Some time ago (nearly two years), I had been experimenting with creating fountain pens out of bamboo. This started out with using compressed bamboo as 'wood' and making a pen as I would with any other wood, but with the added character of a thread wrap - a technique borrowed from my fly fishing rod making days. I later decided to use an actual bamboo culm to create a pen - a very difficult proposition given some of the characteristics of bamboo! Finally, taking another fly rod building technique to the pen making hobby, I experimented with 'flaming' the bamboo, which caramelizes the outer layers, darkening them up and giving the bamboo an appearance similar to the long aged, smoked 'susutake' used in some of the famous Sailor pens. Sadly, bamboo is hard to come by here in appropriate diameters and quality, so that was the end of the bamboo story. Until now!
Having gotten my hands on some a nice load of good quality, perfectly-sized bamboo culms, and after aging them for the past year or so, I decided it was time to work on another 'susutake' pen.
My previous flamed cane pen was of a fairly large diameter, which was the best I could find at the time, but may not be comfortable for everyone to hold. This time, I decided to work with some much thinner stock, smaller even than my usual cigar style pens - about 14.5mm. After picking out the culm I wanted to work with, and cutting it to length, I gave did the flaming process on it to darken it to a much nicer shade.
Once flamed, the bamboo must be scrubbed down with varying grits of abrasive to remove the hard outer enamel, and to rid the pen of any char.
Still, using some excellent black ebonite to create inserts in the cap and barrel for drilling out and threading, and for the grips action itself, the pen began to take shape.
I decided once again to apply the thread wrap technique that I used to use on my fly fishing rods - not only adds a unique and cool look to the pen, it also strengthens the cap and barrel.
To finish the ends of the bamboo, I inlaid a pair of ruby acrylic end jewels to match the garnet thread wrap. The finish on the pen is a cyanoacrylate in multiple layers buffed to a pleasant and natural-looking semigloss.
Finally, giving the pen the tools it deserves, I installed a two-tone 18K JoWo fine nib.
I hope you like the final product - my version of the 'susutake' pen!
Thanks very much for looking!