Fountain Pen Making update 6

So, not a good week and I am pretty down about it. You see I normally enjoy writing these weekly breakdowns of how the projects are going, this one however I am not looking forward to. I told my daughter that I would make her a pen and well as I have said in previous updates that I was having trouble with the material she chose. Well that little dream is over, I need to get a different material, I have killed all of it, there is nothing left that I can use.

It started fine, at the beginning of the week I started on the cap (the main picture of this post). I then went back to the original toothpaste type material. I got it to the width I wanted and thought I was getting somewhere. I shaped the end and threaded it for the cap then I drilled it as suggested starting at 7.5mm. I threaded the internal hole and went to expand the hole to 8mm as I was advised, I thought it had worked, when I took it out of the lathe I was crushed, a big chunk had broken out of the side of it. A bit of quick thinking later I figured if I could find some of it I could glue it back, I found the biggest bit and glued it back on, it left a hole but I thought ‘hey ink window!’ This was however not to be. In handling it the end nearest the ‘ink window’ broke off. I took a deep breath and sighed, I wouldn’t let it beat me. I looked through the broken bits I save and I found the other half of the blank and discovered it was just long enough to get a barrel out of. (the measurment shows how deep the drill would end up going.

Anyway I decided to take a break from that hellish material and concentrate on the cap, the bright, blinding pink cap. I shaped it, I drilled it, I made it a little too thin though and when I was threading it the thing cracked. A prophecy perhaps. Anyway I checked the threading with the 1st barrel and guess what, it fitted! (the ring of pink is the broken bit of cap threading) A small victory in this project full of failures. That jeered me up to succeed again. So I started again on the bit of scrap, it was already the correct width which was good, less work there. So I turned the end down to for the die I have (M13 X 0.7mm) which was the same I used before. I then drilled it starting with the 8mm bit so I didn’t get a repeat of the last time. I got the depth I needed with still a few mm to spare for the converter. I got the tap out that I needed and started threading the inside of the pen barrel. This is when it went wrong, I used loads of lube but even with that when I started to turn the tap out of the freshly threaded barrel it snagged and cracked the material breaking it. It beat me, that damned material beat me around the head.

So my beautiful precious daughter this is me coming to a public forum and declaring to the world that I am sorry. I am sorry that I cannot make the pen you wanted. I am sorry that I am not good enough to work with what you chose. I hope you will like what you end up with but it won’t be your first choice and for that I am sorry. I have explained it to you I know and the disappointment in your eyes hit me hard. I know you accepted my alternative but I really wish I could make what you initially wanted.

Anyway, what have I learned this week. Never give up, never surrender, each failure teaches me something at least, I may have already said this but I figure it is worth stating again. When using polyester go faster, it means a smoother finish. Drill after shaping and turning or it will break due to friction and you risk crushing it on the jaws of the chuck if tightened over a hollow tube. Need more lube, use all the lube, especially when cutting threads. The next one is important and possibly the best bit of advice I can give, its in the middle of a paragraph so only people who are interested will notice it. Don’t tell your partner how much you have spent on this, you will be chastised. Polyester does not like being drilled when it is too thin, polyester doesn’t like being turned when it has already been drilled, on that note there will be no more polyester for me. And one final bit, don’t give up.

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