I am based but not native to the beautiful county of Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands.
My interest in pen making has developed over the years but since I bought an Axminster AWVSL lathe a few years ago I have designed and created several pens. Originally I only gave as gifts to commemorate those special celebrations to my friends and family. I am now offering you the opportunity of being able to give that truly special gift to someone special, or maybe to treat yourself.
Looking through a wood turning catalogue I saw a replica cartridge kit for making pens. This immediately sparked my interest as I have a long association and experience with all types of firearms from a .177 airgun up to the mighty .50cal Browning machine gun.
My interest in firearms started as a young boy and I eventually became involved in target shooting. I later joined the Police and continued my association through firearms training as a Police Marksman as well as competing for my force in shooting competitions throughout the UK and internationally. I am also a proud member of the National Rifle Association of America.
Shooters have always had an appreciation for fine craftsmanship. From the exquisite finish on a gunstock, scrollwork of fine engraving, the engineering involved in the creation of a firearm that all join to give that ability to place bullets so precisely at long distances. It was because of this expertise and my experiences that I wanted to explore the possibility of creating pens from real spent ammunition components rather than replica items.
There are of course advantages to using a replica kits. The parts are all clean, pristine and mark free. The replica bullet simply screws onto the false case. They all look very nice and will easily fool those who know no differently. The experienced and trained eye of the Shooter will identify the difference.
All of my bullet pens are made from once fired military or once fired or new commercially manufactured cases. By using real ammunition components each pen is subtly unique. Only genuine bullet heads, with a Full Metal Jacket are used. The bullets have the lead removed and are then drilled to accept the pen nib.
The weight and heft is almost identical to a live round but minus the lead in the bullet. I also go to great pains to ensure that the original overall length falls within the limits set by SAAMI The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institure and CIP Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'Epreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives. The cases come highly polished but the once fired cases still bear some marks from firing and cycling through the action of the gun. These telltale marks are caused by pressure forming of the brass case within the steel chamber of the gun during the firing process. In addition to this marks are also caused to the case during the extraction mechanism. The marks are unique to the case having been fired by the individual gun. They are unobtrusive and simply serve as a timely reminder that this was once shot through a real gun.
Each dead primer is removed from the case and the pocket is then expertly bored to accept a brass tube. The tube then goes through a careful soldering process to accept the pen mechanism. The copper Jacket of the bullet is seated into the mouth of the case. Instead of being crimped into place, as it would be during the ammunition manufacturing process, the bullet is fixed using an epoxy adhesive which is then allowed to cure for 24 hours before any further processing takes place. This whole process goes to make a product that will provide years of enjoyable use.
All the specialist wood I use is obtained from renewable sources, the majority of which are sourced from within the United Kingdom. The wood components are sealed with several applications of an acrylic sealer. This is then polished with nine, progressively finer grades of abrasive to bring out a deep long lasting lustre. This careful and painstaking polishing process really enhances the grain of the wood to make it stand out.
A final application of a Microcrystaline or Renaissance Wax as it is also known, seals the polishing process and provides a protective layer resistant to fingerprints, water and dirt and further enhances the appearance of the pen. Microcrystaline wax was developed and used by the British Museum to protect their most valuable artifacts.
Although made from original ammunition components, all pens are legal to own and are no longer capable of being fired or converted back into their original use.
All of these features go to creating a unique, handcrafted pen gift that anyone will be proud to own.