Carving ink pens #1: Creating Ink pen from Local Wood Native to GA U.S.

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Blog entry by RJaltman18 posted 08-18-2020 07:25 PM 408 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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This week I’ll be carving my First ink pen from yellow slash pine. Will be slim line with no detail. Just learning the basics of carving into a round blank the going from their to a finish product. All work to be done my hands from carving to sanding to finishes. Will post pictures of my finished work for review from members on Lumber Jocks.

4 comments so far

View AndyJ1s's profile


485 posts in 766 days

#1 posted 08-18-2020 09:37 PM

I found AfricanSpiritCrafts on Etsy, which is apparently the source of your inspiration.

It looks to me like the pen blanks are initially turned except the top end, which is then carved with the animal detail, and additional details may be carved into some of the turned beading. Carving those kinds of details needs a durable, close-grained, hard wood (they probably have an economical source of local ebony), and would be frustrating to try to do with a coarse-grained, soft pine.

Getting the shapes on the lower end of the pen, without at least a small, primitive (peddle/treadle) lathe, will be difficult to do efficiently, to be able to sell at reasonable prices that yield better than starvation wages for you.

Also, you need a way to accurately drill a centered hole through the length of the blank (or at least a portion long enough for the Bic ink tube).

Oh, and you will need to learn to sharpen your knives and/or chisels efficiently. Maintenance time has to be figured into your prices too.

However, if you focus on non-turned (not cylindrical or conical) shapes that are comfortable to hold in your fingers while writing, you may be able to “carve” you own niche in the market.

For finding such comfortable shapes, you can whittle on your pine stock.

Lots to learn… I wish you luck!

-- Andy - Arlington TX

View RJaltman18's profile


27 posts in 201 days

#2 posted 08-18-2020 09:59 PM

Thanks Andy I do appreciate your comment. My inspiration behind me is this. My wife and for me to manage and my mind and hands busy. I’m a combat veteran with ptsd from my time in Iraq so this is a great way for me to learn and wood carving. Thanks again for your comment

View JoLe17's profile


11 posts in 227 days

#3 posted 08-20-2020 02:44 PM

Sounds like an interesting way to make a pen. If you want to “carve” a cylinder, the traditional way is to start with a piece of lumber, preferably split (not sawn) out of a log so that it follows the grain of the wood, and then use a drawknife to round it to shape. It’s easiest to use a shaving horse to hold the wood while shaving it, but in this case you could also get away with a vise since the piece is so small — although the horse is much more convenient since it’s very quick to readjust the workpiece to access all sides of the cylinder. You follow that with a spokeshave to further refine the shape. It’s especially fun to do this starting with green lumber, which is really easy to handle with these tools. For a pen, you could just use a small branch of a tree, as long as it’s straight grained.
These are methods from the chair maker’s arsenal, so you could check out a reference on traditional chair making methods for more details.
The thing I like about your idea is that you don’t have to turn a completely cylindrical shape this way as you would on a lathe, so it opens up possibilities for some really interesting (and comfortable) pen styles. Good luck!

-- JoLe17

View BillyUP's profile


21 posts in 4811 days

#4 posted 08-21-2020 01:29 PM

I would drill the center hole first, and insert a rod to maintain orientation while carving, so that hole stays centered.

-- Imagination is more important than Knowledge

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