Category: Uncategorized

Updated Athena model

Just a quick update to customers who are familiar with the popular Athena model. Except for a few rare occasions where the material dictates a thinner pen, the Athena has now increased in diameter by 1mm. This was done to alleviate the thin wall of the cap and front threads as a proactive measure. While I haven’t had any issues to date, this is a comfort factor of adding an extra 0.5mm of wall thickness to all sides for my own sanity.

The old Athena uses a 12mm double start thread for the cap while the new version uses a 13mm triple start cap. So it actually provides a faster open and close experience.

The v1 Athena is available by special request and will still be used when the selected material does not allow for the larger diameter. Such is the case for many of the vintage celluloid rods.

The below examples show old vs. new. Pardon the buffing compound on the red pen. I haven’t finished making it all pretty.

New article in the WSJ this week – Can Handwriting Make You Smarter?

New article in the WSJ this week – Can Handwriting Make You Smarter?

Whether you agree or not, handwriting is a hotly debated topic in our time of technology. Typing and voice recognition have taken over much of the way we communicate and keep track of information. Our smart phones will jot a note for us simply by asking Siri, Google, Cortana or Alexa and add it to your Evernote, OneNote or Calendar with almost no effort. However there may still be a place for handwriting.

I personally hand write notes every day. I keep a bullet journal (check out bullet journaling here: http://bulletjournal.com/) for work that as a manager has been invaluable at keeping me organized and on top of a busy schedule. I tried computer based task managers but found that I don’t recall what I type nearly as well as what I write. The act of writing helps your brain form connections and memories in a way that simply typing doesn’t accomplish. That’s true in my case anyway. YMMV.

Read the WSJ article here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-handwriting-make-you-smarter-1459784659

Watch Mazzuccelli create Cellulose Acetate!

Watch Mazzuccelli create Cellulose Acetate!

Jonathon Brooks shared a terrific video with me and I thought it worth passing along to you.

Mazzucchelli was founded in 1849 and is one of the top producers of cellulose acetate in the world. Although heavily used for eye glass frames and small items, they have historically produced some great materials thick enough for the pen market with a richness of depth and color hard to match with modern acrylics.

Watch how this material is produced from cotton into a final finished product.

Can you make me one of those in Mandarin Yellow?

Can you make me one of those in Mandarin Yellow?

Hot on the heels of the plus sized Duo inspired pen, a customer contacted me asking if I could make him one in the ever hard to find Mandarin Yellow. After a quick call to Jonathon to see if he could duplicate the color, I responded with a resounding “probably” ūüôā

A few days later I had a pair of long mandarin yellow alumilite blanks in hand and was ready to rock the lathe. Following my notes…errr…wait I forgot to take notes when I made the red one!!!! So rather following my best guess as to what my notes would have been, I proceeded to duplicate my design. Luckily it had not been that long since I had designed the red one, so most of the important stuff was still rattling around in my head such as thread sizes for which pieces and some general target numbers for drilling the cap and adding the bands.

Once all was in order, the cap was sent off to have the bands gold plated to match the clip.

A few days and several progress pictures to the customer later and a new pen was born.¬†I’m happy with the final results and from what he’s told me, the customer ran out of adjectives to describe his happiness.

Pretty petite portable pocket or perhaps purse pen?

Pretty petite portable pocket or perhaps purse pen?

Ok, so I had to use a non “p” word in the title. ¬†Pretty poor planning [on my part].

My very first 100% custom pen was a small pocket fountain pen. ¬†It was the pen I cut my teeth on and learned the basics of threading and sizing and work holding custom parts. It’s been a long time coming but as a change of pace from the larger customs I’ve been working on recently I felt bringing back the small scale was just what I needed.

A common complaint from those who use pens similar to this from the big manufacturers is the lack of threads to post the cap. ¬†Since the cap is such an integral part of these small pens when writing, a simple press fit just doesn’t feel solid or becomes loose over time as inner cap wears. So I worked a set of matching threads into the back of the body so secure the cap in place forming a full sized sturdy pen when writing.

This pen uses a smaller #5 sized nib and accepts a standard international cartridge or SHORT converter.  Alternately you can seal the threads and run it as an eye dropper.

Material shown is Cracked Ice Acrylic which does a fairly accurate job of emulating a vintage cellulose acetate rod. Sorry kids, no progress pictures on this one as I was in the zone and never thought to stop and smell the roses…or take my phone out for a picture or two.

And now for some numbers for your viewing pleasure:

Length capped: 104.3mm
Length uncapped: 96mm
Length posted: 134.5mm
Body diameter: 12.3mm
Cap diameter: 14.1mm
Nib: #5 steel (Bock)
Filler: International cartridge or short converter
Postable: Threaded post

Price: $150.00

Ready to buy? Follow me to your new custom fountain pen

 

A customer who knew exactly what he wanted

A customer who knew exactly what he wanted

I had a customer reach out to me asking for a large pen. In the pen world this can take on many meanings, but in this instance I was provided a frame of reference to work from.

A long time favorite of this customer was the vintage Parker Sr. Duofold “Big Red”. ¬†A flat top design with an untapered body and over sized cap. He wanted this pen but larger. After pulling my research strings and sourcing the original size of the inspiration pen, I was able to put a design on paper and work out all of the necessary measurement points to get to work.

A set of 2mm brass bands sit flush in the lower section of the cap.  The main body material is a hand poured and color matched Duofold red Alumilite from my blank artist Jonathon Brooks. Armed with this and a handful of black ebonite for the finials and grip section, it was off to the lathe to get to work.

The series of pictures in the gallery below show some shots of the build progress along the way. The final specifications are as follows:

Length Capped: 137.2 mm
Length Uncapped: 129.7 mm
Length Posted: 171.9 mm
Body Diameter: 14.4 mm
Cap Diameter: 16.8 mm
Material: Alumilite / Ebonite
Filler: Converter / Cartridge
Nib: JoWo #6 sized 1.1 Stub

Standard Post

Standard Post

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Beautiful Blue – A custom fountain pen for a new customer

Beautiful Blue – A custom fountain pen for a new customer

Sometimes you can get exactly what you want even if you’re not sure what that is.

Recently we had a customer come to us asking for a very specific material. It started out as a request for one of our previous fountain pens in a different color. No problem, I responded asking what color they had in mind and the answer was a simple cobalt blue crushed looking material.

With this information in hand, I dug into some of my supply catalogs along with the materials I had in the shop and sent over a few pictures of blue blanks, including one called specifically Cobalt Blue. As we worked through the pictures, I realized that it wasn’t exactly cobalt she was after, but more of a rich almost electric blue. Cobalt was the wrong shade and wasn’t a very rich looking color when it came down to it.

I sent a few more pictures and she focused in on a particular shade of blue that was closer to a royal blue and then looped back to the desire for a crushed look. Finally it clicked and I knew exactly what she was after. The problem is that the material I was fairly certain she was after had been manufactured by an Italian company called Mazzucchelli and had been discontinued for quite some time. Best I can tell from researching is somewhere around 1949, 65-years ago.

I called up a few friends who I knew collected vintage materials and just my luck I found 2 sticks of it that they were willing to part with. Once I knew I could source the material, I found a vintage pen made from it and sent her a picture to be sure we had hit the mark. The response was YES!!! It was the exact material she was looking for.

A few days later, I had blanks in hand, drilled, glued and turned. The result was a beautiful Sapphire Blue Cebloplast body on a satin plated magnetic cap fountain pen with a polished #5 medium point nib.