Modesto Fountain Pen

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Larryreitz

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Feb 8, 2015
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Salem, CT USA
I bought this kit to have a lower priced fountain pen in my display at shows. At a price of $7.95 it seemed like a decent entry level fountain pen that first time buyers could try out without breaking the bank. I don't want this to seem like a rant so I'll first tell you that the pen pictured below writes well and takes standard refill cartridges. The nib is not interchangeable, but I think that is OK for an entry level fountain pen.

The issue I found is the instructions call for 10.6 & 12.6 mm drill bits. Figuring it was just a typo I drilled the blanks with the common 10.5 and 12.5 mm bits. Well, they meant 10.6 and 12.6. Now I haven't looked exhaustively, but I have not found any bits in that size and if I could find them I'm not sure I would spend the money just to be able to make this pen. I thought there might be an acceptable size in the bits with letter designations, but it seems the highest they go is size Z which is just smaller than 10.5 mm. I also thought the overly tight fit, ( I could not push the tube all the way through the the drilled hole.) might be due to the nature of the olive wood. However, the same problem happened with poplar. I sanded the blank hole until it was possible to push the tube through with some force and glued it up with CA. I normally use epoxy.

If any of you more experienced guys out there have any suggestions for work around I'd like to hear them. Otherwise I may just have to write this off to a learning experience. Thanks for reading. The finished pen is pictured below.

_MG_8861.jpg


Larry
 
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magpens

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For situations like this, I find that having a set of straight-sided adjustable reamers is the answer.

Drill with 10.5, and use the appropriate reamer, adjusted to suit, to take out the additional material.

I buy the reamers here in Canada from a company called Busy Bee Tools .... they are not expensive, but they are not the best quality either.
However, they do the job if you take care to measure the size of the hole as you enlarge it. . That does not mean you have to use a caliper to measure, just use the brass tube. . When it fits the hole is fine as sizing for gluing in the brass tube is not critical as long as it is not sloppy.

There is another company where I have bought reamers ... KBCTools.com ... they sell them individually ... more expensive ... about $25 each.

Once you have some adjustable reamers, you will find many uses for them.

BTW .... nice looking pen above !!! . I have never seen a Modesto before .... where did you buy it ? . It has some nice-looking features.
 

Larryreitz

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Feb 8, 2015
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208
Location
Salem, CT USA
Mal,

Just the type of info I was looking for. You are truly one of the go to experts on this site and I really appreciate your response. I bought the pen kit from Exotic Blanks. I think it was $7.95. Thanks!!

Larry
 

magpens

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@Larryreitz

Thank you, Larry :)

Just another bit of info. It is possible to buy metric drills with sizes in increments of 0.1 mm .... I bought some (stubbies, I think) from KBCTools.

In particular, I have a bunch ranging from 6.8 mm to 8.0 mm in increments of 0.1 mm and I find these especially useful for getting brass tubes to fit quite snugly in blanks. . For me, the generic sizing recommendations of the kit manufacturers are sometimes too sloppy. . I have a few other odd sizes also, and I might have a 10.6 mm. . But I don't have a 12.6 mm. . Just today, I found a need for a 7.8 mm so was glad that I had one. . These odd size bits are only about $4 each for the stubby lengths and worth having, in my opinion. . They are not great quality, but adequate for the usage that they get.

There are a few kit manufacturers that do not conform to the "normal" sizes. One that comes to mind is a company whose name starts with R

A different company sold me some kits a few years back that they called SR Gent and said were Jr. Gent compatible ... but the tube sizes were off.

Oh, and by the way, Olivewood does tend to have the property you were alluding to above ... it tends to contract a bit after you withdraw the drill bit. . All woods do that to some extent, but I have found Olivewood does that to a greater amount than most. . I don't mind making allowances for the behavior of Olivewood .... it is such a joy to work with !
 
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Chief TomaToe

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Oct 6, 2017
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Bloomington, Indiana
You are not crazy, 10.5 and 12.5 are definitely too small for the tubes. I have had my fair share of struggles with this kit. However, if you can get it to work it's a great looking kit for the price. I just end up using 1/2in and I think 13/32in drill bits. They are a bit looser in the blanks than I like, but it's never been an issue once I can actually get the tube in there!

On a side note, almost every single refill I've used in the rollerball kits write extremely poor. I was glad to have other refills I could use.

Don't get me started on the finial and clip.

Still a great price though!
 

jttheclockman

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Feb 22, 2005
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NJ, USA.
You may want to let Ed know about the drill bit problem because he has the bit listed as 10.5 and 12.5 He maybe able to get the right bits for future sales.
 

ed4copies

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Racine, WI, USA.
Growing quickly is a good thing and we (ExoticBlanks) are enjoying it!!

On the downside, Dawn often adds product that I have not made and have NOT written the instructions. In those cases, I certainly don't always agree with those instructions. Specifically on this pen, yes they DO call for 10.6 and 12.6 mm. I assume they are trying to help us sell lots of useless sizes of drill bits!!

10.6mm=26.92/64" So you could easily substitute 27/64", a common size in penmaking.
12.6mm=32.004/64" That is 4 THOUSANDTHS over a half inch---bet you have THAT bit, too!!

Yes, I agree the instructions are not great. It takes me a half a day to write instructions for one pen, with the appropriate pictures, etc. I wish I could do them all, but it is not possible at this stage.

What I CAN suggest is measure the tubes and get a Decimal Equivalent drill bit chart, there are dozens available FREE on the internet. Here is a link to find a bunch of images: https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;?p=decimal equivalent drill chart large

With this, you can measure the tube (.410") and pick a size about .02 larger (.4219=27/64). This is a good starting point. As you know, I like acrylics, so this will usually work fine. IF you are doing wood like olive, the hole will close a little after you drill, so the chart will tell you the next common drill size is .4331"=11mm or .4375=7/16". Remember also that wood, when made into the final pen, will shrink if humidity is low, so if your fit is TOO tight, don't be surprised if it cracks. The same hole in plastic is very sloppy and contributes to "blow-ups" on the lathe. Instructions should be viewed as "suggestions". You, the penmaker are the only one who knows what material you will be drilling--this matters!!

In short, please don't become dependant on "instructions"!! The assembly drawings are important as a guide to proper component placements, everything else is based on the "average" pen material. YOU can make far better analyses KNOWING what you are using and adapting your practices accordingly!!

Have fun!! But don't be a slave to generalized instructions!!

BTW, if you think the next size is too big after you have drilled the hole that is too small, wrap some sandpaper around a dowel and sand the hole--making SURE to keep it ROUND! To remove a couple thousandths, this will work fine.
 
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