Finally! My titanium fountain pen.

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btboone

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Well it took a while, but I finally got it. The pen is all custom without kit parts except for the El Grande style nib. It can hold a backup ink cartridge or an ink pump. The centerband is 22 karat gold and sterling silver mokume gane. The blind turned cap can post on the blind turned body. The clip is made from the same 6Al4V aircraft grade titanium as the pen body. It has an anodize fade for a little spice.

Critiques welcome.

20052197276_boonefountainpen.jpg
 
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btboone

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Sold! [:)] I'm not sure what it would cost. The mokume material was pretty expensive. I would like for others to help define what it might be worth. I would need to upgrade to a nicer nib, but I left open the possibility to make a titanium part where the black plastic part is now.

The toughest part was figuring out all the tooling needed to hold it and things like that. I had two crashes of my lathe making the body part. The lathe is not used to long thin parts like that! I snapped off my 1/2" carbide drill in the next tool station over because the outside turning tool came closer to the chuck than on my rings and the drill hit the side of the chuck. Space is pretty tight in this lathe.

The polished finish is not that practical for a normal environment, but it might do well with an executive. The polished finish did create a problem for my cap posting as tightly as it did when it was still rough. It was a perfect jam fit before, but now the surface is a bit too smooth. I may need to make something that holds it tight.

Edit: I take that back. I had lined the inside of the cap with CA to keep from scuffing the body, and that affected the fit a little. I scraped out the CA and got my perfect fit again. It works like a Morse taper because of the perfectly matched low angled surfaces. It locks well and everything is so smooth that it doesn't seem to scuff the body.
 

btboone

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Looks like I need a subscription to Pen World. [:)] This was my first fountain pen. Hopefully there will be more. The mokume was not my original intent on this one, but an errant X coordinate persuaded me that mokume was probably the way to go. I'll do another with my original intent.

I was slammed with orders tonight, but I was close and decided to just go ahead and finish the pen. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do!
 

wdcav1952

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Damn Bruce, don't you care about other people's feelings at all? How can I go turn one of my pens after seeing this pen? That is truly awesome. I have never heard Lou drool over a pen like this. Hell, I probably would buy an 8 x 10 color glossy of this pen.

BTW, nice work.
 

jeff

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That is a stunner, Bruce. Honestly, $1500 is low.
Would you mind if I posted that picture on the front page?
 

jkirkb94

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Beautiful craftsmanship, Bruce! Pricewise the only place that I could compare was the Grayson Tighe web site that was posted on one of your earliest posts. http://www.tighepen.com/. I hope to see more of these works of art as you get more skilled in making them! Great idea on the clip! Kirk[8D] BTW, how do you get such a mirror finish with the titanium?
 
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Mudder

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I cannot afford a pen of such beauty and elegance, but if I could, $1500.00 does not seem outrageous to me.
 

terry q

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I would love to hold it. This is a real work of art. Your workman ship is superb. I agree that $1500 is not out of line for this pen. With the best nib possible then the price could easily be $3000. The people that can fork out that kind of cash wouldn't hesitate for a second to buy a one of a kind hand made pen of this quality.

Terry
 

btboone

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Thanks guys! I'm proud of that one. It was a couple late nights, that's for sure. Jeff, please do feel free to post it wherever you like.

Kirk, the machine has a lot to do with the finish, but I do it just like a wood or acrylic pen. Start with a relatively coarse grit and sand against the machining marks and get progressively finer. I end up polishing them (and my rings too) with hard cotton buffs on a rotary tool to get the fine pits out and end up on my 8" polishing wheel to give the final blending run which removes any swirl marks from the buffs. I use a white waxy compound made for stainless steel.

Part of the cool part of the design was getting rid of all the threads. I was amazed when I got an El Grande pen that there were all those inserts with threads. I lost count after a while. I drew everything to scale, and was looking on ways on how to spice up an El Grande, and I saw that it was all pretty much defined for you. I was going to have to get radical in order to change things. It took a couple long nights of designing, and another couple nights of thinking through how to actually make the parts. I had to order a bunch of cobalt drills and I had to made a few fixtures in order to get started.
 
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Good Morning,

I had no expectations when I clicked on you post today in what I might see, the first word that came out of mouth after about 10 seconds of silence was WOW....that is a wonderful work of art...simply wonderful!
 

pipemaker

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Bruce,

After viewing your initial post, I had to go out and purchase another keyboard for my computer. There was simply too much drool on the first one to continue.

An absolutely beautiful design and exceptional execution.
I think the challenge to produce something that outstanding is what makes and keeps this hobby so stimulating.

Mike
 

Deere41h

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I am awestruck. I have never seen a pen so nice. That is <b>BEAUTIFUL</b>. I can't imagine ever being able to do something that nice. You have a wonderful creative ability. WOW
 

Tom McMillan

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AWESOME!!!!!!!! That is a PEN!!!!!!! I'm sure you'll have no problem marketing that one!!! Hmmmmmm---gonna have time to make pens and rings??? Any apprenticeships available---I'm only 59 years young and lots of good years left in me!!
 

Fleabit

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Ok. Here Goes. Sure wish I had the type of talent. Awesome job. I think the pen came out perfect. I have done some small metal work and it can be a royal pain. You did outstanding!
 

woodscavenger

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Bruce, that is amazing. Didn't you say in one of your post a while back that your system was bought for a mere $750K? I am saving pennies starting today!
Your pen is great! I actually like the idea of keeping the black section. It would be cool in titanium but I would still anoxize it a diffent color. The anodization would also give a little tooth to the grip section and would probably make writing a little more comfortable.
I think you could definitely add this to the upscale market but you would need to upgrade nibs. A lot of fountain pen connisuers (?sp) rank their pens on the nib.It looks like the previous linked web site pen maker uses custom made nibs. They are beautiful. There is a site http://www.nibs.com/ that shows many different upgrade nibs. The reason we can't use them in our pen kits I think are the custom thread sizes and diameters. That is obviously not a problem for you. You may be able to contact this guy for some fancy nibs which would increase the percieved value of you pens.
Based on you pen shape...which is great, I would probably advertized the pen as a non-posting pen. Then you would never have the issue of scuffing the pen.
Keep up the good work! And thanks for sharing your time and inventiveness with us.
BTW how easy would it be to create a clip from titanium that is like the cigar pen clip but instead of the open ring at the top, have just a flat piece only as wide as the clip?
 

woodscavenger

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Bruce I just looked at you website. You have some great stuff. Based on the rings you have there I can see a bunch of design variations coming out of your newest creation. Looking forward to seeing more.
 

btboone

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I appreciate the kudos guys. Tom, I can sure use an apprentice, but it sounds like the commute might be a tough one! [:)]

Woodscavenger, no, my lathe was around $65K. The laser at GT bikes cost them the $750K. It was a huge machine with awesome productivity. I will need to do more homework on the nibs. Thanks for the heads up on the contact there.

The clip as you describe would actually be pretty tough. Titanium is so inert that solder doesn't stick to it. The wire could possibly be squashed to make a flat surface, but I don't think that will be good enough. I bet on a cigar pen that there would be room to stick a wireform like this through without interfering with the nib. As you see, I went way to the outside, which seated in solid metal. It would be very tough drilling the holes on such a slope even in wood without anything less than a milling machine and a stubby endmill though. Normal drills will deflect when it hits that angled of a surface.
 

woodpens

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I would say that fountain jumped right up to first place in all the pens I have seen produced by people in our group. How do you say, "Welcome to the Pen Makers Guild?" [;)] Actually, I have no input on that, but I am very confident that your fountain pen will fling that door open if you submit it to the guild.

Marketing and pricing are topics I find interesting. I would consider writing an article (in all of your spare time) and submitting it with this pen to Pen World or another such magazine. Then, set this one at the $1,000 to $1,500 range along with maybe a half dozen others in the $300 to $800 range. You'll have customers drool over the best one and settle for the others, and one of those customers will simply buy the best. If it is published, stating that fact on the webpage will make for a quicker sale. I found that to be true when several of us had pens shown in the American Woodturner magazine. Customers were eager to snap them up and also wanted a copy of the magazine.

Keep up the great work, Bruce. I wish you were closer to my location so I could learn from you. [:)]
 

btboone

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I find that funny, because I need to learn more of this pen stuff from you guys! I can design and make things that are new and different, but I don't yet really know the market and the wants of the customers. Maybe that works to my advantage because I'm not boxed in by "how it's supposed to be done." I will work on my mid range $300 to $800 pens like you suggest Jim. If you or anyone wants to make the drive to Atlanta, you're welcome to come by.
 

Tom McMillan

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Well, Bruce, I must say---you do nice work---and, wow---looks like we're learning from you!! And thanks for the thought of the apprenticeship---but, guess I'll have to stay put---darn!!! Can't really afford a jet right now. I agree with Jim---that's "Guild quality" and hope you'll submit something too.
 

darbytee

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Bruce, I know it's starting to get redundant, but that is a gorgeous pen. My wife has her bachelor's in metal design and she has been ooing and aahing over it for the last 15 minutes. Absolutely gorgeous.
 
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btboone

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For a Baron, a design that showed off the hex theme would serve better. Something like twisted hex stock that tapers. Hmmmmm....
 
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