A few years ago we had some custom pen trays made to display our pens around the shop – our tester pens and in our pen displays and at events or workshops. They have proven to be extremely useful, especially as our pen and pencil selection grows, but also as there seem to be countless opportunities to use them.
We are now carrying them in our shop! You can come check them out in our brick and mortar as well.
To my surprise, this is actually one of the items we get the most questions about that we weren’t planning on selling – people sometimes ask about our furniture or the plants, but people frequently send us questions on social media when we post a picture of the pens displayed on the pen tray, or they’ll ask us about them in the shop.
It’s crazy to think that when we first ordered the ten trays, we figured with the full-sized trays we already had custom built for the taller white display, these ten portable ones be plenty, and in fact I took one for the pens on my desk. A year later, though, and we have pens overflowing our display, my own “personal” one has long been sacrificed, and we occasionally have to scramble to re-organize our pens to get them all into the display. What a beautiful overflow.
We finally got an additional big pen display, and so it was time to get to get additional pen trays made for us. As usual there was a bit of a lag as we got our act together, and our new pen cabinet sat empty for quite a while, possibly stirring up excitement in some of you, possibly used as a precarious hiding spot.
While we were getting some made for us, we figured some of you may also want something for your desk top or shelf.
We get these trays custom made for us by a carpenter in the building – his workshop is exactly how you’d imagine, filled to the brim with wood leaning against the walls and tables of all different heights and sawdust everywhere. I remember the first time I brought Caleb in there, his eyes were bright and wide and full of both delight and terror, as I suppose life should be every once in a while.
The pen trays are made out of walnut, and hold ten pens. The original ones we have in the shop have 9 slots – these are the exact same dimensions, except the distance between the pens is slightly closer together. I’ll let you guess between me and Jon who designed the first one, and who tweaked the second one to make it an even ten.
They hold most pens, including most larger ones, although if you have an exceptionally long pen (like a desk pen), it may not fit – it can hold a pen up to 18 cm in length. In the top right corner, is an Edison Collier, Visconti Homo Sapiens and a Pilot Custom 823.
They are also at a slightly incline, tilting forward.
Like all natural materials, there are going to variations in the wood grain and finish, although all have been sanded and polished and stained and varnished. I remember when we first opened up the box, it smelled amazing – although most of the smell has worn off now.
You can find the pen trays on our website here, while supplies last. While we may put in another order if there is enough demand, with the high cost and time and labour involved in making each one, it may not be something we hold in stock regularly.
I’m using one again to hold some of pens that are inked that stay at my desk. It’s nice to have them organized a bit, so I can pick and choose and put them into my pen roll if I’m going out, or leave some more portable ones in my pen roll and just have a few on my desk. I have a few that need to be cleaned, and some other ones I like to use for journaling or letter writing that are patiently waiting for me.
It’s funny because these trays are sort of just the right size for a tray for Caleb, and he loves carrying them around with pens in them, moving pens from one tray to another. Perhaps he has some potential as a future pen clerk after all.