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Thread: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

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    Senior Member RocketRyan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRyan View Post
    I think turning on lathes is more a practice makes perfect sort of skill.
    You may think that if you like, but there is quite a bit more to it than mere repetition. If all materials behaved the same on a lathe, it might be close. They don't, and good work done in turning is as much an art as it is a skill.
    I have used lathes, so have some idea of the skills needed.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRyan View Post
    I have used lathes, so have some idea of the skills needed.
    As have I. We just differ on how this comes out in the wash, I suppose. Anyway, it's only one element of the equation.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member RocketRyan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRyan View Post
    I have used lathes, so have some idea of the skills needed.
    As have I. We just differ on how this comes out in the wash, I suppose. Anyway, it's only one element of the equation.
    Agreed, but it remains you really are paying for the privilege of having what you want, rather than the physical product. For instance a delta federico has a passing resemblance to a montblanc 139 and is quite cheap, a real one really isn't cheap. So what do you choose? A custom pen will look like a more accurate homage but cost 3 or for times the amount of the delta, the materials will cost no more and tooling is unlikely to be much more intensive. But you get what you want for a price you are comfortable with. As I say you pay for the privilege not the product so much.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRyan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRyan View Post
    I have used lathes, so have some idea of the skills needed.
    As have I. We just differ on how this comes out in the wash, I suppose. Anyway, it's only one element of the equation.
    Agreed, but it remains you really are paying for the privilege of having what you want, rather than the physical product. For instance a delta federico has a passing resemblance to a montblanc 139 and is quite cheap, a real one really isn't cheap. So what do you choose? A custom pen will look like a more accurate homage but cost 3 or for times the amount of the delta, the materials will cost no more and tooling is unlikely to be much more intensive. But you get what you want for a price you are comfortable with. As I say you pay for the privilege not the product so much.
    How on Earth would you precisely price every physical product? In what market environment does anyone pay only for the physical product, absent any other costs of it's research/marketing/production/labor/handling? If a large company stamps or machines thousands of identical clips and a custom pen gets a custom clip, should it cost the same?

    EoC is certainly right to address the basic subject and to survey opinions as to the range of costs associated with a custom-designed and made pen. I've written before about egregious abuse of pricing with certain artisanal trends in recent years. None of that means that I expect a pen maker to hold to some artificial price point based on the fact that "everybody lathes a pen, so they are all just being cranked out".

    And, yes, you are paying for a piece that is unique. That goes without saying or, rather, that is exactly what the thread is about.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Neat!

    Thanks people. Very interesting to hear so many different perspectives. And I asked out of simple curiosity. Something that had been puzzling me for a while at least.
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; June 26th, 2017 at 08:20 PM.

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    Senior Member RocketRyan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRyan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRyan View Post
    I have used lathes, so have some idea of the skills needed.
    As have I. We just differ on how this comes out in the wash, I suppose. Anyway, it's only one element of the equation.
    Agreed, but it remains you really are paying for the privilege of having what you want, rather than the physical product. For instance a delta federico has a passing resemblance to a montblanc 139 and is quite cheap, a real one really isn't cheap. So what do you choose? A custom pen will look like a more accurate homage but cost 3 or for times the amount of the delta, the materials will cost no more and tooling is unlikely to be much more intensive. But you get what you want for a price you are comfortable with. As I say you pay for the privilege not the product so much.
    How on Earth would you precisely price every physical product? In what market environment does anyone pay only for the physical product, absent any other costs of it's research/marketing/production/labor/handling? If a large company stamps or machines thousands of identical clips and a custom pen gets a custom clip, should it cost the same?

    EoC is certainly right to address the basic subject and to survey opinions as to the range of costs associated with a custom-designed and made pen. I've written before about egregious abuse of pricing with certain artisanal trends in recent years. None of that means that I expect a pen maker to hold to some artificial price point based on the fact that "everybody lathes a pen, so they are all just being cranked out".

    And, yes, you are paying for a piece that is unique. That goes without saying or, rather, that is exactly what the thread is about.
    Pricing is key to selling any product, I'm pretty sure last time I went on scriptorium pens they had a very clear and obvious pricing strategy. That's what makes it a business.
    Imagine the dragons den scenario.
    A complete one off will obviously cost more because more work goes in to it, but let's not kid ourselves that the wheel is being reinvented here.
    It's a skill and you expect to pay people for their time, but as the original post said the video showed the pen bei g made in about 2 hours, hardly the sistine chapel is it.

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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    I have recently come into contact with a group of hobbiest wood turners as I was looking to have some custom leatherworking tools made. Our discussion turned to fountain pens as you might expect and to a man they all said "tried making pens they don't sell" I know living in the North East of England custom pens are not what you would call common. I think it is like many areas of business the market will decide the price if people are willing to pay it will sell if they are not then in order to sell the price will need to be reduced. The latest smart phone may cost a few tens of dollars to produce but sells for hundreds of dollars if it did not sell you can be sure the price would fall.
    Incidentally I have always wanted a pen made from Lapus Lasuli and as I have found the material I will be getting one soon 😀

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    I see this from a different point of view, to me, a highly skilled artisan which is able to produce a beautiful and mechanically perfect pen is an artist.

    Would you pay a painting on the basis of the cost of the materials needed to produce it ?

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    Cool Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRyan View Post
    A complete one off will obviously cost more because more work goes in to it, but let's not kid ourselves that the wheel is being reinvented here.
    It's a skill and you expect to pay people for their time, but as the original post said the video showed the pen bei g made in about 2 hours, hardly the sistine chapel is it.
    Indeed, and turning a relatively compliant material on a lathe is hardly the most demanding craft.

    Which is why, for me, in the first instance, it is all about the nibs.


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    Senior Member Pterodactylus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Anybody thinking making a custom pen is a piece of cake should proof it.
    I'm looking forward to see many new masterpieces in the Pen Making forum.



    And as it is that easy those guys can easily make a lot of profit also by selling their masterpieces.
    Buying the needed equipment should therefore also not be an issue.
    Maybe they could also quit their current job and become rich with their masterpiece custom pens.


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    Cool Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    I did have an idea that maybe a few of us devoted enthusiasts would make a very decent writing instrument, or collection of, if we clubbed together ...

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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Quote Originally Posted by MY63 View Post
    I have recently come into contact with a group of hobbiest wood turners as I was looking to have some custom leatherworking tools made. Our discussion turned to fountain pens as you might expect and to a man they all said "tried making pens they don't sell" I know living in the North East of England custom pens are not what you would call common. I think it is like many areas of business the market will decide the price if people are willing to pay it will sell if they are not then in order to sell the price will need to be reduced. The latest smart phone may cost a few tens of dollars to produce but sells for hundreds of dollars if it did not sell you can be sure the price would fall.
    Incidentally I have always wanted a pen made from Lapus Lasuli and as I have found the material I will be getting one soon 😀
    The problem with wood turners making pens is that they are wood turners, not pen enthusiasts. They most likely did kit pens. Nothing against those that make them and I have a few kit pens but it's not the same when you compare to something made by someone that knows fountain pens.
    Fountain Pen Sith Lord | Daakusaido | inktronics blog | Twitter | Instagram

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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BV1phTpgOe8/
    This could be considered art.

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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    A fair few people around here would do well to read Lukitas' thread in the Pen Making section here - might give you an idea of how "easy" it is.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRyan View Post
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BV1phTpgOe8/
    This could be considered art.
    Have you ever seen any of the Artus pens in person? Handled them? I have, a few times. They most definitely are art.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRyan View Post
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BV1phTpgOe8/
    This could be considered art.
    Have you ever seen any of the Artus pens in person? Handled them? I have, a few times. They most definitely are art.
    I absolutely agree with you.

    They were at the ROC, two years ago, or three, I cannot remember exactly. They are much bigger than I thought, yet very confortable. And the painting and lacquer are absolutely divine.IMHO they are the most artsy pens in the market.

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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Pterodactylus View Post
    Anybody thinking making a custom pen is a piece of cake should proof it.
    I'm looking forward to see many new masterpieces in the Pen Making forum.



    And as it is that easy those guys can easily make a lot of profit also by selling their masterpieces.
    Buying the needed equipment should therefore also not be an issue.
    Maybe they could also quit their current job and become rich with their masterpiece custom pens.

    Totally agree with you.

    Cannot wait to see the new créations!

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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRyan View Post
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BV1phTpgOe8/
    This could be considered art.
    Have you ever seen any of the Artus pens in person? Handled them? I have, a few times. They most definitely are art.
    No but I would be interested in watching them made. Despite classing myself as an agnostic, I find religious art fascinating. Except for the ghastly tattoos on my brother in law arm.

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    Default Re: Custom-made pens - costs and experience

    I have made quite a few pens and sold most of them. It is a skill and being detail focused. I hate making a lot of the very same pen. Each pen is done by hand and a little different in how I shaped and balanced it. My problem was to be able to appeal to the over $50 crowd I would need to not use any kit parts. Edison did a great job on making the transition. I love the work F-C does. Both companies the effort is more in the design on the CNC side then physical skill, but it is still low volume work and people and machines cost money. It used to be in the pen maker community everybody complained about retired people going to shows and selling hand turned pens for $20 and killing the market for people that need to have a profit to buy materials, supplies, and get paid a little for their work. When I was doing it I charged $40-$75 per pen. What you don't know is to sell one pen you need to make 20. You have to have a large stock to hope you have the right color, finish, and design that the person looking at your pens wants. You end up with many pens just looking for that buyer that never comes.

    There are a lot of factors that go in to pen design and even big production factory pens don't always get it right. I have a number of pens that dry out too easy from big companies. I have learned a lot over the years and may decide to make some pens again. It's nice I can buy Jowo/Bock nib units but you still need to be able to tune a nib right before it goes out the door.

    In any case making and selling pens is not easy.... It is enjoyable until its work

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