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Posts Tagged ‘Italix’

Posted by Dirck on 11 January, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •  1,889 words typed.

Another subpar week; this is not down to the old-style entry I indulged in on Tuesday, but stems from having to rearrange some plot elements convincingly and from today’s visit by Mr. Throbbing Migraine.  Fun.

It’s also the reason this appear HOURS later than usual.

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The Miracle Worker

Posted by Dirck on 9 January, 2018

That’s the title of that thing where the guy pretends to be Dread Pirate Roberts and then he gets mostly killed by Prince Humperdink, isn’t it?

Well, failing memory aside, I got to play the role of Miracle Max over the weekend, restoring a hopeless looking case to full vibrant life.  Let me introduce you to the sufferer who appeared on my doorstep, more dead than alive.

The front of a fountain pen, with the end of the point bent downward at about 45 degrees

Poor ol’ droopy

A slightly different angle of the previous image; the pen is rotated so show the deformity from the edge.

You wont get much writing done with that.

Graphic images, to be sure, but I’m sure you can all handle it, and it is in the cause of science.  This pen was dropped, and since the Carène is such an aerodynamic shape, it made sure to drop on the point.  I’m sure this saved the lacquer from chipping, but I do wish pens would understand that their points are not crumple zones.

The main problem with putting this point back in shape lies in the area of leverage.  There is not a lot of point sticking out past the end of the plastic, which limits angles from which one can apply the tools of reshaping.  This is frequently the case with more conventionally-shaped pens in need of similar reconstruction, and the answer is to knock out the point.

…which brings in the other problem.  The Carène’s point is an inset type.  Not, happily, an inlaid point, a trick almost exclusive to Sheaffer, in which the point is fused to the plastic, but still a bit of a problem.  In the usual fountain pen, the point is basically just wedged in between the wall of the section and the feed.  With an inlaid pen, it had a special little mounting that it fits into.  With a Carène, it is also glued in place.

Shocking, but true.  The glue is less to keep it in its mounting than to act as a sealant; still, it adds a layer of complexity.  One has to free that glue as the first step of pulling out the point.  I was lucky, from a morale standpoint, in that the pen’s owner was prepared to buy a whole new section anyway; if I botched the operation completely, I wouldn’t really be making things worse.  So, off we go!

How, then, to release that glue?  You need to run something up under the horns at the back of the point, providing a slight outward tug, to pull them free.  Something thin enough to fit, firm enough to provide the pressure, and also forgiving enough to not scrape up either plastic or gold.  An experienced Carène dismantler on a forum suggested a scalpel; perhaps not quite forgiving, but offering enough of the other two virtues that a skilled user could get away with it.

I don’t trust myself that far.  However, thanks to a touch of lycanthropy (a great-grandparent who would not stay on the path through the moors), the nail on my right index finger serves the bill admirably; thin, firm, and non-marking.  A little caressing, and the job was done.  Then came the tugging with my soft nylon-jawed pliers and the majority of the worry was behind me.

Fountain pen with its point separated from it. The point is shaped like an Isosceles triangle, with rounded edges on the long sides, and a rectangular cutout intruding into the base. It is made to slot into the body of the pen.

The act of tugging took about care of about 72% of the work of straightening, too.

Once the point was out, it was a fairly straightforward application of tiny anvils, burnishers, soft pliers and a little bit of finger-tip.  A few minutes of work, then, and I was able to give a cry of voilà (as I was working on a French pen).

An apparently good-as-new pen, in front of a hand-written message reading FEELING BETTER

I am entirely proud of the final result.

But… what of the matter of glue?  The little bits of thin, clear material that I found suggested something like a PVA white glue.  If I’m right, I’ve got plenty– who with a child in elementary school does not?– but I’m not sure I’m right, and I also had other qualms.  The scalpel-wielding person above spoke of the perils of glue migrating into the feed before it set, which would not be good.  That aside, while I know that white glue is impervious to water once set, I have no idea how long it would take to set in that setting, enclosed between non-permeable materials.

My response to these worries was to fall back on traditional techniques.  Rather than some modern adhesive, I made some tiny little snakes of the softened beeswax I use for a soft seal in pens of much earlier design.  It provides a fluid barrier and it doesn’t go wandering around from where it’s put.  The tiny little snakes went into the space under the point-horns on the shell, where the flimsy little glue residue had lain.  Because I don’t trust ink, I also formed a barrier on the top of the point, the line following the curve behind the big W.  And yes, it would have saved me a lot of descriptive effort if I had taken a picture.  The end result, though, is a seal which is more durable than the original (which a small blow might loosen, as some owners report) yet which won’t interfere with any future repairs.

I mention future repairs with a bow toward Fate.  The owner joked when he collected it, “I’ll likely be back in a week when I drop it again.”

Today’s pen: Italix Parson’s Essential
Today’s ink: Waterman blue-black

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Early Janus

Posted by Dirck on 23 October, 2015

Usually at this time of year, I’m all about looking forward to Hallowe’en, and putting creepy stuff out to enhance the seasonal mood.  Stuff like this fun little loop:

Scary-GIF-11

But this year, I’m not only dealing with my son’s strange reaction to this most festive of times, but with my own non-Hallowe’en euphoria at the politics of the national.  In Canada, we are going from a sour-pussed racist on the national seat of power to this chap:

So the actual and true film for this Friday is a blend of jolly horror and innocent merriment.

Today’s pen: Italix Parson’s Essential
Today’s ink: Diamine Evergreen

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Posted by Dirck on 15 October, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 13 October
  • 14 October
  • 15 October
  • First draft of “Aliasing Harmonic”.
  • Pressing on with the first draft.
  • Entering what looks like the final lap.
  • Six manuscript pages.
  • Five pages.
  • Nine pages.
  • 40 min.
  • 35 min.
  • 50 min.

Because I live in Canada, I was observing Thanksgiving last Monday, and trying to get a clear notion in my head whether our version of it is as bound up in pretending at cordial relations with First Nations in the early part of the colonization effort as in the US (I can’t think of an equivalent to the legends of the Plymouth Colony’s “first Thanksgiving”) or if it’s always just been a semi-pagan harvest thing like Lammas or the Dark Morris that happened to get some turkey-eating involved due to proximity to the US and the fact that birds are no respecters of national borders.

No conclusions reached– there’s religion, politics and attempted genocide(s) involved, so it’s hard to get a clear view of the history.

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Posted by Dirck on 8 October, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 5 October
  • 6 October
  • 7 October
  • 8 October
  • First draft of “Aliasing Harmonic”
  • “Aliasing Harmonic” and the latest story release on the fiction side.
  • Man, am I going to have to rework this thing hard.
  • A break for non-fiction over on my fiction site.
  • 35 min.
  • 15 min. (there’s a surprising number of steps in a release).
  • 30 min.
  • 45 min.

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Posted by Dirck on 1 October, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 28 September
  • 29 September
  • 30 September
  • First draft of “Aliasing Harmonic” (definitely a working title)
  • See previous
  • …and still a better title eludes me…
  • …as does real concentration.
  • Ten manuscript pages.
  • Five pages.
  • Six pages.
  • Four measly pages
  • 55 min.
  • 30 min.
  • 35 min.
  • 40 min.

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Light Speed (Slower than the Eye)

Posted by Dirck on 25 September, 2015

The only thing this week’s lifted film has to offer is REALLY COOL SCIENCE!

I’m a fan of abstract knowledge, so I’m glad we now know how to do this against a day when we might need to know how to do this.

Today’s geologically slow pen: Italix Parson’s Essential
Today’s ink, hopeful for peaceful uses: Diamine Evergreen

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The Loooooong Holiday Weekend

Posted by Dirck on 24 December, 2014

But first, to please the Watching Conscience:

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 22 December
  • 23 December
  • Christmas shopping
  • First draft of “The Yellow Oracle.”
  • Sufficient
  • Seven manuscript pages
  • 55 min.
  • 50 min.

…and that’s the last of that you’ll see until the new year.  I’m taking some time off from The Regular Job, and while I entertain notions of getting as much writing done at home as I do here, they’re only slightly less unrealistic than the notions I have of establishing a resort on the Moon.  There is, after all, a six-year-old who is extremely demonstrative of affection, very anxious to share cool stuff, and by noon Thursday in a frenzy of Christmas-induced glee.  There is already much whispering to parents and pointing suggestively at a drawer we don’t know he’s hidden a gift to his Mom in.

Plus I’m the behindest I’ve ever managed on correspondence.

In any event, since doing anything with this is pretty much a work-day event, and the next work-day is 5 January, it’s apt to be very quiet here until then.  I hope you’re all keeping on the right side of too much fat, calories, alcohol and other seasonal indulgences (“right side” being highly subjective, of course).  As the clock ticks down to the recurrent rehabilitation of Alistair Sim, I thought the thing to throw up on the Lifted Video Service would be the thing I’ve been using to drown out the Country and/or Western station that’s being allowed to make noise elsewhere in the office.  It’s made the day go much more easily for me.

For those who find Baroque warbling a rather more egg than their nog can support, there is also a reading of Dickens’s famous seasonal work by a chap whose name you may recognize (although it may be having a little bandwidth trouble).  Merry, Jolly, Happy, Cheerful or Reflective Roughly-Solstice Event to all, and we’ll see you all in the painfully science-fictioney year of 2015.

Today’s pen: Italix Parson’s Essential (Parsons figuring in a seasonal lyric)
Today’s ink: Noodler’s Walnut (being as close to roasted chestnuts as I could manage, given my allergies)

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Tearaway

Posted by Dirck on 17 December, 2013

A little story about the unexpected, with a happy ending.

Once upon a time… well, actually, it was last month.  In any event, I had a pen sent me by a client which had taken a terrible injury from something it drank.  Not only was the diaphragm turned to a mass of corruption, but the metal components of the filler had been slightly compromised and no longer moved past each other properly.  A little bit of gentle scaling after a complete dismantling, and it was back to work.  Reintegration and return followed.

And then came a note from the client.  “I don’t remember the filler shaft spinning freely,” he said.  Nor did I, and I asked him to send it back.  Spin it did, and on once again dismantling the filler I found this:

Graphic content may not be suitable for all viewers.

Graphic content may not be suitable for all viewers.

Look carefully at the tops of the slots in the upped part of this component.  They’ve gone topless.  This is a problem in a lock-down filler– there’s a little crossbar that bridges those slots which acts as the holder for the stem when it locks and as the thing the stem’s spring presses against to run it up.  The slot should not be open-ended.

The exact mechanism of the damage eludes me.  Obviously, 75 years or so of fatigue has a role, as does the assault of the ink on the part.  It was also travelling from me to him in some rather cold weather, so that may have added to the brittleness already inherent.  The corrosion which caused the stem to bind as it passed through that collar may also have worked to induce some preliminary cracks.  I’m trying to think of a blow to the parcel that would have been transmitted to that part of the pen which wouldn’t have done other injuries to it and the two it was travelling with, but nothing occurs.  As I said to the client, it would have been nice if the thing had shown the courtesy of failing during the first trip to me rather than on the way home.

The solution, since I have none of this part in spares, was to make a ribbon of metal to go in place of the cross-bar.  Wrapping around the top of the collar, it catches under the shelf at the top, and is held in place nicely by the threaded over-collar that fixes the assembly in the pen.  It’s not elegant, but it’s also not visible and it works.  In the absence of spares and a machining shop, it’s the best I had, and the client (with some understandable reservations in the area of long-term service) seems happy enough with the solution.

I had over the past weekend a pen of the same specs from another client, the diaphragm of which had also gone off, but which had not introduced ink to the metal bits.  It very nearly fell apart in my hands when told it was getting new rubber, presented no resistance to reassembly, and is on its way home even now via Canada Post’s oppressed workers.  I’m confident that it isn’t going to pull the same trick in transit, and a brief superstitious dread of Vacumatic filler’s I’d begun to foster has vanished.

Well… mostly vanished.  The spectre will be entirely dissipated when I’ve head that pen is home and doing its job.  For the moment, it and Hubris are hanging around behind a corner of my subconscious, having a smoke.

Today’s pen: Italix Parson’s Essential
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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They Swarm and Multiply

Posted by Dirck on 10 December, 2013

Grannies sending stuff to distant places in the mail, that is.   I am all in favour of anything that that puts money in the pockets of Canada Post, but it does lead to a painfully long wait to get a pen on its way home.

…and rather short lunchtime writing windows.

Today’s pen (which I start to think is connected with these stub entries): Italix Parson’s Essential
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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