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

Monday, 24 August 2015

'Susutake' Flamed Bamboo Fountain Pen with Garnet Thread Wrap and Ruby End-Jewels

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!

Thanks very much for looking!



  1. A very well crafted pen. I will no doubt order a pen from you once your workload lightens (and I have gathered funds to make the purchase). I have saved this post for reference in Evernote.

    1. Thanks very much. I hope I can make the pen you want!


    2. I would love one of these pens. Hopefully you will be caught up soon. I do wonder if you could use the same material and make a pencil or clutch pencil. Please let us know when you are taking orders again.

    3. I sure do want to order this Bamboo beauty as soon as you can take orders again.

  2. Damm
    I wish I had not reach this page. Now in "save money" status to place my order.
    I am shocked with your work, congratulations