Local craftsman proves wooden pens are mightier

Local craftsman proves wooden pens are mightier

November 19th, 2010 by Casey Phillips in Business Around the Region

Staff photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Tody Brock of Windy Hill Woodworks makes an ink pen on a lathe as he works in a booth at the Chattanooga Market.

Staff photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press...

* What: Custom pens made from wood and acrylic materials

* Company: Windy Hill Woodworks

* Address: 14 Windy Hill Circle, Ringgold, Ga.

* Web site/e-mail: tbrock@rtctel.com

* Telephone: 785-7259

* Owner: Tody Brock

* What's special: The pen bodies are handmade from exotic woods from Africa, Southeast Asia and Central America, which yield more attractive wood than many domestic trees, said artisan Tody Brock. "I make very few out of woods you find in America," he said. "The grains of local trees are nothing like what you get from black and white ebony or buckeye burl."

* The origin story: Brock said he has been a hobbyist woodworker for 20 years. He said he became fascinated with acrylic and wood pens after seeing an artist selling them at a show in Atlanta in 2006. Now, he makes 25 to 30 pens a month.

* How long does it take to make? Cutting, drilling, turning and polishing the wood and installing the pen's innerworkings takes about an hour.

* Where it's sold: At Chattanooga Market and through phone and e-mailed orders

* How long have they been making them? Since 2007

* Future expansions planned: "Like I tell most people, this is a hobby for me," Brock said. "When it becomes work, it won't be fun anymore. I have a real job, so I don't want my job to be this."

* Lessons of the trade: "You learn what materials to work with, which woods you can turn and which ones you can't and still be profitable with," Brock said. "Harder woods chip really bad, and you end up trashing it. It's a learning process, as far as materials go."