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Monday, Oct. 18, 2021

Making a Mark

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Local, custom-made pens high on style

Do you have a sentimental tree and would like to have its wood put to good use?

A pen custom made by a South Broadmoor man may be something to consider. Richard Huber has started making pens out of his home. A semiretired accountant, he began the hobby when his son gave him materials to make a custom pen for his birthday. He enjoyed doing so, using African padauk.

He kept the first five pens he made, then starting posting his work in neighborhood social media groups.

If you want to use your own wood, it will have to dry out for nine months, however, and must be big enough and not rotted, Huber said.

Huber has since discovered other wood from around the world. Cocobolo, yellowheart, purpleheart and Sapele.

He purchased a board of American holly, a white wood, which made him wonder how different woods would look. He experimented on crepe myrtle and mulberry from his neighbors’ yards. He tried pecan wood that he had been saving for smoking meat and wild cherry from a dead tree in Arkansas, again hoping to smoke meat with it.

One of his treasures is a stump of dogwood that his wife, Rebecca, had transplanted to their backyard from her parents’ property in Arkansas. After living for 25 years, it died. The stump showed greys, browns and a little pink. The same dogwood was used to make a fountain pen.

Other woods he has tried include black palm, lacewood, mahogany, maple, oak, walnut, zebrawood and olive from Bethlehem. The colors of his wood range from reddish-orange, greyish-brown and light, medium and dark brown, some with grains that he says “seem to dance.” Huber noted that some have mold lines that make the wood look like marble or an old world map.

If you want vibrant colors, Huber makes acrylics. You can find college team colors.

Buyers have choices for trims and styles. Trims come in gold, black, titanium, chrome, copper and pearl white. Styles are streamline, trimline (a figured design), summit and euro – fuller, bolder pens.

Writing styles include ballpoint, rollerball, pencil and fountain pens. They are easily refillable from office supply stores, Huber said.

The pens come in a plastic presentation box, personalized with a card and a velvet storage bag.

It feels like show-andtell when you see his collection. He wants to do more, perhaps using an axe handle. “I want it to be fun,” he said, “as I discover stuff.”

He also makes wine bottle stoppers. Huber’s latest customer ordered 11 pens, so if you are looking for Christmas gifts, contact him early.

The steps include turning on a lathe for shaping, coating with Super Glue with a paper towel and polish, wet sanding (going from coarse to fine), and putting all the parts together—the guts, nib, ring, twist mechanism and cap. Huber first cuts a small block of wood into two pieces and drills a hole through both for the tubing.

Prices range from $60 to over $100. To inquire about custom pens, call Huber at 465-1793, or email him at rdh71115@yahoo.com.

ON STANDS NOW!

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