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JonathanF1968

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
45
Location
Massachusetts
Hi all!

Just made my first pen, and I'm hooked. Photo attached. There's a crack in it, and I'm not sure why. Might have happened when I fit the parts together, or maybe when I tried burnishing the finish and possibly heated it up too much. Hopefully, it won't be a recurring issue. Any thoughts?

--Jonathan
 

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Mortalis

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2013
Messages
275
Location
Rochester, Mass
What did you use for glue to attach the tube to the wood? How tight was the hole to the tube? when you say you 'burnished' the finish, how did you do that?
Oh and by the way, welcome to IAP from a fellow Taxachussett resident.
 

JonathanF1968

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
45
Location
Massachusetts
Thanks for the reply. I used 5 minute epoxy for the tube. It had a little room to slide in. Not too snug or too loose. For the "burnishing," I basically squeezed a handful of shavings against the wood as it turned. (The theory is that it gives the wood a richer color, and more polished look.) It didn't feel hot in my hand, and I didn't squeeze to the point of smoking.

Always happy to meet a fellow resident in our great state, which boasts some of the world's best public education, health care, safe streets, cultural institutions, preserved green space and historical structures, and so on..... ;)
 

magpens

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Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
10,013
Location
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Welcome to IAP !!

It sounds like the crack was not there before burnishing because, if it were, you would have noticed. Would that be right ? . Logically, it would seem then, to be the result of burnishing. . But I find it hard to accept that burnishing would be the cause. . If the heat were that great you certainly would have felt it.

I feel pretty sure that the crack occurred when you pressed the parts into the barrel ends. . That can happen if there is glue residue inside the brass tube. . Cracking can also occur if your pressing operation is not dead straight. . There might even be other reasons.

That is a slimline pen. . Slimlines are the most difficult for several reasons, one of which is the thin material (blank) wall at the ends of the finished barrels.

I would suggest you develop your basic skills using an easier kit, such as Majestic Squire (good wall thickness), Art Deco, or the 30 Caliber Bolt Action kits. . Sierra (or Gatsby) is also easy but does not have an adequately thick wall, in my opinion, unless you go for the Sierra Vista (or Gatsby Grande).
 

JonathanF1968

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
45
Location
Massachusetts
Thanks, these are good details to look out for. I didn't notice the crack until the pen was all done. (Actually, my son noticed it.) So, I don't know exactly when it happened, but i will pay attention next time.

I've got an Art Deco and some other kinds of kits coming, so we'll see. I'm glad to know that this kit is considered relatively difficult. It was a good one to start out with, in part because it was so cheap, so the failure doesn't hurt much, and I was actually expecting far worse.
 

JonathanF1968

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
45
Location
Massachusetts
Hi all!

FYI, I've made another four or five pens, and there's been no more cracking. Been changing lots of little things.... Thanks for your suggestions. Now, I'm making lots of other mistakes.... ;) Having fun, though. Turned a couple Dragon sets, an Art Deco, and a couple more Slimlines, using apple wood from one of my own trees (which I planted about 17 years ago) and also wood salvaged from the threshold of my house, which graced the front door for over 170 years before it had to be replaced. It's an old pen! I wonder when the tree it was harvested from was sprouted. Certainly, the 1700s, but maybe earlier. It was quite a hunk of wood.

My current frustrations are (1) getting my skew properly sharp and (2) getting the surface of my pens looking perfect very close to the ends/bushings. I'm wondering if I need to sand them off the mandrel before finishing, to get that last detail exactly right.
 
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