The process of making a hand-crafted pen may seem simple. But, there are many steps involved.
- Wood selection: Wood is chosen that is clean of defects, damage and that is large enough to be drilled and lathed.
- Wood cutting: The selected wood is trimmed and cut to enable the drilling, squaring and lathing process. If the pen has two wood parts the blank is cut and the top / bottom is identified to keep the grain across both parts.
- Drilling: The wood blanks are drilled through the center to the specific requirements of the selected pen style. For example, Slim line pens are drilled at 7mm.
- Brass Tube Support: All pen types have brass tube cores that are secured to the drilled pen blank with an epoxy or other material.
- Blank Cleaning and Squaring: Once the brass tube has dried sufficiently in the wood blank it must be cleaned of excess gluing material and the ends must be perfectly squared.
- Lathe: The final wood blanks (with brass, cleaned and squared) are set up onto a lathe with guides (called bushings) for each pen style. The wood blank is then spun at a high RPM and first rough cut to make it round, then more delicate shaping is accomplished. The design of the pen at this time is up to the crafter. Some pens I like a bulge to help support the end. Others I like a clean simple shape.
- Polishing: Using the lathe, the wood blank is sanded to a very fine grit (about 4,000). Then liquid friction polishers and sealers are added to give initial shine that is then preserved through a natural velvet type of finish or a layered lacquer finish.
- Assembly: The polished wood blanks are then fitted with the various parts to make the complete pen. The fitting normally is done as each part is 'pressed" into the wood blank.