While most hand crafted pens are made from wood, there is another material that you should consider trying.

 Dupont Corian. Yes, the very same material used in counter tops. Corian is a great looking material, that comes in over 100 colors.

 Starting out, I had my hands full just trying to perfect my technique with wood, but I was intrigued by some pictures I had seen of Corian Pens.

 In searches for pen blanks on ebay, I kept seeing Corian blanks, but they were only 1/2 inch wide. Most of my pens were finishing around that thick, and my drilling was pretty shaky at best, so I just passed them by. I then read of a guy who was gluing the 1/2 inch pieces together to make thicker blanks, with virtually invisible glue lines. That’s all I had to hear. I went to ebay, found a huge assortment, and placed my order.

My aim, was to glue 4 pieces together for a 1 inch square, but there were so many different colors in the collection I bought, that I could only match up a couple of groups of four.  I glued up what I could, and began making pens.

  To my pleasant surprise,  Corian  is fairly easy to work with. Since there is no grain, your drill doesn’t tend to wander. It is a little tougher than many woods, so be sure to keep your chisels sharp.

 This is a pen from my original group of Corian blanks:

Green Corian Pen

 I quickly used up all of my 1 inch blanks, but still had a big box full of Corian. Then I saw a segmented wooden pen that  Kenn Osborne put on line, along with a tutorial.

http://www.penturners.org/content/OsborneSegPen.pdf

 With a little practice, I started getting some good results from my Corian glue ups. With so many complimenting colors, the combinations are virtually endless.

I think the results speak for themselves:

Corian Patchwork Pens

You can see more of my pens at:

http://www.woodenpenworks.com

wpenw

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   For anyone thinking about making wooden pens for the first time, please don’t let this change your mind. Making wooden pens is an artistic endeavor that is not only therapeutic, but actually borders on fun.

  What I am saying is don’t quit your day job. For every person selling a fair number of high end pens in the hundred dollar and up range, there are probably thousands of people making pens.

We have become a  throw away society, where true craftsmanship has no value. Sure there are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, consumers have gotten used to ridiculously cheap imported goods.

  Couple that with the fact that no one writes anymore, and finding an easy customer for that pen you just took off of the lathe, is an uphill battle.

Here is how it goes. You read everything you can get your hands on. You’re sure you can do this with a little practice. You pore over the catalogs nearly breaking into a sweat with anticipation.

You finally think you have it figured out. You plunk down your hard earned dough on a mini lathe, and all of the stuff that was suggested in that how to get started article. If you bought it locally, you rush home. You can’t wait to get started.

 If you bought your outfit on line, you sit on your front steps like a kid on Christmas Eve. Jumping at the sound of every truck that ventures into the neighborhood. Finally it arrives, and you get to show off your talents.

  You stumble your way through with a fair amount of trial and error. You keep thinking  “So that’s what they meant? Why the f@%k didn’t they just say so?”  Then it happens. This chunk of wood is actually beginning to look like a pen. You need to call someone. Surely such an historic event should not go unwitnessed.

 You polish that baby up. Swear a few more times while trying to figure out how to press in all of those metal parts. And then it’s done. You hold it up to the light. Stare at it in awe. You have arrived!

You are so sure that your only problem now, is how I am going to make enough of these to keep up with the orders that are sure to come flooding in; once the word gets out that a new Master Craftsman has arrived on the scene.

You load up on wood. You buy kits in bulk. You hone your craft. You take on the world. But the world only says “You want how much? I steal these plastic ones at work for nothing.”

It seem sad that a world that will pay a mechanic ninety dollars an hour to perform questionable repairs on their car would begrudge you a few dollars for the passion and skill that went into making a true piece of art.

Don’t give up. Your pens will make great gifts, and with determination you can sell your share.

So now back to the original question.  Where is the real money in wooden pen making? Sum up all of the cash that you laid out for books equipment and materials. I think the question just answered itself.

Now, my only question is, how do I get in on it?


20Mar07

WPW Pen Making Video

Not your typical pen making how to. Worth a look.


 I try not to take most things too seriously.

I needed to take photos of some of the wooden pens that I make, so I started thinking about different backgrounds or settings. If you’ve had to take these kinds of pictures, then you know what a pain it can be.

Nothing was really working. Too dark. Too light. Too busy. Damn!

Then I looked up at the shelf above my monitor. Looking back down at me were a couple of characters that I had received for Christmas a couple of years ago. I could have sworn I heard them ask if I needed any help. I took them up on their offer. One thing led to another, and soon I had a series of photos of each step of the pen making process.

String them together, add a little music and voila! A video is born.

Take a look for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBoC_A2iQOE

Let me know what you think.

 wpenw


Doyle Chimneypiece
Its never too early to be thinking about Christmas Shopping.

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Come on all of you procrastinators, get this done.

Guys tell me if I’m wrong. Every year you wait till the last minute to do your Christmas shopping, and then panic, and wind up bringing home some lame piece of crap. Then you feel guilty, and promise yourself that you won’t do the same thing next year. But then you do!

Its time to break the cycle. Be a hero this year. Just look at this Chimneypiece. Its Personalized, so whoever gets one knows that you actually went out of your way to make them happy for a change. Your Wife would love one, your Mother would love one, your sister would too.

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So do us both a favor and just get it done. http://www.woodenpenworks.etsy.com