So, who am I and what made me start making custom pens?

I am a married father of two beautiful girls. I am in my 30’s, well, mid 30’s, maybe mid to late 30’s. I have been an avid collector of fountain pens for about a year or so but before that I practiced the art of calligraphy. This was mainly to help with my handwriting. It is truly awful, here is an example:

See it’s pretty bad, nice ink though (KWZ El Dorado if you were curious).

Anyway, I found the calligraphy was helping a little and my wife had started writing with a fountain pen, I think her first pen was a TWSBI Eco. So I had a try with hers and noticed there seemed to be a noted improvement to my handwriting, I mean she could actually read it for one, which was a bonus. Seeing as though I tend to write a lot, I have written 1 full first draft of a novel, half way through another and I am two chapters in on a third, I thought any improvement to my handwriting was a good thing so I bought myself a TWSBI Eco too. That opened the floodgates. I bought whatever I could get my grubby little mits on and whatever I could afford. When I finished that first draft I bought myself a Lamy 2000, a bit of a reward but no longer the most amount I have spent on a pen, much to my wifes annoyance.

A selection of my pens including 2 custom ones I made.

In my searching for different pens and different filling methods I came across some custom pen sites, specifically Scriptorium Pens, Newton Pens and Edison Pens, it is my ambition to one day be looked upon with the awe that I looked upon these pen makers. Looking through their sites was a true eye opener for me. I didn’t even know you could get custom pens made for you at the time and I set myself a goal to own one. Anyway after a lot of research and some talking with my wife I discovered that there was no way in hell that I would be able to afford even one, let alone the many I lusted after. Which at the time totally bummed me out. So it was back to the drawing board for me. I bought some vintage pens but nothing was scratching that itch I had. I looked over the fountain pen subreddit and looked on Newton pens and found there was a lot of advice on making pens. I knew I had access to an engineering lathe and so I figured I would give it a try as I had nothing to lose in doing so. I looked at kit pens briefly but thought I would just jump in with kitless and see what happened.

Taking the plunge

That pretty much brings us up to date. I have posted and will continue to post on the fountain pen subreddit weekly updates of my progress as well as archiving the posts here. I hope to be able to build on this and make things work, I have had continued interest and the clients I have had the pleasure to work with have all been happy with the pens they have received. My real hope though is that this grows and flourishes into something I can be proud of.

So the above may bring up a bunch of questions about what I have written and why I have made the choices I have made. Not only that but things have progressed since I wrote this.

Why didn’t I start with kit pens?

It’s simple aesthetics to be honest. I have looked at the different kit pens and while I can appreciate the work people put into them turning the materials down and polishing them up, however I am not a fan of the shape that most kids force you to have when you make the pens. Never know, one day I may decide to make my own kits for people to buy.

What has happened since you wrote the other bit?

Well I have my own lathe and workshop at home now so I can work from home. Which has helped increase my work output no end. I am continually working through different designs and techniques to help improve my efficiency so things are on the up. I am now making my own materials and have been seeing some great success in this, i am currently working on a range of blanks.