Pen making update 45: On with the show

Well this is a bit late but happy new year everyone, I hope you had a good break from work and got to spend some nice time with your families. There have been some fun and exciting things happening in the Den’s Pens world. I have made a few mistakes, I have lost my rag and thrown things across my admittedly small workshop.

I have also made what I think is a lot of pens. To other pen makers it is peanuts but to me it’s a lot. I have sped up my production from taking a whole week to make 1 or 2 pens to be able to make a pen in an evening. That means I can make 2 maybe 3 on a saturday as well. The reason why I have deemed it necessary to speed things up is very simple…

I have a table at the London Pen Show on March 8th and I am terrified beyond belief. I have been out of any sort of retail environment in so long and I am so nervous that nothing is going to sell. I am full of doubts, are the pens I am making good enough? What if nothing does sell? When I started these updates I said I would be honest with all the things I do with the pen making, so I am going to continue to be honest with this and as the build up to the show piles on the pressure I will describe what I am doing to deal with the pressure and prepare. Anyway on with the pens…

First of all I got a new addition to the lathe. A die holder this has already helped me numerous times, one of the holders is a slightly different size to the die I have so I have had to pack it out a bit, measuring the cap around it by eye is a bit difficult but I managed to centre it.

I agreed to do a pen for a client who wanted a pen using a Conway Stewart blank and that takes a Jowo #6 nib. I got myself a nib so I could get the measurements right before working on an actual pen for it to fit. The pen in the middle is the pen I made to fit it and this is the nib. Unfortunately the nib I got my hands on was apparently the old style of Jowo nib unit and had a larger collar. I have managed to get a newer style one so I can get the work done now, luckily it is not a job which is time dependant.

Going back to the lathe after such a long break over Christmas was hard. I got everything wrong. I was turning pats too narrow to put threads on. I was making too many rough cuts and well I have corrected my mistakes since then. What I need to do is write down a sort of bible of my pen turning procedures and laminate them so that I can refer back to them and wipe grease off. When I will get time to do this I have no idea. After the show I am intending to start making my own blanks if things go well.

Now the pens. This was the first pen I made when I got back to the lathe, well that is it before polishing, this is after polishing. This is one of my favourite designs as it tapers in then flairs out at the end. It is one of my favourite ones to make as with most designs I need to make the barrel narrower at the end whereas this one means I need to make it larger at the end.

I made two very simple designs. One for the client I mentioned earlier which looks like this I have shown it to them and they are happy with it. I just need to make a section for the new Jowo nib and it will be ready for polishing. I am going to make myself a pen for the jowo nib first so if I mess it up then it isn’t a problem. The other pen of that design I made doesn’t have a clip as I wanted it to have smooth lines. I think I did quite well, here it is capped and uncapped it is pretty much ready for polishing, Sunday is my polishing day so I will post the polished up versions next week.

I have made another super pointy design. I was talking with another pen maker earlier today about this design and comparing how we do things. The way I make pointed ends whether they are blunt points or sharp points is simple. I make a barrel as a cylinder like the ones I have shown above and then I use the same idea as gradients on a map. I turn it narrower and narrower until I get a point, the closer together the cuts are the steeper the taper is, after that I file it smooth, pictures would be better, before and after . Anyway I put a clip on this one, here is the final pen uncapped.

So that was in the latter end of the break. Since then, ie this week, I have made 2 pens. The first one is a rather large pen which I used an acrylic blank for the main body of the pen and then I used a similar coloured ebonite blank for the ends of the cap and the barrel as well as the grip section. I don’t know whether I should put a clip on it yet, when I get some more I will see what it looks like. This is it now capped and uncapped, there is still a lot of grease on some of these pictures so I apologise. The second pen is a green pen I have done which has some gentle curves on it, I think when this is polished Sunday it will look great. Here it is capped and uncapped.

Well that is it for now. What do you think of the pens? Any thoughts on the designs or things you don’t like? Let me know. It is getting close to a year since I started doing these weekly updates and I intend to do a write up of them for a sort of year in retrospect. Is that something you will find interesting?

Anyway take care everyone, have a good weekend and I will hopefully see you next week.

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