Liberty in Olive

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Bats

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I managed to score three of these and a set of bushings when they went on sale a couple weeks ago - this one's dressed in a nice bit of slightly curly olive from @wood128 . I'm not sure how I feel about the pairing (although I love the wood, and it turned like a dream) - I'm wondering if I might've been happier with a darker wood.

I sort of expected someone else would get around to making and posting one of these kits before I did - I've been slow to make it into the shop lately.
PXL_20210913_010914854.jpg


This is the first time I've gotten a chance to make one of the LazerLinez/McKenzie stainless kits, so I don't really have a lot of grounds for comparison, but I like the kit a lot. It's got a really nice solid heft to it, I love the fact that everything screws together (or rather, the nib and transmission each screw into pressed-in bands, and the finial pops on the transmission), and the packaging is some of the slickest I've seen on a kit (not that it saved me from forgetting to install the clip the first time around - sometimes there's just no fixing stupid). The bushings are nice too - with machined-in stripes to identify front & rear, and 60° chamfers so they can be used between centers. Unfortunately the nib bushing was about a thou oversized and half a thou out of round (ok, now I'm just nitpicking), but a bit of sanding brought it back in line.

I feel like the finish, though, is a bit... uneven. To be fair, some aspects aren't entirely unexpected - Tim said up front that the finish on the new kits would show more machining than the old ones. It also sounds like the new machines may make things cleaner on future runs, so there's definitely nothing here that'll put me off buying more.

The finial looks nice - not quite a mirror finish, but very clean looking, with some visible but not entirely unattractive spiral machining marks on the top face (the picture shows marks on the sides too, but I have to really squint to see them without magnification).
PXL_20210913_012547655.jpg



PXL_20210913_012453947.jpg


The nib seems to show a lot more marks, however (and I'm not entirely sure why, either). I don't think that would bother me by itself - it makes for a bit of a subtly industrial look - if it were a closer match with the finial. Instead it looks just a little bit mismatched. I may put the nib on the lathe and polish it up a bit more (did I mention how much I like the screw-it-togetheryness? I can take the nib off without punches! yay!), but I haven't quite decided yet. Again, I kinda like the sorta brushed industrial look - I just wish it were more even from nib to finial.
PXL_20210913_012524424.jpg


The one point where the finish really does sort of disappoint me is on the clip. It looks sorta like it's been banging around in a pocket with keys and change for a bit too long - although, like the finial, the photo shows a lot more than is normally visible. Like the nib, I'm still thinking of trying to give this a bit of a polish... or I might see if a wire brush can give me a brushed finish.
PXL_20210913_012601022.jpg


Minor gripes aside (and I really don't want to be too hard on it, since I know I'm kinda guinea pigging the first batch), it's really a nice bit of hardware, and I'm glad @McKenzie Penworks was able to bring them back. Thanks, Tim!
 
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PatrickR

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Your work looks good Bats, but the kit looks crude. I had a few of the old ones that I never completed and ended up selling. I do not remember them having machine marks. A less than polished finish would be fine, but machine marks are no bueno for me.
 

jrista

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I like the machining marks and dimpling on the clip. I think it gives the pen a very unique look, compared to all the pristine, glistening shiny smooth kits that are out there. Truly beautiful pen. I think the olive wood was an excellent match!
 

Ironwood

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I have made and sold about 30 of the original Liberty’s, they were finished off a lot nicer.
I know this is the first new batch, and Tim has said that they will get better once they get their processes and the new machine in order, but I would be reluctant to buy the kits if they remained at this level of finish.
I work with metal every day in my job, I would be happy with this finish on a part I was using to rebuild an engine or piece of machinery, but on a pen I would want better.
I make my own pen components now, and I know how much work goes into getting a good finish on stainless, my best clip to date, probably took 4 hours to complete, most of that was getting the machining marks off and polishing. Start charging an hourly rate on that , and it starts to look non financially viable.
I hope the new tumbling machine improves the quality of finish, because I really like these kits.
Here’s what the original ones looked like, for anyone who hasn’t seen them.
 

Ironwood

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I have made and sold about 30 of the original Liberty’s, they were finished off a lot nicer.
I know this is the first new batch, and Tim has said that they will get better once they get their processes and the new machine in order, but I would be reluctant to buy the kits if they remained at this level of finish.
I work with metal every day in my job, I would be happy with this finish on a part I was using to rebuild an engine or piece of machinery, but on a pen I would want better.
I make my own pen components now, and I know how much work goes into getting a good finish on stainless, my best clip to date, probably took 4 hours to complete, most of that was getting the machining marks off and polishing. Start charging an hourly rate on that , and it starts to look non financially viable.
I hope the new tumbling machine improves the quality of finish, because I really like these kits.
Here’s what the original ones looked like, for anyone who hasn’t seen them.
Sorry Bats, I was in a hurry to post that last reply and get my boots on to go off to work, nightshift again tonight. I didn’t comment on your blank. I think the lighter colored Olive doesn’t look out of place on the stainless pen, I like it.
 

KenB259

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I think your wood pairing goes well with kit. I’m not a fan of the machining marks on the pen components. The ones I have seen all have them and it’s the reason I won’t be ordering any.
 

Bats

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I work with metal every day in my job, I would be happy with this finish on a part I was using to rebuild an engine or piece of machinery, but on a pen I would want better.
That seems to be nearly a consensus (and apparently I'm the only one who thinks the olive was a less than ideal pairing, so there's that) - although I still wonder whether there might be some potential for a stainless pen left with deliberately raw machining. Might make for a nice grip, too. Could be something to experiment with, if I ever get back to making my own hardware.

I make my own pen components now, and I know how much work goes into getting a good finish on stainless, my best clip to date, probably took 4 hours to complete, most of that was getting the machining marks off and polishing. Start charging an hourly rate on that , and it starts to look non financially viable.
Yep - I've done it a couple times in the past and it wasn't much fun... one of the reasons I'm still only thinking about polishing up the hardware, rather than just getting it done. I was kinda blown away by Tim's comment that Constant used to have someone hand-polishing all the kits.

I hope the new tumbling machine improves the quality of finish, because I really like these kits.
Ditto. I'm hoping the Desire comes out a lot cleaner, especially given the higher price tag.

Here’s what the original ones looked like, for anyone who hasn’t seen them.
Finish aside, I think I prefer the old clip - it looks a bit more... err... finished - although I seem to remember @McKenzie Penworks saying something about trouble sourcing the clips (I don't remember the details and it's not in the thread I thought it was). I'm not sure how I feel about the bead near the tip of the nib, though, and I don't like the bead on the end of the finial much at all. So I suppose the changes are a mixed bag.
 

Bats

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I wonder how well the parts would polish in a tumbler?
That's actually what they're using to get this finish - although theirs is a little more advanced than anything I could afford (or have space for). It could be a matter of just needing more time tumbling, but that might also mean losing some of the sharper details.
 

Ironwood

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EDIT- my comments are in the quote boxes, I couldn’t work out how to multi quote, and ended up with this.

.......although I still wonder whether there might be some potential for a stainless pen left with deliberately raw machining. Might make for a nice grip, too. Could be something to experiment with, if I ever get back to making my own hardware.

Yes , if the machining marks were consistent and smooth, it could possibly make a nice pen.
I am suspecting the marks in your pen photos in the first post, are highlighted by the lighting and the close up of the photos, probably less conspicuous when actually looking at the pen.


Yep - I've done it a couple times in the past and it wasn't much fun... one of the reasons I'm still only thinking about polishing up the hardware, rather than just getting it done. I was kinda blown away by Tim's comment that Constant used to have someone hand-polishing all the kits.

That would make a lot of work to complete a large order of kits, and add to the cost to produce them.

Ditto. I'm hoping the Desire comes out a lot cleaner, especially given the higher price tag.

Hopefully the new machine will deliver.

Finish aside, I think I prefer the old clip - it looks a bit more... err... finished - although I seem to remember @McKenzie Penworks saying something about trouble sourcing the clips (I don't remember the details and it's not in the thread I thought it was). I'm not sure how I feel about the bead near the tip of the nib, though, and I don't like the bead on the end of the finial much at all. So I suppose the changes are a mixed bag.

I think those old clips were outsourced, the newer ones are made in-house, I don’t mind the new ones.
I didn’t like the look of the beads on the older kits at the start, but they eventually grew on me, the newer style does look a bit sleeker, I like both styles.
 
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Bats

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EDIT- my comments are in the quote boxes, I couldn’t work out how to multi quote, and ended up with this.
For future reference, you can just hit the Reply button on each of the posts you're trying to quote. Each time it inserts the quoted post at the cursor position.

I am suspecting the marks in your pen photos in the first post, are highlighted by the lighting and the close up of the photos, probably less conspicuous when actually looking at the pen.
The first shot is probably the most accurate in that respect - the marks on the nib and front band are definitely visible from a foot or two away, while the marks on the sides of the finial are almost impossible to see unless you're looking really closely with just the right lighting. You can see a similar looking finish on the test pen Tim posted over here.

I think those old clips were outsourced, the newer ones are made in-house, I don’t mind the new ones.
I think you're right - it sounds like Constant was sourcing some of them from Taiwan - and it's harder to advertise Made-in-USA-except-those-damn-clips pens. And I don't mind the new clips - I just think I prefer the older ones. From a manufacturing point of view, though, I can definitely understand why these are made the way they are - a cutout with a hole and two bends can be easily made in any general purpose shop, while the Taiwanese version is going to take some fancier folding.
 

sorcerertd

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That's actually what they're using to get this finish - although theirs is a little more advanced than anything I could afford (or have space for). It could be a matter of just needing more time tumbling, but that might also mean losing some of the sharper details.
Oh. Well, then... That's definitely more, um, more everything than my humble tumbler. I should think a vibratory tumbler would work better than the rolling type, but either way you would definitely lose any well defined edges or features.
 

TonyL

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Very nicely turned. I like wood tone/hue and grain!
I thought the "machined-finish" would be more uniform, but maybe that is the appeal.
I have sold many of the polished ones; I don't think I would be able to move these; too early to tell.
 

Bats

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Very nicely turned. I like wood tone/hue and grain!
Why, thanks! I grew it myself! 🤪

(disclaimer: I didn't. Although @wood128 may have. Pretty wood in any case.)

I thought the "machined-finish" would be more uniform, but maybe that is the appeal.
Honestly, so did I. And I can't say for sure (I was sort of hoping @McKenzie Penworks might pipe up and tell us a bit more about the situation and/or what to expect from the next release), but I suspect the decision had more to do with manufacturing practicality (not to be confused with manufacturing consent) than appeal.

I have sold many of the polished ones; I don't think I would be able to move these; too early to tell.
I have sold... well, basically nothing. Ever. So I can't really say... But my suspicion is that it might attract a certain sort of buyer, but probably not the same sort - or as broad a segment - as would've gone for the polished version.
 

sorcerertd

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I have sold... well, basically nothing. Ever. So I can't really say... But my suspicion is that it might attract a certain sort of buyer, but probably not the same sort - or as broad a segment - as would've gone for the polished version.
"Now with a new and rugged tactical quality!" (It's a feature)
 
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