Prior to 2007 I had a career in quality management. I have carried the goal of customer delight into my pen business.
My love and appreciation for wood goes back to my roots growing up in Oregon. My father was a sheet metal worker, but he did a lot of woodworking around the house and I learned much from him.
In the 1990s I was reading an Arizona Highways catalog and noticed they were advertising pens made from mesquite. That launched me into buying my first lathe. It was a Sherline lathe, actually a small metalturning lathe. I modified it for pen making, and I was hooked
My full time woodturning career began when my corporate career ended in 2007. I began doing street fairs around Phoenix and the rest of Arizona. I learned a lot about pricing, marketing, product development, customer relations, and much more. During this period, I created a number of marketable objects for my company. My garlic keepers were especially successful.
In 2015 I stopped doing shows for health reasons. My back developed a bulging disc that prevented me from the physical labor involved in setting up and breaking down. At the same time I stopped doing large turned objects, again for health reasons. I am allergic to wood and turning large objects creates huge amounts of dust.
Now I have returned to my roots as a craftsman making pens. Historically I have created pens using purchased components, or “kit pens.” Now I have a number of designs in mind where only my handcrafted components are used.
In the years to come, I plan to explore those designs. And I hope you will come along on this journey with me..
About the Materials I Use
I am sensitive to origins of the materials I use. Most of the wood I use I collect myself. In the case of desert ironwood, I only take dead trees. Other woods I collect after winter storms. If not for me and other woodturners, this wood would end up in a landfill. The woods I purchase come from certified sources that are responsibly harvested. The materials from animal sources (skins, ivory, antlers) are by-products from humanely harvested animals. When I use ivory I ensure it is from legal sources. It may be mastodon ivory or reclaimed ivory from a piano keyboard.
A note about the ebony that I use. Gabon ebony is listed as endangered and is not harvested in a sustainable way. Now normally I would just walk away from ebony, but I was offered a large stack of ebony that had been outside and unprotected in the desert sun for years. It was in rough shape; much of it was nothing more than firewood. Can you imagine burning a piece of ebony? I took the stack so that I could save whatever was left. So when you see me using ebony, remember that I am honoring this noble wood by rescuing it from decay.