Lhotse Custom Clipless Fountain Pen - in Lignum Vitae (natural wood)
(Click each photo for a larger view)
The pen in the top photo's was lighter than usual, but quickly started getting darker. Eventually the grain turning a bluish-gray. Below is another pen where the Lignum Vitae was the more typical darker brown after it's initially turned. We also used a dark brown acrylic on this one instead of the black.
The first three photo's show how the grain varies around the pen.
About the Name:
The Lhotse (pronounced "loat---as in goat-- say") is named after Mount Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain on earth. Lhotse is best known for its proximity to mount Everest and the fact that climbers ascending the "standard route" on that peak spend some time on its northwest face. And in fact Lhotse has the smallest topographical prominence value of any the other mountains in it's group.
The Lhotse shape is known as a "cigar", and is one of the most iconic and popular clipless fountain pen styles ever made. It has a gradual taper from the center (joint) out to either end, ending in a nice round-over. The clipless style and short length allows the pen to be very portable. It can easily fit in a pocket, purse, briefcase or knapsack. The standard length is about 5 1/2", but it can be ordered in any custom size between 5" and 6" (or even longer if desired). The pen uses a standard Cartridge/Converter inking system. It can be fitted with a #5 or #6 nib. Nib finishes available for STEEL nibs are: 2-tone, polished steel, Black Oxide (#6 only), or Ruthenium (#5 only). Current tip sizes are x-fine, fine, medium, broad, and two italics (1.1 both; 1.4 for #5 only, and 1.5 for #6 only). 14 & 18K Gold nibs are also available as a special order.
Lhotse Options and Upgrades:
The Lhotse is another pen style that allows for a few upgrades and options. You could add metal accent bands to the base of the cap, or add a HIDDEN RING clip (see the Tortoise Shell). The accent bands are available in several finishes (24k gold, nickel or Rhodium, and come in a variety of diameters with widths from 1 to 4mm (n 1mm increments). As stated above, you can also upgrade your pen with a 14k or 18k gold nib.
Inking system upgrades... Because of the style of the barrel, it's not very conducive to adding a blind-cap for a piston or button filler. So the only upgrade option available for the Nanga would be adding an o-ring so it could be used as an eyedropper.
I also offer a variety of hand-made Pen Props and Pen Buttons. You can order a Pen Prop in a material to match your pen, or any one of the wooden styles made in a variety of stained or dyed colors. The Pen Buttons are available for any of the clipless pens.
About this Material:
This pen is made from LIGNUM VITAE (also known as VERAWOOD), which is a natural wood. It's also one of strongest and most dense wood available, so it's perfect for a fountain pen. Although it's a strong material, I used acrylic for some of the more critial areas of the pen--the section and threads. The cap and barrel also have acrylic inserts for the internal threads making the pen as strong as an acrylic pen. Some of the other unique features of the Lignum Vitae is the way it turns color over time. When it's first turned, it can be anywhere from a medium brown (top group), to a dark chocolate brown (bottom group). But as it ages (from being exposed to the air) it eventually get lighter and turns color-- usually transforming the wood grain to a blue-gray color. The photo 2nd to right on the top row shows how this pen turned in about a year (this was my personal pen, so I was able to see how the mateiral turned first hand). The Lignum Vitae also has a very unique (but plesant) odor. It's very strong during the turning, but fades as it ages. But if you like the scent, it can be "recharged" by vigoriously rubbing the wood between your fingers. The wood is quite oily when first turned, but it helps to keep the pen from absorbing skin oils, so it doesn't require a finish, but resists staining very well.
About the Clip:
The Lhotse is a clipless pen. But if you're like me and like the portability of a clipless pen, but for certain occasions wish it had a clip, then I have an option for you. The top right photo shows the pen with a slide-on clip. You can use it when necessary, then easily slide it off when it's not needed anymore. The clip is 24k gold plated spring steel.
Color / Material: Lignum Vitae (also know as Verawood).
Length: Capped = 5.53" / Uncapped = 5.125".
Diameter: Max = .60" / Ends = .50".
Weight: Capped = 20.8 gms / Uncapped = 14.4 gms.
Nib: Meister #6 polished steel.
Filling System: C/C.