Wenge pens should the wood be left natural or treated? Wood is naturally beautiful and preference to select pieces for colour, grain, or figure in these pen designs or any other wooden crafts. Sometimes though this is not always possible such as on this fountain pen.
Wooden Box Design
These two boxes handcrafted from the same piece. Size limitations of the wood are only enough to show the grain to best effect on one box. I made these Wenge boxes to double duty at craft fairs with our large pen shop display. One to help presentation of pens and two to help grab attention and as a conversation starter.
A mitred construction with Holly spline’s through the corners for strength and to catch the eye. Although I have a large display with lots of beautiful pens, people do not believe they are handmade, even if told in conversation.
The craft fair display needs to be tough with all the knocks, but these wooden boxes stand up well.
Buying Wood For Pens
Buying pen blanks online can be hit and miss as the timber may be cut for yield and not to show the best figure. If the grain runs along the length of the pen and not on a 15-degree, bias, when polished, the pen, will be almost black. Wenge can be a good substitute for Ebony, such as on this Wenge Sierra pen.
Treating The Wood
So, to show the grain to better effect, I have treated the wood to try to highlight the grain a little more with household bleach. This will lighten the lighter sections, we can see better the grain in this photo of the fountain pen than the first.
To do this, the barrels first turned close to the dimension within 1mm. Once turned, then left in bleach for 20 to 30 mins while monitoring. After leave to dry off then sand and finish as normal. This idea was not mine but Mark Dreyer in this YouTube video, 20 years turning pens. The video has lots of tips and other ideas, highly recommended.
Treating the grain is a bit hit-and-miss as every piece of wood will react in a different way. In this case, it was a big success. The wood a nice contrast against the high-quality gun-metal trim on this pen.
Should I have used a chrome trim? so many design decisions. I would be happy to make it with chrome if you would like to commission a pen. This fountain pen and other designs can be bought from my pen shop.
If you like my wooden crafts please look me up on any of the social media channels.