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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Weekend Reads 5/26/12

I hope everyone's ready for a relaxing weekend! I just finished doing some minor/major renovations to my workshop, so my apologies if communication has been slow this week.

As a result, I thought I'd share some photos with you of my improved workspace! On top of that, I'll be explaining in this post about my 9 week trip to Texas, and what I'll be doing there. Read on to find out more!

I'll start this week off with some photos of my newly renovated workspace. Namely, my desk, which is the same, but the stuff on top of it. I've completely revamped my tool stand, and created a new one.  thought it'd be fun for you all to see the place I work at each day, and all the tools I use to fix your pens. :)

Here's my whole work area. For reference, this is a huge desk! I'm 6' 1" tall, and it's plenty big for me.
Metal tools (magnetic ones) are hanging on the wall. Storage bin holds parts and supplies (sacs, gaskets, etc.). Bench vise, which I still need to mount, and my tool holder, which I just re-made.

A little closer... These are my most used tools here. Optivisors hanging on the wall. Dremel right below them.

My third-gen. tool holder. Each tie it gets bigger! All my tools are sorted by convenience. The ones here are usually my most used, with the exception of the pen-barrel brushes and loupes hanging on the magnetic wall rack. Those ones sit up there because they don't go well in a wood block like this. :)

So that's what I spent my most of my Friday doing. It's very nice to have an uncluttered and convenient work area again, and I'm looking forward to repairing some pens in it now.

Links of the Week: Top Picks from my favorite blogs and forums:

#1: We've got another post on disassembling your TWSBI, but this time it's from, and it's for taking apart the Vac700. This is a really great video, so if you just bought a Vac700 and are interested in taking it apart, be sure to watch this!

#2: A second link from Couldn't help myself, they just posted a lot of great stuff this week. :)  Check out Eric and Dan's "Awesome Review" of the TWSBI Vac700!

#3: And another TWSBI post, though not from this time. I finally found a good review of the TWSBI 540 ROC. I was never interested in this pen initially, but that's mostly because I don't prefer the colors. But after seeing some good photos of the pen, I've changed my mind on that. If you love the 540, and are considering getting something extra special, be sure to check out this review.

#4: A funny topic started in the repair forum about the strangest thing you've ever found when opening a pen. I haven't chimed in yet, though I might post some stuff later this week. Lots of humor here, and a bit off topic at times, but it's great thread overall. :)

Q&A Time:

Q: "What's the repair you haven't been able to do yet but most want to?"

A: That's a pretty easy answer for me! There are two things I'd like to learn, but haven't yet.
  1. Nib retipping. Very illusive to say the least. No one teaches it, and most folks say it's impossible for me to learn. Nonetheless, I will do nib retipping someday, even if I have to invent my own technique. This is top on my list of really want to do but currently can't.
  2. Aside from that, I'd like to be able to manufacture my own parts, and even entire pens on a lathe. I have yet to buy a lathe, or invest the time into learning how to use one. But soon enough I will hopefully begin learning some basic pen turning skills.
Lots of other tiny things, but those are the two that I really want to learn above all the others. They're also both some of the more difficult repairs to learn, particularly nib retipping.

Q: "What's the most challenging repair you've ever done?"

A: You know, I really can't put my finger on that. There have been so many segments of repairs that have been difficult, but no one repair seems to be the hardest.  

I suppose if I had to pick one, I'd say it was my first time doing an XXF re-grind to a full-flex nib. That was and still is tricky!

Some close runner-ups would be: Fixing a few mangled nib that have been dropped, trying to get some Ahab Flex pens to write :), and the very first time I tried to re-install a hanging pressure bar in a Waterman.

Blog Forecast:
  • Edison Pearl LEE Review! My first review of an Edison Pen. Can't wait for this one.
  • J. Herbin Cacao du Bresil ink review. One of the few inks I've ever said yuck too... More on this,  later in the review.
  • Ink review of Diamine Eau de Nill. Really looking forward to this ink.


I'll say this bluntly so I don't drag it out to long - I am temporarily discontinuing the Weekend Reads podcast. Well, I sort of have been already, but I'm making it official now. With my 9 week trip to Texas approaching, it's not possible for me to keep up with the podcasts, and I hate to keep disappointing you each week. Until I return from Texas, there will be no more podcasts. Once I get back, then I will consider starting them up again, if I do have the time. Unfortunately, with my limited experience and set up, making a podcast takes a lot of time and energy that I don't currently have. I've got enough work to do just trying to finish everyone's pens before I leave, and continue running the blog. I appreciate you understanding, and if you have any questions, and you want to yell at me for stopping the podcast, please send me an email. :)

UPDATED: To add an explanation for my 9 week trip to Texas: (Special thanks to Lee Smallwood for reminding me :)

So, I'm leaving in July for Texas. To put it in simple terms, I am going to a training facility for 9 weeks, which will prepare me for further training by the same institution. The name of this facility is the International ALERT Academy. There focus is on training young men, around my age. They offer many different courses such as fire-fighting, police, aquatics/diving, paramedics, and a lot more. This first "phase" of training is nearly identical to military boot-camp, so bearing that in mind, you'll know why I'm not able to run a blog or repair fountain pens while I'm there.

After this 9 weeks of training, there is a chance that I will purse further career options there, but most likely I will head back home to get back to repairing fountain pens.

As for why I am going through this - I feel that it will be a good learning experience for me. I'm young, and I'd like to do a few things in life before I settle down and repair pens for the next 50 years. It'll be refreshing to travel somewhere, and break up my routine for a little while.

Hope that makes sense to you all! Further questions can be directed to, and please do ask. I appreciate hearing from you!

Thanks again everyone, and have a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Although I'm sure it goes without saying, we will all miss your services while youre away. Remember Phillipians 4:13 as you go through the next couple of months.