What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

One of These Things…

Posted by Dirck on 11 June, 2012

The Sesame Street song which starts that way is often called to mind around our place.  Our Prime Minister in a photo-op with the Dalai Lama.  A sensible car in a swarm of one-ton pick-up trucks, as so frequently happens at red lights in my home town.  US Presidential canidates.

This past week, though, I was confronted with a need to amend the lyric slightly.  One of these things is much like the others…

The 1943 Comedy Relief Guy will now say (in a manufactured Bronx accent), “Holy Cats! I’m seein’ triple!”

How’s that for confusing?  The left-most is my own, which was still in use when the other two arrived from a client.  The trick for me was to keep all the parts from getting stirred about.  It probably isn’t so important, but I know I’d get very knocked about finding a point from one pen had suddenly swapped bodies.

So, how’d I do it?  The first notion was to make careful notes of the distinctions between the two pens.  You can see the damage on the tail of the right-hand one, of course.  It also lacks a date code and has a slightly shorter clip (which is appropriate to post-date code “51”s).  The other has a 1951 code, and the clip is somewhat brassed.

That worked about as well as you’d expect, although I managed to avoid actual confusion.  The brush with (fairly trivial) disaster made my thinking parts start spinning, and I came up with the two-headed solution.  The first head was fairly easy; a little bit of masking tape on the major assemblies, marked 1 or 2.  Simplicity itself, and I’m pleased to give the credit to Kevin Bacon’s character in Apollo 13

The other head took a little more mental effort to follow through on.  I had to abolish the notion of production line from my thinking.  It’s my frequent habit, when working on several (distinct) pens where there’s no serious complications to do each step of the procedure to all of them before carrying on to the next.  Remove sections, extract old sacs, fit and trim new ones, shellacking, powdering, reinsertion– it’s easier to not have to set down the tool for one step just to take it up again a short while later, and I am willing to believe this makes this go quicker.

In this case, though, that would leave me with a bunch of parts that are hard to differentiate lying in adjacent trays on the work bench, and I know that I am not focussed enough to not grab the collector from one tray and the hood from the other.  So, I did all the work on one, then all the work on the other.  Less efficient… in my mind… but also less likely to stir parts between the pens.  The whole effort passed with the ease of convenience swapped for the comfort of certainty.

…and yet, I was within a hair of swapping the caps during the final fluid-tightness testing.

Today’s pen, not like those others: Cross Century II
Today’s ink: Mont Blanc Royal Blue

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