Kit Advice - Law School Grad (RB/Fountain)

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BlackGoatWW

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Apr 11, 2021
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A good buddy of mine is graduating law school this year and I want to make him a really nice set of pens (hes expressed interest since I started turning a few weeks ago).

I'm planning to make him a set of pens, 1x roller ball, and 1x fountain. I plan to use two complimentary but contrasting blanks to identify each one, so they can be the same kit but don't have to be as long as they match enough to make a good set. So here's what I am looking for as far as suggestions:

-Silver/Chrome/Gunmetal/Titanium colors (No gold/brass)
-Kits that write well, he prolly wont use them if they require a lot of maintenance/tuning (price doesn't really matter, we've been close friends for more than a decade)
-Postable caps
-Good solid body, not looking for slimline (though I don't think that's an option in fountain anyway)

I'm fairly new to turning so Im all ears. I have ordered some vertex rollerballs and I'm not in love with the hexagonal design. If anyone knows of kits they are just in love with that fit these criteria I would really appreciate it vs. ordering a bunch and trying to stumble through figuring out which ones I want to use. Thanks!
 
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mnerland

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Mar 26, 2019
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Bowling Green, KY
A good buddy of mine is graduating law school this year and I want to make him a really nice set of pens (hes expressed interest since I started turning a few weeks ago).

I'm planning to make him a set of pens, 1x roller ball, and 1x fountain. I plan to use two complimentary but contrasting blanks to identify each one, so they can be the same kit but don't have to be as long as they match enough to make a good set. So here's what I am looking for as far as suggestions:

-Silver/Chrome/Gunmetal/Titanium colors (No gold/brass)
-Kits that write well, he prolly wont use them if they require a lot of maintenance/tuning (price doesn't really matter, we've been close friends for more than a decade)
-Postable caps
-Good solid body, not looking for slimline (though I don't think that's an option in fountain anyway)

I'm fairly new to turning so Im all ears. I have ordered some vertex rollerballs and I'm not in love with the hexagonal design. If anyone knows of kits they are just in love with that fit these criteria I would really appreciate it vs. ordering a bunch and trying to stumble through figuring out which ones I want to use. Thanks!
I'm partial to the Dayacom Jr. Series of pens. I think the quality is good and they look very classy without being too gawdy. You can get these through Exotic Blanks and they have a great selection. Don't let the "Jr." word fool you; they are sturdy pens and very comfortable.
Mike
 

magpens

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Coquitlam, BC, Canada
The classiest pen kit on the market, IMHO, is the Jr. Emperor .... a Dayacom Jr. Series kit available (or was) from ExoticBlanks and others.
Price was in the $60 range when I bought several years ago. . But I think it does have some gold plating on the embellishments.
 

EricRN

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May 16, 2019
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I am a huge fan of the mistrals from Beaufort Ink, although they are not postable. I am a lawyer and that is the pen I made for myself to use at work!
 

EricRN

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No one at work has really noticed it. Haha. I’ve sold a good number, and always received positive feedback. I’m a fan of of the look of the pen, but I also like how thin it is—both because I prefer thin pens and because it allows me to use vintage acetate.
 

magpens

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@EricRN

Oh, I see .... so vintage acetate rods or tubes are a suitable fit to the Mistral ..... that is interesting. . Thanks for that info ... I must try that.

I have some v. a. rods and tubes. .... and also a spare Mistral kit, I think.
 

EricRN

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@EricRN

Oh, I see .... so vintage acetate rods or tubes are a suitable fit to the Mistral ..... that is interesting. . Thanks for that info ... I must try that.

I have some v. a. rods and tubes. .... and also a spare Mistral kit, I think.
Yeah—usually just the body. I use ebonite for the cap.
 

magpens

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Can you explain vintage acetate and ebonite?

An explanation could be lengthy. . I am not evading the question, but .......
You might get the info you want more effectively by doing searches for "vintage acetate" and "ebonite" on this, the IAP, forum.
"Vintage Acetate" should not be confused with the modern "Acrylic Acetate" ( a.k.a. "AA" on some vendor websites ).
I believe that "vintage acetate" is also called "cellulose acetate" and was "commonly" used for pens in the '20s, '30s, and '40s.
Please try your search with that term also.
 

BlackGoatWW

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NCR
An explanation could be lengthy. . I am not evading the question, but .......
You might get the info you want more effectively by doing searches for "vintage acetate" and "ebonite" on this, the IAP, forum.
"Vintage Acetate" should not be confused with the modern "Acrylic Acetate" ( a.k.a. "AA" on some vendor websites ).
I believe that "vintage acetate" is also called "cellulose acetate" and was "commonly" used for pens in the '20s, '30s, and '40s.
Please try your search with that term also.
Fair enough! Thanks!
 

EricRN

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Fair enough! Thanks!
I'll add a bit to Mal's good suggestion. The cellulose acetate I use was manufactured in the 1930s-1950s by some pen factory in France. The factory supplied material to a bunch of the penmakers of the day--you can find it on vintage Conway Stewarts, Watermans, Bermonds, etc. It comes as a tube, usually with an outer diameter ranging from 10-13mm. That's very thin; too thin to use on most kits these days. There are a few varieties that you see bouncing around that are in the 14mm range, but not much thicker than that. Most of the thick stuff has been used up years ago. You see it come up for sale on the forums here occasionally, and on ebay. But it's gotten increasingly scarce in even the past two years I've been active here. Lots of folks are hesitant to part with what they have.

There is also a type of cellulose acetate manufactured in Italy by Mazzuchelli under the brand name of cebloplast. That stuff is from the 1980s-1990s and it too is increasingly hard to find.

Cellulose acetate is supposedly pretty time-intensive to manufacture. Not as time intensive as true celluloid (cellulose nitrate) nor as dangerous to make, but still much more time-intensive than an acrylic acetate or some of the more modern resins. cellulose acetate's heydey in pen manufacture was probably in the 1920s through the 1960s or so. That's about when folks realized it was safer to make and cheaper than celluloid, although many pen manufacturers of course continued using celluloid (and still do today) on their high-end pens. Cellulose acetate is supposed to be the closest thing you can get to true celluloid. I've never held a celluloid pen so I can't vouch for that. I can say that cellulose acetate is softer and warmer to the touch than modern resins, which tend to feel colder, harder, and more brittle in my hand. I attribute the difference to the organic nature of the cellulose acetate--as the name suggests, cellulose acetate is a plastic derived from cotton fibers that have been chemically reacted with acetic acid (I think; it's something like that).

Ebonite is something different entirely. A very hard, vulcanized rubber that is used on a lot of high-end pens. It's got a different look and feel than plastic. A bit heavier. The shine is less glass-like but at the same time deeper, in my view. This stuff is easier to find as it is still manufactured. The Indian ebonite is the cheapest. Japanese is slightly more expensive. And the German stuff is the most expensive. I usually get the Japanese stuff from Vermont Freehand. They are a company that caters to pipe-makers, but a lot of the materials and tools crossover into pen turning, too. I've seen a few references to folks shopping there here on the forum.
 

penicillin

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Feb 27, 2019
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Maybe lawyers only use pens, but why not include a matching pencil? I am not a lawyer, but I used (and still use) pencils more than pens most of the time. That may limit your choices of pen kit styles, but it is just a thought.

Before you start looking at the unusual materials like cellulose acetate and ebonite, I would recommend practicing with the more common materials first. While you are doing that, do plenty of research into the more exotic materials. Speaking for myself and thinking about my own penturning skill level after only a few weeks of turning pens, I would not commit to one of those exotic materials for a special "lifetime" gift.

By way of example, iinlace acrylester is a common, popular pen blank material. You can get it anywhere, and it makes beautiful polished pens. These days I don't think twice about turning inlace acrylester pens.
-> It took me three tries before I finally succeeded with inlace acrylester. The first two pen blanks "blew up." You get the point.

I joined with friends on a group buy of ebonite (ordered and shipped from Japan) and have a 1 meter piece of it, but have not turned any of it yet. I have been reading about the difficulties, but also reading about potential issues related to long-term durability of ebonite.

If you decide to attempt one of those exotic materials, do plenty of research first. Buy extra pen blanks and some extra pen tubes just in case, too.
 
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