Monday, June 10, 2024

National Ballpoint Day ! (Newest Acquisitions ~ Virtual "Show & Tell" - part 519)

Happy National Ballpoint Day! Although we're primarily a fountain pen club, we've had meeting themes that included ballpoints (modern and vintage), so today I thought I'd feature some modern handcrafted ballpoints I acquired in the last year. All of the ballpoints use a twist-action mechanism, but some take Cross refills and some take Parker-style ones. One interesting thing about them is that nearly all are made of unusual materials. Intrigued? Read on!

(all photos by Maja ~ please click on image to enlarge)
The ballpoints above were all made by Dylan Swain of The Pen Den (in Gatineau, Quebec), who uses a variety of materials in pen production. Among these are pen blanks he creates himself (using a resin 3D printer) from 3D-printed molds filled with colourful resins and glittery mica powder. Examples of pens made with these blanks are the bottom three ballpoints in the photo above - (top to bottom) "Another Dimension", "Chromatic Wavefront" and "Rainbow Harmonics".

The gorgeous ballpoint at the top --the aptly-named "Wood and Waves"-- was created from a maple burl/blue resin hybrid blank. The material was polished to a mirror-like finish and it's one of the nicest ballpoints I own (although I really like the bright colours & playful designs of the 3-D mold/resin pens). As a little bonus, Dylan often includes a LEGO minifig (such as the one above) with the pens he sells :)

(Above: "Chromatic Wavefront" ballpoint by The Pen Den)

The newest acquisition in this blog post--my "Rainbow Harmonics" ballpoint by The Pen Den (love the purple metal trim!)

This stunning ballpoint was created by Jeff Hattrup of Rustic Star Woodworks in Texas. It uses Parker/Parker-style refills and is made of a very interesting material called Fordite...

So, what is Fordite? I'll let my friend Wikipedia explain - Fordite is "a lapidarist term for polished pieces of finely-layered paint masses from automobile factories. The masses consist of automotive paint which has hardened sufficiently to be cut and polished. It was formed from the buildup of layers of enamel paint slag on tracks and skids on which cars were painted with acrylic lacquer, which have been baked numerous times." Many different Fordite paint colour combinations were created over the decades; the combos ranged from the muted colours used in 1940s Ford autos, the brighter metallic tones in 50s and early 60s Fords, to the wilder colours used in the late 60s and 70s.

Since Ford now uses a different paint processes (one that doesn't result in paint overspray), there isn't any more genuine Fordite being made, so prices for it are going up. Fordite is also difficult to turn on a lathe, so that adds to the price of the finished pen. In case you were wondering, I don't know which particular Ford model used the paint colours in my ballpoint's Fordite, but I know it wasn't the 1954 Ford Mercury Sun Valley model (vintage car buffs -- forgive me for using the wrong model car prop in my photos!). In any case, I think it's neat owning a piece of Ford history via this cool ballpoint :)

From Fordite, we move to SpectraPly, another repurposed material used in pen-making. SpectraPly is a dyed birch veneer laminate material that was used to make old skateboard decks, among other items. I got these two striking SpectraPly ballpoints (above) from Penwerkz, a small pen & bowl maker in Corona, Californa. I'm glad the pens' maker chose not to add any cap bands to the pens -- I love how the SpectraPly "flows" uninterrupted along the length of the pens-- and I appreciate the care taken to line up the wood pattern in the red & black pen.

The bright blue and yellow ballpoint in the upper left of the photo is from Casey of Artisan Alley CA in Red Deer, Alberta, and it's made of a hybrid pine cone/acrylic material.

The model name for this lovely ballpoint is "Golden Skies with Pinecone", and when you see it in bright sunlight, the light really brings out the highly-polished colours of the material. The pen came with the wooden storage box above, branded with the pen maker's logo on the obverse side.

The other three ballpoints in the group photo were all made by Brian Tearne of Tearne Canada Turnings in Ontario. The two pens resting on the red pen pouch were made by Brian using acrylic resins, which are more traditional materials. I normally don't go for really weighty ballpoints, but I loved the orange acrylic and whimsical adornments of the "Bass Fishing" pen, so I couldn't resist buying it. The ballpoint above it (the "Maple Leaf" model) is made of a swirly orange, yellow and dark grey resin called "Burning Embers". All three ballpoints made by Brian use Parker or Parker-style refills.

(Above: the fishing-themed pen's metal trim looks a bit over-the-top, but I think it works here :)

This is the newest pen I bought from Brian, a handsome "Nordic Style" ballpoint made from a hybrid blank consisting of maple burl and epoxy. It's a hefty pen, but I enjoy using it ... and I like staring at the coppery sparkles in the resin which complement the wood and copper-coloured trim so nicely.

Many thanks to all the pen makers for these wonderful handcrafted pens! I hope you have a good National Ballpoint Day today, and don't forget--our June pen club meeting is on Thursday June 20 at the Vancouver Public Library's RENFREW branch (all details here).

(~ Blog post by Maja ~)

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