In-depth study on making bespoke pen clips?

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Derhul

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Jan 22, 2020
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Bel Aire Kansas
There is a couple of reference guides here and a couple of YouTube vids out on making clips but besides that,I don’t see much.
I see Castro has a great vid on turning 50 cal brass into clips but is there a place I can go to learn how to make these things from scratch like cutting and bending metals into the desired shape?

Maybe some YouTube vid buried deep in YouTube land?
 
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hokie

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May 29, 2017
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DC Area
There is a couple of reference guides here and a couple of YouTube vids out on making clips but besides that,I don’t see much.
I see Castro has a great vid on turning 50 cal brass into clips but is there a place I can go to learn how to make these things from scratch like cutting and bending metals into the desired shape?

Maybe some YouTube vid buried deep in YouTube land?
This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I had all the same questions as you going years back. Unfortunately in all that time, nothing I've seen has amounted to anything more than folks bending brass, bronze, nickle silver, or sterling/argentium silver into a shape with a ring at one end to mount into the cap. Some look well done, but many look bulky and, um, "full of character".
My main issue is that I want a bespoke clip to be rigid or springy enough to not get literally bent out of shape if used on overly thick seams/fabric or just lifted with a finger. I assume spring steal is the ideal material, but it would require shaping, tempering, polishing, plating, etc. I'm down for all of that, but I haven't seen a recommendation for any part of that process. Maybe I just need to experiment one of these days.
For now, I use clips bought in bulk that I custom plate to the finish I want in a shape I am relatively OK with. It just stinks I can't say everything but the nib is made by hand.
I hope others can chime in with their experiences or advice!
 

Dalecamino

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Jan 2, 2008
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Indianapolis, In.
One guy makes them with cast silver. Another is a jeweler. You could take a jewelers class and learn to solder silver and other material. You could carve them out of sheet metal. I've never tried any of these methods...yet. I'm too lazy, and it just hasn't meant that much to me....so far.
 

leehljp

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Feb 6, 2005
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Tunica, MS,
I believe it is "Jalbert" who does a great job at making his own clips. I PM'ed him a couple of years ago about some help and he said ask away. I didn't, but just watched what he presented here and finally it dawned on me that I could do those things, but it would take a little practice. It would take messing up a few but it would come.
I'll admit that I grew up welding and brazing and cutting metal with saws and cutting torches and beating things to shape with hammers, grinders and files, but all of my stuff was farm equipment, so the beauty was not a part of it.

Do a search for Jalbert media. Beautiful work. Limited only by the imagination.
 

Carl Pepka

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Aug 31, 2018
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Kenosha Wi USA
Had the same problem when I wanted to start making my own clips. Having a background (decades ago) in working with silver that was my choice, easy to work and solder and I could also set gems into it easily. I mentioned it in a FB group and was told about Argentium silver which you can harden in a regular oven which will give it spring and it wont bend. I'm still experimenting with diff gauges and how they effect function. The distance between the clip and the cap body also makes a difference on function in terms on how thick of a material a clip can go over. I make fountain pens only and most sales go to collectors who dont really use the clips in a pocket, they use sleeves and cases. Clips for them are more decorative than functional and many prefer a roll stop to a clip. If you decide to use silver feel free to ask me any questions and I'll help if I can. Some of my clips and stops that I cant imagine being made in any other metal than silver.
 

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ecrouse

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Nov 8, 2012
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Location
Houston
I believe it is "Jalbert" who does a great job at making his own clips. I PM'ed him a couple of years ago about some help and he said ask away. I didn't, but just watched what he presented here and finally it dawned on me that I could do those things, but it would take a little practice. It would take messing up a few but it would come.
I'll admit that I grew up welding and brazing and cutting metal with saws and cutting torches and beating things to shape with hammers, grinders and files, but all of my stuff was farm equipment, so the beauty was not a part of it.

Do a search for Jalbert media. Beautiful work. Limited only by the imagination.


I really enjoy Carl Pepka's work as well.
 

Pierre---

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Jun 10, 2012
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313
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France
Carl, your clips and roll stops are really attractive. Is Argentium silver really springy and unable to bend? Would you mind sharing the heat treatment process ?
 

Ironwood

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May 31, 2010
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1,179
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Mackay. Australia
I make my clips out of stainless steel hoseclamps. They are not as fancy as a lot of clips I see made, but I think they suit the style of pen that I make.
I find it quite easy to make them, but I have been working with metal most of my working life, so I might have an advantage over some people.
I bend the hoseclamps straight, then use a permanent marker to put ink over the section I am going to use. I then centrepop the centre of the ring, I use a pair of dividers to mark the inner and outer circles of the ring and use a metal scriber to mark the length of the clip.
First I drill the hole, which in most of my clips is 9mm. Then I use a handheld angle grinder fitted with a 1mm thick blade to make the long cuts on either side of the clip up to where the outer circle of the ring is, now carefully cut in close to the outer circle , then I use a file to clean up and straighten the edges while the piece is held in a vice. Finally, clean it up with sandpaper and buff.
I bend the shape by holding the clip with a pair of pliers, and pushing with my thumb, or a small piece of wood.
Now that I have made a lot of them, it takes me about 20 minutes at a guess to make a clip from start to finish.
 

Carl Pepka

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Aug 31, 2018
Messages
119
Location
Kenosha Wi USA
Carl, your clips and roll stops are really attractive. Is Argentium silver really springy and unable to bend? Would you mind sharing the heat treatment process ?
It is basically like sterling in most ways and is silver with a alloy other than copper. You heat and cool quickly to soften for working just like sterling, when your finished you put it in a kitchen oven at 500 degrees for a hour and a half then let it cool to room temp and it hardens then it wont bend easy and has spring to it. Lots of vids on youtube under "Argentium"
 
Last edited:

leehljp

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Feb 6, 2005
Messages
8,253
Location
Tunica, MS,
Had the same problem when I wanted to start making my own clips. Having a background (decades ago) in working with silver that was my choice, easy to work and solder and I could also set gems into it easily. I mentioned it in a FB group and was told about Argentium silver which you can harden in a regular oven which will give it spring and it wont bend. I'm still experimenting with diff gauges and how they effect function. The distance between the clip and the cap body also makes a difference on function in terms on how thick of a material a clip can go over. I make fountain pens only and most sales go to collectors who dont really use the clips in a pocket, they use sleeves and cases. Clips for them are more decorative than functional and many prefer a roll stop to a clip. If you decide to use silver feel free to ask me any questions and I'll help if I can. Some of my clips and stops that I cant imagine being made in any other metal than silver.
EXCELLENT! I am adding this thread and particularly your post to my pen file database. Thanks
 
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