Hometown: San Marcos
Filed Under: Finally, some cactus you'll be pleased to squeeze.
Overview: Custom fine pens made by a master Central Texas penturner, using the unique inner lattice of the Texas Prickly Pear Cactus (the State Plant of Texas), and fitted with platinum components and titanium trim to make an elegant and one-of-a-kind writing instrument
Appreciate: The skills of Curtis O. Seebeck, owner of TurnTex Woodworks. Few things are as enjoyable as seeing an expert make a business out of what he's great at doing, and what he loves to do. Spend a few minutes learning about TurnTex, and you'll know Seebeck is one of those experts. He learned to turn pens years ago in order to finance the adoption of his daughter. Adoptions are expensive, you know, so this means that Seebeck got lots of practice in pen-making. Around the same time, he developed a method of taking otherwise useless (but quality) wood and combining it with resin castings to fill in the weak spots, which essentially restores it by stablizing it and making it whole. He coined it his "Worthless Wood" process, and discovered it could be applied to the beautifully mysterious lattice within the naturally occurring dead pads of the Prickly Pear Cactus
Know: When you order your Original Cactus Pen, you'll notice that the real business over at TurnTex Woodworks is Seebeck sharing his craft with others, by selling pen "blanks" and similar materials to other hobbyists. Pen blanks are essentially the pre-formed molds (pre-formed for you by TurnTex) out of which the decorative casings for pens are shaped on a lathe. So, you'll need a at least a lathe and a patient wife if you're in the market for this. Twenty dollars buys you 2 pen blanks in colors such as Magma Red (really sharp looking), Rustic Copper, and Rainforest Green; $52 buys you one in every color. If you prefer a look other than cactus, consider the "Juiced Up" line of blanks, made from salvaged Texas woods such as Spanish Oak Burl, Texas Pecan, and Texas Elm
Special Comments: If you have a lathe, a patient wife, and many many paper towels, you can take your penturning hobby a step further and make the pen blanks yourself. TurnTex sells their very own "Cactus Juice Stabilizing Solutions," which is the resin you'll need to make your very own blanks. But wait, there's more: TurnTex also: manufactures the vacuum chambers used to infuse your material (cactus or otherwise) with the stabilizing resin; sells the dye to give it color; and, provides countless tips, FAQs, and video tutorials on their website so that you can make cactus pens, knives, duck calls, and fishing rod handles from the comforts of your own garage. Sounds like fun! Do you know what else sounds like fun? Letting Seebeck make your pen for you
Cost: $175 for rollerball; $195 for fountain
See it: Here.