Offended to say the least…

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wrjones224

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Messages
105
Location
Kentucky
I had a company reach out requesting 514 completed pens by December 5th and said they would offer $5000. That’s less than $10 a pen. I don’t think they can get that kind of deal even if they shopped in China. How would you react if someone asked you to do this?

My wife convinced me to make my email response less harsh.


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jrista

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
457
Location
Colorado
Plus boxes! 🤣

It is insulting. But its also gotta be a scam. Still, I've had some people ask me to make pens for pretty cheap, or ask why I don't sell my pens for the same $25 as the non-concentric, out-of-round, cracked or chipped edged, and sometimes scratched plated Sierra-style pens people often find on ebay for ridiculously low prices. People seem quite surprised when I tell them more and more these days, I can hardly even buy the kit for much less than $25, let alone the blank, and when I throw in the cost of gluing and finishing materials, energy usage, and even the amortized cost of all my machines, let alone the time I invest... I don't think anyone really thinks about the time a penmaker has to personally invest in crafting each and every pen (and box!! 😂)
 

montmill

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
279
Location
13528 Old Hwy. G Montfort, Wisconsin
We have to develop a BS detector. Sadly the elderly haven't had a need to do that in their simpler days of youth. No matter how hard we try to get her to stop our ninety two year old neighbor answers every phone call and keeps every piece of mail she gets and treats it all the same. Sad but todays reality, most of the crap we get via mail, telephone and internet is bogus.
 

bmachin

Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2013
Messages
611
Location
Owensboro, KY
While the price offered for the pens is ridiculous, I don't think that we're looking at any sort of scam here. Just googled Lovoso and found that it is a legit charity that supports an orphanage in India. I suspect that the guy trying to source the pens is just clueless about what it takes to produce 500 pens. Here are a some links.


Apparently pens and other items are usually manufactured by boys at the orphanage and then sold through their website as well as other outlets online. (The link to their online store came up with a warning not to click on it.) I did see one outlet asking $26 for one of their pens. Maybe I'm just naive, but reading the Campbell article I can see why they might be outsourcing their work right now.

Bill
 

RunnerVince

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
69
Location
Ogden, UT
Plus boxes! 🤣

It is insulting. But its also gotta be a scam. Still, I've had some people ask me to make pens for pretty cheap, or ask why I don't sell my pens for the same $25 as the non-concentric, out-of-round, cracked or chipped edged, and sometimes scratched plated Sierra-style pens people often find on ebay for ridiculously low prices. People seem quite surprised when I tell them more and more these days, I can hardly even buy the kit for much less than $25, let alone the blank, and when I throw in the cost of gluing and finishing materials, energy usage, and even the amortized cost of all my machines, let alone the time I invest... I don't think anyone really thinks about the time a penmaker has to personally invest in crafting each and every pen (and box!! 😂)
As an aside to this conversation, I'm curious about the time it takes others to finish a pen. I recently got an order for 110 slimlines, and given that this is more of a hobby than a living-providing business, I can afford to take a hit on labor costs. That said, it has me thinking about how much time I really spend making a pen. I've cut the time down considerably by batching the steps out all at once, so now I have all my blanks fully ready to turn, but I still figure I'm coming in around an hour +/- 10 minutes per pen. Part of this process was also doing a little testing to figure out what steps (mainly in sanding/finishing) are really necessary, and I've been able to save a lot of time there. And, as it turns out, rushing is rarely a way to save time, so despite the sense of urgency I have to get this order out, I am constantly telling myself to slow down. Save time by doing only what is necessary and doing it well so you don't have to fix mistakes.

How long do you all typically take to make a pen start to finish?
 

jrista

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
457
Location
Colorado
As an aside to this conversation, I'm curious about the time it takes others to finish a pen. I recently got an order for 110 slimlines, and given that this is more of a hobby than a living-providing business, I can afford to take a hit on labor costs. That said, it has me thinking about how much time I really spend making a pen. I've cut the time down considerably by batching the steps out all at once, so now I have all my blanks fully ready to turn, but I still figure I'm coming in around an hour +/- 10 minutes per pen. Part of this process was also doing a little testing to figure out what steps (mainly in sanding/finishing) are really necessary, and I've been able to save a lot of time there. And, as it turns out, rushing is rarely a way to save time, so despite the sense of urgency I have to get this order out, I am constantly telling myself to slow down. Save time by doing only what is necessary and doing it well so you don't have to fix mistakes.

How long do you all typically take to make a pen start to finish?
It depends a lot on the kind of blank and the finish. For resins, its pretty much the same, I probably spend 15 minutes or so sanding and polishing. Pretty consistent.

For wood, it varies a lot. I am extremely allergic to CA, so I avoid it as much as I can. I use Pens Plus instead. This is a microcrystaline wax friction polish, so it has walnut oil, DNA and shellac, plus the wax. Since its got an oil, wood likes to soak and soak and soak that up. The DNA is supposed to flash off with friction, but you really need a lot of heat, and if you don't get that heat across the entire surface of the blank, then you might have some additional complexities.

I find that with any friction polish, they take more time to fully saturate the wood, fully burn off the DNA, and really cure the finish. It takes a lot of coats, but, you sometimes have to give a decent amount of time between them. With some woods I need to apply a final light pass without the high heat friction, then bring the blanks inside where its warm to let them dry slowly and cure for a day. Other woods, I can just do a few coats with high friction, and thats good enough.

In some cases, I still end up with little dull spots, so I've taken to some final buffing with white diamond, and if necessary carnauba to give the blanks their final shine.

The total process can take a day or two, however in terms of literal time spent, when you add up all the little amounts, it might add up to an hour or around there.
 

crokett

Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
533
Location
Mebane, North Carolina
How long it takes me depends on the material for the pen and how big it is. cutting, drilling and gluing blanks is the same for any pen. Turning and finishing is the time difference. A pen made out of whatever kind of resin takes less time than a wood pen since I get it fairly smooth to start with from the tool, and polishing takes much less time than sanding and finishing wood. A larger pen such as a sierra will take less time than a smaller slim line. I can turn one and polish it out in about 20 minutes, give or take. If I'm doing a wood pen with a CA finish, I try to find something else to do in my shop while waiting for the CA to dry between coats.
 

Joebobber

Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
478
Location
Erie, North Dakota
I just outsource the cutting of the blank, gluing tubes, facing the blank, and final assembly to my wife. That way I just sit n turn while she does all the work.
 
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