In my last blog entry I touched on the notion of modifying the metal pen hardware I use for some new pens. You might be wondering exactly what that means, and luckily you have me here to explain it!
Before you can understand how modifications work, you need to understand how pens are made. For a pen maker like myself, I purchase the metal components from a pen supply house, then select and shape wood or acrylic to fit the appropriate pen hardware and ‘assemble’ it. So what is the pen hardware?
It may vary slightly from one pen style to another, but your typical pen has a top half and a bottom half. Those 2 halves are separated by a metal center band which typically matches both the metal tip and metal endcap/clip of the pen. In addition there is the mechanism that extends and retracts the ink cartridge tip. And last, but most importantly, are the 2 metal tubes that the top and bottom halves of the wood are actually attached to.
Now that you know what the parts are, we need to understand how they work together. We’ll take a simple click pen. Starting at the bottom you have the metal tip, followed by the bottom half of the wood, a metal center band, the upper half of the wood, and lastly the plunger (aka ‘Clicker’ or, the more technical term, ‘Thingamajig’). The 2 pieces of wood need to be a VERY specific size, both in length and diameter. If it is too thick it simply won’t fit onto the pen hardware. And if it is either too long or too short, the writing tip will either always be exposed or never fully extend.
So altering a pen, like I’ve done here, can be tricky. Mostly because you need to make the length of the pen -exactly the same- as if it had been left unchanged. Although there is no center band, the distance between the tip and the Thingamajig is dead-on. The end result is a beautiful modified pen that truly showcases the material used with no aesthetic interruptions.
This was the first pen I modified from a 2 piece (top and bottom) design to a 1 piece design. I really enjoyed making it and am extremely pleased with the end result. I hope you are, too!