What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

Posts Tagged ‘Sheaffer Cadet’

Don’t Do What I Done Did

Posted by Dirck on 15 April, 2011

I’ve mentioned eyedropper pens previously, but neglected to mention the possibility of turning cartridge pens into eyedroppers.  Any plastic-bodied cartridge pen has this potential; so long as there’s no metal down the inside of the barrel that wouldn’t normally be exposed to ink, you can get away with it.  Sheaffers of the cheap sort are well adapted to the purpose, and I’ve recently done the trick without any trouble– it’s just a matter of applying some silicon grease to the threads at the joint to keep the ink from creeping out.

Last night I thought I’d try it with a Pilot Petit, which has most of the attributes of an easily converted cartridge pen– all plastic, no vents in the barrel, and a happily complex feed to buffer expansion.  The big difference between this and, as it turns out, successfully converted pens is the nature of the threads at the joint.  They’re very coarse, unlike those on the Sheaffers.  Despite lashings of grease, I found this morning that ink had made its way right out of the pen.  It’s not impossible, I think, if I can find an o-ring of correct diameter, but as it stands all I’ve got is a rather mucky pen.  Other Petit owners, beware.

Today’s non-leaking pen: Sheaffer Cadet
Today’s ink: Wancher Matcha

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Getting Started Early

Posted by Dirck on 13 April, 2011

In a couple of months, my son will be turning three.  I have previously annoyed the reading world with references to his antics, and you may thus have some sense of how doting a father I am– my reporting of his powers is not entirely non-partizan.

Therefore, when I tell you that he can apparently read, I will understand your skepticism.  He keeps looking at words and shouting them out, which I can only describe as reading.  I’ll try to balance this by mentioning that he actually doesn’t say much else– he’s actually rather behind on spoken language.  I’m far enough out of practice on the psychology front (and I didn’t concentrate on developmental psych anyway) that I can’t recall whether it’s likely that written language is taking resources from spoken language development, but speculations of that sort aside… well, the kid reads.

This being the case, I ordered in some of Pelikan’s “Griffix” items, which they promote as a “learn-to-write system.”  If he’s reading, he may as well get production as well as absorption in hand, right?  Griffix is not readily available in North America, so I ordered it from a retailer in England (who automatically knock off the VAT for orders leaving the EU, if you’re interested).  It arrived on Monday:

I gave it all a good hard staring at when it arrived, and thought that I might offer the Step 1 “Wax Pen” to him around his birthday.  Last night he dragged the Step 4 pen out of its hiding place (in addition to reading, he seems to be very nearly omniscient regarding stuff brought into and concealed in the house), and indicated he wanted to have at it.  Because I’m not simple, I re-hid the pen and brought out the crayon.

In less than a minute, he was holding it properly and making careful circles and lines, which may be as much an endorsement of Pelikan’s design as a brag on the boy.  He then stopped, and began to recite the alphabet, with meaningful pauses and glances.  I pulled out my pen, and when he said a letter, I drew a nice block capital example.  He put his crayon to the paper…

…and drew some big scribbles.  He’s just a little kid, after all.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Cadet
Today’s ink: Wancher Matcha

postscriptual denoument– you may observe in the photo above that the third step of the system is absent.  Folks, it’s a non-fountain pen.  Given that the fountain pen has even more clear grip-direction built into its section, I don’t see any point to it.  Wax, lead, ink– it’s a three stage process, and they’re just splitting the last one.

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I Am Running Out of Excuses

Posted by Dirck on 11 April, 2011

One of the mainstays of my site has been rather sad photography.  Grainy, obscure, occasional simulation of cataracts– I had it all.  Apart from a limited quanta of aptitude for still-life photography (I’m better at landscapes), the household digital camera was rather crummy, and apparently had not so much built-in obsolescence as components with a short half-life.  Earlier photographs were better than later, and in the last few months of its life it required hours of effort to download ten photos.

The first excuse failure was thus the replacement of the miserable camera, and as a mark of how miserable that camera was I will mention that the replacement cost me $10 at a garage sale.  The careful reader of my site will have seen amelioration in my photographs, thus:

The old camera (kind to the pen, frankly)

The new camera (and a less rickety pen)

This just leaves us with strange reflections and flash-flare.  Last Friday, those remaining issues became threatened, with the arrival of a “photo studio in a box” (from ThinkGeek.com, if you want your own).  This contained a light tent, a couple of lamps designed to stand beside it on a table-top, and a little tripod.  With the new camera included, we see something that almost looks good:

Old pen with the old set-up

Still an old pen, but a new arrangement

Improvement!  I was reading a movie review site, which argued that the appearance in the world of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was the moment at which the movie industry lost the excuse of making a technically bad film– the writing and acting could still stink, but the whole affair can’t help but be polished and professional-looking.  I am standing near, if not actually in, the threshold of that moment in relation to home photography.  Alas.  At least the auto-focus (which is the ONLY focus) on the new camera is still a little whimsical, and I’m unlikely to stumble on a $15 DSLR camera at a flea market.

Don’t, by the way, expect an instant change-over of all pictures on the site.  Not only does just the simple snapping and inital post processing take about an hour per 10 pens, I have to amend each page of the site, and I’m also thinking of doing some off-site storage of the photos to avoid over-running my storage again… which is yet more delay.

A cool thing about the new set-up is that I’m being somewhat scientific in my approach, putting the camera a consistent distance from the pen (as opposed to my previous routine which involved holding a fill-lamp in my prehensile tail), which means that the relative sizes of the images is the same as those of the pens, so this…

is actually as much bigger than this…

as it appears to be.  It’s not a big thing, but it makes me happy.

Today’s yet-to-be-rephotographed pen: Sheaffer Cadet
Today’s ink, declining to sign a release: Wancher Matcha

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »


Posted by Dirck on 20 August, 2010

Well, I had known that things were bad in Moscow this summer, with the unspeakable heat and smoke, but as is always the case with this sort of thing, I didn’t believe it in a real way without a taste.  Today it is not unspeakably hot, and the fires responsible for the current air quality are about 1500km west of here, but is it indeed rather unpleasant.  My synmpathy for the Russians is magnified.

…and that’s about all I’ve got time for today.

Today’s pen, easily found in poor light:  Sheaffer Cadet
Today’s ink, without anything clever to say:  Skrip blue-black

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »


Posted by Dirck on 1 September, 2009

I was wrapping up my day at The Regular Job by making a couple of additions to the shopping list (it’s not what I wanted to do when I grew up, but it’s not grevious toil), and something almost unprecedented happened.

My pen ran out of ink.

I honestly can’t remember the last time that happened to me. My current inconstancy in pens has led to me being rather confident in the fill of my pens, even those without any way to observe the remaining bunkerage. I know for a fact I filled pen X not more than Y days ago and have written only Z with it, therefore, no worries about ink.

Yesterday was a little anomalous, and I had been doing a bit of writing last week (seeking to be a novel sensation, one might say), so my usual sense of the pen’s state was askew. I had almost forgotten such a thing was possible. It was utterly empty, too. The water put in to flush residue came out with barely a tint.

All of which is dreadfully dull to anyone able to be interested in anything except pens… I guess. A somewhat rambling philosophical enterprise wouldn’t fit into the time available today, but I hope to spend less time chasing lunch tomorrow.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Cadet
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Vert Empire

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »