Handicraft with Bleistift III 6

The main ingredient: Hedge trimmings

The main ingredient: Hedge trimmings

Today: another handicraft blog post.


The problem –  the need for a desk stand

The idea: making a cap holder by drilling a hole in a piece of wood

The idea: making a cap holder by drilling a hole in a piece of wood

There are some occasions when I’m not supposed to use a pencil, e.g. when marking assessments. I actually use mechanical pencils with different coloured leads for some assessments (e.g. programming related), but for other pieces of work I often use fountain pens1. I don’t have a desk fountain pen with a stand and you might know that they are not common any more. In the past even inexpensive fountain pens for pupils came with a case that had a plastic pop up desk stand, but these days pen stands seem to be reserved for expensive fountain pens.

Branch A desk stand would be handy when marking, i.e. if you only have to write a few words here and there with long breaks in between2. Unfortunately there are no generic desk stands either, at least I’m not aware of any, no wonder: every pen has a different width and what would be a good stand for one fountain pen might be too wide for another one with the result that the pen would rest on its nib, which might cause damage if no care is taken when the pen is placed in the desk stand.



The solution – a cap holder

Cut off

I’m not too keen on using the word perfect, but a fountain pen’s cap would be pretty much a perfect desk stand …if it’d just stand. There’s no danger of the pen resting on its nib3, so all you need is to hold the cap, preferably at an angle that makes it easy to place and draw the pen. The solution came in the form of unwanted hedge trimmings. I cut about 4.5 cm (~1¾″) off a branch with a diameter of about 5.5 cm (~2″). I then drilled a hole diagonally into the piece of wood that was to become my cap holder/desk stand and improved it by smoothing it with a knife. In the end the hole had a diameter of just under 2cm (~¾″). I also put some walnut oil on the now finished pen holder to make it look better and last longer.

The finished cap holder

The finished cap holder


Habemus stylo titulari

As a cap holder for a Noodler's Konrad

As a cap holder for a Noodler’s Konrad

As a cap holder for a Pelikan M205

As a cap holder for a Pelikan M205

The result: a cap holder and pen stand suitable for thin and thick pens.

It can be used for pencils, but I don’t think the usefulness in the case of pencils justifies the effort of making this pen holder: even though it only took about ten minutes to make the pen holder, with most time spend getting the tools, the added comfort when using the  pen stand with a pencil is minimal when compared to the comfort when using it to hold fountain pen caps. The cap holder turns the cap into a pen stand which makes using a fountain pen very comfortable even when only using it for a few seconds every few minutes. No more picking the pen up and removing, maybe even unscrewing, the cap every time and putting the cap back on.


As a desk stand for a Staedtler Mars Lumograph

As a desk stand for a Staedtler Mars Lumograph


  1. Often, but not always, a red Pelikan M205 with an F nib. I currently use Pelikan’s red ink, but Diamine Passion Red is great, too. I’ve got a bottle of it in my office. In the past I also used the Dufte Schultinte für Lehrer by De Atramentis, but it’s feathering on our photocopy paper – only exams tend to be written on better paper (the paper in my employer’s exam booklets is surprisingly good). []
  2. I won’t start a discussion in this blog post on why I don’t use a ballpoint pen and why I want to use a fountain pen. []
  3. Unless you made some adjustments that result in the nib sticking out too much. SBREBrown explains how that happened to his Konrad. []

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6 thoughts on “Handicraft with Bleistift III

  • Matthias Post author

    I’m glad you like it. I like my new cap holder/desk stand. I’ll just need to get some sandpaper to improve the surface a bit. The saw I used, plus my shakiness when sawing, did create a surface that could be ‘smoother.’

  • John

    This is excellent! Perhaps a good Kickstarted idea?

    And, I may be biased, but I really like the pencil version. The blue on the Mars complements the wood color very nicely. 🙂

  • kevin

    great idea, memm. Any weight on the base of the holder to stop it moving around? The other creation of yours that I use very often is the paper roll pencil point protector – works absolutely superbly. I was using Tombow Ippo pencil caps (Jet Pens) but they are suited only to slightly thicker diameter Japanese pencils.

  • Sean

    Have you given dip pens a try, or would they just be more trouble than they’re worth?

  • Matthias

    John, hehehe, I don’t think I’ll have enough hedge trimmings to make more than a handful of those stands. The Mars Lumograph in F is fantastic! I don’t know whether I got lucky and got a extra good one, but when I was attending a training event a few years ago I took it with me and wrote notes with it the whole day, several A4 pages, without even having to sharpen the pencil once during the day. I alsways just sharpened it in the evening and brought it again with me the next day.

    Kevin, I didn’t put a weight on. As I just put the fountain pen in the cap and out of the cap there’s not enough force from the side to move the holder, so no weight needed. I’m positively surprised that the paper roll pencil protectors are useful for you. Since I keep mine on the pencils in a pencil case they are still like new, despite being made from cheap waste paper.

    Sean, I don’t think dip pens would be suitable for this holder. The ones I know tend to have very fragile tines. I have an ink bottle from Pelikan with a pen rest. If I out dip pens down between writing I put them there, but most times I just write with them and then put the dip pens away.

    As you might have noticed the whole for the pen cap is drilled though the wood. If I’d make a version especially for pencils (or dip pens) I would drill the whole into the wood, but I wouldn’t drill through, so that the pen doesn’t stain the desk. As this one was made with the intention of holding the pencil cap I drilled the hole through so that dust can’t collect in the hole.