Writing by Hand

Last week I was given a gift, something simple yet very luxurious:  a pen.  It’s not a chew-on-the-cap plastic straw Bic, I’m talking a real pen.  A Cross pen.

This is the first real pen I’ve owned and it has weight and solidity that feels so good in your hand you want to pen notes to family members, draw beautiful sketches on napkins, maybe scribble off a note to your broker to sell five hundred thousand shares of Amalgamated Steel immediately.  Even though it’s a machine-made tool, it is well-suited to feature on handmade blog because it encourages you to do something by hand.  There are no leather typing gloves, or bespoke mouse pads that I’m aware of, but hand writing remains a corner of the market with a touch of English excellence, smelling of India ink, leather desktops, and creamy stiff writing paper.  Holding this pen makes me work a little harder at my tortured penmanship, and I find myself writing to-do lists by hand so I can feel the joy of striking through finished items with a bold ascending line.

A good tool doesn’t just make work easier, it makes it enjoyable.  So tell me, in your own handiwork, what’s your favorite tool?

1 comment
  1. I have a ninety-year old bench plane I picked up for $10 at a thrift store. Now, the woodworking community fetishizes old tools and their subsequent rehabilitation, but the truth is that I wiped it down, oiled the screws, bled my paycheck to pay for the best blade I could find, and now this plane will take shavings of lace from a granite-like piece of oak. End-grain, no less!

    I keep it oiled in a pine box and only bring it out for special occasions. Like problematic grain that defeats my newer, cheaper plane.

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