Customers often ask me about the process I use in making my pens. Each pen turner has their own preferred methods, here's a brief and basic overview of mine.
I source the pen components from various suppliers. Quality is very important to me when selecting suppliers.
Here are the parts for a fountain pen made from English Yew:
After I've cut the wood to size, it needs to be drilled to accept the brass tubes. The brass tubes provide much of the strength of the pen:
The brass tubes are glued in to place. I use an epoxy resin glue. I've found that this glue performs remarkably:
I use the sharpest possible gouges (or chisels) on the lathe to turn the wood to size/shape:
Some pen-turners advertise how many stages of sanding they use in order to get a perfect finish. There's nothing wrong with this, but, I tend to use only 2 or 3 grades of abrasives. I've found that with practise, skill and ultra sharp tools, many stages of sanding/abrading can be eliminated. I often sharpen my gouges several times while turning a single pen.
When I'm happy with the smooth finish of the pen, I seal the wood and leave it to dry before abrading it again and applying the finishes:
Again, each pen turner has their own preferred method of finishing - some are better than others. Some of the more common ones are: applying a CA glue (superglue) and polishing to a high gloss, applying a shellac based polish & waxes.
While the CA glue method is undoubtedly the tougher finish, I've found that it leaves the wood feeling 'plasticky'. Wood - to me - is a tactile material and it's nice to feel the wood itself. So, I apply several very thin coats of an acrylic lacquer, then several coats of a shellac based polish. Finally I apply a couple of coats of a microcrystalline wax. This was developed by the Britsh Museum to protect their exhibits and is now used by many great museums and such institutions as the Smithsonian. It is tough, long lasting and resistant to fingerprints.
Finally, the pen is assembled. I use a pen press to push the pen parts inside the brass tubes:
The very last step in my process is to photograph the finished pen:
If you'd like any more information, please feel free to get in touch. I'm always happy to chat about my hobby (or obsession!) My email is firstname.lastname@example.org