Behold, Excalibur!

Excalibur ClipAnother few weeks have passed in the Scriptorium workshop.  Pens have been posted to their new homes and many customers should now be enjoying writing with their new Scriptorium fountain or dip pen. Of course, I just love to hear how you are getting on with your new pen.  Do please keep in touch and check the web pages from time to time, to read my blog and see what’s new in the Scriptorium workshop.  I have a lot of new things planned for release in the future!

I truly enjoy my pens-crafting work.  It is a passion that provides tremendous pleasure through making something that could be around for many years to come.  Engaging with my customers and trying to fulfil their requests is another aspect that is really quite rewarding.  The material combinations, the colors chosen, and the design requests I receive never cease to amaze me. It gives me the inspiration to go the extra mile to bring those chosen designs to reality.

Some time ago, I received a request to make a pen having a sword shaped clip. This provided a welcome design opportunity, as I have long wished for a sword clip myself. I chose to incorporate my love of British literature and history into this project. What would the design be? Should it look like some fabulous fantasy sword, or should it reflect an actual sword model? After much reflection, I decided to combine my love of the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table with that of an actual sword design typical of the Anglo-Saxon period in English history.

Specifically, I chose the look from the sword found among the treasure in the Anglo-Saxon royal ship burial site at Sutton Hoo in 1939.  I particularly like the design of this sword, with its narrow crossguard, as it really complements the shape of a pen cap. The pommel and hilt echo the contours of the Sutton Hoo sword, and the blade even features a fuller’s groove down the middle. The tip of the blade has been gently rounded.  With no awkward protrusions for the pen, it is ideal.  There are no sharp edges, points, or elements that can easily snag in shirt pockets or pen wraps.

Below are some design drawings of the final sword. As with any clip design, I go through a series of versions with my silversmith, Mike Redburn, to get just the right look. Below are a couple of Mike’s detailed 3D computer drawings.

sword_clip_verticalsword_side_view_dimensions

Mike utilizes the “lost wax” casting method, and the process from design idea to completed clip is fascinating. Following approval of a final design, a 3D printed model is made. Next, a silicone mold is created in one of two ways – either by making a mold of the 3D printed model, or the model can be cast and a mold can be made of the cast metal piece. After the mold is made, wax is injected into the mold to reproduce the part. It is then put in a flask, invested, and then burned out in a kiln. The remaing hole is filled with molten metal.

 

 Here is the final resulting clip!

Excalibur Clip

Every notable sword has a name…. And what name should I choose for this sword?  Why, Excalibur, of course! This echoes my passion for the tales of King Arthur, The Round Table, & Merlin.  The clip is available in silver, bronze, or brass to add a unique touch to your custom pen. Do have a look at my Clips page for more information about these and other clip designs available, and… be on the lookout for a new pen model featuring the Excalibur clip, forged in the workshop at Scriptorium Pens, soon.

A Mineral Sea Writing Set

Without a doubt, Mineral Sea Lava Explosion owns the title of Favorite Material among my customers. A swirling mix of blues, blacks, and golden orange with some pearly chatoyance, this material comes from the talented hand of Eugene Soto of Muttblanks.com.  This past week, a writing duo in Mineral Sea came to life.

Literati Academe Dip Pen and Oversized Zephyr in Mineral Sea

Literati Academe Dip Pen and Oversized Zephyr in Mineral Sea

The Oversized Zephyr makes quite a statement with its girth and bold coloring. The Literati Academe Dip Nib Holder draws the eye to its unusual feature of a cap, which is rarely seen on a dip pen. I just recently took a Copperplate calligraphy class, and saw the advantage of a dip pen with a cap for better portability. Of course, there aren’t any caps for oblique dip pens.

Literati Academe Dip Pen and Oversized Zephyr in Mineral Sea

Literati Academe Dip Pen and Oversized Zephyr in Mineral Sea

Completing this desk set is a two slot pen rest. Normally I make one slot rests, but this customer wanted 2 slots to accommodate both pens.

Pen Rest - 2 Slot - in Mineral Sea

Pen Rest – 2 Slot – in Mineral Sea

Another Muttblanks material landed on the lathe this week : Sunflower Sky Lava Explosion. Its whirling blues, yellows, and black resemble Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting. A black ebonite section enhances the grip and breaks the wild color of the rest of this clipless Idyll.

Idyll in Sunflower Sky Lava Explosion #18 - Medium

Idyll in Sunflower Sky Lava Explosion #18 – Medium

Here’s a sneak peek at a new project I’m working on. Whatever could it be?

Version 2

 

Topaz, Quartz Burgundy, and Azure – A Week of Jewel Tones

Fountain pen people are picky. We are! And when it comes to choosing colors and materials for a custom pen, we can let that trait have free reign. Some of my customers often know exactly what they want right away, while others need a bit of guidance through the bewildering array of choices. Narrowing down the selection can take a while. Sometimes two favorite materials call out for attention, and rather than selecting one over the other, a client will resolve the issue by getting a pen in each color. And some order multiple pens in both colors. Four of this week’s pens fit that category, with the jewel tones of Conway Stewart’s Azure and Quartz Burgundy acrylics.

Churchillized Epics, Medium, & Custom Designs, Small

These designs are what we penmakers call a homage, or a clone of another style, often of a pen that is no longer available, with some specific modifications asked for by the client. In this case, the original models were the Conway Stewart Churchill and Wellington, but without the characteristic bluges or curves that Conway Stewart pens often have. For the Wellington, removing the cap and barrel bulges leaves a very different pen, one that is more classic in style. The acrylics used are original CS materials, a high quality Italian resin, deep and rich in color.

Custom Design in Azure, Small

Custom Design in Azure – Small

Churchillized Epic in Quartz Burgundy - Medium

Churchillized Epic in Quartz Burgundy – Medium

Another pen made this week also boasts a deep, rich, jewel tone color, but the transparency and swirls in the Topaz Water acrylic provide an entirely different personality. The pen is a Literati Dip Pen, fitted with a JoWo fountain pen nib and feed. They can be pulled out and replaced with a standard dip pen ferrule for use with other dip nibs. One customer likes the JoWo nibs in a dip pen for ease of testing new inks, and for ease of cleaning. This dip pen is about 7″ in length. A matching pen rest was requested to go with it.

Straight Literati Dip Pen in Topaz Water Acrylic

Straight Literati Dip Pen in Topaz Water Acrylic

Several other pens and projects were begun this week, including a prototype, or two…or was it three? I’ve truly lost count of all the new ideas I’d like to make reality. Some will come to pass much more quickly than others. If only I could clone myself to get it all done faster!

A Balladeer and a Scribe Walk into a Room….

I get requests for all different sizes of pens, yet I continue to be amazed at the number of folk who ask for an oversized pen. Now, my pens tend to be on the large size, anyway, so a Scriptorium oversized pen is really big. Take the Scribe I recently made. The customer asked for it to be oversized and with no step from barrel to threads. That meant the pen would be a little smaller in diameter than the stepped version, but the barrel still ended up at around 16.3mm at the widest point. That’s bigger than a Montblanc 149!

Scribe in Ocean's Obsidian & Black Ebonite - Oversized

The material is a hand poured alumilite called Ocean’s Obsidian Lava Lamp #48, made by Eugene Soto of Muttblanks. His blanks are extremely popular with my customers. The customer chose Black Ebonite for the grip section, a wide Modern clip in silver, and a Black Oxide coated nib. All these colors combined make for an elegant, classy look.

Blue materials are always popular. Another blue pen made recently is this large Balladeer made with another hand poured alumilite dubbed “Faux Tibaldi” by its maker, Jonathon Brooks. This blank’s creation resulted from the scarcity of a gorgeous celluloid used by the Tibaldi pen company. The challenge was to make a blank that replicated the bright pop of blue in a network of grey and black like the original.

This Balladeer sports 4 Silver bands and a Wide Modern clip. The blank’s color mix caught the attention of customers, and now an Orange and a Purple version are in the making,

Yet another blue pen was made this week, a small Idyll in Arctic Fog Vaper Swirl. As a special commission for a little boy, the parents chose blue, his favorite color, and had a custom clip made that had an image of his favorite stuffed toy, a fluffy chicken. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but it does look just like the little chick.

Idyll in Arctic Fog Vaper Swirl with custom clip - Small

The parents commissioned a 2nd pen, as well. This is a small Zephyr, a flush barrel, cigar shaped style. The material is Beach Walk Vaper Swirl, with the blanks carefully chosen to have the most blue possible.

Zephyr in Beach Walk Vaper Swirl - Small - Inkling Clip

It’s impossible to know exactly how a blank will look after it is turned down, but generally one can look at the raw, unturned blank and tell which colors will be predominant. Some customers, who know exactly what they want, ask to choose the blanks themselves. This is true for the commissioned pen below, a medium sized Zephyr in Fire Nebula Lava Explosion.

Zephyr in Fire Nebula Lava Explosion - Medium

The customer wanted blanks that had the golden caramel as the main color, with the blue and purple accents still apparent. I provided pictures of about 8 or 9 blanks, from which the customer made his selection. I’ve also had clients ask for this same blank, but with the purple as predominant. It’s all about customizing as much as possible at Scriptorium Pens.

The Zephyr below was originally intended to be in Orange Japanese Ebonite, but the day before I was scheduled to start work on the pen, the customer asked if he could possibly switch to Orange Ripple Ebonite. I was able to accommodate the request as I had just serendipitously received a shipment that included some Orange Ripple. As you can see below, the material boasts a gorgeous, dark ripple pattern with highlights of bright orange to spice it up. A silver Shield Logo roll stop completes the sleek look.

Zephyr in Orange Ripple Ebonite - Medium

The next few pens in the work queue will be very different from this recent batch, both in materials and styles. One of my favorite aspects of custom pen making is that every day is different, and no pen is exactly like another. There’s no time to get bored, nothing repetitive in the creation process. Every single day it’s exciting to open that shop door and get to work.

See you next time with some new pens!

A Busy Year!

As anyone running both a business and a busy home knows, life can generally become a balancing act between the two. I sometimes think it may have been easier to learn to juggle or walk a tightrope in a circus! However, the rewards and satisfaction gleaned from having my own company, through creating something bespoke and special for my customers, make it all worthwhile.

The last few months here at Scriptorium Pens have been really busy and exciting. So many changes have been and continue to be made.

Early this year, as my regular visitors to my Instagram feed and other pages will be aware, I moved the entire pens production unit out of a spare bedroom in the house and into my father’s old workshop. Much effort was required in getting the old place cleared out, cleaned up, and ready for new equipment. A new Grizzly “Gunsmith” lathe now takes pride of place in the shop, and the tooling is close to hand.

The move was not as easy at you may think, though. That metal lathe is a heavy piece of machinery, weighing in at over 1,300lbs.! To make things even more of a challenge, the floor in the workshop was really out of level. Fortunately, I have a wonderfully supportive brother who has been a godsend in this whole process. I never imagined how much work there would be in setting all this up and keeping the pens crafting ticking over at the same time! All is working well in the “Scriptorium Workshop World” now though, with continuous development in mind, as well as the space to accommodate it.

It was initially like setting up a room in the house to put the furniture in the right places. If I moved my equipment once, I moved it a thousand times to get it to work for me. Well, I spend so much time out there it needs to be comfy, bright, cool…. Oh yes, I also needed a new AC unit; it can get really hot out there in the humid Mississippi summertime.

Jumping from a wood lathe to a metal lathe comes with a big learning curve. Fortunately, I love learning new things, and this new lathe makes work easier, faster, better, and more fun.

Things to Come

Come this October, Scriptorium Pens will head into its 3rd year. Three is always the magic number, right? So, I plan to throw a little magic into this coming year by way of special new fountain & dip pen designs, new clip designs, and possibly even a celebration version of the Idyll, the Scriptorium’s best seller.

In an effort to streamline web work & free up more time for pen production, I’ll be highlighting recently made pens here on the Home page, while continuing to add them to their usual model galleries. The “Recent Additions” page, however, will be removed, and the Home page will truly become the hub of the site.

Other changes are planned for this 3rd year, but as those will come later, I’ll wait to go into detail on those developments. 😊  Meanwhile, enjoy a slideshow of some of my recently made pens.

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Introducing the Aeterna

It’s time for a new pen model at Scriptorium Pens! Following several customer requests, the Aeterna was created. Inspired by the timeless style of the flat-top ebonite pens of the late 1800’s & early 1900’s, the Aeterna features sleek lines, a very slight curve behind the barrel threads, and an elongated 23mm section with a classic, lipped grip for writing comfort.

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The Iota button roll stop was created specifically to go with the Aeterna to add to the elegant, minimal look. The Iota is the first Scriptorium roll stop to be offered in 18k gold, as well as Sterling Silver, Bronze, & Brass. As always, customers can choose other roll stops or clips to go with their custom pens.

600_prototype_terracotta_iota - 6

 

 

 

 

 

I love seeing the ideas customers come up with for new pens. Keep those ideas coming, and your idea might become a regular Scriptorium Pens model, too!