‘Pen’ning his hopes on a hobby, UC man hap‘pens’ upon new craft

‘Pen’ning his hopes on a hobby, UC man hap‘pens’ upon new craft

Posted: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 9:09 pm

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Pat Haygood has embarked on a rather unique hobby-creating beautiful writing instruments out of small wood strips.
The Union City resident retired from the local Goodyear plant in June 2009, after working there for 351⁄2 years. Not content with life as a retiree, Haygood began looking for things to do with all his newfound spare time.
He now works part-time at Edmaiston-Mosley Funeral Home in Union City and also works part-time at Northwest Tennessee Wood Products just outside Troy.
However, it is his new hobby that Haygood is becoming known for around the area.
For his 56th birthday two years ago, Haygood’s wife bought him all the tools and equipment to make pens. His penmaking operation is set up in his garage and includes a drill press with a homemade jig, a lathe, several boxes of sandpaper, an air compressor, a roughing gouge and skew chisel.
Haygood said he learned how to create the pens watching an instructional DVD and then he applied what he called the Nike approach — Just Do It.
“Surprisingly, my first effort turned out pretty good,” he said.
Watching him make his way around all the equipment in his garage is like watching an artist at work.
The process of creating a pen begins with Haygood selecting one of the 31⁄4-by-31⁄4-by-5 inch wood blocks in his shop. He uses a variety of woods for his pens, including walnut, hickory, cherry, maple, cuccobolo, Jerusalem olive wood, cherry and a few exotic woods. Some of the wood he uses to create his pens comes from scrap wood at the cabinet shop where he works.
A seven millimeter hole is drilled into the two sections of the wooden block, which is then hooked into a lathe. Haygood then uses various tools to transform the square wood blocks into pen barrels. He meticulously works on the wood blocks, using the roughing gouge and then the skew chisel. As the pen barrel takes shape, he tapers the ends and then uses different grades of sandpaper to complete the finish.
While the pen is still attached to the lathe, he finishes the exterior look of the pen using a special polish. He actually applies five coats of the polish to each pen before he puts them together.
“You see, each step just makes it a little smoother,” Haygood said as he worked on a pen Wednesday afternoon.
“The polish really accentuates the woodgrain look,” he said. “Each coat brings just a little more brilliance to it.”
“I’ve actually given away more than I’ve sold,” he said as he showed off a pen he made for his wife’s birthday.
“I really don’t do it as a business venture, it’s more of a hobby,” Haygood said. “When I see a piece of wood, I’ll say this looks interesting.”
Interesting is a good adjective to describe some of the pens Haygood has created. What begins as a plain block of wood ends up a one-of-a-kind creation with a distinct woodgrain look.
“When you turn (the wood blocks) you never know what you’re going to get,” Haygood said as he finished creating a pen last Wednesday evening.
From start to finish, Haygood said it takes him from 30 to 45 minutes to create one of his pens.
Haygood estimates he has made more than a hundred pens for friends and family members.
The word about his pens has gotten out and now he spends several hours a week working on his pens. Haygood said he often loses track of time working on the pens in his garage.
Before he turns over one of his pens, Haygood reaches for a small scratch pad on a shelf in his shop and takes the pen for a “test drive.”
“You can see why I get so much pleasure out of it,” he said with a smile as he held up the finished pen.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 2.9.11

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