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Esoteric Tools

The right tool for the job is an entirely apt cliché, since there are some jobs for which only the right tool will do.  In any specialized field, there will necessarily be some tools that those not in the field will find funny-looking, mysterious, and perhaps even intimidating.  I don’t propose to show all the tools that come into use in the course of working on a pen, but as some of the pen-specific obscurities are mentioned on other pages in this department, it seems useful to have a catalogue of them for looking at.

Forceps, hemostats, clamps and various grabbing devices; since there are frequently things hiding down a pen barrel that don’t want to come out when asked, some long, thin, surgical-style convincers are useful.

When fishing around in a pen’s barrel, various dental tools are helpful as well. Not only are they good for scraping and gouging old stuck sacs and other items, they act as finger extensions for feeling out the lay of things in the narrow confines of a pen.

These are to be found in garages, where they are mistaken as devices meant to help withdraw spark plug cables. Pen-fixers know them for the purpose-built section wrenches they are, the tool of last resort in the effort to draw a section from a barrel.

A “Nib Block” for tapping the point and feed free of the section, along with some of the steel drifts which do the actual tapping.  An equally effective if somewhat more primitive-looking version can be made from a block of wood; remember to make the holes deep enough for the feed to drop out, as you don’t want to hammer it into whatever the block is sitting on.

Speaking of hammering, the adjunct to the Nib Block is a soft-faced little mallet like this. A steel hammer will tend to mushroom out the ends of the drifts, and is apt to be too heavy for the work at hand. Like a blacksmith, you should let the weight of the tool do the work, but you’re working on some delicate stuff.

Soft-jawed pliers are useful for grappling items, like points, which one doesn’t want to scrape up. These and the hammer can be found in the jewellery section of larger craft stores.

I speak with some warmth of the absolute need for specialized tools in my page regarding work on Vacumatic fillers. This is the more complex of the mechanism-extracting tools mentioned there, the Vacumatic wrench.


Two different expressions of another tool needed for Vacumatic installation; the “pellet pusher”. The narrow end has a small concavity for the pellet to rest in.

A tool-set made especially for burnishing the kinks out of bent points. Not shown is the vice which the “anvil” components are set in, leaving one hand free to hold the point and the other to work the burnisher itself.


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