Custom #1

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Sprung

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Jul 1, 2014
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The last pen I turned was December 2017. I'd decided I was done with kit pens - made a few hundred and was just burnt out on them. Still have at least a hundred sitting in trays, waiting for new homes. But, even with that, I still wanted to make the step into custom pens. I like the thought of the blank canvas and the world of design possibilities it opens up when you can completely customize every aspect. Bought the tooling a while ago and then it sat. Until last week. Finished my first custom the other night. Have a couple more already in progress.

Material is black ebonite. The section and the inlaid accents on each end are from an acrylic acetate blank. Nib is a JoWo #6 in extra fine. Cap to body threads are 13mm triple start. Clip was leftover from an Atrax kit that I had made into a closed end pen. I am overall very pleased with how this one turned out, especially for my first custom.

My biggest mistake was, when I was initially fitting the clip before turning the cap section, I accidentally turned it down too much, which would have left the ring on the clip a little proud around the diameter of the cap. I decided to shape it more and make the ring stand even more proud to make it a design feature instead.

But, I think I did pretty well, considering I got through this without having to scrap any pieces. The other big mistake I made (turned a tenon to a too small of a diameter) I can save and make a smaller pen from with a 12mm cap to body thread, so I didn't count that as a loss.


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mecompco

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Apr 24, 2015
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Matt, that looks awesome! Making a kitless pen is one of my goals as well. I'm sure number 1 won't look anywhere as nice as yours.

Michael
 

Sprung

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Sanborn, MN
Matt, that looks awesome! Making a kitless pen is one of my goals as well. I'm sure number 1 won't look anywhere as nice as yours.

Michael
Aye, Michael, I think you can do it just as well! The key is don't rush yourself. Plan out as much of it as possible before you ever start work on it. And try to be planning for the upcoming steps, not just the step you're working on, so you're always thinking about how the current step of the process will affect future steps. It is not as challenging as some make it out to be!

Here's #'s 2 & 3 in the works.
 

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Sprung

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Jul 1, 2014
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Thanks, guys!

Finished up 2 & 3 today - we're stuck at home on account of snow, so I got into the shop this afternoon.

Here's the trio.

Material on the right is Jonathan Brooks' Primary Manipulation. In the middle is Grassy Knoll from Beartooth Woods, with some glow in the dark green from I can't remember where.
 

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TonyL

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Mar 9, 2014
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Alpharetta, GA 30004
Way to go Matt! Thanks for sharing your experience. I am waiting for my tools, taps, and dies to arrive. I never had an interest in kitless until a few weeks ago. I hope mine turn out as nice as yours.
 

Sprung

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Sanborn, MN
Tony, you will do just fine! I think the two biggest keys to success are taking your time/not rushing and proper planning.

Also realize that you will make mistakes. Each of these three pens had a mistake or two that I had to stop and figure out how I was going to recover from it. If you do make a mistake, don't beat yourself up over it - view it as a learning experience.
 
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