Hi rpsyed, and thanks for your comment!
I completely agree with you about tactile experience... Very dense woods (like snake wood, lignum vitae and blackwood) are directly under the skin : unforgettable touch. I only soak them in linseed oil, this light protection is enough I suppose. Paler woods (pao rosa or tulipwood) had a light sort-of-varnish-protection against ink splashes, invisible but I must admit you do not really touch the wood... The kingwood pen is lacquered, but I could have left it more natural.
Yes, usually, pen makers turning wood use it as a shell. One reason, I think, is that they make threads with taps and dies, which does not work nicely for wood. Other ways are more difficult to apply but the result is much better.
I thread wood for years. This is my experience: Crumbling can occur with some soft woods, I just don't use them. With hard woods sweetly used, crumbling is rare. It can sometimes be seen and always comes from a weakness like a knot or an old crack. It can be seen very quickly after turning, so I just discard the piece and make a new one. Pen turning is easy !
One bigger problem is shrinkage, due to wood being not perfectly dry, or cut from too small logs, or sewn in the wrong direction; then one thread is becoming oval and does not screw nicely. Rather easy to avoid, mostly my problem. But also partly user's, he has to avoid humidity changes, or dryness'. I would not advice a wooden pen for an Amazonian customer... And please just don't stir your coffee too long with your pen. Btw, I do it - quickly - with all my pens, just to check shrinkage and finish issues... No kidding!
The other big issue is cracking, which can always happen if the pen is badly stored or used (heating, direct sun, kids under 28, washing machine, etc), I would say user's problem. Most of the time, cracking can be easily avoided. I must admit there is still a risk, very little if the wood is well chosen and if you take care. Or better said it will occur, but centuries ahead at best. It is the same with horn, ivory, antler or nearly every natural material. Having no metallic tube inside helps a lot. I would never bet on a snakewood tubed kit pen.
Hope I answered your questions. And please excuse my faulty English...
Edited by Pierre---, 17 January 2017 - 04:37.