Engraving Pens

Turned wooden pens are extreme popular and significant value can be added to any pen through laser engraving. Personalizing a pen with a name, signature or logo can transform a beautiful pen into a keepsake. We hope that answering some of your pen engraving questions here will be helpful and will also convince you to give us a chance to help make your pens the most memorable works of art they can be.

Does the type of finish on my wood pen or pencil matter?

To date we have not had a problem laser engraving through normal finishes.  In most cases we don't even know what finish is on the pen or pencil.  There is always a first time, but we have yet to find it.

Can special requests be handled?

Often we can handle special requests.  Here are some examples.

Left or Right Handed

A right-handed person will generally hold the wood pen or pencil such that the engraving needs to be left of the clip.  A left-handed person will generally hold the wood pen or pencil such that the engraving needs to be right of the clip.  Most people don't think of this when giving pens as gifts, but to give the perfect laser engraved turned pen or pencil gift you should know whether the intended recipient is right-handed or left-handed.

Text That Wraps Around

 In extreme cases text can be written length-wise on the pen in multiple lines.  We can also actually engrave something around the barrel of the pen or pencil, but there are several caveats with doing this.  We cannot at all be reasonably expected to 'make ends meet' going around the barrel of the pen or pencil.  Barrel finished diameters can vary widely and since we are working with such small dimensions and tolerances it is nearly impractical to get this to work from one pen to another.  Also, there just isn't that much surface to engrave on most wooden pens and pencils.  Engraving the barrel where it will be handled constantly can result in obvious issues such as breakage of fine pieces in the engraving, and in not so obvious issues such as filling the engraved areas with "stuff' that comes from the owner's hands".  Think about it.


Should my pen be finished and assembled?

In most cases, Yes, the pen or pencil should be finished and assembled before being engraved.  We can engrave pen and pencil barrels prior to assembly, but you risk damaging the engraving if pressure on the barrel is applied over the engraved area.

Finishing the pen after engraving can be a problem.  Pen barrels are very thin.  Thus the laser engraving depth is even more shallow so that it does not go through to the metal barrel.  If a pen or pencil is engraved and then you sand the barrel you may mistakenly remove the engraving.  You might also break off tiny segments of letters or logos.  Also, if you finish a pen after engraving you may fill the engraving with finish which often renders the engraving much less distinct and crisp.

 The best suggestion is to bring us or send us your turned wood pens and pencils already finished and assembled.


What woods engrave best on a wood pen?

Virtually any wood used to create a turned pen can be engraved.  We have also engraved pens made from man-made materials such as acrylics and laminates.  We could also mark (engrave a material onto a surface) metal pens that DO NOT have any finish (lacquer or other) coating.

Lighter tightly grained woods result in better contrast with the laser engraving.  Excellent examples are olive wood, maple, birch, butternut, pecan, holly and similar woods.  Lighter open  grain woods that do not engrave as well include oak and ash.  They engrave find, but the growth rings and other heavy pitch areas engrave become darker while the other areas hardly change color at all.  Oak and ash can be laser engraved, but it takes more time and might cost a bit extra.

Dark woods, while they engrave fine with the laser, do not show up as well because of the limited contrast between the wood and the engraving.  This can be solved or mitigated by filling the engraving with a lighter, better contrasting material.

Alternating light and dark woods such as zebrawood and goncalo alves sometimes work well and sometimes are not so good.  The judgement will depend on where the color changes are on the barrell in relation to the engraving. 

Burl woods such as walnut burl can end up with tiny voids just beneath the surface that may be exposed when engraved.  Sometimes these 'broken out' areas can be touched up with a black pen or other paint-type application.  In some cases the void may drastically impact the result such that the pen is considered unusable.  We can't be liable for voids found in the wood, but we will always do our best to work with you and suggest solutions.


Can any style pen be engraved?

Generally, the answer is Yes!

The answer would be maybe or even no if the text or logo you want to engrave will not fit on the pen you have or will lose too many details when sized to fit on the pen.  The answer might also depend on the shape of the pen.  If there are extreme changes in barrel diameter the laser might not be able to accurately engrave it.  We've never had that happen so far, but there is always that first time.

Otherwise,  we can almost always work out a way to engrave your pen that will suit your needs.