The Great Pen Purge - Week 1 of 2014

Staying on task with the goal of purging the pen and ink stock, and today I forced myself to flush the pens in use (the two TWSBI 540s) and load up new ones. Here is the set for use this week: Pen Selection - Week 01 2014

From left to right we have the Bexley clutch pencil, a Monteverde tool pen, a big Jinhao, and a Think Glacier. The Bexley pencil has always been a favorite of mine, though never as a pencil because I could not find a way to sharpen the massive 5.6mm lead. I have another one of these clutch pencils, and I'm using it with my sketching stuff where it makes more sense. What I've figured out is a way to hack almost any refill to fit with the Bexley, and the trick is to build up a diameter near the point that is a) small enough to fit inside the pencil, b) big enough to not poke out when fully retracted, and c) short enough in length so that the refill fits inside the pencil. These pencils shipped with a ballpoint insert, but I always thought they were dumb in that they did not retract. Not much sense in having a ballpoint that is perpetually exposed, plus I prefer gel refills whenever I can fit them in.

The approach for crafting the inserts is to wrap a some metal HVAC tape to get the right diameter, then shave in a steep bevel near the tip, then cover the HVAC tape with shrink wrap tubing to give it a more polished look. The HVAC tape is pretty amazing in that it shapes well, so the whole business of shaving in a bevel works great because the tape is so dense. I've been on the lookout for some way to have pre-fab adapters for various refills, but I've managed to get good at crafting the tape/tubing versions, so I guess I'll just run on skill at this point. The goal is to use up the inventory I've got, and it is MUCH more enjoyable to use the refills in the Bexley clutch pencil as opposed to the cheap plastic pens from whence the refills came.

OK. So that was a bit of a long treatise on the Bexley conversions. I also have the Monteverde pen, which seems to be on sale everywhere, and it is just OK for me. It takes the D1 refills, the short metal tube ones, and generally it is tough to find ones that are smooth and enjoyable. I guess the overall heft and quality of the pen is fine, but I like to be able to hack refills, and there isn't much you can do with a D1. The Monteverde refill has a fat and rather inconsistent line, but I won't go stocking up on D1 refills to try and improve the writing experience for this one. I found a Hi-Tec C refill in the D1 size, and that was really tempting, but the theme here is to purge.

The huge Jinhao is fun and it writes very well, so not at all bad for $10 or whatever I paid for it. I saw that Goulet is selling these pens now, so I guess they are shifting into the mainstream a bit.

And last the Think, which is just a solid and fun pen. That one was already tanked, and I've got it setup as an eyedropper filler, so we will see if I make a dent in the ink supply this week.

When I flushed the TWSBI 540s I was depressed because a hairline crack in my blue 540 resulted in the metal sleeve popping out. Ugh. Luckily I had a spare barrel that I requested when I first saw the crack, and so I reset the whole damn thing and greased it up and put it away. I really like that TWSBI provides spare parts, but they should offer something like five parts for $5 and I'd buy up a bunch of stuff. I don't mind dealing with the cracking as long as I have spare parts.

OK then. A parting shot below of the clutch pencil refills I whipped up. I think they look pretty good in the pencil once the shrink wrap tubing is trimmed near the point.

Bexley Clutch Pencil Ink Refills