A 2-Part Experiment on a Single Barrel Cigar Design - Smaller Brass Tube Sizing, and Novel Barrel Finishing

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magpens

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Some double barrel pen kits lend themselves to being reworked as single barrel; the slimline is one, the Cigar is another.
I like to build single barrel Cigar pens. . There is an article in the IAP Resources which explains the basics of doing this.

That article is based on retaining the brass tube sizings of the original Cigar design (which are 10mm diam.) and adding a 27/64" brass tube as a lower end "shroud" tube.
The tubing that gets glued into the blank consists of the original 10mm upper tube and the 27/64" shroud tube.
The twist mechanism, original 10mm lower tube, refill+spring, and nib portion forms one integrated assembly which slides into the other two glued-in tubes.
This integrated assembly is firmly held in by the original "gripping brass tube" at the finial end. The latter gripping tube has the screwed on finial and holds the clip.
The gripping tube is a friction fit over the twist mechanism, just as in the original Cigar design, and allows the integrated assembly to be slid out if necessary.
Refill replacement is accomplished, in this single barrel design, by unscrewing the actual nib from the nib coupler (also original design).

Part A of this report - Modifying the Cigar design to use smaller diameter brass tubing

I've found the above form of single barrel design to create a possible problem cuz the glued-in 27/64" shroud tube leaves very little meat on the blank at the nib.
This can be especially problematic if you want to use a fragile material for the barrel. The thinness of the barrel at the nib end can result in chipping.
One segmented wood barrel that I wanted to use broke apart when it was turned down to match the diam. of the Cigar nib hardware.

To avoid this, I have reworked the Cigar and replaced the 10mm brass tubes (original Cigar) with 11/32" brass tubes (K&S Hobby actual size tubes)
and I then used a 3/8" (pen maker sizing) shroud tube. , The 11/32" brass tube slides snugly inside the 3/8" brass tube.
Downsizing these brass tubes did require modifications to 3 parts of the pen kit : (1) the "nipple" on the back end of the nib coupler, (2) the "nipple" on the lower end of the center coupler as well as the "flange" on this center coupler, and (3) the diameter of the brass portion of the twist mechanism. . I use the word "nipple" for the brass that presses into the brass tube. Reducing the diameter of the nipple can mean that you have to glue the related pen kit piece into the ends of the lower brass tube.
Please note that the "flange" is reduced in diam. to just under the 11/32" brass tube diam. The "flange" is no longer an externally visible feature of the Cigar.

These modifications to the brass pieces of the Cigar kit were done on a small metal working lathe. . They could be done on a wood turning lathe also, I believe.

Part B of this report - Finishing the single barrel Cigar without using any actual "finish"

The barrel material I used is a piece of wood from Arizona that I got a few years ago from Joe Suckley, a member at the time. This wood was quite "punky" and therefore fragile, but it does have interesting spalt and grain patterns so I wanted to try it. But I don't have the proper stabilizing equipment.

The wood is sound enough to do a rough rounding, end squaring, and drilling with a pilot hole (8.5mm). After that, I soaked the barrel in a MinWax Brand product called, simply, High Performance Wood Hardener. The soaking of the wood blank, in the actual MinWax can, lasted about 6 hours, during which I turned the blank every hour to try get the hardener to penetrate uniformly.

I think that using this wood hardener had an interesting result. Not only was the wood strengthened, the purpose which was the main intent, but also it turned out that no finishing preparation was necessary in order to achieve a quite nice satin, or matte, final finish on the barrel. I just turned the barrel to the desired shape and size, during which there was no chipping of the previously "punky" wood, and followed that with sandpaper grits of 240 up to 2000. The resulting finish has a mildly glossy look which really appeals to me. . I am going to try this same process on other woods (not necessarily punky) and analyze the results. Sometimes a glossy finish, such as you can get with the usual CA finish, is not just exactly what you might want.

So here are some pictures which you may find somewhat interesting in spite of my "bad" photography.

The first picture shows the finished pen alongside an extra piece of the "punky" wood I used (notice some slight chipping from the surface of the extra piece, which has not gone through the MinWax Wood Hardener yet.

I hope you will be able to ascertain from the photos that the final finished surface of the pen is very smooth and semi-glossy. . I like it very much.

There are additional pictures showing other "sides" of the pen.

The last picture shows the integrated internal assembly of the single barrel Cigar using the new brass tube size of 11/32" (or 8.7mm). . This assembly slides into the glued-in 11/32" and 3/8" brass shroud tubes (not shown, of course). . The 11/32" shroud tube is an "actual size" brass tube (from K&S Hobby Supplies) while the 3/8" shroud tube is a "pen makers size" brass tube.
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DrD

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Now that's a cigar pen I could enjoy using!!!! +1 to Todd's comment re a wrapper @sorcerertd.

Mal, I speak for myself, and perhaps a great number of other pen turners whose shop has a wood lathe, a limited assortment of live and dead centers, a mandrel or 2, maybe a Jacob's chuck and a 4 jaw chuck. How do we do the machining you describe as needing to be done? Perhaps a step-by-step tutorial with pictures.

I love what you've done - you know I love innovation. It is excellent work. For me, it would be beneficial to see how it translates to a Delta, Jet, Rikon, etc. midi lathe, using the skews and scrapers we have in our shops.

Don
 

mark james

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Mal,that is awesome! My shop time has been severely restricted the last 6 months do to assisting with respite care for my in-laws, but when I get some play time this just jumped to the top of my list.

I love the mechanism of the Berea Cigar (I have no experience with Big Ben, etc, they may be as well constructed), so to do the modifications as you did will be fun.

You finished pen is wonderful - KUDOS! ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘

EDIT: Re-reading your OP, could you describe your process for "Punky Woods" with the minwax wood hardener?
 

magpens

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@DrD

I hear you, Don. . I do all my pens on a metal working lathe. . I do have a wood turning lathe but rarely use it ... sometimes for rough rounding.

I will think about your request about providing some details of doing what I did (machining brass pen components) on a wood-turning lathe.

Some wood-turning lathes have a 1" x 8 tpi headstock spindle thread. . One good use for that is to mount a 4-jaw metal-lathe-style chuck.
That would be a good start for being able to grip the small metal pen parts in order to modify them fairly accurately

The next challenge would be a "tool post" for holding a cutting tool so as to be able to achieve a fair degree of accuracy in turning the small parts.
A hand-held cutting tool on an appropriate rest could work for those with a steady hand and a good eye.

Let me see what I can come up with as suggestions. . Stay tuned ! . Others can also contribute to this, I am sure, and I hope they will.

As a cutting tool, I think a truly-square cutting bit could be used. . Possibly also a square-ended HSS parting tool would be OK for brass ... carefully !
 

magpens

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@mark james

Nice to hear from you, Mark, and thank you for your supportive comments.

I too favor the Berea Cigar design. . Other designs which may look similar may not be so good for making the mods I have done. . There are several on the market including the Big Ben (which I have not tried). . I tried using one of those others (which I won't explicitly identify just now); it looks somewhat promising but is sufficiently different from the Berea design in some details that I cannot say for sure at this point. . It lacks some "features" for mounting the small parts on a lathe for machining, but there could be workarounds that I have not "visualized" yet.
 

magpens

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For any who are interested, I just looked up the article in IAP Resources in which a Single Barrel Cigar is described.

This article is actually titled as "One Piece Cigar Pen" and was written by Ron Hossack in 2009.

Its file name is .... onepiececigar.pdf .... and you can find it by doing an Advanced Search of the IAP Resources .

You might have to actually download this file to your own computer before you can open and read it. . It seems I have to do that.

The only real changes that I have made compared to the Ron Hossack modifications are :
1) replacing the two usual 10mm (pen makers size) Cigar brass tubes by 11/32" actual size (K&S Hobby) brass tubes,
2) replacing the 27/64" brass tube (pen makers size) with a 3/8" brass tube (pen makers size) - what I call a "shroud" cuz another tube slides inside it, and
3) modifying the diameters of some portions of 3 of the pen kit parts (nib coupler nipple; center coupler nipple and flange; twist mechanism brass portion).

I believe that the original Ron Hossack modifications are based on a Berea Cigar pen kit. . My work is with that pen kit also.

I am happy to answer any specific questions you may have about any details of what I did.
I am contemplating some further changes which, if made, I will report at a later date.
 

DrD

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@magpens Challenge accepted, after all my minor was mechanical engineering. I went thru my misc parts 'n pieces for BHW Cigar and found a lower barrel and a twist holder. With my arbor press, I pushed the twist holder into the lower (longer) tube and took that to my lathe (Delta 46-460-1) set up for TBC. Took a medium cut metal file and turned down the offending flange flush with the tube; lathe running approx 1750 rpm - see 1st photo. Then I attached the twist mechanism, assuring I hadn't damaged those threads in removing the flange - photo 2. Finally I pressed on a spare nib assembly - photo 3.

What next? Guess the hardest part about all this is drilling the blank; got to figure out what the blank length needs to be!

Thanks, Mal; I may be on my way to my first single barrel Cigar.

Don
 

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magpens

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@magpens Challenge accepted, after all my minor was mechanical engineering. I went thru my misc parts 'n pieces for BHW Cigar and found a lower barrel and a twist holder. With my arbor press, I pushed the twist holder into the lower (longer) tube and took that to my lathe (Delta 46-460-1) set up for TBC. Took a medium cut metal file and turned down the offending flange flush with the tube; lathe running approx 1750 rpm - see 1st photo. Then I attached the twist mechanism, assuring I hadn't damaged those threads in removing the flange - photo 2. Finally I pressed on a spare nib assembly - photo 3.

What next? Guess the hardest part about all this is drilling the blank; got to figure out what the blank length needs to be!

Thanks, Mal; I may be on my way to my first single barrel Cigar.

Don

@DrD

Hi Don,

DID YOU USE 10mm brass tube for pictures you show ? . I will assume you did. . This means you are going with the design in the IAP Resources library (see my reference just above your last post). . You will need a 27/64" shroud tube for nib end of pen. )

(The use of 10mm and 27/64" is according to the Resources article by Ron Hossack.
In this thread I did not use these size tubes ....... VERY IMPORTANT to know this ....... but you have permission to proceed ! ๐Ÿ˜ ......
..... at your own risk !!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿฅต )

You have already made a very good start. . I can walk you through some steps.

The barrel length that I use is 4.37" ... not critical but cannot be shorter than 4.28" (without careful thought).

I drill from both ends .... then glue in the "shroud" tubes as per following guidelines ......
Careful alignment of the drilling operations parallel to (and centered on) blank axis is important for smooth operation of twist.

Upper end shroud tube is 10mm (penmakers size) using upper tube of Cigar kit.
Lower end shroud tube is 27/64" (penmakers size) of length 2.09".

These tube lengths will not meet in the middle due to the fact that the usual Cigar center assembly gets left out.
So you can actually make the brass tube lengths slightly longer to ALMOST meet in the middle.

Upper end (clip end) of barrel is drilled with 10 mm drill. . Lower end (nib end) of barrel is drilled with 27/64" drill.

Hope this helps. More later as you might request.

Best of everything, ..... Mal

WARNING ...... when you turn down the barrel (after gluing in the shroud tubes) you will need to be aware that .....

..... at the nib end the barrel material will become very thin at the nib end.
The material thickness at the nib end will be around 0.020" or perhaps even a bit less ..... VERY THIN.

I shape the barrel to be about 0.57" diam in the middle, tapering to 0.475" at nib end (finished) and 0.463" at finial (finished).

These numbers .... 0.475" at nib, and 0.463" at finial .... should be checked by you and compared to your metal parts.
In my case, they are about 0.003" larger than the metal parts diameters because that is what I like.

Notice that at the nib end, the number 0.475" should be compared to the drilled hole size of 27/64" = 0.422" .....
..... so your wall thickness as calculated is ((0.475 - 0.422)/2) = 0.0265" or 26.5 thou assuming 100% accuracy in everything.

As I said ..... in actual practice, this wall thickness can turn out to be 0.020" or less ..... not much if you're working with wood barrel

This thin wall for these tube sizes is why I have presented this thread, in which I have used reduced size brass shroud tubes.
 
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DrD

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Mal, I'm not using a shroud tube; I just don't see the need for it based on all the single tube 7mm pens I've made recently. Help me out here if there is something I'm missing, please.
 

magpens

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@DrD

If you are not using either shroud tube, then you must be making your blank out of some non-wood material. . That is OK, I think.
I assume that the "gripping tube" concept at the finial (top) end will still work as in the original Cigar design.
However, without the upper shroud tube, I don't know what will be holding the "gripping tube", top end finial, and clip in place.
You may have to adjust the upper drill hole size to compensate for this.

But you will need to be careful at the nib end, as I have indicated above your last post.
 

magpens

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I know and have used Honduran Rosewood.

I am still concerned about the thinness of material at the nib end, although it will be thicker with proper compensation for leaving out the shroud tube.
 

magpens

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Without the shroud tube at the nib end, you "can" drill the nib end with a 0.385" drill (if such exists) = meas size of 10mm tube)

Calculating maximum possible wall thickness: ((0.475 - 0.385)/2) = 0.045" ..... let's say 0.042" to get closer to practicality.

This is pretty thin even for Honduran Rosewood when there is no brass tube support over the whole 4.37" barrel length.
 

magpens

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@DrD

I am looking forward to your completing what you are doing with this day's project, also, Don. . Please let me (us) know.

***********

One thought for the future for me is to reduce the nib end brass tube to 8 mm (penmakers size).

(This would be a reduction from the sizing which is the subject of this thread, namely 11/32" (K&S Hobby size = actual) = 8.7mm)

The 8 mm brass tube would accommodate the Parker refill.
The nib coupler nipple and the center coupler nipple would have to be reduced in diameter to 0.290" (~ I.D. of 8mm tube )
This diam. should be compared to hole size in nib coupler, which is 0.253".

You can see that "things" are getting delicate,
because the wall thickness of the nipple is now only (( 0.290 - 0.253)/2 ) = 0.0185" or 18 thou
That's pretty thin, given my machining skill limitations plus the capabilities of my metal-working lathe, but do-able I think.
The resulting integrity of the nipples, structurally, is also a concern .

There is even a questionably possible further reduction I am considering, but I will leave that for another time.

You can see that my thoughts are all centered on the thickness of the barrel at the nib end.
Your methodology of leaving out the shroud tube(s) is adding scope as I go along. . I'll review your 7mm work.
 
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Wayne

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Some double barrel pen kits lend themselves to being reworked as single barrel; the slimline is one, the Cigar is another.
I like to build single barrel Cigar pens. . There is an article in the IAP Resources which explains the basics of doing this.

That article is based on retaining the brass tube sizings of the original Cigar design (which are 10mm diam.) and adding a 27/64" brass tube as a lower end "shroud" tube.
The tubing that gets glued into the blank consists of the original 10mm upper tube and the 27/64" shroud tube.
The twist mechanism, original 10mm lower tube, refill+spring, and nib portion forms one integrated assembly which slides into the other two glued-in tubes.
This integrated assembly is firmly held in by the original "gripping brass tube" at the finial end. The latter gripping tube has the screwed on finial and holds the clip.
The gripping tube is a friction fit over the twist mechanism, just as in the original Cigar design, and allows the integrated assembly to be slid out if necessary.
Refill replacement is accomplished, in this single barrel design, by unscrewing the actual nib from the nib coupler (also original design).

Part A of this report - Modifying the Cigar design to use smaller diameter brass tubing

I've found the above form of single barrel design to create a possible problem cuz the glued-in 27/64" shroud tube leaves very little meat on the blank at the nib.
This can be especially problematic if you want to use a fragile material for the barrel. The thinness of the barrel at the nib end can result in chipping.
One segmented wood barrel that I wanted to use broke apart when it was turned down to match the diam. of the Cigar nib hardware.

To avoid this, I have reworked the Cigar and replaced the 10mm brass tubes (original Cigar) with 11/32" brass tubes (K&S Hobby actual size tubes)
and I then used a 3/8" (pen maker sizing) shroud tube. , The 11/32" brass tube slides snugly inside the 3/8" brass tube.
Downsizing these brass tubes did require modifications to 3 parts of the pen kit : (1) the "nipple" on the back end of the nib coupler, (2) the "nipple" on the lower end of the center coupler as well as the "flange" on this center coupler, and (3) the diameter of the brass portion of the twist mechanism. . I use the word "nipple" for the brass that presses into the brass tube. Reducing the diameter of the nipple can mean that you have to glue the related pen kit piece into the ends of the lower brass tube.
Please note that the "flange" is reduced in diam. to just under the 11/32" brass tube diam. The "flange" is no longer an externally visible feature of the Cigar.

These modifications to the brass pieces of the Cigar kit were done on a small metal working lathe. . They could be done on a wood turning lathe also, I believe.

Part B of this report - Finishing the single barrel Cigar without using any actual "finish"

The barrel material I used is a piece of wood from Arizona that I got a few years ago from Joe Suckley, a member at the time. This wood was quite "punky" and therefore fragile, but it does have interesting spalt and grain patterns so I wanted to try it. But I don't have the proper stabilizing equipment.

The wood is sound enough to do a rough rounding, end squaring, and drilling with a pilot hole (8.5mm). After that, I soaked the barrel in a MinWax Brand product called, simply, High Performance Wood Hardener. The soaking of the wood blank, in the actual MinWax can, lasted about 6 hours, during which I turned the blank every hour to try get the hardener to penetrate uniformly.

I think that using this wood hardener had an interesting result. Not only was the wood strengthened, the purpose which was the main intent, but also it turned out that no finishing preparation was necessary in order to achieve a quite nice satin, or matte, final finish on the barrel. I just turned the barrel to the desired shape and size, during which there was no chipping of the previously "punky" wood, and followed that with sandpaper grits of 240 up to 2000. The resulting finish has a mildly glossy look which really appeals to me. . I am going to try this same process on other woods (not necessarily punky) and analyze the results. Sometimes a glossy finish, such as you can get with the usual CA finish, is not just exactly what you might want.

So here are some pictures which you may find somewhat interesting in spite of my "bad" photography.

The first picture shows the finished pen alongside an extra piece of the "punky" wood I used (notice some slight chipping from the surface of the extra piece, which has not gone through the MinWax Wood Hardener yet.

I hope you will be able to ascertain from the photos that the final finished surface of the pen is very smooth and semi-glossy. . I like it very much.

There are additional pictures showing other "sides" of the pen.

The last picture shows the integrated internal assembly of the single barrel Cigar using the new brass tube size of 11/32" (or 8.7mm). . This assembly slides into the glued-in 11/32" and 3/8" brass shroud tubes (not shown, of course). . The 11/32" shroud tube is an "actual size" brass tube (from K&S Hobby Supplies) while the 3/8" shroud tube is a "pen makers size" brass tube.
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Mal,

I'd really like to see this in our library. As I've said to others, there's more than one way to skin a cat.
 
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