Archive for the ‘African Blackwood’ Category

Mpingo Slimline Ballpoint Pen

59MSP2

This pen could be named serendipity. While working on a couple of other pens made from Mpingo, I managed to break the wood on one of the barrels of each. Several weeks went by and the individual barrels got lost in the shuffle on my assembly bench. Yesterday, I found both of them. On a whim, I fitted them together and the wood patterns lined up perfectly! Pleased with my good luck, I put the pen together with some gold fittings.

The sharp variations of the sap & heart wood grain as well as the striking differences in colors makes this a very pretty pen. I’m quite pleased with the result.

59MSPMechanism: The mechanism is Cross style and refills are readily available in most office supply stores.

Finish: The pen was sanded up to 400 grit, then burnished with 0000 steel wool to bring up a smooth surface. It was then finished with mineral oil, bee’s & carnauba wax and a final polish with paraffin wax.

Price: US$35
Item Ref No: MSP0059
Status: Sold but a similar pen may be available. Click here to inquire.

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Mpingo .50 Caliber BMG Pen

49OO-54M-50BMPG

I made another pen from a once-fired .50 caliber BMG (Browning Machine Gun) shell casing, this time with Mpingo (African Blackwood). It is the pen in the right in the above photo. Making these pens is kind of fun. There’s only one barrel to be turned and there are only a couple of tricky spots. I made the barrel on this pen a bit longer to give it more weight at the tip for counter balancing the heft of the shell casing at the other end. Mpingo is one of the heavier woods I work with, so the extra weight helps. The photo collage below shows the dramatic variations of the sap & heart wood grain as well as the striking differences in colors from dark black with some subtle reds of the heart wood to the creamy yellowish white of the sap wood.

54M-50BMGPcollageMechanism: Cross style twist ballpoint mechanism.

Finish: The wood was sanded to 400 grit then polished up to 0000 steel wool. A wax & oil finish was then applied. The brass shell casing was sanded to 800 wet & dry, then up through 0000 steel wool, and finally polished with silver polish to a soft luster, then given three coats of gloss lacquer to preserve the shine. Since these are once-fired brass, there are dings & scuffs from the firing, extraction and collecting processes.

Price: US$40
Item Ref No: M-50BMGP0054
Status: Sold but a similar pen may be available. Click here to inquire.

Mpingo Bottle Stopper

40MBS

Mpingo (African Blackwood) has quickly become one of my favorite woods to work with. It machines well, smells nice, isn’t grumpy on the lathe – meaning it doesn’t split or crack easily although it will if you try hard enough. This particular piece said “bottle stopper” to me as soon as I saw it. The cut off wasn’t big enough to do much else with. It wasn’t long enough to make a pen from but it was long & wide enough to fit into your hand nicely. I like how the two colors have such a distinct line between two such highly contrasting colors. On the chrome steel part, there are two O-rings along the taper to help seal most wine bottles. It also fits perfectly on bottles for storing oil, honey and the likes while adding a striking look to your kitchen counter or dining table.



40MBS2

Materials: Mpingo wood, chrome steel, silicone O-rings.

Finish: Sanded to 400 grit, then 00 through 0000 steel wool.

Price: US$28
Item Ref No: MBS0040
Status: Sold but a similar one may be available. Click here to inquire.

Osage Orange & Mpingo 24-Carat Gold Fountain Pens

45OOFP2

Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) is one of my best selling woods, and with good reason.  It starts out as a bright orange color when freshly cut but mellows to a very nice dark orangy-brown with exposure to light and use.  I try to make my pieces from wood that I find and this one is no different.  My brothers and I split this tree for bow staves a few years ago and I now use the smaller pieces for turning on my lathe.

45OOFP

Mechanism: A classic Parker style nib and reservoir.  The finish is 24 carat gold plate with an epoxy coating for a very durable surface that comes with a lifetime guarantee.  This fountain pen has a postable insert, which means that the end can be inserted into the cap while you’re writing to keep it in place.  There is room for an extra ink reservoir inside, so you don’t have to worry about running out, and it comes with a cleaning tool to flush the mechanism for maintenance.


Finish: Sanded to 400 grit, then 00 through 0000 steel wool for an extremely smooth surface.  An oil and wax finish was then applied.



Price: US$78
Item Ref No: OOFP0045
Status: Sold but a similar pen may be available. Click here to inquire.





A second fountain pen (with similar mechanism) made out of Mpingo (Dalbergia melanoxylon) also known as African Blackwood …



48MFP

48MFP2

48MFP3 I chose a piece of cut-off Mpingo that had such a variety of colors and grains, it cried out for a nice-looking pen.


Price: US$78
Item Ref No: MFP0048
Status: Sold but a similar pen may be available. Click here to inquire.

Mpingo Slimline Ballpoint Pen

This pen is made from Mpingo (Dalbergia melanoxylon) commonly known as African Blackwood. Turning this particular pen was fun because it was the first time I’d made anything from it. I was pleased to learn how easy it was to work, and how nice a finish it took. Although the pen looks like it’s all black, there are reddish undertones that just don’t seem to photograph well, but take it into the sun and you’ll be surprised to see that it’s not actually black.

Mechanism: Cross style Slimline pen kit. Refills are readily available in most office supply stores.

Finish: Sanded to 0000 steel wool, then finished with bee’s, carnauba & paraffin wax with mineral oil.

Price: US$35
Item Ref No: MSP0012
Status: Sold but a similar pen may be available. Click here to inquire.



Photo by
Jennifer Tai Photo Artistry