Not long ago I published a photo of a part of some spectacular curly maple I bought; it is destined for a special project early next year. I received a request for a small piece of the maple from Bill, an avid woodworker and carver, who has published on this blog as a Guest Author. Following a few e-mail messages, we reached an agreement: I would send him a small piece of the curly maple, in exchange for one of his mechanical pencils turned on the lathe.
Note: I use SketchUp, and also eCabinet Systems for design and photo-realistic renderings. But I (almost) always start with a concept in a notebook – paper and pencil. Even a napkin sometimes comes in handy. A quality pencil is indispensable for this, and also a good quality notebook, to keep a working log of ideas and variations. Of course, this book will be be of untold value in about 250 years…
I just received the pencil, as shown in the following photo (the gnomon is six inches long):
I asked Bill to confirm the finish on the turned pencil, as it has such a nice, smooth feel in the hand. He wrote the following:
I used Tiger “Super Blonde” shellac maybe ½ lb. cut, two applications, with 320 grit (Klingspor), then 6 layers of thin CA with micromesh 3600 to 8000 between layers. Then two applications of Renaissance Wax, to keep fingerprints to a minimum or to protect the guilty. 😉
I use two tools to turn pens and 3/8 Doug Thompson bowl gouge, has a 64° fingernail grind, and a ½” skew with a flat grind. I take the convex (grinding wheel) out, then pull it across a leather strop a few times. With practice it takes about 4 min to put an edge on, but that’s only if I nick it or something. Most of the time I just refresh the edge with a diamond hone.
Bottom line: I love this pencil. It feels perfectly balanced in my hand during use; I am sure the short length accounts much for this feel. Although I have used mechanical pencils for many years, this one has the mass to give me the confidence that I can draw in prolonged sessions without fatigue. It is heavy, 44.7 grams (1.58 oz), and as a result I do not worry about applying pressure; I need only guide it as I write on paper. In contrast, a regular pencil sharpened only a couple of times, weighs 4.1 grams (0.14 oz.)
— Al Navas