Above: Reed pen made by Dick at the August 15 meeting of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective. His is more elegantly carved than mine—he's got skills! You can put a hole in the top at the split using an awl (this keeps the split from growing), but we didn't have awls (there was a class in the other room I couldn't disturb).
I mentioned in my report on the Reed Pen meeting of the Collective that I would post again with images of the pen. I haven't had a chance to draw anything using my pen (I have been running out and about getting ready for the Fair and can't risk spilling ink all over myself!) but I did take some photos of the tip of the pen Dick made so that you can see what we are all wild about.
Left: Side view, with the top side of the pen resting on the table and the underside facing upwards. You can see the lovely gentle slope of the two curving cuts down the length of the pen tip.
I'm not one for shaving or cutting wood. I do have to use an X-Acto in my work and when I collage. In general I tend to stay away from sharp objects.
If you are similarly disinclined to use sharp blades I have to urge you to still try this because it is very simple to cut through the reeds—simple in the sense that you can make a clean stroke and cut. Success will of course come with some practice—but then the reeds can be found anywhere.
You can also do this with bamboo stakes—the type sold at the gardening supply store, but you have to saw those down to size. They are also thicker and I imagine they are harder to cut through. I didn't try one.
(Note: when you are cutting your reed down to the size you want you simply put your knife edge at 90 degrees to the reed and rotate the reed so that you score the entire circumference. Then you simply snap it off! Quick and clean.)
Thanks again to Tom Winterstein for showing us such a great toolmaking technique.
Above and Below: These last two images are of the underside of the tip. They show the very fine point that is possible, and also show the metal reservoirs that Tom showed us how to make. (In Dick's pen I can see that he used the pop can. I found the pop can too bendy and went with the catfood can lid.) The reservoir point doesn't have to sit right at the center of the tip, it still works well if it shifts over a bit as you can see in the last photo. The next photo below shows the same side of the pen, but from a different angle. I thought it would be useful for you to see both.