Pens for a Cause owner Warren Morrison’s new craft allows him to exercise the creative right side of his brain while still heeding the lead of his analytical left side.
Conceiving the idea for a new pen taps into his imagination.
Actually creating the object into the precise form requires a game plan.
The hobby turned home-grown business has proved useful for making sure both right and left are tired by the end of the day.
Morrison’s work day begins around 8 every morning. He wakes himself up before sauntering down the low sloped hill behind his house. About 50 feet and 40 seconds later, he is in his work room.
There he begins on either a new pen or one already in the works.
“Every pen starts out as a set of hardware and a simple block of wood or acrylic and metal,” Morrison said. “To cut the wood to the appropriate size, I have to drill a precisely sized and positioned hole.”
Exactness is key for this portion of the project. A brass tube is inserted into the hole. The wood is then trimmed to the precise edge of the tube. Finally, the combined materials are placed on the lathe.
Morrison explained the lathe rapidly spins the wood.
“It does not affect the wood in any way at all except to make it spin for me,” Morrison said. “When it is spinning, what I do is I take chisels and I hand carve the wood, or whatever material it is, in the exact shape I have in mind for their pen,” he says of his customers’ orders.
A variety of shapes are seen among Morrison’s creations. Some pens come out completely straight to lie smaller and narrow in the hand. Others have dips in the middle or start large before circling smaller toward the point.
The shapes are matched by the exotic materials: carbon fiber virage, copper braid sierra, etched chrome presimo, Nazareth olivewood, Bethlehem carob, ancient kauri, ancient bog oak or aromatic red cedar to name a few.
All of them have a similar cause.
Ten percent of each sale price is donated to one of the eight causes listed on the site.
“I really wanted to help others,” Morrison said. “I am in no position to give what I would like, but with this pen business, I can help in some sort of fashion in donating 10 percent of the price of every pen to the causes I wanted to support in the first place.”
While there are eight causes found on the site currently, Morrison assured more are being pursued. Three causes listed can be found in Cleveland: People for Care and Learning, the Haven Place and the Faceless Generation.
Added Morrison, “Essentially what happens is I find a set of causes I like or that are special to me. If a customer wants a specific cause that is special to them, then I will pursue that.”
Prices of pens vary depending on the type of material used. A pen from the rare and exotic wood collection could be as low as the $14.99 Purpleheart Slimline Pen. This purchase would result in a $1.49 donation. Most pens cost below $100 with those in the hand-painted Patty Sole collection reaching $150.
The most expensive pens belong to the Historic Presidential Wood collection. These items are made out of trees either planted by a president or from one of their estates. One pen offered uses the wood from the horse chestnut planted by George Washington. The pen sells for $359.99 and Morrison would then offer up a $35.99 donation.
“A lot of companies say 10 percent of the profits or proceeds, but you never actually know how much the profit is going to be,” Morrison said. “The profit may actually be a very small amount. ... When I came up with the formula, I wanted it to be something that the customer could know exactly, to the penny, how much will be donated.”
A cause is assigned to each pen as a default. Those with a specific cause in mind can choose the one they wish to assign their 10 percent. Morrison said the option will show up during checkout.
He said it is his goal to have a list of trustworthy charities to choose from.
Morrison explained why he chose pen making as an initial hobby turned business.
“Pens are something I have always been fascinated with, to be honest. The pen is something special,” Morrison said. “With the single stroke of a pen, the entire world can be changed. A war can be started or ended. The environment can be preserved or destroyed. Poverty can be eliminated or exacerbated and it is all at the single stroke of a pen.”
As Morrison said, the pen just might be mightier than the sword.
For more information on Pens for a Cause, visit pensforacause.com.