Turning Archive 2007

Penn State cutlery kits

Joe Pack
>I was interested when I saw the cutlery kits offered by Penn State in a recent new catalog. They looked like something that would sell well at craft shows, so I called for more information on construction and assembly. I was told they took a 1/4" hole and that the tangs would fit snugly, requiring only a bit of epoxy to hold them in place. Hoping to be the "first" to offer these at a couple of big shows I have, I ordered a good number of kits. If I had known the problems I would have, I would not have ordered. It wasn't that the kits were not nice, they just gave me construction problems because they were not exactly as described.

Instead of needing a 1/4" hole, into which the tang would fit snugly, two items required a 7/32, three required a 17/64 and one was 7mm. At that, the tangs were still a tad too large or too small to fit without unnecessary extra work. The ones that were too tight required just a slight touch on the grinder wheel. The ones that were too loose required filling the space along side of the tang with epoxy and toothpicks or wood shavings.

To be fair, the problems I had would probably not be so bad if someone was just making a few for gifts or such. All of these problems, though, took extra time to deal with. The price point to be able to sell them was quite low...too low to justify the amount of time required to assemble them with all the extra steps I did not expect.

If you are looking for a new small turnings gift for family or friends for Christmas, you might take a look at these. If time is not a consideration, they would make nice gifts, particularly in the sets. If you are interested in making them for sale, though, they will take far longer to assemble than to drill and turn.

On the positive side, when I explained the problem to the PSI customer service person, she was very understanding and helpful in arranging a return. I'm not at all displeased with PSI service; they have been great to deal with. It was just that the cutlery items were not exactly as described, and the extra work required in assembling them made them unprofitable for craft show items.

Hope this helps someone if, for you, "time is money."

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