Platings and Finishes

Platings are the coatings that come on the components that I use to make pens. They vary in color, durability, and expense. Availability depends on the style of pen.

Note: I recommend a Bright Chrome finish for items subject to heavy wear, such as keychains.

Enamel - Some styles are available with baked-on enamel plating in multiple colors. These can be used to make flashy or whimisical pens and are often favored by children.

Durability: Poor to Fair

Bright Copper - Copper is a naturally reactive metal and tarnishes rapidly if left exposed. This plating is coated with a clear acrylic, but the underlying metal will discolor if the coating is chipped or scratched.

Durability: Fair

Satin Copper - The same as above, but in a non-reflective, satin surface.

Durability: Fair

24k Gold - Jewelry-grade 24 carat gold plating, with a clear enamel protective coating.

Durability: Good

Satin Gold - The same as above, but in a non-reflective, satin surface.

Durability: Good

Bright Chrome - Nickel-chromium plating is one of the most durable and economical platings available today. It is mirror-bright and will withstand a lifetime of daily use.

Durability: Outstanding

Satin Chrome - A non-reflective silver color plating. It is not as tough as Bright Chrome, but more equivalent to the Satin Gold plating above.

Durability: Good

10k and "Upgrade" Gold - A different alloy of Gold and other metals (most notably Chromium). It is the same bright gold color as the 24k Gold finish, but harder. It will hold up better to regular handling.

Durability: Very Good

Rhodium - The brightest member of the Platinum family, Rhodium is extremely attractive and tough. Our highest quality pens feature Rhodium plating, often with heavy 22k Gold accents. It is very resistant to scratching, withstands acids from fingerprints, and does not tarnish. Rhodium is the standard for heirloom pens.

Durability: Excellent

Gold Titanium - The absolute most scratch-proof plating available today. Gold Titanium looks like 24k gold, but is harder than steel. If you use your pen every day, or if you want a treasure to hand down through the generations, Gold Titanium cannot be beaten.

Durability: Outstanding

Black Titanium - The same as Gold Titanium above, but with a dark, reflective, "smokey" color. It is often accompanied by Rhodium accents.

Durability: Outstanding

Finishes are the coatings put on the parts I create. There is no single "best" finish. Some finishes are easier to apply than others, some are more durable, some are more expensive. I strive to use the most appropriate finish for each individual piece, depending on the material used.

None - Sometimes, no finish is the best finish. Naturally hard, oily, or resinous woods often polish up to a beautiful sheen without any other coating. Olive Wood is a good example. The same is true for plastics, such as Polyester and Acrylic.

Durability: Good-Excellent

Oil - Finishes such as Linseed Oil, Tung Oil, and Teak Oil go on as a liquid, but harden thereafter. This creates a durable surface that retains the feel of natural wood. Oil finishes are particulary suitable for naturally oily woods such as Teak, and members of the Rosewood family. The oil may need to be replenished from time to time.

Durability: Good

Wax - Wax is not a protective finish. It is a surface coating that provides a shine. Wax is usually applied over some other finish (such as Oil) for added gloss. It will wear off after a little use and need to be reapplied. A wax-based furniture polish (such as Pledge) will restore a worn-off wax shine.

Durability: Fair

Shellac aka Friction Polish - Friction Polish, which contains Shellac and Wax, is inexpensive and quick to apply. It yields an attractive shiny finish, but doesn't last much longer than wax alone. Friction Polish is often found on inexpensive pens because little labor is involved. It is suitable if all you really want is the patina which develops with regular use. In that case, the shellac wears off and is replaced with the oils from your fingers. I do not use Friction Polish. Instead, I usually opt for bare wood, or the more time-consuming, but much more durable Cyanoacrylate finish below.

Durability: Fair

Powder Coating - Sometimes, I make pens with metal components. Rifle shell cases are a prime example. If left exposed, a brass shell case will tarnish and discolor. Sometimes, this is the desired effect, but usually people prefer that it remain bright and shiny. In those cases, I'll use a clear or tinted powder coating, which is a baked-on paint which is very stable and durable.

Durability: Excellent

Cyanoacrylate - This is my finish of choice for most woods and other porous materials such as antler. It is very hard and strong. Cyanoacrylate permeates the surface and strengthens wood. It helps keep fragile woods from spliting. I can create a satin surface, or buff it to a high gloss.

Durability: Excellent

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