Trappings of a Penmaker
Here you'll find information on the wood species and other materials I've used in making my writing pens, bottle stoppers, and bottle cap openers.
Domestic and Exotic Wood
Osage Orange is one of the most decay resistant woods in North America with a host of common names including horse apple, hedge apple, mock orange, monkey ball, yellow-wood, and monkey brains! Some of these names allude to this small tree's 3" to 6" round, bumpy fruit. The common name I enjoy the most is the historical Bois d'arc, literally "bow wood" in American French. I think its pleasing yellow-golden color looks great paired with gold accent hardware. Please see Ballpoint Twist Pen Osage Orange Wood 10K Gold and Chrome as an example.
Bubinga is a pinkish-brown hardwood popular among woodworkers. Although the genus has 13 species in Africa, the bubinga sold today is generally one of two species. Its density makes it popular for luthiers and other craftsman for tobacco pipes, tool handles, harps, and guitars. As a penmaker, I prefer to use it with contrasting wood as an accent or in the layers of a segmented pen like the example Ballpoint Twist Pen Diagonal Cut Hardwood Black Titanium and Platinum. When used alone I prefer it on slightly larger turnings like this Bottle Stopper Bubinga and Amazonite.
Beeswing Narra is a beautiful light brown wood of the Pterocarpus tree native to southeast Asia. It can have prominent reddish streaks and/or curly figure that is revealed when worked and polished for objects like jewelry boxes or pens. The burls from Pterocarpus are much desired and look nothing like the narra seen here. They are special enough to get their own name, amboyna. As a penmaker, I find the grain pattern interesting enough to use it alone on pen barrels like the example Mechanical Pencil Beeswing Narra.
Buckeye is commonly known as Ohio buckeye. The wood of this tree is soft and light rendering it commercially unimportant (but a boon to kids like me who found the buckeye nuts attractive projectiles when one's sister is about). Because the burl wood pictured is light and friable, it needs stabilization before use in penmaking. This process imparts density to the wood when resin is drawn into the wood under vacuum and later hardened with heat. I like to combine it with other woods in segmented pens or with colorful resin like the example Rollerball Pen Sapphire Resin and Buckeye Burl.
Parus Pen Resins
Abalone and Cones is a hybrid resin I make with a two-part urethane resin, pigments, and fir cones. The iridescent shimmers comes from what are called interference pigments with highlight swirls of black to mimic abalone shell. The interplay of iridescent colors and interest from the cut fir cones aren't revealed until the pen blank is turned and polished. An example of this hybrid resin cut and polished can be seen in the Rollerball Pen Abalone and Cones Resin Black Titanium and Chrome.