Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Series of Oblique Holders

This is a series of oblique holders I worked on a couple months ago. Basically practice to learn the process of making a flange and develop a method for cutting  the wooden pen at an angle to install the flange. I made an adjustable bandsaw jig which allowed the blade to cut the pen body with various tilt angles. This was a learning process and some of the angles were too steep for the nib when contacting the paper surface. Those particular pens were tossed in the trash.

The flange I designed allows the nib to be rotated unlike some of the production oblique holders I have purchased in the past which position the nib at a fixed position. I experimented with double and single flange pens including oblique and straight nib inserts in the same pen. Eventually I will make some obliques with a variety of woods similar to the straight holders.

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Recent Collection of Pen Holders

My latest collection of pen holders milled in the past month. All different shapes and sizes. I just started  experimenting with dyes and transparent acrylics. The two pen holders on the right end of the photos are my first attempts with enhancing color. I have a long way to go with this newly discovered technique. I eventually plan to sell these pen holders.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More Calligraphy Pens In the Works

I have not posted any lettering updates in a long time. All my free time for many months of this year has been spent making calligraphy pen holders of many shapes and sizes. It has taken a long time to learn and develop finishing techniques after the pens are turned on the lathe. To  deal with moisture prevention the drilled hole for the nib insert is sealed with epoxy and a brass tube. This will make the the nib insert easier to replace if it eventually rusts.

This photo is the first step in setting up the wood blanks. I am painting with various earth tones and textures of wood. Next step in the process is to apply an extremely strong glue and laminate all the pieces of each blank. When everything is clamped and placed in a wall rack I let the wood blanks cure for a few days.

I plan to airbrush dye and transparent acrylics into some of the wood segments to enhance colors of each pen. After adding color the turned blanks will get several coats of shellac followed by smooth sanding and finished with multiple thin clear coats.  The clear coat will be micro polished and buffed with wax. Each wooden blank on the workbench will eventually become a beautiful and functional calligraphy pen.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bowling Pin Holder

I worked on this pen holder yesterday.  I put a little bowling pin on top as I thought about the days of my youth when I went to the bowling alley for entertainment.

This holder took longer than expected my goal was to create a perfect surface. I used a piece of Lacewood with open grain and learned the technique to fill the grain with a natural appearance. The little bowling pin is birdseye maple. The pen is 9.25" long, very lightweight and is a normal diameter similar to pens sold at calligraphy web stores. I plan to eventually make oblique holders of the same quality.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I am having a blast lettering with  a bunch of different dip nib holders. This one was milled from a small piece of maple. A bit of an experiment to practice with a small 3.5" holder. Getting some real nice thicks and thins with the Speedball C4 nib.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

First Production Quality Dip Pen Holder

I finished work on the first single production quality sided straight nib holder this afternoon. This one is for personal use. The others in this multicolor series  will have a smaller diameter. Eventually pons of this quality will be available for purchase on a Esty site.

The woods in this pen are yellow heart, purple heart, rosa, wenge and maple. The decorative brush shape on top was milled from wenge.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Series of Pen Nolders

I had some time this afternoon to do preliminary work on wood blanks for my next series of double and single ended pen holders. I am using small pieces of Bubinga, Padauk, Sapelle Wenge, Pao Rosa, Lacewood, Yellow Heart, Purple Heart, Quilted Maple, Walnut and Mahogany. They were all small pieces purchased in the turner bins at Owl Hardwoods. The colors are not dyed and quite beautiful. 

They pens will glow when polished with many thin coats of urethane, buffed and waxed. I finally had success with my finishing application on a scrap piece of bridseye maple. Lot of practice with friction polish earlier but not totally pleased with the result of that particular method.

These will be some truly beautiful and practical pen holders when finished. I look forward to showing them  to fellow participants at the next 26 Seeds workshop.