The Making of a Calligraphy Dip Pen

I thought it would be fun to take a time-lapse video of our dip pen making process, so of course the pen breaks and I need to fix it while on camera. For those of you with inquiring minds, here is the process in a little more detail.

The pen starts out as a dowel (solid cylindrical rod) of maple, cut to size. While our calligraphy dip pens vary in length and diameter, we don’t make them too long (at least not often). If they are too long, details are more difficult to turn, and they might break in the middle if it becomes to narrow.¬†Each tool cuts into the wood a little differently, and¬†there’s even greater variation depending on the type of wood. The grain makes a big difference. But I digress…

Rather than needing to round out the maple, as is the norm for other blanks, I can go straight into narrowing and designing it. This is after drilling a hole into one end so that the barrel (which holds the nib in place) can be inserted. After turning (and repairing), I sand it and apply a sealer and polish (for a touch of shine) while the lathe is still turning. It makes fast work of the finishing touches, but there are no shortcuts.

We’ll post more soon!