Turning Archive 2006

Subject:
Carbide pen mill

Joe Pack
>I do a lot of pen turning, keychains, etc. several hundred a year. I have used a pen mill a bit, but find that they go dull so quickly that they are not worth the trouble. I use a 6" belt sander w/miter fence that works great, assuming the barrel is drilled straight, which, unfortunately, is not always true. Also, I still have to often scrape out excess epoxy from the inside of the barrel. Doing a couple at a time, this is not a problem, but, when doing 100 at a time, cleaning barrels is a pain.

Now, Penn State offers a carbide pen mill set that should square and clean at the same time.

Some questions:
1. Have any of you used a carbide pen mill?
2. If you have used one, what is the "sharp" life compared to steel?
3. If you have not used one, what is your best guess as to "sharp" life compared to steel?

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