Pen making update Y2 Wk30: Something special and Black (a long update today)

* Pen making update

So the regular pen making has been a bit slim on the ground as of late, not sure if you noticed. This has been due to lockdown happening again, work playing havoc with pen making time. And stuff like [this]( happening. Not only that but I have been working on a stepped cap version of my designs like [this]( This option allows me to minimise the step for the barrel to threads but it obliterates any sort of lines on the pen itself. Something some people will like and some people will hate, what are your thoughts?

But the other reason is something a bit special. I got the opportunity to make a clients grail pen. This is something I didn’t think I would get to do this early in my pen making and so I spent extra time on it making sure I got everything as good as I can. The base model was one of my more popular ones, the Zeus, that one was the one which has the opposing slanted ends. They also wanted a roll stop and some engraving in one of the flat ends, which is one of the advantages of that particular design as the flat end is perfect for that sort of thing. It’s not something I had done before. So I had a test run on a piece of cut off that I had lying around, it didn’t go too well. I wanted it to end up like this [elder sign]( but once I had carved it out I had to sand it down to get rid of the rough edges but lost most of the [image]( This however did teach me something, if I was going to make it work I had to make the cuts deeper, that meant the cap needed to be longer.

I made the cap giving me enough extra material on the end to play with and made some deep cuts, it’s hard to judge how deep you go as the cuts instantly fill up with [dust]( the slightly rough edges I knew I could sort out and then an idea hit me. What if I filled it with resin, I contacted the client and suggested the idea and said that I could fill the engraving with a resin that matched the nib. They agreed and the plan went ahead. I filled it with a shimmery red then sanded and polished it smooth, it came out rather [well]( you can run your finger over it and not notice the different [materials](

The next thing to tackle was the roll stop. It’s a tentacle and going with the theme of Cthulhu driving people insane I set the tentacle slightly off centre so when you look at it you can’t at first tell whether it is or isn’t. [Here]( it is on the full pen. I am very happy with this and I hope my client is as happy as I am, I had been in contact through the whole process so I got a feeling that they will be, a grail pen order doesn’t come along very often and I wanted this one to be special.

[full pen nib and carving](

[full pen roll stop and nib](

* Pen maker spotlight: [Black Robin Pens](

Little bit of a new section here, along with what I am writing for my own making I wanted to highlight some pen makers that you may not be aware of. Share the love and all that. I have been speaking to the maker, Meg, since August of 2019. In that time I have seen her flourish as a pen maker and the pens she is making now are stunning. Rather than just tell you about them let me show you them:


[Prospero with ink Window](


[Slim Romeo](

To those who like reading you may recognise some of the names as each model is named after a literary character. As a lover of books myself I wholeheartedly approve of this naming scheme.

Megan is the creator behind Black Robin Pens, she is from a small town in East Yorkshire in the UK and started wood turning around five years ago, you know back in time immemorial before the world fell apart. She began wood turning with making bowls and pen kits, and at the time wood turning was only a hobby she could squeeze into evenings and weekends. However, when she came across a video showing how kitless pens made on youtube it encouraged her to test her skills, for those curious [here it is](

Since then she has resigned her full time job, become a full time parent and works on the side making beautiful pens. So how would she describe herself? Let me pull out a quote:

‘When it comes to pen makers, we seem to fall into one of two camps.

People who start making pens because they have a passion for pens and subsequently develop a passion for making.
Or people who start out with a passion for making things who subsequently develop a passion for fountain pens.

I would say that I fall into the latter category and when I began making kitless fountain pens it was the challenge to make a difficult item that motivated me, whereas now, almost a year later I would say that my appreciation for a beautiful pen influences my creativity much more.‘

Her goal in pen making is similar to mine which is why I chose her to be the first maker I highlight. She wants to set herself aside and stand out as a producer of pens that stand out in either unique design of material. She makes each pen with traditional steel tools on a woodturning lathe and each one is crafted with care and attention as you can see from the above photos. Her hope is that when a customer receives one of her pens they can see the passion which goes into each one.

Meg is a lovely person and I would recommend that you check her out. 

So that is the first maker highlight, any feedback on that part would be appreciated. 

As usual feel free to give suggestions for where these updates go in the comments. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones and stay safe.

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