• Daniel Ouimet

The Art of Penmaking-Step 2

Congratulations! You've chosen either a ballpoint twist pen, ballpoint click pen, rollerball pen, fountain pen, or mechanical pencil to make as your first pen. You've also chosen raw material to make either an acrylic pen, wood pen, or antler pen. To continue, tools will be needed to prepare the material selected for the barrel or barrels of the pen body before turning on a lathe can happen.

Pen barrels begin as pen "blanks" which in their simplest form are rectangular prisms of wood or colorful acrylic made for penmaking. However, more exotic blanks abound and include things like antler or hybrid combinations of acrylic cast with everything from pine cones to coffee beans. Regardless of composition, a pen blank needs to be cut slightly longer than brass tubes specifically sized to hold the pen's inner workings. I usually cut blanks about 1/16" longer than the brass tubes at each end. When cutting a blank into two sections for a two barrel pen, I also mark across the center cut to maintain the orientation of wood grain or acrylic swirl patterns. Once the pen blanks are cut to length, it's time for precise drilling in Step 3.