It’s not that I’m bored, honest. But a girl can only read so many books before she needs to do something with her hands. And given that I’m redeveloping my farmer’s calluses, it felt natural to take up a hardier hobby. There’s something artful and meditative about shaving off curls of wood, weighing the gentle balance of a knife in your hand.
It appears that whittling has its own website, even appearing above the Wikipedia article in the google results (I figured that if I was going to admit my newfound love of whittling, I had better do my research). In any case, I remembered this post over at Leigh Reyes’ blog and knew my first project would have to be a pen. After a somewhat-successful but highly unattractive first try with a piece of stale bamboo, I came up with this beauty:
To be honest, I’m not even sure what type of wood this is, or if I went about it the “right” way. I just grabbed a piece of scrap from the wood pile, whittled it down to a shape I liked, sanded, and carved the reservoir. After sanding, I oiled the top half to keep the ink from absorbing into the wood. I left the bottom rough because I liked the look of it. The shape fits well in my hand.
Obviously the wood has absorbed some ink, and I noticed a discoloration when I tried to write with a lighter ink after using a darker ink the night before. But in general, I’m shocked that it writes so well. After figuring out all those angles, it was really a matter of imagining the capillary action of the ink itself, and how it would react to the surface of the wood. As my hippie kindergarden ballet teacher used to say, “be the tree” …