The Blog for GW Pens

A peek at what we make

Everything Old is New Again

A few months ago I partnered with the folks at the Historic Pen Company to be their lead pen artisan. Of course there is the benefit of additional sales for me, but more than that is the kind of pens I’ve been able to make for them. I don’t expect to get rich making pens, it’s more about making decent money for something I love to do. And as a history buff, some of the wood I’ve gotten from them has been absolutely fascinating!

This fountain pen, for instance, is made from wood that is 270 years old. Of course you don’t just take wood that old and make it into a pen…it was in pretty bad shape. Any other piece of wood in this condition would have been thrown out. It was soft, rotting, and even the outer layer was just flaking off if you blew on it. I had to carefully cut the wood and stabilize it so it was suitable for pen turning. Otherwise something as simple as drilling a hole would have the wood crumble apart from the inside out.

I use a special heat cured resin to stabilize wood. The idea behind it is pretty simple. Completely submerge the wood in the resin and out it in a vacuum chamber. Remove all of the air, including the air from the wood itself (picture drinking straws under water being squeezed tight), then release the vacuum. Because the wood is submerged in the resin, as air goes back into the chamber the places in the wood that had air will now have resin (picture releasing the straws under water now). From there the wood goes into a toaster oven for an hour to let it cure.

Vacuum chamber

Vacuum chamber for stabilizing pen blanks.

The result is nothing short of amazing. The very outer layer of wood is not salvageable, but we are talking maybe between 1/64 to 1/32 of an inch. The rest of the 1″ thick piece of wood was rock solid! From here it is treated like any other hard piece of wood and turned into a pen. This particular piece was not only old wood, but came from a site believed by some historians to witness the final battle of the American Revolution.

Wood this special deserves equally special hardware. The finished piece has rhodium and 24k gold plating through with a genuine Swarovski crystal on the clip. The nib is solid 18k gold, the only choice for many fountain pen enthusiasts. Although the wood came from a tavern built 270 years ago, this pen is ready to live on as an heirloom passed from generation to generation.

270 year old wood fountain pen with solid 18k gold nib by Greco Woodcrafting.

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3 comments on “Everything Old is New Again

  1. Victoria Smith
    February 22, 2013

    Oooh! Wonder if this pen would have been a good choice for my bro. Didn’t see it on your “for sale” page, though. That’s ok. Keep up the AMAZING historical work!!! Holding something with historical significance will yield significant inspiration.

  2. GrecoWoodcrafting
    February 22, 2013

    Thank you, Victoria 🙂 This pen is available through our historic wood partner, http://www.historypens.com and has a current retail price of $1,200.

  3. Mike Vickers
    February 27, 2015

    Beautiful Pen.

    What stabilization resin do you use?

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This entry was posted on September 14, 2012 by and tagged , , , , .
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