Cocobolo is a good wood to start with because you can be more rough with it without tear-out or cracking. You do have to spend more time on the sanding because the marks from excessive gouge use will show. I was doing really well until the last part where you cut out the tenon and I chipped part of the pen. So I have a nice pen aside from a chip near the band and one small gouge line. I am quite happy for my first pen.
Now I must tell myself, no pen making until I get further on some other projects! But they are soo cool. And there is so much room for art. Eric, the guy who gave the demo, told me once he started making pens nothing else was as satisfying. You can make one in about 30 minutes to an hour, it is very quick satisfaction. Unlike other projects that require so much time. He originally wanted to make furniture, but found this much more fun.