-packed lathe for pen turning. Unless you are planning to use the same tool for a number of projects, we strongly recommend that you consider going with the cheapest option available. Besides “nice to have” features on the high-end lathes, you don’t get much value for pen turning.
The Top Two Wood Lathes for Pen Turning
The two lathes we’ve selected for the purpose of pen turning can be seen below. The decision has been made based on the price, features, speed as well as the comments from current users. We believe that these two lathes are the best value for the price and will be more than adequate for your wood pen turning projects.
RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10″ x 18″ 1/2 hp Mini Lathe
The RIKON 70-105 series lathe is an excellent tool for small projects including pen turning. It’s not the cheapest lathe on the market but does come with extra features. It comes with an iron cast bed and a 1/2 HP motor which will keep your lumber turning at 5 distinct speeds: 500, 1175, 1850, 2225 and 3200.
The lathe is an excellent tabletop tool which is covered by a 5-year warranty. Furthermore, the manufacturer has provided a way for users to extend the functionality of the lathe by purchasing add-ons such as a bed extension. Although it may not be useful for turning pens, it may be a beneficial upgrade for other projects. In our eyes, it is also a good indicator of commitment to the tool from the manufacturer.
Find the RIKON 70-105 lathe here: See on Amazon
SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe
The second wood lathe on our list is smaller and less powerful but does come at a lower price point. With a robust cast iron bed, variable spindle speeds between 700 and 3200 RPM and a 1/3 HP motor, the SHOP FOX W1704 series lathe will keep you turning pens one after another.
We, as well as many woodworkers who own this lathe, agree that this lathe is definitely worth the price. Although its construction is not completely robust, you will be able to turn many pens and other small projects on this tool.
Find the SHOP FOX W1704 lathe here: See on Amazon
Conclusion on The Best Mini Lathe for Pen Turning
Turning your first wood pen is extremely gratifying. However, some decide to turn this seemingly small project into a complete business. Whether you are looking to turn multiple pens for your friends and family or to start a business, we have two recommendations for you. The first one is that you need to find a wood lathe with an adequate speed range. The recommended maximum should be 3000 RPM. The second suggestion is to look for a cheaper lathe if you don’t plan to work on any bigger projects.