Monday, 23 July 2012

Basic Pricing Guide

Since I do this more as a hobby than a business, my goal in selling any of my pens is primarily to fund more supplies, tools, and parts so that the hobby pays for itself - and so that I can get more pens into people's hands.   For that reason I try to price my pens as low as I can.

These prices include a high quality (mostly JoWo of Germany) steel nib (F, M, or B), and a converter for ink.  Prices are in USD.  

-Base Price (basic clipless fountain pen for example, a Cigar style or 'Simplicity' style, in acrylic):   $150 USD (standard size), $165 (large size or small size).

-Add a clip to an acrylic/alumilite/ebonite pen:  add $35

-Add a clip on a wood pen:  add $60 (note that this not possible with glossy CA finish, just with thin CA or oil finish)

-Add inlays, inset ends, or acrylic trim bands (depends on complexity):  add $25-60 ish

-Some (not all) alumilite custom resins will cost an extra $10 as they can be more expensive to purchase.

-Polishing the inside of transparent acrylics - add $60

-Change material to ebonite:  add $60

-Change material to celluloid (when available):  add $60

-Change cap and barrel material to exotic wood or wood-resin hybrid* with handmade acrylic or ebonite threaded parts and nib section, cap fully lined with acrylic to prevent nib dry-out**; finished with your choice of oil, thin or thick cyanoacrylate (though in most cases, my advice will be to go with one of the CA finishes):
        -thick, glossy cyanoacrylate finish (may not be possible on a pen with recesses hard to polish,     such as the Bamboo style):  add $100   Here is an example of this
        -thin, penetrating/sealing cyanoacrylate finish:  add $90  Here is an example of this
        -penetrating/sealing oil finish:  add $85  The walnut pen here was finished this way

-'grain-match' cap to barrel - $30  This is for wood pens or for pens that have a strong pattern (such as cumberland ebonite), whose cap and barrel are of the same diameter where they meet (Cigar, Bamboo style, etc).  This technique allows me to make the pen such that the cap and barrel meet exactly where they were cut such that the final product (cap and barrel together) still looks like one continuous piece.  Note that this requires a single piece of material that is at least 7 or 8 inches long (18cm +).

-Add a thread wrap (as on this pen):  $60

-Change to 14k or 18K gold nib:   add $125 (This is at cost - about what the nib would cost me with shipping).   This would require a certain degree of commitment to buying the final product, as I do not normally stock gold nibs, and must order them specially.

-Pen rest in matching material (please inquire whether I am able):   add $40 if one material, $50 if more than one material used.  Maybe a bit more if fancy (inlays etc)

-Custom Nib Grinds, alterations, smoothing and tuning:  $30 for custom grinds - EF, stub, CI, oblique, or architect; $20-25 for more minor alterations; as little as $15 for very simple smoothing/tuning (depends on how much work goes into it…).

-The 'Susutake' style bamboo pen with end-jewel inlays and thread wrap - This style of pen is quite labour-intensive, and depends a lot on availability of quality bamboo.  My current price for these is $425 USD with steel nib ($550 with gold nib).  This may be subject to change as I make more of them.

I hope that gives a fair idea of how I price my pens.

* Exotic wood selection based on availability.  One word of caution concerning wood pens: While they can be truly beautiful, they are not as hardy as the resin ones (acrylic/ebonite/alumilite etc).   While I try to seal thoroughly the inside of the cap and barrel with layers of thin CA followed by a coat of epoxy, I have found that these pens still have a tendency for the nib to dry rather faster than with resin pens.  I usually advise against using wood for pens that you plan to leave inked for long periods of time.   This issue is alleviated by either daily use (to keep the ink flowing) or by rinsing out and cleaning between uses, if infrequent.

**Wood pens tend to dry out rather quickly.  Even when the inside of the cap fully is sealed any of a wide variety of finishes, I have found the nib to dry out far too quickly.  For this reason, I now line the entire inside of the cap with one solid piece of acrylic (or on occasion, ebonite), which prevents nib dry-out, making the pen behave essentially like a resin one. 
Shipping:   Generally speaking, the cost for shipping/packaging will be $20 to US or Canada by tracked shipping.  For other destinations, tracked or insured shipping is quite a bit more expensive, so I would suggest contacting me to inquire about it.   Shipping outside US/Canada can be economical if it is untracked and uninsured, but I cannot take on the risk of loss, so if this option is chosen, the buyer would have to accept the risk of loss.

Feel free to contact me with questions, or to talk about ordering a pen: