Handmade Pens from the Workshop of Neil Sperry
VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE for Christmas Season 2016:
Due to a prolonged bout with migraines and vertigo since mid-summer, I have temporarily stepped away from my lathe and will probably not be able to offer all of the pens listed below this holiday season. The problems are getting better, but I’ve decided not to rush back into my turning too quickly. I’ll keep you updated here. In the meantime, I appreciate your support and your well wishes!
I have been turning pens since 1996, and it's been an exciting and enriching experience. That's partly because of the treasure hunt of finding historic, rare and beautiful woods. It's also because of the people that I've met.
Substance abuse crops up in many families, and people who are steadfast in their recovery have my utmost respect. It's even better when it's youth who are trying to right their lives and get things back on track.
In that light, I'm proud to pledge 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of my pens to Serenity High in McKinney (through the not-for-profit McKinney Education Foundation).
Serenity High in McKinney opened as a part of the McKinney I.S.D. in 1999. It is, we are told, the longest-running sober high school (public or private) in America, and we believe it is still the only public recovery high school in the U.S.
Each of the pens that I turn takes approximately 2 hours to prepare, turn and assemble. I use only the finest mechanisms available, and the pens accept Cross ballpoint and roller ball refills. I will repair or replace any pen in the unlikely event of any problem.
I normally have my pens with me when I am making public appearances. They can also be ordered from my magazine office. To do so, or for any questions, please call or e-mail Gretchen Drew at (800) 752-4769 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I currently have more than 400 woods in my inventory, including those in the list below. I typically bring all of the best-selling woods with me to my pen sales, including the various historic and university woods. If you are interested in one of the other woods, you probably should contact Nancy at my office to be sure I will have it with me (see contact info above).
It might be helpful if I were to explain some of the terms you will see:
"Stabilized" wood has been impregnated with an acrylic resin under vacuum pressure. I turn only stabilized woods, to ensure the durability and permanent good looks of my pens.
"Spalted" refers to wood that has begun to decay. Black-line spalting is the very first step in that process, giving those woods incredible detail. Once I have those woods stabilized, they are even more durable than standard wood.
"Burl" is a growth of trunk tissue that develops with wildly erratic grain. It is the most revered wood for exquisite projects, from furniture inlay and jewelry boxes to fine automobile accessories.
- Amboynia burl
- Ameriquest Field/Ballpark Oak (post oak)
- Ancient Kauri, New Zealand (30,000 years old)
- Arizona cypress burl
- Battle Oaks from University of Texas
- Baylor University, Old Main Oak, also spalted pecan from Fountain Place
- Birdseye persimmon
- Black ash burl
- Bois d’arc, 100-year-old fence post from Chestnut Square, McKinney
- Boxelder root burl
- Byron Nelson mahogany
- California Buckeye Burl
- Camphor burl
- Cherry burl, North Carolina
- Cherry burl, Pennsylvania
- Chinquapin oak burl
- Coconut palm
- Cottonwood burl, McKinney
- Cuban red mahogany, Batista
- Curly ‘Natchez’ crape myrtle, Dallas County
- Curly bubinga
- Curly magnolia
- Curly mango
- Curly pink ivory (Africa)
- Curly purpleheart
- Curly walnut
- Cypress – Ft. Sam Houston
- Desert ironwood (Arizona)
- Dyed Box Elder Burl
- Elm burl
- English yew
- Fir, Mt. Ranier ash field (5000 years old)
- Flame cottonwood (California)
- Flooring from Studebaker Plant
- Goose Island live oak (largest live oak in Texas)
- Gov. Hogg pecan, Texas State Capitol grounds
- Grapefruit (Arizona)
- Hawaiian koa
- Honeylocust burl
- Huon pine from Australia (4000 years old)
- Irish “sinker” oak from loch (Currently out of stock.)
- Juniper burl
- Live Oak – TCU Campus
- Live oak, The Alamo
- Mahogany – Lloyds of London
- Mahogany burl
- Minneapolis Lakers maple flooring
- Minneapolis lilac
- National Champion mesquite (from Texas)
- Oak from The Ohio State University campus (salvaged from an old book cart from the main library)
- Olive burl, Bethlehem
- Oregon madrone burl
- Padouk burl
- Paela burl, Mexico
- Plano Bicentennial bur oak
- Ponce de Leon lighthouse pine, Florida
- Poplar burl
- Redbud burl, McKinney
- Redwood from California’s Tall Trees
- Rosewood burl
- Sears, Texas red pine
- Smoketree burl
- Spalted boxelder
- Spalted burford holly
- Spalted hackberry, McKinney
- Spalted persimmon
- Spalted sweetgum
- Spalted sycamore
- Suwanee River sinker cypress
- Texas Capitol White Oak
- Texas ebony (Brownsville)
- Texas mesquite burl
- Texas Mountain Laurel
- The Century Oak
- The Treaty Oak
- Thuya burl (North Africa)
- Tiger myrtle
- Walnut and oak, Gettysburg National Monument
- Walnut from Brasstown, N. Car.
- Western yellow cedar burl
- Wormy chestnut
(Note: Some of these woods are of very limited supply. Although I normally carry more than 100 pens to store appearances, no guarantee can be made as to whether each type will always be available.)