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Build Thread: Making A World War 2 Pen


BomberInk
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Hi, I'm Jens. I live near Kassel, Germany.

Since I write a lot I recently decided to ditch the cheap pens I'm using and make one for myself. I have made a few but always ended up giving them away as presents. I wanted to make them out of a special wood, something that has a deeper meaning and not something I had lying around. I thought it would be cool to make one out of wood that came out of a U-Boat. Like a table top or radio enclosure, maybe. What I ended up stumbling upon is way cooler and has much deeper meaning than just a table top. It is the personal chest (footlocker in english?) that belonged to the Commander Heinrich Hasenschar of U 628, which was shot down in the Bay of Biscay on July 3rd, 1943. None of the 49 on board survived after a British B-24 Liberator dropped bombs after noticing the surfaced sub.

I took a picture of the box yesterday and wanted to share it here. His name is still visible on top, as well as the last part of his name on the front tag.

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k164/Flamewerks/Bomber_Ink_Uboat_Pen-1.jpg

The box I bought from Hasenschar's cousin, who still lives in the next village from where Hasenschar came from. The region is called 'Waldecker Land' if you want to see more of it. He was born in the same village where I went to 1st grade. Since the footlocker has his name on it I have found it to be much more than just a box and it has gotten me to research quite a bit. I have always been vaguely interested in WW2 but now, after reading many personal stories, memoirs and letters, not just generalized accounts, it's much more emotional to think what went through everyones head as they went out to fight and I am starting to see things with different eyes.

I'll be posting some more pics as I make the Pen.


Thanks for looking!

Jens
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Looking forward to seeing the process of this project going forward!

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Yes, that's him! Here is another link of the Uboat's journey for those interested in WW2 history.

 

https://uboat.net/boats/u628.htm

 

I have a much more thorough link with many more details but it's in german so probably not very useful to most people here.

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The box would be a very valuable item if it was sold as it is. I can imagine many people wanting it. B)

 

Guessing how many fountain pen users would want a fountain pen made from some seriously old wood seems to be a more high risk venture.... -_- But good luck to you. :)

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I would imagine that you could a small piece of the wood and leave the box largely intact?

 

Good luck with the project. Sounds fascinating.

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There was an article in Pen World a couple few issues back about a guy that makes and sells pens made from Historic wood that he gets from another guy that collects it. The collector markets it to pen turners using kits. Wood from the decks of warships, churches, army barracks et cetera. Myself I wouldn't cut up that chest unless it couldn't be restored for a museum or collection. In a hundred years the chest can be seen in its historic context but as a part of a pen, maybe not.

 

Pete

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  • 2 weeks later...

Amazing history. We look forward to hearing more.

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There was an article in Pen World a couple few issues back about a guy that makes and sells pens made from Historic wood that he gets from another guy that collects it. The collector markets it to pen turners using kits. Wood from the decks of warships, churches, army barracks et cetera. Myself I wouldn't cut up that chest unless it couldn't be restored for a museum or collection. In a hundred years the chest can be seen in its historic context but as a part of a pen, maybe not.

 

Pete

That article was partly about me. I can let everyone rest easy by saying no pieces of wood we’ve acquired were anything of such substance as this trunk. Most times they are small rectangles of wood or floorboards.

-John
Take time to stop and ink

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  • 4 weeks later...

I really like this idea.

 

This exactly the kind of thing that would do well on a kickstarter.

 

I would buy one if it was in my price range, just for a chance to have a piece of history in my hand.

petrichor

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So your destroying an intact historical artifact. Not something i can get behind. There ought to be other ways to accomplish what you want to do without destroying the sea chest.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jens,

 

I hope you do not see me as a lesser man for being a naysayer. Parker did a limited run of pens incorporating brass salvaged from the wreckage of RMS Queen Elizabeth, which caught fire and sank during a refit in Hong Kong. That I consider a good use of historical material as it would otherwise be considered rubbish.

 

As I am not familiar with Kassel (even though I had friends who lived there), there might be restoration of old - and probably listed buildings, where some wooden or other materials are getting replaced due to material deterioration which would lead to the reduction of structural soundness. Checking with your local council's heritage department, or something like that, might give you some leads. Retired railway sleepers from historical lines is another idea that just popped into my head, so there are no shortage of possibilities of sourcing materials which are otherwise of less - or no - historical value, unlike the wooden chest you discovered.

No, I am not going to list my pens here.

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My dad used to have a brass letter opener shaped like a U-boat, he liberated it from a captured boat at the end off the war. Sadly there was no sign of it when I cleared his house after he passed, I suspect my elder brother had it away some years earlier. It would have gone nicely with a pen made from U-Boat wood.

 

Paul

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  • 6 months later...

Hey!

 

Sorry for not updating in so long. I have decided to keep the chest as is and not to cut it up for the pens.

 

I did end up making some ballpoint pens from 400 year old stair treads from an old timber frame house that I bought from the same man I bought the chest from. I did a Kickstarter with them and they did very well and I was able to but a small Jet wood lathe and other tools needed for making them.

 

Just thought I would let you know since some had worries about cutting up such a historic piece, and so did I after much thinking about it!

 

Jens

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