City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Len's Pens

A commitment to craftsmanship using Ohio's local buckeye wood

Len Kaltman is known locally as a corporate photographer; you’ve probably seen his photos regularly in this magazine. But in his spare time, he enjoys creating high-quality wooden pens in his home woodshop.

Len learned about pen-turning at his favorite woodworking store and was quickly making more pens than expected.

“When I’d made about 50 pens, my wife suggested that I start selling them,” Len says.

Rather than purchasing the wooden “blanks,” which are small rectangular pieces of wood sized for pens, Len purchases large pieces of wood cut from the Buckeye tree (Ohio’s state tree) and cuts his own blanks.

“The knots of the buckeye wood, called the burl, are beautiful and unique; each pen is like a fingerprint. No two are exactly alike, which makes every pen a unique gift.”

Cutting his own blanks creates opportunities for personalization: Len once was able to make a pen set for a grandfather, father and son, which lined up next to each other in a similar pattern from a single piece of wood.

The process requires intricate, time-consuming work, and for Len, it utilizes a different side of creativity from his photography business.

While some pens are sold through local shops, Len also showcases his pens online. They make excellent Ohio-themed corporate gifts for clients or executives, as well as a great Father’s Day gift.