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, 13 April 2013

Micro Pocket Pen in Golden Smoke

Well, I thought I'd make another one of these before I forgot how I did the first one, and what size drills, taps, and dies I used on the first one.  Yes, I know - I could write it down.  But I didn't, so I figured I had better go through it all again to solidify the technique.  Maybe I will write it all down.  Later.

So once again, the 'Micro Pocket Pen' (or so I am calling it) is designed to be ultra-compact for easy portability in pocket or purse (personally, I use the little 'watch pocket' on the right side of my jeans).  It is a mere 85mm long when capped (about 3 3/8 inches), but expands to a nice 120mm (4 3/4 inches) when posted, which I find quite comfortable for long periods of writing, even with fairly large hands (excuse the inky fingers).

I used a couple of pieces of the Golden Smoke resin I picked up from Bear Tooth Woods, and framed them in black acrylic.  The nib is a single-tone medium polished steel JoWo nib (not sure why I didn't put a two-tone in here...maybe I will swap it out, now that I am thinking of it..).  The pen will of course not fit a converter, it is cartridge only.  Takes a standard size - I used a Private Reserve cartridge to size out the pen.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Golden Smoke 'Shirt Pocket Fountain Pen'

Having days off work is wonderful.  Got to spend some more quality time in the workshop again today, and after several hours of enjoyable work, here is the result.  This pen, one of my 'Shirt Pocket Fountain Pen' (SPFP) style pens was done out of this cool resin which once polished, resembles flames against a black background.  Very eye-catching indeed.

I made this pen as a request for a colleague who plans to give it to her husband as an anniversary gift.  Now I find myself eyeing the other two pieces I have of this material and thinking that I should make one of these for myself...

The nib is my usual, a steel JoWo medium, and the pen is a cartridge/convterter filler, with the converter installed in it.  The gold coloured ball-end clip is held in place by the threaded finial.

The more I make these SPFPs, the more I like the design.  Very simple, and very practical.   Sized moderately to fit in the shirt pocket, it posts nicely - but can be comfortably used posted or not posted.  I kept the first one I made of this design, and I think the next one I make for myself will be an SPFP too :-))

Thanks for looking!


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

'Earth' Micro Pocket Pen - Another New Design!

You know how when you mess something up, it can have unexpected consequences?  Well, that was what happened here.  I was turning one of my new 'Pocket Fountain Pens', when I absentmindedly turned the grip section about a half millimetre too narrow.  A half mm there can make a big difference, so I had a choice: scrap it and make a new one, or...nope. I didn't want to waste the material, so I decided to redesign the pen I was working on, and make a smaller one to hold a #5 JoWo nib that I had in stock.  But I decided that since I was doing something different anyway, maybe I would see what I can do with some cutoff pieces I had leftover from another project (The 'Earth' Pen, that I put up recently, using 'Ocean Lava' resin from Bear Tooth Woods).

So, in the spirit of ultra-portable mini-sized fountains pens like Stipula's Passaporto, or Kaweco's AL Sport, the 'Micro Pocket Pen' was born.  Like most other mini fountain pens, it is designed to take standard sized cartridges.  Also like other pens in this category, it is extremely compact when closed, but posts to a pretty decent and comfortable size for writing.  As well, the barrel to cap threading (on both ends of the barrel) is all triple-start, so the cap screws on with only a quarter or half twist - very convenient for repeated capping and uncapping...

The dimensions are 85mm (3 3/8") closed, which is a bit smaller than the Passaporto, and 119mm (4 11/16") posted, which is also just a  touch smaller than the posted Passaporto.   I have pictured it here with a Passaporto, a Kaweco, and a larger size Sailor 1911.  When the Micro Pocket Pen was posted, I found it to be quite comfortable for writing - despite my large hands - similar to the Passaporto, and to an unposted 1911 (I usually write with that pen unposted).

I'm reasonably happy with how this came out, considering that it is just a prototype.  I have had a number of requests for mini sized fountain pens, so chances are pretty good that I will be making more of these :-)

Thanks for looking!


Saturday, 6 April 2013

African Ebony Fountain Pen - First of the 'Classic Woods' Series

Here it is - classic flat-end styled fountain pen of very nice african ebony, black acrylic nib section, with ball-end clip and JoWo steel nib (stubbed broad) .   Grain of the wood is lined up finial to cap and cap to barrel.

For some time now, I have been planning to create a series of pens out of various exotic (and some not-so-exotic) woods.  I mean, I have made many, many wood pens before, initially out of the pen kits, and later a long series of clipless pens all finished in a heavy high-gloss coat of CA, giving the wood a gem-like look.  But having seen some of the wood pens coming out of Japan (Sailor, Pilot, Platinum), I rather liked the minimalist finish on them, and was inspired to start working on a series of my own.

Here was the big challenge - I wanted to do this without using any of the brass tubes, threaded inserts, and press-on finials that are characteristic of the kits pens.  The problem here is that wood doesn't hold threads very well - you can thread it, but screw it together a couple of times, and the threads could start to crumble.  So, need to make the threads using something else.  And on my pens (that have clips), there are four sets of threads: nib unit to nib section, nib section to barrel, barrel to cap, and cap to finial (the tip of the cap that hold the clip on).

The first set of threads is pretty straightforward - make the nib section out of black acrylic, use the tap as usual to allow the nib unit to screw in.  The second and third, less so.  What I had to do was turn an acrylic insert and fit it into a recess in the front end of the barrel.  This could then be drilled out and threaded inside to accept the nib section, as well as outside, to screw into the cap.  The cap itself also needed an acrylic insert created to fit inside it, to allow for threading to accept the barrel.  The finial was perhaps the trickiest, using the same sort of procedure to create an acrylic tenon on the finial, and an acrylic insert into the end of the cap, both of which could then be threaded, allowing the finial to screw into the cap as is usual for my pens.  But, I still had to make sure the grain of the finial matched the grain of the cap when screwed tight.  Lots and lots of fine adjustments, retesting, more adjustments etc...

The finish on this pen a couple of very light penetrating layer of thin cyanoacrylate, sealing the wood and allowing a nice subtle gloss to the wood, while not hiding the surface texture.  The inside of the cap and barrel have also been sealed with oil lacquer to help protect the wood.

I decided to do something a bit different with the nib on this pen - so I ground a broad JoWo steel nib into a stub and smoothed it.  I am quite pleased with the result - a nice, smooth stub, around 1mm, with very nice line variation.  I was tempted to put a gold nib on it, but the only gold nib I have in stock is a fine.

The reality is that this pen was a bundle of work, so I don't think I will get to the next 'Classic Woods' pen very quickly, but I am extremely pleased with the result.

Thanks for looking!


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A World of Writing - The 'Earth Pen'

Here is a pen that I just finished last night.  This one was for a very special recipient - my wife.  When I got my last shipment of interesting pen blanks in from Bear Tooth Woods, she immediately picked this out and requested that, eventually, I make a pen for her out of it.

Well, I was really rather curious to see how this material would look turned, so after finishing another project, I pulled this stuff out and started working on a pen for the most important pen person in the world.

Like the resin used in the 'Van Gogh' pen, this one was somewhat more brittle than acrylic, but I found it to be quite a bit less so than the 'VanGogh'.  Not sure why - maybe just because the garage is a bit warmer now...  In any case, it was a pleasure to work with this time, and took to threading very nicely.

I decided to try 'framing' the blue and green resin with black ends and a black grip section, in order to accentuate the colour.  Once I finished polishing this pen and shut down the lathe, I was shocked at the rich, beautiful swirls of green and blue - and it immediately reminded my of pictures of the Earth from space.  So, I called this one 'The Earth Pen'.  It is actually made in a similar style to my previous 'Shirt Pocket Fountain Pen', though just a touch longer in the barrel, as my wife doesn't need to carry her pens in a shirt pocket.

Got it fixed up with a fine steel JoWo nib, and a nice ball-end clip, and a converter now full of Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue, smoothed and tuned the nib, and passed it on to its new owner.  And I believe the new owner likes it :-))

Thanks for looking.