Friday, 1 February 2013
A Black and Yellow Short Cigar...From the Deep Freeze
Turning pens in the depths of winter on the Canadian prairie can be a bit of a challenge. Or, if you prefer, an adventure. My unheated garage, where I do all my shop work, is insulated. This manages to keep it from plunging to the extreme temperatures outside,which can drop as low as -35 C (-31 F) - but, that doesn't mean it's warm. At times, my garage and workshop can be as low as -15C (5F), and many new considerations come into play in the turning and finishing - even apart from having to dress in a dozen layers just to be able work out there for a couple of hours. For instance, acrylic becomes incredibly brittle in that degree of cold, and just seems to beg for an opportunity to shatter as I try to shape it on the lathe. Even holding the tools is tricky, as I have to warm them up a bit first, or risk frostbite (gloves not recommended while doing lathe work, for safety reasons). Or, reaching for the bottle of water I keep on my bench to cool the drill bits, I find it rock solid. Or, having to throw my container of plastic polish into a bucket of warm water to thaw it out so I can finish a pen.... Ah, well, such is life in the barren wastelands... On the positive side, if I have a beer out there, it won't get warm.
Anyhow, here is the latest pen off my bench, just finished last evening. This particular commission was for a short, 'cigar-style' fountain pen, but came with the request that instead of the usual rounded ends of a cigar pen, that it have coned ends (as it turned out, the design ended up being very similar to one used my a number of other pen makers, so it may look...somewhat familiar).
The nib, which was supplied by the the gentleman who ordered the pen, was specially ground prior to being shipped to me.
I have to say, I am pretty happy with this pen. A nice, compact cigar!
Thanks for looking! Comments welcome.