- Pen Making
So I has a commission which I have been worried about. It combines using a material I am not wholly familiar with and adding on a skill that I have yet to try out. When I am learning new skills like that I tend not to charge the client extra. The way I figure it is that I shouldn’t charge someone for being given the opportunity to try something new. When I am more proficient in this whole process then I may look back at what I charge and play around with things as well as the options I offer on the custom work.
With all the in mind I took my time with this one and only managed to make the one pen this week. I have only made 2 fully ebonite pens in the past, one of them was for u/newtonpens charity auction and the other was for my own collection to try it out. I still have a rod of ebonite left waiting to do something with but I am not sure what.
How did I tackle the making of the ebonite pen with a roll stop though? Well let’s start with the simple design brief, the client requested that I follow one of the designs on my website, that wasn’t a problem, that is what they are there for. Then there was dealing with the material itself, god that smell, it gets right up your nose and slaps you around the chops making you know fully well what you are dealing with, and that is when it’s relatively cool. When it heats up and burns you get the lovely smell of burning rubber mixed with sulfur. Not only that but the dust gets everywhere, it’s worse than baystate blue. When sanding the sand paper takes away so much of the material you have to be really careful if you have anything engraved or cut into it, heck even the buffing wheels end up the colour of the ebonite.
It came out quite well though. I fitted the roll stop by hand drilling a small recess into the cap at the point where the client indicated where they wanted the roll stop to be located. I then cut the stud on the back of the roll stop down using wire cutters until it was short enough that the back of the cloud fit flush against the cap around the recess. I squeezed some glue out on to my bench and then used a file with a needle point that I very rarely use and dipped it into the glue and transferred some to the recess and the back of the cloud. I left it a few moments to the glue had begun to dry a little and then put the cloud in place, once there I held it in my vice and just ignored it for a day. The rest of the pen went well and in the end it’s looking quite smart.
I finished sanding off and polishing last weeks pens too. Purple Skadi, Green aphrodite, Blue Gaea, Brown Vanargand, Black Ice Titan and the Black Ice Gaea. I have slightly changed my polishing routine by starting at 180 grit, going up to 2000 grit sandpaper, after that they go through a 3 stage polishing. Then once that is all done they get cleaned in soapy water and then put away for storage until they sell, when they sell, they get cleaned out before being sent out and minimal contact is made with the actual pen before they are put in the postage boxes.
Anyway that is it for this week, take care everyone, stay safe and have a good weekend.
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and if you want to find the archive of these posts I host them on my website here