Sunday, April 10, 2011

One-of-a-kind Hand-turned Pens!

Rollerball and gel pensSo... There is an unusual sound coming from the garage these days.  It's the sound of the Shopsmith meetingwith wood head on.  Our son, Jack, took a woods class his senior year in high school and learned how to do all kinds of things on a Shopsmith.  We have a Shopsmith.  It was purchased 'used' about 25 years ago at a yard sale.  It's hardly seen the light of day, though it has been used a couple of times... but never for this application.  Jack is making hand-turned pens!  He found and assembled all the parts to work the lathe on this machine (much to his father's surprise) and ordered some wood blanks and pen kits and is actually creating beautiful works of art.  He can turn wood, antler, stone and even corncobs into pens, mechanical pencils and handles for magnifying glasses and ice cream scoops.  It's shocking!  Jack takes after his father, John Doctor Tool Collison, who also has a good handle on using tools to make things.

Perhaps the most amazing part of this is Jack's attitude!  When he got home from his winter mission trip, he decided to raise some money to give to a church he worked with down in Mexico.  These hand-turned pens are a fund raiser for both him and the church:  he will send half his proceeds to the church and the other half will be his summer job earnings.  John put some money into getting him started and now the project is launched.  Jack has made about 120 pens and has sold about 60 in the 2 months he's been home (thanks to so many generous friends, family and church people he has contact with.)  Each pen or pencil or handle is a fine work of art... a one-of-a-kind masterpiece! 

Currently, I'm reading a book entitled The Hole in the Gospel:  What Does God Expect From Us?  by Richard Stearns.  It is a very convicting book about actually helping the poor instead of just talking about it.  I encourage you to stay far away from this book if you don't want a heart for the poor, because it keeps drilling into its readers the idea that we are God's hands and feet - that's how God set it up -  and what are we (am I) doing about this?  The author quotes Mother Teresa which bears some thought:   She said, "I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God Who is sending a love letter to the world."  Wow!  Some of this I agree with and some of this, I don't.  In Mother Teresa's humble manner, she thought of herself as a 'little pencil' when actually, she was a fine work of art... a one-of-a-kind masterpiece put together by God.  In Psalm 139, we are told that we are 'woven together and wonderfully made.'  She was no little pencil...  and neither are you and I...  So if I may, I'd like to rewrite her quote to say:  Each of us is a fine work of art... a one-of-a-kind hand-turned pen in the hand of a writing God Who is sending a love letter to the world...

So... find a fresh refill of ink , remove the cover of inhibition, and consider yourself a one-of-a-kind writing tool to be used by God to spread His eternal saga of everlasting love.


P.S.:  If you are interested in perusing Jack's hand-turned pens, you can contact him at or let me know and I'll pass it on.


  1. We ordered a pen from Jack for my brother's graduation from Iowa State University. The pen was truly a work of art and my brother loved it! Thanks for letting us all know about Jack's talent! -Sarah Heidel

  2. Thanks! I'll tell him! He's really enjoyed this project. And we are so glad he has something to do this summer.
    Thanks for your support!