Local Fare: More Pens by Bob

Now that the holidays are approaching and we’re entering the hardcore craft show season, Fred and I are making the rounds of the area shows. A few weekends ago we stopped at a nearby firehouse in hopes that my favorite local pen people would be there— Bob and Virginia Lenhart of RJL Enterprises. You may recall that I happily stumbled upon Bob’s handmade pens back in April at the same firehouse. Those pens remain favorites—the magnetic caps are STILL fascinating to me—so I was hoping that they’d be there for the fall show. AND THEY WERE! (Were you in suspense?)

Magnetic pens
My April purchases

Why I didn’t take pictures of their table is beyond me. (Next time, I swear!) I guess I get so flustered by the pens! What’s cool is that Bob displays acrylic blanks next to some of his finished pens so that you really get to see how much the acrylic is transformed by the talents of the penmaker. While we were chatting, a woman stopped by the table and marveled at all of the choices and colors and styles. She ultimately walked away with a magnetic capped rollerball pen, much like the one I purchased last time. Good choice, wise lady!

Even though I love the magnetic pens, I wanted to pick something different this time, so a pen decision had to be made. Trying to pick out one of Bob’s pens is like going to an animal shelter and trying to pick out ONE kitten. YOU JUST WANT TO TAKE THEM ALL HOME. They’re all so colorful and polished and obviously made with great care and  love. (The pens, I mean, not the kittens.) Did I want wood? Or a colorful acrylic? Something with a stylus? Ballpoint? Rollerball Fountain pen? Hmmmmmm.

What to choose. What to choose.

Honduran Mahogany pens

I eventually settled on a rollerball and fountain pen pair made from Honduran Mahogany. The pens are identical twins when capped, and are highly polished and coated so that they look and feel like fine furniture. SMOOTH.

Chrome accents

Honduran Mahogany Rollerball and Fountain Pen

Trimmed with chrome and black accents, the look is simple but eye-catching. The grooved grip area makes the section much grippier than a plain metal section, and the clip is great-looking and wonderfully springy. The rollerball takes a Schneider Topball 850, or a Staples brand Avant gel refill, while the fountain pen takes a standard cartridge or converter. Both write like champs. Bob obviously loves what he does, and wants to share his handiwork and love of pens, so his prices are more than fair. I paid $44.95 for this pair, which is a super deal.

Acrylic ballpoint

I also walked away with a gorgeous acrylic ballpoint that takes Parker-style refills and has been to and from work with me every day since. The acrylic is a summery swirl of yellow/orange and green and is a real mood booster. As the days get colder and darker, it’s nice to have some things that bring warmth and sunshine to mind, and this pen does just that. With a Private Reserve EasyFlow 9000 refill (my favorite—thanks, Mike Dudek) installed, it lays down a smooth dark line that’s pure ballpoint joy.

Shimmery acrylic
Shimmery acrylic— even better in person

We saw a lot of really cool crafts that day—from wooden jewelry boxes to soft fleece pillows to leather belts—but my heart will always go with the pen guy. Maybe that’s because Bob puts so much heart into his pens.

The new trio
Still life with pens and Nock Co. case

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Though you may not be lucky enough to have a “Bob” in your backyard, Bob’s pens can come to you. Check out his website at pens4youonline.com. There’s free shipping within the USA!

This is not a sponsored post. I’m just a happy repeat customer.

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Serendipity: Magnetic Pens by Bob & Virginia

A couple of rainy Saturdays ago, we were looking for a little something to do, and wound up at a craft show held at a local firehouse. Mother’s Day is coming up so I thought I’d keep an eye out for mom gifts. There were a lot of lovely, but usual, items. Soaps, leather goods, lots of jewelry, pillows, and fleece blankets. And in another room, a little pottery, cutting boards, kettle corn, jam, and maple syrup. Everything was well-made, but nothing was really catching my eye…until we made our way into the last room.

Magnetic pens
Look what I found!

WHAT?! Could it be?! A pen booth?!! Why yes it was. I think I yelped with excitement. Maybe not out loud, but something in me yelped. Because I’ve NEVER seen handmade pens at craft shows. Until now.

Magnetic pens

Bob & Virginia Lenhart had a table loaded with wonderful handmade pens. It sounds cliche, but there really was something for everyone. They had pens made from exotic Bethlehem Olivewood and Bog wood, pens made to resemble the shocks on a Harley-Davidson bike, bolt-action pens, pens with styluses (stylii?), and pens made from colorful acrylics…all gorgeous and unique. I should’ve had the presence of mind to take a picture of their table, but I was so pen happy that the thought never crossed my mind. I quickly honed in on a pair of hefty acrylic pens…one a rollerball, the other a fountain pen…both with magnetic caps. SO COOL.

A sweet pair
A sweet pair

These are substantial pens. I only have a so-so kitchen scale, but I’d put them around 1.5 ounces (or about 43 grams), which is about twice the weight of a Lamy AL-Star. Once I picked them up, I couldn’t stop playing with the magnetic caps which emit a satisfying SNAP when the pen is capped or posted. It’s a really cool sound, and feels a bit like the pens cap themselves. Addictive, is what it is. And so I bought the pair.

Posted caps
S-N-A-P!!

Another great thing about local wares is that prices tend to be more reasonable. At just $27.50 for the rollerball and $31.95 for the fountain pen, it’s clear that the Lenharts are all about offering quality pens at fair prices.

Magnetic caps

The rollerball came loaded with a Schneider Topball 850 0.5mm refill which is dark and smooth, but just a hair on the wet side. I’ve since swapped that refill into another pen and installed an Avant 0.5mm refill from Staples, which is a current refill favorite. Writing perfection. The fountain pen came with a couple of cartridges and lays down a shockingly smooth medium line. Both pens are a joy to use and travel to and from work with me every day.

Posted pens
Posted pens

There’s so much talk lately about buying local, but generally that means heading to farmers’ markets for just-picked produce and right-from-the-oven baked goods, or stopping at a nearby farm for fresh brown eggs. Who would’ve thought that there would be “homegrown” pens right in my own backyard?

THAT was a happy surprise.

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Check out some of Bob & Virginia’s pens at their website: pens4youonline.com