Disclaimer…We did not know four years ago that we would be doing this! Let us just blame Paul for this adventure.
Let's just start off by saying both Paul and I have terrible handwriting, and neither one of us is proficient in using a pen. The invention of the computer made our life easier and really, we rarely had to use a pen. We both had worked many years for the Department of Corrections in Vermont and would have to “write” countless reports for our jobs. Using a computer was so much easier so really there was no need to use a pen except to sign our reports.
So how did Paul get into making pens?
Well it all started in the fall of 2016. While we were sitting enjoying a meal at the dining room table, and discussing how our day went Paul proclaimed, “I want to make a wooden pen”. What the hell is a wooden pen as we only used those cheap plastic pens that the department provided to us. You know those pens that always run out of ink when you just start using them, and that no one would ever steal.
The conversation continued and using the Internet he proceeded to show me. I found it interesting, although honestly I thought that this was just a fad and it would just go away. Nope he continued to talk about it a lot!
It turns out that he had been having conversations with his boss who ultimately was a pen turner. Paul asked questions and apparently his boss was to have made him a pen and pencil set. Well his boss left the job and Paul never got his set.
Now if anyone knows Paul they know that once he gets something in his head he won’t let it go so around Christmas time he brought up buying a lathe, and all of the essentials that go into making a pen. If you are like us, we rarely gave each other anything for Christmas gifts as honestly, we do not need anything. Wrong!! Paul needed all these items to make a pen.
Christmas in Vermont
So, like a little kid getting all excited for Christmas Paul went and bought all of equipment to start making pens. Little did I know Paul had already been having conversations with a small business owner about equipment. You know the lathe, roughing gouges, drill press, skews, chop saw… Who knew that you needed all that equipment to make a pen? And really, I still did not have a clue as to how you would make a pen out of a piece of wood. So, you start out with a square piece of wood and make it round? How is that even possible?
Of course, you need a place to put all that equipment so since we had a full-size basement part of that would become his shop. Little did I know that this little venture would be so dirty. It appears all that dust from cutting wood likes to seep up into the living quarters of the house. But Paul was happy puttering down in his shop after a stressful day of work. It was his release from working as a supervisor for the Department of Corrections. His only complaint was that it did get chilly in the basement. Remember it stays cold in Vermont for several months out of the year.
Months of teaching himself on how to use a lathe, watching YouTube videos, and getting feedback from myself he made himself that pen and pencil set. It was not perfect and no two pens that he makes are the same. That is the beauty in this craft. No two pieces are or will ever be alike!
So, the question is how many pens can one household need or have? While Paul was perfecting his turning, he did give several of his pens away to family and friends. They appreciated the gifts and then would show their friends. Suddenly people were asking Paul to make a pen for their relative for a gift. Who would have thought!
To be continued…...
PS This was written by Aleta who is not an English teacher, but a resin maker!