David Lee Armbrust’s Hand-crafted Pens Are Local Gems


Now is a time where technology reigns, and slowly we see the art and talent of a craftsman, utilizing his own two hands to create masterpieces, starting to slip away. Which is why, when we find creators like David Lee Armbrust keeping this timeless craft alive, we simply have to tell his story. What he’s doing in our own backyard, fashioning quality, beautiful, fine writing instruments out of the most exotic materials on the planet, thrills us.

His creative process is extremely unique, being completely self-taught in the art of penmaking.

“I have always enjoyed the ‘process’ of making things,” David explains. “With technology there was always a deadline and pressure to get the work done fast and accurately – no savoring the journey. Without those elements I can find my ‘zen state’ and let the process take over.”

David used to sit as a child, watching his granddad create things with his own two hands.  It’s important touchstone now as he creates his pens as an adult: “Sometimes I even hear him telling me his oft mentioned adages. How can something like that be anything but a passion?”

It all starts with finding the right material to construct a pen, and he only uses suppliers who are certified Sustainable Forest Suppliers.

“I search out the rarest or most unusual materials I can find on the planet…I probably look at thousands of pieces of wood each year.”

That perfect piece of wood David seeks out will be used for the body, and is of the best quality to complement his refined skill-set. Something as important as a $250 piece of wood less than 1 inch x 1 inch x 5 inches in size, is essential.

After that, he simply takes a step back: “I truly let the materials take charge and never force a design on a piece.”

The Thrylos Collection, which is comprised of six pens, started with one very perfect piece of wood, one which you only discover once in a lifetime.

“It was so unique,” smiled David, “and so rare that I had never been able to cut it. What makes it so rare is not the species of wood, but the cut. It’s a vertical crotch cut that was made at the perfect spot, at the perfect angle, in the perfect area for that piece. It would never be a cut one would make on purpose…it has all the makings of the perfect piece,” he explained.

Three of the six pens in the collection have been sold from this particular piece of wood, leaving only two left, as one was made to keep for himself. The pen that he has in his possession, worth $1500, is a token reminder of how he will never find another piece of wood like that again.Accompanying each unique pen is a particular story, pertaining not just to the exotic materials used but to David’s process of forging the writing instrument.

Learn more about David Lee Armbrust’s pens.