Saturday, May 10, 2014

Ups and downs

Some ups and downs this week, the big "down" being the loss of a pen to credit card fraud (if you are offered the BHR Duofold Deluxe with the distinctive engravings shown above, it's stolen).

A nice "up" to end the week, however, was the successful restoration of the early Moore safety shown above. The pen was bought at the Chicago pen show auction; there was a gaping crack at the front of the barrel, and another in the end knob. The latter was the result of screwing the knob onto the shaft too far, splitting it from the inside end. The knob was removed from the shaft, relaxed and reformed with heat, and the crack sealed closed. The threads were then chased and deepened so that the knob could be screwed onto the shaft without excessive outwards pressure. The crack now looks like a superficial scratch.

I'm afraid I didn't take a "before" picture of the crack at the front of the barrel. Once again, the damaged area was heat-relaxed and reformed, but here the material was very thin and not entirely round or concentric, so sleeving it was very tricky work. The thinness of the barrel mouth was probably how it ended up cracked in the first place, as a heavy-handed writer putting a lot of pressure on the nib could easily overstress the thin walls holding the nib assembly in place. Repair entailed careful internal grinding of a recess for the hard rubber sleeve, then careful shaping of the sleeve's interior profile. Once again, the crack now looks like a superficial scratch, and there is enough strength to the repaired area that the pen is once again usable, with due care.

Early Moore safeties with the short cap are rare in any form. Examples with overlays are highly desirable, but to find an overlay over mottled hard rubber is extraordinary. This is certainly the first such I've ever handled, and very well may even be the first one I've ever seen. Definitely a worthwhile restoration effort!

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