Welcome to my Custom Fountain Pen website/blog. I put this site together a while ago so that I could let some of my fellow pen enthusiasts and penmakers, as well as my customers, see what I have been up to lately in the workshop. I don't publish all of my pens here, but good percentage of them.
A Little About My Pens: I love doing fine work on the lathe, which is what got me into this work. That is, I enjoy the focus on the details of a project - the material and colour selection, the form, the fit and finish of the pen. I also test all of the my nibs before shipping. I fill the converter, run ink through the nib and feed, and write with it. I spend a significant amount of time smoothing and adjusting the nib of every pen that I sell. My goal, with each pen that I make, is to create a writing piece whose fit and finish will impress you when you first pull it out of the packing, and that will serve you well as a great writer when you fill it up with your favourite ink.
Have a look at my posts to see some of the work I am doing lately, or see my pricing guide in the link below to the right, or check the link to my current inventory of already-made pens (usually small, as most of my work is by commissions/orders).
Or, if you are interested, you can see some of the work I have done previously in my Custom Pen Gallery on Photobucket!
If you have a Twitter account, I am @drgoretex
If you are a Tumblr kind of person, look up 'drgoretex' - but give it time. Just breaking in to that one.
If any of my posts generate particular interest, I will pin them as links on the right (eg 'Basic Nib Adjusting 101').
* ORDERS: Please contact me at email@example.com to place an order.
* PRICES: Please see the link on the right side of the screen 'Pricing Guide' for an idea as to the cost of a pen.
* REVIEWS: Have a look at the bottom of this page for some reviews done by previous buyers!
* HOW LONG WILL MY ORDER TAKE?:
IMORTANT NOTICE: I only make pens in my spare time, when work and other aspects of life permit. This amounts to somewhere around one to four pens per month. This, combined with a brutal winter this past year, which shut down my workshop for about three months, has led to a ridiculously long wait list for pen orders. This wait time is now about a year and a half. After some careful consideration, I have decided to close my pen making to new orders until I finish most of the orders on this list. My apologies for the inconvenience.
Here is an order I took a while back. It is actually the second of its kind to the same owner.
The pen is made from excellent quality German black ebonite, finished to a satin-like matte finish, except to the barrel tenon and inside the cap, which are polished (mostly just for the contrast, and because I thought it looked cool).
The pen is a Large size, which has a grip section with a max diameter of 12.7mm, or just over half an inch, compared to my standard grip with max diameter 11.5mmm. Both are a decent size, but the large is…well, large.
I have installed a lovely 18K JoWo medium nib in this pen, as well as a premium Schmidt converter.
Quick post here - just finished this a few days ago, figured I'd put it up to keep the posts going.
This was an order that I received a long time back (as with many of my orders), and finally had a chance to work on. This is one of my 'Bamboo' style fountain pens in Cumberland ebonite.
Once again, I decided that the grain in the Cumberland ebonite is just too striking to ignore, so I had to make the cap and barrel look like they fit together exactly as they were inside the piece of ebonite from which they were freed. In fact, this is exactly the case. I drilled out the barrel to fit a tenon from another piece of ebonite, and used that to create the threading for the cap and for the grip section.
The pen is fitted with a medium JoWo two tone steel nib.
Some time ago (nearly two years), I had been experimenting with creating fountain pens out of bamboo. This started out with using compressed bamboo as 'wood' and making a pen as I would with any other wood, but with the added character of a thread wrap - a technique borrowed from my fly fishing rod making days. I later decided to use an actual bamboo culm to create a pen - a very difficult proposition given some of the characteristics of bamboo! Finally, taking another fly rod building technique to the pen making hobby, I experimented with 'flaming' the bamboo, which caramelizes the outer layers, darkening them up and giving the bamboo an appearance similar to the long aged, smoked 'susutake' used in some of the famous Sailor pens. Sadly, bamboo is hard to come by here in appropriate diameters and quality, so that was the end of the bamboo story. Until now!
Having gotten my hands on some a nice load of good quality, perfectly-sized bamboo culms, and after aging them for the past year or so, I decided it was time to work on another 'susutake' pen.
My previous flamed cane pen was of a fairly large diameter, which was the best I could find at the time, but may not be comfortable for everyone to hold. This time, I decided to work with some much thinner stock, smaller even than my usual cigar style pens - about 14.5mm. After picking out the culm I wanted to work with, and cutting it to length, I gave did the flaming process on it to darken it to a much nicer shade.
Once flamed, the bamboo must be scrubbed down with varying grits of abrasive to remove the hard outer enamel, and to rid the pen of any char.
All of that, as long as it took, was by far the easy part! Working with bamboo on the lathe presents some significant challenges given the irregular shape and diameter of the bamboo…
Still, using some excellent black ebonite to create inserts in the cap and barrel for drilling out and threading, and for the grips action itself, the pen began to take shape.
I decided once again to apply the thread wrap technique that I used to use on my fly fishing rods - not only adds a unique and cool look to the pen, it also strengthens the cap and barrel.
To finish the ends of the bamboo, I inlaid a pair of ruby acrylic end jewels to match the garnet thread wrap. The finish on the pen is a cyanoacrylate in multiple layers buffed to a pleasant and natural-looking semigloss.
Finally, giving the pen the tools it deserves, I installed a two-tone 18K JoWo fine nib.
I hope you like the final product - my version of the 'susutake' pen!
Here is my latest, an oversize ('Big Hand' size) Cigar style fountain pen done in an alumilite specially made for this customer by Jonathon Brooks. The resin turned out pretty nice, I think - although the buyer upon seeing it, called it 'Strawberries and Cream', which seems even more suitable for this material.
The oversize dimensions give this Cigar a bigger grip section, roughly comparable to, say, a Montblanc 149, as opposed to my usual sizing, whose grip section might be closer to a Pelikan M800.
The fill system is c/c, and the nib a fine two tone steel JoWo, which I will be grinding to a nice EF.
I received this lovely acrylic from a repeat customer who wanted just the right looking material for her Bamboo pen. A perfect choice, I have to say! The mix of browns and greens give it a wonderfully forest-like look, while the linear streaks of colour add a definite organic wood-like feel to it. I was very happy to have opportunity to work on this one!
The buyer also wanted to modify my usual Bamboo style to give it a more symmetric, balanced look. And while this in not particularly likely to be found in real Bamboo, this is after all a very whimsical take on the real thing, so why not? The addition of a second node to the barrel added some very definite challenges to chucking the piece to work on the end inset, but on the other hand, what's the fun of hobby work without challenges?
The biggest challenge was finding a way to make the cap and barrel grain match up so that it would look as though (because it actually is) it is cut from a single long piece of material. The problem lies in the fact that the barrel must extend beyond the point where it meets the cap, in order to screw into the cap. This necessitated turning a separate piece of this material and insetting it into the barrel from which I could fashion the threaded part that screws into the barrel. Ya…a bit finicky. The readers digest version is that it was more complicated than the usual. But, it seems to have worked out very well, as the grain match shows quite nicely that this the body of the pen was made from a single piece of source material.
To finish the whole set off nicely, I made a matching pen rest out of the same Rainforest acrylic, and inset the ends like the pen itself.
The nib is a two-tone JoWo broad nib, and the fill system is cartridge/converter.
Here's my latest pen to finish up - just done last week before I went away on a bit of a holiday, so now time to put up some pics.
This material is a very cool alumilite that I picked from Bear Tooth Woods, where it goes by 'Abalone Explosion'. The person who ordered it noted that it reminded him of a 'cosmos style swirl', which I thought was very fitting, so I'm calling it that - 'Cosmos'.
The style is my usual Cigar, and the nib is a broad steel JoWo nib, smoothed to make the writing a joy.
This is only the second time that I have ever used this Blue Cowrie acrylic - and I have to say, I love it. Very appealing mix of blues with bits of pearl thrown in. Very cool.
The order I received was for a flat-ended Cigar style, with a simple 'framing' black trim on the ends.
The nib is a fine feel JoWo nib, custom ground to a 0.4mm stub/cursive italic - smoother than a standard CI, but more line variation than a standard plain stub. The fill system is cartridge/converter, though with a bit of silicone grease, it could certainly be used as an eyedropper.
Here is another of the Cool Mint Water Cigar style fountain pens. Having fun working on these transparent acrylics. Takes well over twice as long to do a pen in this material, but pretty eye-catching result :-)
This one is fitted in the picture with a fine nib, but I will be doing a custom grind to EF or possibly EEF.
Going to have to find some other colours to work on…
Here, the one who ordered this pen was looking for something elegant and portable, yet understated with subtle contrasting detail. Cumberland ebonite was chosen as the most appropriate material to use, and after much discussion, we settled on the 'Shirt Pocket Fountain Pen' style, but without the clip. I believe we have achieved what we set out to accomplish!
The grip section is in black ebonite, and both the cap and barrel are trimmed with black ebonite to frame the cumberland, and to give it just a bit more of a 'sober' quality.
The nib is a two-tone steel JoWo fine nib, and the fill system is cartridge/converter.
Have I mentioned how much ebonite stinks as you turn it? I'm pretty sure I have, because wow. Still, the smell wears off after a few months, and leaves you with the rich, warm feel of this very traditional material.