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Thread: Freedom Pens, What Do You Think?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hayes, Virginia

    Freedom Pens

    Freedom Pens

    I had an idea this morning to start making wooden pens and donating them to our troops overseas. I have about 15 pens that I can donate and over the coming weeks I'm sure that I can turn another bunch. I'm not as fast as Ken Salisbury but I will produce as many as I can.

    I have contacted the Base Commander at Fort Monroe Virginia and I am waiting for him to return my call. I will ask him if he would be willing to deliver pens directly to the troops with only one stipulation, they must be given away for free. Those of you who have served know how much it means to get a package from home, imagine how much it will mean to receive such a nice gift from a fellow American, a reminder that they in our hearts everyday.

    A pen is a gift that a soldier can use to write home and it's small enough for them to carry. Hopefully the pens and their new owners will find their way back home safe and sound and it will someday be a special keepsake, a reminder of a call to duty.

    Fort Monroe is one of the oldest Army Forts in the country and is historically significant. This is my reasoning for selecting Fort Monroe as a point of departure. If the Base Commander is unwilling to ship my precious cargo then I will use the Post Office at Yorktown Virginia which is located just yards away from the last battle of the Revolutionary War, another historically significant point of departure known to All American Patriots.

    If anyone would like to join me I sure could use the help, I need 100,000 pens if I'm to give one to every soldier serving overseas. Consider this post a "Call to Arms" all Ye Pen-Turners and honorable members of SawMill Creek...Will You Help?

  2. #2
    Keith, you can count me in! I don't know how many Pens I can donate, but I have a pretty good bunch of them on hand now, and I can get busy turning more this weekend. I will cut and glue up some blanks and get busy. Sounds like a great idea............wouldn't that be cool if we could get together 100K pens? Let me know if you have any specific things in mine as far as the look of them, or the wood selection.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Gainesville, Florida

    This is a great idea! I checked my inventory and I'm a few short of 100K pens but would be happy to donate those that I have as well as make some more. (Geez Honey, I know I've been spending a lot of time in the shop but I'm just doing my part for the troops. By the way I need to buy more pen kits and, yeah, also a new Stubby/Oneway/Powermatic/Jet/Delta lathe to meet the production needs. ) Let us know where to send them.
    Kent Cori

    Half a bubble off plumb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hayes, Virginia

    Freedom Pens

    Thanks Guys for helping me out I was begining to sweat and thought I would be making all of the pens by myself

    Wow! I'm starting to get email and lots of Private Messages concerning Freedom Pens...

    Here is my suggestion;

    Write your name, city and state on a sheet of paper then Wrap each pen in a sheet. The paper wil protect the pen and provide the recipient with the name of the person who made the pen. You can include a written sentiment if you like and include the SawMill Creek logo on the sheet as well. Whatever suits you will be fine.

    As far as pen design, construction or type of wood let you imagination go wild. Every pen will touch the heart of the recipient I guarentee it.

    Send all wooden pens to our office at Hampton Roads Online and I will personally box and deliver them for shipment.

    This is not to become a burden on anyone, one pen or whatever you can do will be much appreciated.
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 12-31-2021 at 10:46 AM.

  5. #5
    You can count me in. I too don't know how many I can give, but I will get some in.

    To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; wheter by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easeir because you have lived. This is the meaning of success.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  6. #6

    I'll get my share done and sent to you ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Outten
    Here is my suggestion;

    Write your name, city and state on a sheet of paper then Wrap each pen in a sheet. The paper wil protect the pen and provide the recipient with the name of the person who made the pen. You can include a written sentiment if you like and include the SawMill Creek logo on the sheet as well. Whatever suits you will be fine.

    Send all wooden pens to our office at Hampton Roads Online and I will personally box and deliver them for shipment.

    SawMill Creek
    Hampton Roads Online
    1213-H George Washington Memorial Highway
    Yorktown, VA 23693
    I bought 50 of the cardboard boxes from Laserbits that will be nice to write information on and protect the pens. Great idea.
    Thanks, Ron

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Wixom, MI

    Thumbs up Awesome!!

    Keith, this is a great idea!! Unfortunately, I am not a turner (YET!!! ), so I am not in a position to donate any pens. Do you have any ideas for those of us that don't own a lathe? I'd love to lend a hand somehow...


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Johnson City, TN

    I would love to help with some pens. I just started turning some pens and need some more kits. Can anyone recommend a place to buy good kits cheap or does anyone want to combine orders so we can get the volume pricing. I would be willing to place the order and then ship the kits on to others. you could pay me when you get the kits.

    Sparky Paessler
    Sparky Paessler

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    New Orleans LA

    Don't Turn Pens, BUT

    I don't turn pens and don't want to get started - at least, just now, but I would be glad to buy a number of pen kits, hardware, or what ever is necessary. If anyone can suggest a mechanism on how to do this, please do. For instance, give me a web site for buying the kits and I'll put in an order and have it shipped to the turner's address.
    18th century nut --- Carl

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Portsmouth, VA
    Keith, I too am not a pen turner but would like to help. Being in the Navy and having been away from home, it's things like this that really mean a lot to our men and women in uniform. We don't receive a lot of thanks for what we do, so when someone comes along, unsolicted, with such an act of kindness and sincerity, I can tell you from personal experience it is greatly appreciated.

    Please let me know how I can help. I'm only in Chesapeake, so if you need a hand packaging the stuff up, I can come up there.

    Be well,


  11. #11
    Carl, that is a very generous offer, thank you very much for getting involved in such a worthwhile cause. I have a few kits on hand, and quite a few already finished, and perhaps someone else that turns Pens could use the help more than I. If there are no takers Carl, just let me know, and I will gladly Turn Pens and submit them in your name for the donation to the troops. Actually, this offer would be a great idea for anyone that doesn't turn Pens, but would like to get involved to support our Troops. Keith, I REALLY think this idea is neat..........thanks for bringing it to light.........Let's all support this idea!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Coatesville, PA

    OK - no more excuses!

    I've been procrastinating about getting started turning pens. Even when my buddy Kevin Gersty sent me some pen blanks - I still haven't gotten out & done it.

    I would be happy to join in this extremely worthwhile venture. I don't know how many I can do & I hope the quality of my work is up to the task at hand - but count me in. Anything we can do to show the troops how much we appreciate their sacrifice is a good deal in my book!

    Carl - I would be happy to also accept some kits & donate them in your name. If you want to contact me you can email me at if you want to collaborate on this.

    Keith, is there a timetable on this? I am much more productive with a deadline
    Thank you very much for thinking of this.
    God Bless America!

    Tom Sweeney BP

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Newport News, VA

    Great Idea. As you know I am stationed at Ft. Eustis, just up the road from Ft. Monroe. I know a few senior officers that may be able to grease the skids on this if necessary.

    Have you approached any suppliers about a bulk buy program for this?

    I would be happy to turn pens for such a worthwhile cause. Maybe turners and non-turners alike could get together in their local areas and do a weekend production run of pens. A regular Freedom Pen production line.

    Let me know how I can help.....contacts, packaging, whatever.
    "The idea that "violence doesn't solve anything" is a historically untrue and immoral doctrine. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. People that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Huntsville, AL (The Sun and Fun Capital of The South)

    Lets All Get Going On THis

    Keith and I talked about this idea bright and early this morning (5:00am) and we decided it would be a great thing for Saw Mill Creek to get started.

    I believe it will really go over good and I have some thoughts on the subject after nearly a full day of thinking about it. Some of my thoughts are as follows and may answer some of the questions already asked today.

    ** I believe the program will be more than just one stab at getting 1000's of pens and make one big shipment to the troops. I believe it should be an ongoing thing to give some people (like the non-turners) time to figure out a way to provide some pens.

    ** I personally will have a shipment ready to go to the central point (Hampton Roads) next week.

    ** Maybe some of the penturners would be willing to accept kits/blanks from those who do not make pens, make a few for them to donate. If you are not a pen turner - get a SMC buddy, or a non creeker for that matter, who is and work out an arrangement for him/her to turn some for ya. I am sure there are folks who would be willing to do that.

    ** I thought about getting a large purchase of kits at a discount however after refecting on that, by the time you get em - send them to whoever wants some of them the packaging and shiping costs quickly evaporates the money you save on the kits.

    ** I will be able to make some for other folks since I have about 200 FT American kits and a 100 or so slimline kits on hand. Of course I can't make em for every non turner but will take on a few.

    ** If you want to buy kits for someone else to make you should contact that person to find out what type kits he/she has bushing sets for. Berea Hardwoods is the best source (IMHO) to purchase kits. Also remember to supply pen blanks also. E-Bay is a good source for pen blanks.

    ** We shouldn't get in a big rush since I believe this program will really grow to the point we will be overwhelmed with responses not only from SMC members but other woodworkers who only lurk here. Besides "hast makes waste"

    ** my plan is to either donate or make for others to donate pens on a continuing basis all year long.

    I am sure as we proceed along - particulars on "how to" participate will solidify.

    I have drafted a brief note to include with each pen I donate. I think a personal touch would be important to the recipient. I think everyone should consider enclosing a note albeit brief.

    "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high - but so are the rewards" - - Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
    Ken Salisbury Passed away on May 1st, 2008 and will forever be in our hearts.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Chappell Hill, Texas
    I am not a turner, and I have no extra cash for pen kits.

    However, if you need wood - I got it.

    Tell me the dimensions you need, how many, and where to send them. If you want to specify flavors of wood, I'll see what I can do.

    (No, you can't have bubinga )

    Here are your choices:

    red oak
    limited supply of curly soft maple
    poplar (probably not wanted, but hey)
    antique reclaimed heart pine
    white oak
    live oak
    MDF (just kidding)
    vertical grain doug fir
    eastern red cedar
    birdseye white pine (probably too soft)
    pitch pine (also probably too soft)
    black tupelo
    black gum
    sweet gum
    pear (very little)

    And probably some others I have forgotten about.

    Let me know. I'll ship to one location only, cheapest method available. Todd

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