How to Simultaneously Unwind, Spend Quality Time with Your Children and Make Wooden Pens as Gifts

Woodworking is a hobby I truly enjoy. Not only does it help me maintain “mental peace,” but I’ve also found that it’s great way to spend time with my sons and make heirloom-quality gifts.Wood pen.jpg

When my kids were in kindergarten, we began making wooden pens together. Even at an early age, the boys were able to safely run a small lathe and respectfully handle the tools necessary to turn, sand, finish and assemble the pens. You’re probably asking, “How exactly does a 6 year old make a pen?”  Believe it or not, it’s easy and only takes about an hour.

Without going into too much detail, you do the following:

  1. Purchase a “pen kit” from a store like Woodcraft along with wood “blanks” that are about 5” long and ¾” wide.
  2. Drill a hole through the wooden blank.
  3. Turn it to a desired shape on a wood lathe.
  4. Put a beautiful gloss finish on the wood.
  5. Insert the kit components.
  6. Put it in a wood case & give to someone as a great gift.

So, here’s a funny add-on…

When my son Sam was in second grade, he made a stunning pen and decided to give it to his teacher.  It looked similar to this one in this picture.  His teacher called my wife later that day to tell her that Sam had “stolen” a pen and tried to give it to her as a gift. His teacher didn’t believe that he could have made such a beautiful piece of work.  We got a good laugh out of it and assured her it was Sam’s handiwork.

Last year I was invited to Japan to visit my friend, Ryohei Yoshijima, who works for another Microsoft Dynamics NAV partner named Pacific Business Consulting Group. Since I would be meeting with a group of people from the company and wanted to express my appreciation for their hospitality, I made several pens to bring as gifts. They too were astonished to learn the pens were handmade.  It was a joy to share my hobby with them and give a gift that made a lasting impression.

If you’re interested in more information on how to make wooden pens, watch this 15 minute step-by-step video demonstration that I recorded.

Have you ever received (or given) a unique gift that made a lasting impression?  If so, we'd love to hear about it.  Please share your experience by posting a comment below.

Donavan Lane

Donavan Lane

Donavan Lane is Founder and Chairman of Innovia Consulting. For more than 35 years, he has led the business with strong core values such as integrity, teamwork, empathy, fun, and dedication. These commitments form the foundation of what makes Innovia unique and lead the company to continue exceeding customer expectations.