Welcome to my Custom Fountain Pen website/blog. I put this site together a while ago so that I could let some of my fellow pen enthusiasts and penmakers, as well as my customers, see what I have been up to lately in the workshop. I don't publish all of my pens here, but good percentage of them.

A Little About My Pens: I love doing fine work on the lathe, which is what got me into this work. That is, I enjoy the focus on the details of a project - the material and colour selection, the form, the fit and finish of the pen. I also test all of the my nibs before shipping. I fill the converter, run ink through the nib and feed, and write with it. I spend a significant amount of time smoothing and adjusting the nib of every pen that I sell. My goal, with each pen that I make, is to create a writing piece whose fit and finish will impress you when you first pull it out of the packing, and that will serve you well as a great writer when you fill it up with your favourite ink.

Have a look at my posts to see some of the work I am doing lately, or see my pricing guide in the link below to the right, or check the link to my current inventory of already-made pens (usually small, as most of my work is by commissions/orders).

Or, if you are interested, you can see some of the work I have done previously in my Custom Pen Gallery on Photobucket!

If you have a Twitter account, I am @drgoretex

If any of my posts generate particular interest, I will pin them as links on the right (eg 'Basic Nib Adjusting 101').

* ORDERS: Please contact me at kencavers@gmail.com to place an order.

* PRICES: Please see the link on the right side of the screen 'Pricing Guide' for an idea as to the cost of a pen.

Have a look at the bottom of this page for some reviews done by previous buyers!


IMPORTANT NOTICE: I am happily overwhelmed with pen orders. This gives me great joy in that my work is so well received, but saddens me that I cannot fill orders anywhere near as quickly as I would like. I am still trying to work through back orders, but if you have ordered from me and heard nothing for some time, feel free to email me and ask how things are going.
I still only make these pens in my spare time, when work and family time permit, and even then the productivity slows down during the coldest winter months thanks to my unheated workshop.
Given that I make these pens primarily as a hobby, I also reserve the right to pursue some other interesting pen projects in between filling orders.
I apologize for long delays in order fulfillment, which may in some case be over a year and a half. In the meantime, you are welcome to contact me to inquire about new pen orders, or to check up on a previously submitted order.

-Ken Cavers

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

True Bamboo: Yep, Finally Did It.

Well, after making so many 'Bamboo' style pens, and then working on one made of bamboo 'wood', it was really kind of inevitable that I would eventually make one of these.

When I first saw one of Sailor's 'Susutake' pens some time ago, I knew that I would eventually have to have a go at a real bamboo pen.  This is only a first attempt, of course, and while I am pretty happy with the result, there are a few things I would do differently next time.  For instance, the bamboo stalk I used here was simply 'what I could find', not having a great source for bamboo around Manitoba.  It is a bit thicker than I would have preferred, and I think I will do the end jewels a bit differently next time.  I am pretty happy with the combination of blonde cane and green thread wrap, though I might try to find some darker cane and do a wrap with burgundy or chestnut thread on the next one.

The pen is sealed and stabilized inside and out with low viscosity CA, and is finished with Tru-Oil varnish.  It is fitted with an 18 K fine nib.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Bamboo Rod - the Fly Fisherman's Pen

Before I started making a lot of pens, I used to make fishing rods - specifically those used for fly fishing.  One of the skills that I learned in rod building was that of 'thread-wrapping'.  This is a technique used to reinforce the ends of the parts of the rod, as well as to secure the line guides onto the rod.   Occasionally, I would go all-out traditional, and build fly fishing rods out of bamboo (either hexagonal split cane, or two-strip rods with a square cross-section. Here are a few examples of this (sorry for bad pics.  As you can see, I love using green with lighter coloured bamboo):

So ever since I started making custom 'kitless' pens, I have had a few ideas floating around in my head about how to use bamboo and some of this thread-wrapping in making a fountain pen.  Ideally, I would want my pen to be hexagonal, like the split-cane rods, but I'm still working out how best to to do that.  In the meantime, I decided to jump in and make one out of bamboo, rounded to a straight rod, and thread-wrapped at the joint, as one would do for a fly fishing rod.  When using light coloured ('blonde') bamboo, I tend to use this green thread as a good match.  Here I have added a black thread trim.

I decided to go with inset ends again on this pen, as I have with my 'Bamboo' style pens, just to add a bit of visual interest.

The pen is stabilized and sealed inside and out with low viscosity cyanoacrylate, and final finished with 'Tru-Oil', taken down to a matte finish.  It is fitted with an 18K fine nib.

I must have bamboo in my head.  I am currently working on a pen made out of a small bamboo stalk.  Will post this shortly.

Thanks for looking - comments welcome!


Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Couple of Clipless Fountain Pens

Here are a couple of pens I have just finished, the two of them heading shortly to a fellow Doc and pen enthusiast.

The first one is another of my 'Curvy' style pens, done in a nice amber swirl acrylic with black trim.  The cap end has an inlay of the amber material to give it that extra 'cool factor'.

The second is a Cigar Style pen, but in the larger 'Big Hand' sizing.  I quite enjoyed having another excuse to do something with the Charger Lava (Van Gogh 'Starry Night') material.

Both pens have been fitted with two-tone steel JoWo broad nibs, and both have been ground to a nice smooth stub, giving them some great line variation.

Thanks for looking!


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Bamboo Style FP in Walnut with Thin CA Finish

Well, this isn't the first Bamboo style pen that I've made out of Walnut (of which I have a pretty good stock), but while the others have been finished with Danish Oil, this one was finished with thin (ie low viscosity) cyanoacrylate.

For those who are wondering about what in the world cyanoacrylate (CA) is, it is the same stuff that is in the various brands of super glue.  It is a liquid that undergoes a chemical reaction upon exposure to air and moisture to form an acrylic polymer - that is, a hard plastic.  Makes a great bond between hard surfaces, which is why it sells as super glue, but interestingly, it also has one other very useful property - that it can be polished.  For a thick, glossy, glassy finish, I usually apply about 8 - 10 coats of medium CA, having to cure each coat in between, and then polish using the usual 12 steps (400 grit through to 12,000 grit, followed by a polish),  The problem lies in the fact that on prominent surfaces, the finish wears through much faster than in other spots, making it very difficult to do such a finish in places like, for instance, the inset ends on my Bamboo style pens.  For this reason, I have only been offering an oil coat finish for these pens before now.

This particular pen is indeed finished using CA, but instead of building up a thick coat before finishing, I am using a few coats of low viscosity CA to soak into the wood, and seal it - in just the same way that oil would.  The difference is that it takes very little time for the CA to cure, and even the penetrated coats allow the wood to be polished to a nice shine - which unlike the oil finish, is pretty durable.

I have also finished the inside of the cap and barrel with the same penetrating thin CA to seal and protect against ink leaks.

One of the really nice things about wood with a strong grain, like walnut, is that I can cut cap and barrel from one piece, and line up the cap and barrel grain, preserving the natural flow of the wood from cap to barrel.

Alright.  Time to write-test and smooth this nib to make it an awesome pen.

Thanks for looking!


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Black and Amber Swirl Fountain Pen in 'Curvy' Style

Just finished this pen this afternoon, and had a bit of time to get a few pics done.  It is custom order based on a Curvy Black and Yellow Pen I made some time back (one of the pens pictured in my first post on this website), only the amber swirl acrylic was chosen instead of the yellow, and a clip was requested.  

In order to accommodate a clip, the cap had to have a slightly less pronounced curve to it, so the barrel does as well in order to maintain the flow of the lines of the pen.  The cap uses black trim to frame the amber swirl, and the barrel has an end-inlay of the amber swirl to match the cap.

Once again, the nib is a steel JoWo nib, and the fill system is cartridge/converter.

Thanks for looking!