Saturday, August 18, 2012

A note on craftsmanship

Anyone who knows me well sees that at heart I'm a simple man. I admire hard work and honesty, nature and things made by hand. I'm not a big fan of plastic, things mass-produced, silicone implants, mega-dyed hair and so on. I've had a few requests for names printed or cut into pens. Some pen makers are happy to oblige. I tend to shy away from anything that intricate and precise. Why? Because I'd have to do it by hand with a wood burning tool, and there's no way it would have the same clear quality it would deserve.

Could a laser engraver do this? Sure. There are a lot of craftsmen out there ready to laser named pens for you, as well as any image you can feed into a computer. There are some beautiful scrimshaw pieces in bone and antler done by laser, some American flags, heck, I've even seen a miniature Mona Lisa on a pen done by laser.

Maybe someday I'll get a laser engraver. The customer is always right. But for now I'm going to stick with saws and glue, sandpaper and a lathe. Admittedly I do have a beautiful chunk of black plastic out of which I'll probably get about 10 pens. And I recently ordered "stabilized" wood, which is basically wood infused with colored plastic. And I'll probably try my hand at some of those acrylic blanks because, doggoneit, they're just beautiful.

I want to know! Tell me about your work philosophies. What's 'right' and 'wrong' to you? Comment below!