A short while ago, I saw a colleague of mine at the day job write up his operation notes with the most beautiful fountain pen. When I complimented him on it, he let slip that he had made it himself.
My interest was piqued as I hadn't expected that answer - after all, the last hand-made writing implement I have heard of was probably the quill! I spent some time with him chatting about it and was invited to his house to take a look at his workshop.
There are shelves full of bowls and boxes that he has made himself, and a longbow that was made a few years ago as a limited item sits in the bay window. Mike, who loves wood items went quite cross eyed from the effort of restraining himself to his usual nonchalance (he didn't make it) , a bit like me in a contemporary jewellery store.
When he talked about his hobby, Shekhar's eyes gleamed with a fanatical fervour, he became animated, and once he found he had an appreciative audience in Mike and me, he brought out everything he had made. I can tell you now, some of the stuff just took my breath away. He brought out a little bowl, and I took a nice photograph - then out came another, and I had to have that on film too, and then a third, and a fourth - you get the picture. My camera's battery started to flash and I began to panic that I would soon run out of juice, forgetting that I had a spare battery in my camera case in my excitement and awe at all the treasure before my eyes. I realised the trick was to wait until all the pieces of a similar genre had been brought out and then take the picture - but how was I to know when the end was in sight?? There just seemed to be an endless supply of beautifully made bowls and boxes.
I enquired about the beautiful pen that had first caught my eye. I was told that it was actually made of metal Mokume Gane - this is a Japanese metal working procedure, which produces a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns using pressure and heat. Mokume gane translates closely to "wood grain metal", describing the way the metal takes on the appearance of natural wood grain. Though the technique was first created to decorate swords, the art survives today mostly in the form of jewelry and hollowware.
I brought the items home, took some photographs and returned them to him. If some discerning person decides that they too, are in love, and one of the bowls is a 'must have' item, Shekhar will courier them out himself, so that I don't have to get involved with that side of things. If someone wants an inlaid bowl, do let me know and I can put you in touch with him.
Now on the 'WoodCraft' page