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

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Cavers Pens Makes Full Page Spread in the Medical Post

Pen making is a great hobby - an enjoyable way to put aside the stresses of my regular medical work, and do something fun, interesting (to me) and even a little artistic.  Having wandered into the business of selling pens to support my pen making hobby/addiction, I have constant contact with other 'fountain pen people' - those who like me, have developed an interest (sometimes bordering on odd obsession) with all things fountain pen.  It is rare, however, for my pen world to meet my medical world, apart from the pens that I have made for colleagues in my home hospital.

But a few months ago, I was contacted by a fellow fountain pen aficionado who also happened to be a journalist and the clinical editor with the The Medical Post (a popular medical newspaper commonly found in doc's offices and hospital medical lounges).   On looking over my website, and discovering that I am in my 'day job', a doctor, Terry asked if she could interview me for one the Post's 'other side of doc's lives' type articles.  Sounded like fun, so I was in.

I was quite pleasantly surprised that this interview and article was given a full page spread, and was even happier to see the layout and read the writeup.  So, I thought I would share the article for those interested.

Here is a copy of the article from The Medical Post, written by Terry Murray.  To fit the page, well...on the blog page, I had to reduce the size a bit.  I hope you can enlarge it enough to read:

Thanks for looking!  And, thanks to Terry Murray for an enjoyable experience!


Friday, 18 January 2013

Cumberland Ebonite 'Double Taper' Fountain Pen

Here is my later, just finished today - a custom order in which the one who ordered it requested a tapered barrel and cap.   

The pen is created out of some very nicely grained ebonite (hard rubber), and is fitted with a ball-end clip held in place by a finial which screws into the cap.  The pen is also equipped with a two-tone JoWo steel broad nib, as well as a converter for filling.

One of the things I love most about this particular ebonite is the beautiful cross-section seen on the ends.   Fascinating pattern!                                 

Now to pack it all up and get it headed for India..

Thanks for looking!


Sunday, 13 January 2013

The 'Pen of Many Colours' (the creation of Frankenstein's pen)

Hello folks.  I thought this time instead of simply posting shots the finished product, I'd try posting a few pics of the production process just for the fun of it.

Fortunately, I had a custom order for a pen that might be fun to see put together.   Having made a similar pen last year, I heard it variously referred to as 'loud', 'cheerful and sunny', 'garish and obnoxious', 'fun'... In truth, I made the first one for an 'ugly/crazy pen contest', as kind of a joke.  I was shocked to discover how many people loved it, and wanted me to make one for them.   I declined - partly because it takes a while to build up some good, colourful scrap, and partly because it really is a lot of work.  When I received another request for one of these a couple of months ago, I thought it would be fun to have another go at it.  This style of pen is made up, not surprisingly, out of all the scraps and left-overs from other pens that I have made.  I called the last one the 'End of the Day Pen', but thought I'd name this one after Jacob's coat, and call it the 'Pen of Many Colours'.  Seemed appropriate enough.

I have skipped a many (most) of the steps and details in this process in the pics below, as I didn't want this to become overly didactic and boring.

The first step in the process was to find a nice big scrap piece to make the nib section out of.  So I picked one with an odd mix of blue and green (though once turned, it was mostly blue anyway).

                                                       The scrap piece for the nib section

                                            Here I am about to outside-thread the nib section

                                           The finished nib section (posing with a B nib)!

Next up was to try to choose from among the more colourful scraps for the barrel and cap of this pen.

                                              Various scraps and left-overs from other pens

In order to glue the pieces together, the ends must be trimmed perfectly flat, with a slightly roughened face.  Medium viscosity cyanoacrylate is wonderful stuff to hold the parts together, as it polished up similarly to the rest of the acrylic.  Occasionally however, the glue fails under great stress, and sends me back to the drawing board.  The first iteration of the cap, pictured below, ended like that.  It exploded when I tried to drill to soon after glueing, and I had to remake a large part of it (seen in the next pic below that).

                                  The first iteration of the cap...destined for an explosive end.

                                 Turning the second cap (with finial), which worked out much better

                        The finial, which screws into the rest of the cap, and holds the clip in place.

                                                 The finished cap, complete with clip!

Next up was to glue up the barrel in the same was as above, trimming each piece to have a smooth, flat end.   I wanted to make sure that I used no acrylic twice, so a number of scraps got used in this.

                     The glued barrel, rough turned, now drilling out and preparing to thread it.

                                                              Turning the barrel

                                                              The finished barrel!

Putting it all together was the next step.  I did a custom grind turning a fine nib into an extra-fine nib (a special request, as I don't usually offer nib grinds), adjusted and smoothed it, and installed it in the pen.

And there you have it.  Not to everybody's taste, but bright, colourful, and certain to make a statement.  Or something.

Comments always welcome.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

On Call: a smashed fountain pen resuscitated

Since the majority of the pens I have been making are similar to pens I have already posted, I thought I would put up something a bit different. 

I rarely enter into the world of pen repair, as there are folks out there who do that for a living on all brands of pens.  Instead, I just do occasional repairs on pens that I have made that got damaged through various  accidents.

It can be tough being on call.  Alone, standing between life and death (of a pen), making terrible, heavy decisions with every action.  Knowing that at any moment, your peaceful world of happy new pens will be torn apart by the needs of a poor, injured pen damaged by some horrifying accident.  But, someone has to do it.  So when I got the call about this poor Bamboo style polyresin pen, I could not say no.

When you have a pen made of polyresin, always think 'safety'.  This is the second Bamboo style pen in this particular polyresin that I have resuscitated back from near death.  The first one was a pen whose packaging was utterly crushed during shipping to NY - the box arrived quite thoroughly squished, and the pen was shattered.  This one suffered the fate that some clipless pens can suffer - slipped from a shirt pocket and fell to the hard, cold floor, there to shatter into several pieces.

       (The above photos were bravely taken by Mr. Shawn Newton near the scene of the grisly accident)

So - How to perform a resuscitation to bring this poor, suffering pen back from the brink?   First and most importantly, the assessment.  The nib section was intact (sigh of relief...we have a pulse!).  Next up, the barrel.  Gasp - the barrel will not connect to the nib section, nor even the cap on account of injuries to the threading.  It is utterly paralysed!  Finally, assessing the cap itself, I find it functional - the threading in the cap is all intact, though the cap is horribly disfigured by a large chip.  This may require some plastic surgery...

The barrel was the tricky part.  Gluing the pieces back together would only be a temporary fix.  It would buy us a bit of time, but with the weaker glue joints, the prognosis would remain the same - recurrent dismemberment (shudder).  So the only option was to shear off the remaining thread, drill a new mortise into the barrel, and insert a new tenon, which I then trimmed down to the appropriate diameter, drilled out to size, and threaded inside and out with tap and die.  After some trimming, the threaded tenon is once again solid and fully functional.  Our patient writes a line or two for joy!  

Now, the cap.  Since I was missing pieces, I could not even consider gluing it all back together to heal this disfigurement, though in this case the weakness of the glue joints would be less of an issue.  Well, can't be helped.  Wait a minute....it occurs to me that I have another Bamboo cap from a pen I never finished many months back.  Can we do a transplant??  Only if they are compatible...holding my breath I check the specs, and the diameters and threading are the same!  We have tissue compatibility!  With a little trim to the rim of the cap, it fits on the new barrel tenon like it was meant to be there, with barrel thread nicely aligned to cap thread.

And the patient lives!!

Well, another emergency resolved, another patient well again.  My work is done here.

This is Dr Goretex, signing off.