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 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 kencavers@gmail.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.

Have a look at the bottom of this page for some reviews done by previous buyers!


IMPORTANT NOTICE: I am happily overwhelmed with pen orders. This gives me great joy in that my work is so well received, but saddens me that I cannot fill orders anywhere near as quickly as I would like. I am still trying to work through back orders, but if you have ordered from me and heard nothing for some time, feel free to email me and ask how things are going.
I still only make these pens in my spare time, when work and family time permit, and even then the productivity slows down during the coldest winter months thanks to my unheated workshop.
Given that I make these pens primarily as a hobby, I also reserve the right to pursue some other interesting pen projects in between filling orders.
I apologize for long delays in order fulfillment, which may in some case be over a year and a half. In the meantime, you are welcome to contact me to inquire about new pen orders, or to check up on a previously submitted order.

-Ken Cavers

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Red, White and Black 'Shirt Pocket Fountain Pen'

OK, so here is another example of turning a disaster into an opportunity (something I am a big believer in - at least in pen making...).   A couple of weeks ago, I was turning the nib section on this pen, but it was for one of my larger longer pens, and I accidentally turned the nib section too short.  Well, that wasn't going to work, so I had to start all over again and make a longer nib section.  But before I did that, I figured I would finish the foreshortened nib section that this one had become, and then put it aside.

Well it then occurred to me that I generally use shorter nib sections in my 'Shirt Pocket Fountain Pens' (SPFP), so this became an opportunity to turn some acrylic that I had long been wanting to have a go at.

So, here it is - the red, black and white swirl acrylic, framed in black, as one of my favourite styles - the SPFP, which is the ultimate in practical for those who carry their pens (as I do) in their shirt pockets.  It is a perfect length to sit in the shirt pocket, and it posts deeply to a comfortable writing length.

This pen is fitted with a medium polished steel JoWo nib, as well as a converter for filling.

Yep, good fun.


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Ivory Celluloid and Black Acrylic

I LOVE turning celluloid!  Too bad it is so hard to obtain...
It is a wonderfully nice material to turn on the lathe, and yet produces reams of incredibly tough shavings.  But the coolest thing of all is the powerful camphor smell while working this stuff.  I had a cold while turning this one, and it was very soothing to work on - like working with a giant cough drop!

Celluloid is cool stuff.  It is the first thermoplastic invented (back in the late 1800's!), and while not made very often any more, it is still much loved by pen makers and fountain pen aficionados for its appealing feel and smell.  Of course the historic value as a vintage pen-making material doesn't hurt either...
The ivory celluloid is particularly lovely, with its prominent striations.  I decided for this pen, rather than make the whole pen out of the same celluloid, to frame this material in black to help bring out its amazing grain.

I decided to make this pen a non-posting pen, as I didn't want to risk marking up the celluloid.

The nib on this pen is a JoWo steel 1.1mm stub, great for calligraphy (of course, since the nib units are threaded, the nib can easily be swapped for another).  The fill system is, no surprise, cartridge/converter.

Thanks for looking.  Comments welcome as always.


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Coned Cigar in Ocean Lava 'Earth' Resin

Just finished this one after work today.  This pen is the second of a two-pen order - the first was the mosaic pen I last posted.

This Cone-ended Cigar style pen is done in this lovely Ocean Lava resin that I pick up from Bear Tooth Woods.  With the green swirls in the midst of the blue, it is incredibly reminiscent of an aerial view of the Earth...

I made this particular pen with a slightly longer grip section and an extended tenon to make the grip easier.  The nib installed is a medium steel JoWo nib, smoothed and tuned to medium flow.

Thanks for looking!  Comments welcome.


Saturday, 26 October 2013

Introducing The 'Lau Cigar' in Blue Mosaic and Black Acrylic!

This pen (number one of a two-pen order) is one that I just finished today.  What is most interesting to me about this one is that it represents both a new style and a new acrylic for me.

The shape of this pen was largely steered by the fellow who ordered it, and resulted from a long series of email exchanges in which we tried to sort out what he was looking for in his custom pen.  He wanted lines somewhat like my Shirt Pocket Fountain Pen, but not quite as slim, and did not need to be postable; the cap and barrel were also to have matched diameters where they meet, like a cigar pen; the finial was to be rounded, while the barrel end simply convex; the material was to be the blue mosaic acrylic, but the nib section in black acrylic.  The pen was also to have a clip.  As this is unlike my other pen styles, I decided to name the shape after the one who ordered it.

I have had a batch of this lovely blue mosaic in stock for some time now, but have not had a chance to make anything out of it until I received this order.  I like it!  I think I will have to order some more of this material...

The black nib section I think was a good choice - it works very well with the mosaic, suiting it perfectly, and breaks up the pattern a little.

This pen is fitted with a polished steel JoWo medium nib, as well as an excellent quality converter.

Thanks for looking!

Now on to pen #2...


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Large Cumberland Ebonite Cigar with Clip

Hello folks.  Here is an example of a clipped Cigar style pen.  I don't often put clips on my Cigar pens, but it was requested.  In this case, I think the clip suited the pen quite well!  The pen is done in my larger sizing (12.7mm diameter nib section), and has a capped length of 153mm, and 135mm uncapped.  The diameter is 16mm.

The material is cumberland ebonite, a very nice looking hard rubber, and good quality stuff.  Smells a bit sulphurous and like burning rubber while turning, but fortunately this famous 'ebonite smell' fades after a few weeks.

The nib is a good old medium JoWo steel nib, no special grind.  I'll be packing this one to ship to Korea shortly.

Thanks for looking!


Monday, 7 October 2013

Cone-Ended Cigar in Charger Lava with 1.1mm Stub Nib

Another excuse to use this lovely resin from Bear Tooth Woods!  Charger Lava is one of my favourites (yes, I say that a lot) with its amazing swirls of glowing colour.  Here is have just finished a Cone-ended Cigar style fountain pen in this resin, and will now have to decide whether to part with it, or to keep it myself :-)

I have a few JoWo steel 1.1mm stub nibs, and have fitted one onto this pen for the pictures.  It is of course a cartridge/converter filler, with converter installed.

Well, then.  Not much else to say about this one.  The pictures pretty much say it all.

Thanks for looking.  Comments welcome!


Sunday, 29 September 2013

Classic Brown Classic :-)

I have been waiting for a chance to use this lovely material again, and finally got the chance.  This lovely resin, which is made in Italy, sold as 'Classic Brown', is much more than just brown flakes.  The lighter pearly flakes along with the flecks of green, combined with the iridescence of the resin make it truly gorgeous.

I was asked to use this material in making one of my 'Classic' style pens (and so, 'Classic Brown Classic'...)

While it is made using my standard sizing for the nib section, it is nonetheless a fairly big pen.  Here I have it posing, capped and uncapped with a Pelikan M600 and a Visconti Wall Street for size reference.  It might be a reasonable comparison with an M800, but alas - I don't have one to picture it with.

The nib pictured here is a broad nib, which is slated to be ground to a smooth stub before shipping.

I hope it serves its new owner well!

Thanks for looking!


Thursday, 26 September 2013


Hello all,

Here is a trio of pens that I made over the past couple of weeks, finished last night.  This is a three-pen order headed for the UK.  All three are fitted with two-tone medium steel JoWo nibs, and are cartridge/converter fillers.

The first is a Cigar style pen in Ruby Flake acrylic, done in the Large size (thicker section, slightly thicker barrel).  The richness of this red is just amazing!

The second of the three is also a large sized Cigar style pen, this one in 'Charger Lava' resin from Bear Tooth Woods.  Beautiful stuff - always reminds me of Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'...

Finally, the third is a Curvy style fountain pen in Black and Yellow swirl acrylic with black framing.  The cap also has an axial inlay of the yellow acrylic on the finial.   This one was done in my regular (medium) sizing.

Thanks for looking!


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Flamed Cane: The True Bamboo with Garnet Thread Wrap and Ruby End Jewels

In my last couple of blog entries, I introduced a technique of thread wrapping used in fly fishing rod construction, particularly in that of the bamboo, or 'cane' rods.   Another technique widely used in bamboo rod construction is that of 'flaming'.   In this process, the raw bamboo is subjected to flame (usually in the form of a blow torch of sorts) in order to carmelize and lightly charcoal the bamboo to give it the colour and texture.  As you take off the outer layers of more burnt cane, the deeper, browned cane appears, giving the bamboo a rich tan or brown colour.

Here I have applied that same technique to a small culm intended for use as a fountain pen.  Having flamed the culm, I took off the outer scorched enamel, smoothing it with steel wool, and then giving the outside (and inside) a good soak in thin (low viscosity) cyanoacrylate to stabilize and seal it.  I buffed the outside to a matte finish before adding the garnet thread wraps (as mentioned in my last post, the blonde bamboo is often paired with spring green thread, and the flamed cane with a darker thread such as garnet).

The end jewels in the last post were convex, like the end jewels in most popular pens.  I didn't think it looked right with the bamboo, so this time, I tried plain flat end jewels in ruby red flake acrylic, and am reasonably pleased with the result.

The nib section, cap thread, and barrel tenon are all in black acrylic.

I think I have gotten some of the bamboo obsession out of my system.  For now....

Thanks for looking!


PS - here is a group shot of these last three bamboo pens:

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

True Bamboo: Yep, Finally Did It.

Well, after making so many 'Bamboo' style pens, and then working on one made of bamboo 'wood', it was really kind of inevitable that I would eventually make one of these.

When I first saw one of Sailor's 'Susutake' pens some time ago, I knew that I would eventually have to have a go at a real bamboo pen.  This is only a first attempt, of course, and while I am pretty happy with the result, there are a few things I would do differently next time.  For instance, the bamboo stalk I used here was simply 'what I could find', not having a great source for bamboo around Manitoba.  It is a bit thicker than I would have preferred, and I think I will do the end jewels a bit differently next time.  I am pretty happy with the combination of blonde cane and green thread wrap, though I might try to find some darker cane and do a wrap with burgundy or chestnut thread on the next one.

The pen is sealed and stabilized inside and out with low viscosity CA, and is finished with Tru-Oil varnish.  It is fitted with an 18 K fine nib.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Bamboo Rod - the Fly Fisherman's Pen

Before I started making a lot of pens, I used to make fishing rods - specifically those used for fly fishing.  One of the skills that I learned in rod building was that of 'thread-wrapping'.  This is a technique used to reinforce the ends of the parts of the rod, as well as to secure the line guides onto the rod.   Occasionally, I would go all-out traditional, and build fly fishing rods out of bamboo (either hexagonal split cane, or two-strip rods with a square cross-section. Here are a few examples of this (sorry for bad pics.  As you can see, I love using green with lighter coloured bamboo):

So ever since I started making custom 'kitless' pens, I have had a few ideas floating around in my head about how to use bamboo and some of this thread-wrapping in making a fountain pen.  Ideally, I would want my pen to be hexagonal, like the split-cane rods, but I'm still working out how best to to do that.  In the meantime, I decided to jump in and make one out of bamboo, rounded to a straight rod, and thread-wrapped at the joint, as one would do for a fly fishing rod.  When using light coloured ('blonde') bamboo, I tend to use this green thread as a good match.  Here I have added a black thread trim.

I decided to go with inset ends again on this pen, as I have with my 'Bamboo' style pens, just to add a bit of visual interest.

The pen is stabilized and sealed inside and out with low viscosity cyanoacrylate, and final finished with 'Tru-Oil', taken down to a matte finish.  It is fitted with an 18K fine nib.

I must have bamboo in my head.  I am currently working on a pen made out of a small bamboo stalk.  Will post this shortly.

Thanks for looking - comments welcome!