Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Lignum Vitae is not a common wood these days. It has a rich history and has very good properties of durability and resistance to moisture, making it prized on wooden ships in days of old. When I found a piece in a box of blanks Brenda gave me for my birthday, I was excited to work with it and wanted to do something special.

Some of you may have noticed a lot of 'scallop' technique in my work lately. It's something I've wanted to try for a while, and now that I've done it I put the difficulty level just under Celtic knot. It is pretty and I have some ideas for improvisation with the technique, but wanted to use it on my Lignum Vitae blank.

The richness of purpleheart wood makes a good balance to the greenish-yellow of the LV, so I scalloped it onto the ends. Just as I was getting ready to drill it out for the pen tubes, who should walk into the woodshop but my old pal and mentor, Adam.

"You know what would look good with that?" he asked. "Some ivory," and he gave me two pieces. He'd picked up some pre-banned elephant ivory at a sale in Japan, carefully trimming bits into his more premium pens.

It stinks a little when you turn it (imagine burnt elephant hair), but it sure is pretty. Now I'm itching to get more premium materials and put them into pens. I'm placing an order shortly for solid sterling silver pen settings (clip and nib and centerband) and I'm looking at ordering more African Blackwood and LV and some other rare materials.

My chunk of Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan came in the mail a few weeks ago. Have to admit I'm a little timid about starting on it because it's hard as, well, as the rock it is.

I'm game to try anything. Is there a material or substance you'd like to see as a writing instrument? Let me know! Comment below.

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