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Archive for February 28th, 2013

Quality Quontrol

Posted by Dirck on 28 February, 2013

One other item of pen-repair achievement from the previous weekend.  The friend I mentioned having recently given a Hero 001 to came around for a visit, and she brought her pen with her.  Broken.  Not working.  Can I fix?

The first step is diagnosis, which calls for a lookin’ at.  She told me that she was pressing down to get it to work, and with any other pen that would be the big “Ah HAH!” moment, but with this pen is merely suggestive.  There was clearly something askew with the tipping, and when I applied magnification the askewness came clear; one of the four tines was bent.  How’s that happen?

Since the mechanism didn’t instantly appear, I went to work on the symptoms.  It took very little work to get all the tips back together, but when test-writing to check on the trueness of the alignment, that same tine jumped up.  That’s not so good, and it took some studying.  To explain what I found, let me turn to geography.

My own personal "You Are Here" arrow is around the back.

My own personal “You Are Here” arrow is around the back.

When looked at head on, the tipping of a Hero 001 should look something like a globe with only the equator and the prime meridian showing.  This particular example was OK in the longitude department, but the cross-cut was more sub-tropical than equatorial.  When I’d tested the pen prior to giving it, my habit of light-handedness hadn’t uncovered the problem, but the friend had not hitherto used fountain pens.  A steep angle and the pressure of a habitual ballpoint user got the necessary purchase on the paper, and the weak high-latitude tine peeled right back.

The solution then became easy, although it’s not quite in line with the sort of things I managed in the entries at the start of the week.  I simply hauled unscrewed the section from another I’d bought to have on hand as a Johnny Fountainseed hand-out, after peering though the magnifier to check on balanced cuts, put it into the barrel of her preferred colour, and off she goes, although I don’t think she quite believed my insistence that it was not her fault that this had happened.

I don’t want to be too harsh on Hero, either, since this model is one of their cheaper offerings.  I’ve seen Watermans and Parkers, and even some vintage examples, with the slit a little bit astray.  The fact that the wandering cut in this case was in the same plane as the metal of the point was unfortunate, but understandable.  There’s a task-master in me who is in a bit of a state, as he agrees with this only up to the point that the pen was assembled and put out into the world… and I can also see his point.  I guess this is the sort of price we pay when we buy cheap.  If there were someone tasked with making sure this sort of thing never got mounted into a pen going to market, the cost would inevitably go up on the pens that got sold.

Heck… it might even double.

Today’s pen, double-checked at the factory (or so the maker claimed): Eversharp Skyline
Today’s ink: Mont Blanc Racing Green

post scriptus: InCoWriMo ends.  I’ll probably do a debrief (oooh!) on Monday, but for the moment I will merely say with some smugness that I’ll be putting in a request for my Certificate of Achievement.

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