Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Bullet and International Pens
During my garage sale, one of the people who bought a pen from me was intrigued when I told him I could make customized pens. He was into hunting so I told him that I could make a pen that came with bullet casings for ends and had a rifle clip and a bolt action to the ball point. He immediately said that he wanted one of those using deer antler. I looked through my catalog that night and got the parts ordered but it took me a month to get the parts and the time to make the pen for him. I actually made two because I wasn't sure what part of the antler he would like and in case I messed up making one since it would be my first time. Both turned out well so when he comes to pick up the one he wants here in a couple days, I will keep the other one as a display piece, especially since there is a huge deer hunting community in these parts.
Deer antler in interesting to work with. It has an extremely hard shell which plays heck on my lathe tools requiring me to sharpen then three or four times per pen instead of maybe once every two or three pens using wood. Also, as you get towards the root end of the antler, the center gets pithy which means I have to be really careful turning it or the whole thing will fly off in pieces. However if I take my time and get it turned, once I apply my superglue finish, it can gets some beautiful colors like the bottom one seen above. That is probably my most colorful antler to date and I really don't want to let it go but I know I can make another one if I find the right shed.
Out at the ends of the deer antler, they don't develop the soft pith in the center and keep a whiter color with pinkish tinges to it. Some people will bleach them to pure white but I like to keep the color as a reminder that it is deer and not ivory or some such. Also, to maximize the antler, I usually turn down some pretty small pieces which after drilling the center hole, means that the curve of the antler can show up on the pen barrel and not be completely round. That is the case with the upper pen shown above though it is mostly lost in the shadows on the bottom side of the pen. Personally I like the curvature because it reinforces that it is a handcrafted pen and not a store bought one.
I should also mention that I'm taking my hobby international and sold my first pen out of this country, plus shipping. I never really was aiming to do that since I think you need to see and feel the pens in person before plunking down money but the person who bought it has read my blog enough to trust me when I say it is worth it. Since their blog is on my sidebar, they may be reviewing it after they receive it. Whatever the review, I know it is going to a good home and it means that with that one and the custom one above, I not have the funds to order parts for another pen or two. I need to look through the catalog and see what catches my eye.