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Ancestral Anger

Posted by Dirck on 12 November, 2012

I have an old axe to grind, I’m sorry to say, and having honed it I can wield it only against phantoms.

The old axe is the frequently recurring complaint about things people have previously done to pens in the misapplied name of “repair”.  A new client sent me a parcel of pens of various stations, from a nice post-war Swan 3261 to a completely anonymous “combo“.  Among these was a Waterman Leader, which had been used so thoroughly in life that all its tipping has gone.  When this pen gave me more than usual guff about releasing its section, what I should have done was talk to the client about just stopping; no tipping means a pen one probably won’t want to use, so why persist?

Because I’m an idiot.  And because I’m used to Waterman pens made between 1940 and 1955 being brutes about hanging onto their sections.  And because, while I can accept the notion of someone being led into using rubber cement to fit a sac, I have some trouble picturing someone using it to hold a section in a barrel.

And… in the same vein, I really don’t expect someone to not understand the difference between “rubber” and “contact” in the “cement” context.  My problem, it seems, is that I accept in an academic manner the depths of human stupidity (and I’m not excluded from that) but that I don’t actually believe in it.

Thus, having done all that is correct in terms of soaking, heating, and slowly escalating mechanical advantage, I finally arrived at the use of two section pliers with grip enhancing rubber pads in their yaps.  Clutch the pen, with care lest the barrel nor the section collapse under an excess of pressure, and give a little yank.  Nothing.  Fine.  A little twist to release friction.  Crick.  That is usually a good thing, the sound of the section shifting in its decades-old seat.  In this case, though, the sound was the barrel itself unwinding.  I had paused to inspect the pen when the noise was heard, and I was thereafter heard to make some noise myself.  I finished the job of extraction, though…

As in Star Wars, this red Leader has cracked up.  At this point, I’ve picked away all the glue that was on the inner wall of the barrel… which took rather a long time.

This is, I hasten to say, a “before” picture.  The barrel is currently undergoing a solvent-weld cure, and seems to be knitting up nicely, and I expect presently to show a nice “fixed” version.  That is, though, a high-stress area, so this is not a repair I’m prepared to trust.  Once it’s had a chance to set up properly, I’ll get it back together and return it with its fellows as an it’s-on-me object.  An object lesson, as it were.

Some of my anger in this is with myself, and my foolish lack of faith in people’s ability to wreck things and lay traps for future generations.   I still have plenty of unbecoming wroth left over for the dummy in question.  Honestly– was it glued in when you opened it?  You used contact cement? I certainly have the odd lapse of good sense, but I at least know better than that.

Today’s pen: Lamy 2000
Today’s ink: Diamine Evergreen

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3 Responses to “Ancestral Anger”

  1. Maja said

    I empathize with you; it’s happened to me as well, but fortunately only with my own pen(s)….It’s quite a Catch-22 situation, because in order to dissolve the Krazy Glue/Loctite (cyanoacrylate), you need to use acetone (IIRC)…but that can discolour and/or eat away at celluloid or plastic. Bah.

    • I’ve seen vinegar suggested as a way of getting one’s kids unstuck from each other after a Krazy Glue Katastrophe, but I’m not certain of this, nor have I looked into vinegar’s effects on pen materials.

      …but yes, it IS vexing, isn’t it? There’s a couple of my own pens that I’ve pondered the use of a cold chisel upon, and relented only for want of a proper anvil in the house. It’s like there’s a nation of Homers Simpson out there, all industriously looking for really permanent fixes to problems that cry out for temporary measures.

      • Maja said

        Hmmm, I’ve never heard of that particular home remedy, but when I’ve had the stuff stuck to my fingertips, I’ve grabbed the nearest bottle of nail polish remover 🙂

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