Plain or Fancy Handcrafted Pens

in Gift

When it comes to choosing what type of handcrafted pen you want to purchase, whether for yourself or as a gift for that special someone, client or guest, you will find many choices to choose from. Would you want to purchase a plain pen, that is, one with sleek lines regardless of the finish, or would you like one with more of a decorative finish to it? 


The sleeker style of pens, regardless of size, allows the pen crafter to show off the embedded grain hidden within the starting piece of wood.  If starting with acrylic based blocks, the appearance of the inner lines and waves in the acrylic begin to show through. Pen blanks starting from burls begin to show off the wavy grain, eyes, voids and fractures inherit in burls.


This style of handcrafted pen is easy to grip and write with.  They are not plain by any means as the pen finish can accent the wood or acrylic blank used to create the pen.  The center band can be plain, etched or engraved depending on the type of pen style used.  Each pen finish also adds to the beauty of woods and acrylics used.  Some pen crafters even allow the customers to choose which pen finish they would like with what wood or acrylic type they desire.


This works out well as smaller wood workers can provide services that the larger mass produced companies cannot match.  The small pen crafter or wood worker is not in direct competition with the larger companies. Consumer costs generally are competitive with the smaller wood worker taking chances on different designs that could likely produce a new product line for them.


Looking at what some call fancy pens, that is, those with bulges on the upper and lower barrel, detail work along the pen barrels or placement of concave or convex designs at locations, usually near the nib of  the pen.  These designs allow the crafter to experiment.  For the pen design with simple bulges on the upper and lower barrels of the pen, wood grain appears to come to life.  With acrylic designs, the wavy lines embedded within begin to show form and add depth and character to the pen.


Adding a concave or convex pattern on the barrel can allow for an easier grip, better hand feel and allow for more comfort to the writer.  Adding a design by the nib adds some class to the piece if one is collecting pens, but may be an impediment to smooth writing.  This is where the wood worker has to determine whether or not this addition to the pen is really worth the added work if it does not allow the writer to use their particular writing style.


All in all, the choice as to which type of pen the cunsumer prefers is by trying different styles and finding the best fit.  Many types of pens are available from several different wood workers to meet the needs of the customer.  It is the customer that has to locate and find the ideal pen style that is best suited for their style of writing.  There are many pen crafters out there waiting to hear from cunsumers and what they would like.


© Paul Witmer 2010

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Paul Witmer has 13 articles online

Paul Witmer is a pharmaceutical engineering profssional and avid wood worker specializing in fine pens. Paul is also co-owner of

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Plain or Fancy Handcrafted Pens

This article was published on 2010/10/13