Thursday, January 29, 2009

Through snow and ice . . .

We stayed home yesterday after a rather messy snowstorm, followed by freezing rain. Everything was covered with ice this morning, but we'll be venturing out to catch up on packing and shipping this afternoon -- as well as restocking on salt and sand.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Pen Profile: Waterman overlay patterns

It's still a work in progress, but I've just posted the beginnings of a Pen Profile covering the various Waterman overlay patterns. The initial focus is on variations of the "Filigree" pattern, but I'll expand on this base as time permits.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It takes one to know one

I've complained before about all the undisclosed flaws that one ends up finding after the fact -- not just with pens and pencils from flea markets, general antiques dealers, and eBay, but also from regular exhibitors at established pen shows.

This morning I pick up my customized 51 mentioned in my November post and I realize the cap jewel is missing. A closer look, and it is clear that the clip bushing is a mess, and that the jewel's top had been twisted off its stem and then glued back in place. The glue had failed, and the jewel's top fallen off. On vintage pens, one runs across such makeshift repairs pretty often. Usually there's no way to know when they were done, since one doesn't normally remove the jewel unless the clip needs to be replaced or tightened. In this case, however, the cap was newly-made, fitted out by the maker with vintage clutch, inner cap, clip, clip bushing, and jewel. So the use of worn-out and broken parts was deliberate, and especially outrageous given that the maker also does a considerable side business in selling reproduction 51 jewels!

I mentioned my dissatisfaction with the workmanship to a friend and veteran collector who is very keen on this maker's customized pens. Interestingly enough, he was more or less dismissive -- a response I've seen among other collectors who find it hard to believe something so attractive externally could be hiding so many problems beneath the surface. Those who work on pens don't find it hard to believe, though -- but it may take another workman to know and appreciate bad work, whether it is in pens, building, auto repair, or medicine, for that matter.

This afternoon I will replace the bushing and the jewel. Once that is done, I will have replaced or modified every component of the pen save for the clip, the inner cap and the clutch.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2009: Slow Beginnings

A belated Happy New Year to you all!
It's been an unusually hectic holiday season here, in large part due to our recently-complete switch to a new hosting company and all the associated changes and updates to the site that ended up going with it. That looks to be mostly done, though there's still more back-end software and database-related stuff pending, and we're still tracking down broken and outdated links. If you have any to point out, let us know.

The weather has also kept us out of the shop for several days this winter. A couple of good snowfalls, and today, a mess of slush and freezing rain. We have a lot to catch up on, I'm afraid, so do bear with us.