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Old 05-13-2012, 11:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Cool wood cracking when pressing

I was wondering if anyone had any friendly advice when pressing pen kits together. Not that I have never had a pen crack on other pen kits, but the slimline pens seem to give me the biggest problem. Mostly with certain woods. African Blackwood is probably the worst, though I have had some issues with a few others as weel (Bloodwood for example).

I understand impact of humidity on wood, having parts appropriately aligned, taking your time, making sure the brass tube is clean and free of anything that could create to much pressure (like CA glue on the inside of the tube.

Does anyone have any other helpful tips? I was wondering if for example the fit on the slimlines is just a tad to tight or is there another "trade" secret" I'm not aware of. For the African Blackwood, I probably crack nearly 50% of them. I'm about to take it off the list of options for customers.

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Mike
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Mike!!

The slimline has become a staple in every manufacturer's line. So, you have no idea what you are getting when you buy them.

One Christmas I did all Chinese slims (it was an experiment and yes, I knew there would be problems, but I wanted a more affordable pen!!)

Bent several trannies, even a few "nib" ends. The fit was horribly tight on one and loose on the next.

Invested in several round "chain saw" files---so I could take a little brass out of the tubes if they were too tight.

Things are better now, but not for ALL manufacturers.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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sounds like you have your bases covered
where are you getting your kits, sounds like a manufacturing defect
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I have found most slimline kits with any sort of "Extra" finish have to tight of a fit. The Black Enamel for example. It is my impression that the kit was originally made for the micro thin gold plating and never redesigned for the thicker platings. I don't tend to make slimlines out of the more expensive materials due to at least some expectation they will end up less than desirable. Sort of like not putting the silk robes on a pauper idea. I like the slimline, don't get me wrong. But I also recognize for myself that it is what it is and it is not the finest pen I can make.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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This might help a bit: deburr the inside ends of the tubes. A couple twists with a reloader's deburring tool will take off the edge.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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The deburring tool does help a bit, I've found that I have to run a drill bit (with a lubricant) to ream out the inside a tad. I do this on all my slim lines ( bottom section mainly) and have had no more problems.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Definetly, take the burrs out. Also, i found that the berea slimline kits are really good. They just seem to be better quality than anywhere else. They can be a little more spendy, but worth it in the end, if you are breaking alot of them and wasting many kits.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I am trying an experment right now with some Streamline pens, I make a lot of Corian and it cracks all the time.

Going to drill both ends of my blank a little over size maybe 9/32" down about 1/4" the use the ruberized CA Monty has, it is supposed to give a little: my hope are that when I press in the components the glue will assorb the expansion and not try to expand the corian.

Could work, might solve the wood cracking issue also.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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In my admittedly limited experience, there are at least three factors involved here:

1. The interior of the tube has not been thoroughly cleaned prior to assembly. When the parts are pressed together, debris left inside the tube causes distortion in the tube that appears externally as cracks.

2. The wood has been turned down especially thin, making cracks possible. I have an El Grande that my wife purchased for me many years ago and that was made by a very experienced turner. Unfortunately, the very thin wood has acquired a few cracks over the years. I probably know about them because I turn pens - someone observing me using the pen won't notice.

3. And the number one cause - the parts aren't aligned perfectly when they are pressed together. If the alignment is off a bit, pressing causes distortion in the tube that appears externally as cracks.
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jd99 View Post
I am trying an experment right now with some Streamline pens, I make a lot of Corian and it cracks all the time.

Going to drill both ends of my blank a little over size maybe 9/32" down about 1/4" the use the ruberized CA Monty has, it is supposed to give a little: my hope are that when I press in the components the glue will assorb the expansion and not try to expand the corian.

Could work, might solve the wood cracking issue also.
CAUTION: CA will offgas and make the hardware look "foggy". I don't know about the "rubberized"--but test your plan before doing a "run" one night and seeing all your pens turn ugly!!
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