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Oak and Turkish Walnut

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BillW12/08/2011 22:54:44
711 forum posts
21 photos

Longwood pen and pencil in Oak and a Big Ben Cigar in Turkish Walnut
I've made these for friends that are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.(ours next year).

The pen kits and Turkish Walnut I got from The Turners Workshop, the Oak is the same as I used for the plonker.

When I was finishing the Turkish Walnut (two coats of sanding sealer and carnauba wax) I was thinking of gunstocks and luxury cars and wishing I was experienced at applying BLO/CA.

When I gave the Big Ben Cigar to "John" he was over the moon and just couldn't stop handling it saying it was "so tactile".

There was a discussion on here recently about what to charge for a pen or other crafted work, without any prompting John asked me what I would charge for the pen if I was making them to sell, obviously I couldn't suggest a price as it was a gift but asked him if he saw a pen like this at a craft fair what would he expect to pay, he stated he bought an enamelled pen for £70 and would expect to pay £100-150, I'll just add here that John held an executive position at a Building Society and would not know one end of a screw driver form the other, that's not a derogatory comment, were all different, I couldn't have done his job, but he appreciates skills and craftsmanship

I'm very pleased that I've made our friends happy and these pens are now on there way for a cruise round the Baltic Sea with there new owners to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.
dennis wake13/08/2011 10:54:03
2044 forum posts
1451 photos
1 articles
hi Bill
you have done a great job of the pens. they should be very proud of them and cherish them for ever.
Julian13/08/2011 12:45:40
553 forum posts
28 photos
Hi Bill -- they look like a real class product, I am sure they will be enjoyed over the years. I think that you have to use a pen everyday to appreciate a good one and your friends obviously do. -- Julian
Simon Reeves13/08/2011 13:14:15
622 forum posts
227 photos
Excellent job Bill. The walnut version looks very masculine and sumptuous.
Interesting that you should mention price again, as we've just returned from a local craft & agricultural show today, where one stallholder was selling simple wooden twist pens for just £6. Knowing that the materials cost is probably around £4 for that particular type, making it for only two squids is undercharging by a lot IMHO, unless you can make one REALLY quickly! My prices vary from about £12 for a better quality wooden twist pen, up to £25 or £26 for a fountain pen in pearlescent or crushed ice acrylic.
I still haven't gone down the route of the snakeskin version just yet, but one day...
BillW13/08/2011 16:58:51
711 forum posts
21 photos
Thanks all,
The pens and new owners should be well up the Kiel Canal by now.
Very true Julian.
Simon, I saw an identical kit in blue acrylic on T'net for £30 or £40.
A little more info for those interested,
Walnut smells very similar to high quality leather, like in a horse tack shop.
The grain on this blank changed direction dramatically, on the other side it looks like end grain.
The skew chisel was mentioned in another post recently, I used the skew as a scraper to get the final diameters right for the top, middle and nib, very very carefully literally taking dust off.
Derek Lane13/08/2011 17:55:35
3219 forum posts
1004 photos
Good job Bill like the pens.CA/BLO is not that hard get yourself some wood and just drill a hole down the centre to fit on the mandril shaft turn as you would a pen and have a go no pens damaged and you can always find scrap wood in the shed. Did put a link in a recent post about applying it.
As for prices for the Cigar I charge about the £30 mark and I get it as well
paul johnson 213/08/2011 18:09:09
197 forum posts
100 photos
Wow Bill they are first class in my eye's and I really like the walnut, glad your picking up the tools and bringing out that hidden talent, and im sure your friends will be showing off their gifts to fellow cruisers.
BillW13/08/2011 22:37:24
711 forum posts
21 photos
Thanks again,
yes I had a look Derek, tried it once and it was reasonable, second try went pear shaped and I'm not sure why but not had the time to try again, will do sometime in the future.
T.allan Jones14/08/2011 19:07:11
82 forum posts
8 photos
Wow BillW I think your pens are looking very professional. Is it always difficult to decide on a price for your skills?Do you compare prices with others? That has to be difficult wih the ammount of pens available. As you know I have just tried my first couple of pens and hope to have them looking as good as yours.. I did the sanding sealer and then the carnauba wax and the finih is excellent. If you feel success then why change the method. Good luck BillW and thanks for the contributions.

Edited By T.allan Jones on 14/08/2011 19:11:40

BillW15/08/2011 16:30:57
711 forum posts
21 photos
Thank you Allan,
I don't sell pens or other work, I do find it very interesting though, there are so many different aspects to pricing and selling work but the sad and disturbing part is not everyone appreciates the true value of such work, also as Julian points out pens are used less and less these days, so I rather think it is a limited market.
I will try BLO/CA again sometime, when done well the finish is unbelievable, I think it could be horses for course, on this occasion I think I was wrong, I was wishing I could do BLO/CA but Johns reaction ,,, well I can't put into words only use the word he used "Tactile" and I don't think you would get the same "feel" from BLO/CA.
I must once again say thanks for the help I received from the members on this forum but bare in mind what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another, you have to take on board as many methods as you can and then find the combination that works for you.
Here's one example,
I no longer drill blanks in the bench drill, I take a long winded approach.
I turn the whole blank into a round between centres, mark it up with a marker pen, cap, mid and tip and a load of wiggly lines.
I then cut the blanks to length, plus some for trimming.
I then put a cut blank into the chuck and push it in with the tail stock/centre while tightening the chuck.
Change the tail stock centre for a drill chuck and drill, I get more consistent results this way.
BUT it didn't work for the Walnut, that's a long story and was a very tiring day but I got there in the end.
Enjoy every minute of your turning Allan.
Derek Lane15/08/2011 19:07:13
3219 forum posts
1004 photos
The reason I like the BLO/CA is that it is a very hard wearing finish. When I first started pen turning I used the sander sealer and carnauba wax and the pen needed redoing after some use.
As I sell some of my pens the last thing I need is someone bringing a pen back.
Hope this helps explain why I like this type of finish and possibly why so many others also use it

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