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Replacing Pocket Clips


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49 replies to this topic

#21 Autopoint

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:00

And down the hole where the jewel had been looks like this. Now you can see the flared end of the piece of brass metal which holds the pocket clip to the cap. Most would term this type of pocket clip a “washer” pocket clip, and you can see clearly that the washer portion of the pocket clip curves down into the cap, and that the brass piece is flared out right over top of the washer portion of the clip.

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Because the pocket clip is made of very hard stainless steel, because brass is softer than stainless steel, and because the jewel hides any scratches to the top of the washer portion of the clip, a crude way to remove the washer portion of the pocket clip from the cap is to simply pry loose the flared end of the brass piece, with a small thin screwdriver. This crude method effectively destroys the original flared brass piece – but of course I already found a suitable replacement. Later, I’ll illustrate a more sophisticated, faster method to free the washer clip from the cap.

- - - Jim
Collector of Autopoint + Realite + Realpoint, and Esterbrook accumulator

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#22 Autopoint

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:01

The resulting pieces look like this. I’ll refer to them, from the left, as 1)the washer portion of the pocket clip, 2) the brass finishing washer, and 3)the brass eyelet with the flared end now straightened out (yes, I took the liberty of substituting a new one for the actual one that was horribly disfigured after I was done removing it). If you look very closely at the top of the cap, there’s both an external lip or ring (to properly locate the washer clip), and an internal ledge or ring (to properly locate the brass finishing washer).

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- - - Jim
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#23 Autopoint

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:03

Here’s a crude sketch of the parts and how they fit together, which may make the overall process easier to follow.

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- - - Jim
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#24 Autopoint

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:05

Reassembly involves poking the brass eyelet through the brass finishing washer, with the raised outside edges of the brass finishing washer turned up toward the washer portion of the clip.

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The outside diameter of the brass eyelet, at the flared end, is just under 5/16”. The outside diameter of the brass finishing washer is a big tad over 5/16”. I suspect Esterbrook wanted to use stock items to assemble the clip, and the eyelets used just weren’t big enough on the J size, to make proper contact with the ledge/lip inside the cap top. So the two pieces were used together to achieve the right overall diameter.

- - - Jim
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#25 Autopoint

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:07

Then those assembled brass pieces, open/straight end of the eyelet first, get pushed up into the cap so the outside, turned up edge of the brass finishing washer catches on the ledge inside the cap and the straight end of the eyelet protrudes up through the top of the cap. Then a washer clip gets placed on the top of the cap, with the straight part of the eyelet protruding part way through the hole in the center.

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Note the use of a short piece of 5/16” dowel to hold the parts in place, and the simple vise to temporarily hold the length of dowel. The weight of the cap holds the brass parts in place, while a pocket clip is fitted.

- - - Jim
Collector of Autopoint + Realite + Realpoint, and Esterbrook accumulator

#26 Autopoint

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:09

Finally, the open end of the brass eyelet must be “swedged” (in honor of Al Kahn’s use of that specific term) or flared outward against the inner curve of the washer portion of the pocket clip, to hold the pocket clip tightly in place. Here are the swedging tools/bits I made for my experiments in mounting the pocket clip. All of them are simply 5/16” bolts with the head cut off. Each swedging tool has a different overall length, and a slightly different angle at the tip. I made them by chucking a length of bolt in my 3./8” electric drill, and using a file in my right hand to shape the spinning tip of the bolt while holding the drill on my workbench with my left hand. Not a pretty sight, nor was it particularly efficient.

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- - - Jim
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#27 Autopoint

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:11

When I started experimenting with swedging, I needed a “test mule” which I could repeatedly swedge and disassemble, until I could learn the optimum method and the best tools. So I chopped up a broken J size cap which also had an insanely bent clip, and used that as an expendable “mule”.

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If you look closely at the inner edge of the washer portion of the pocket clip, you can see that I’ve almost perfectly swedged the piece of brass which holds the pocket clip in place. Obviously this wasn’t my first attempt, but perhaps the 13th or 14th attempt at swedging.

- - - Jim
Collector of Autopoint + Realite + Realpoint, and Esterbrook accumulator

#28 Autopoint

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:13

Here’s the tool I initially used to drive the swedging bits against the open end of the brass eyelet, set up exactly like I used it in some of the early experiments. I believe this hand operated squeeze tool was really intended to drive small nails and brads into picture frames (it was a flea market find). But it worked just fine for some early swedging trials, though I had to squeeze the handles together repetitively and constantly adjust the “gap” between the two anvil ends. Note that I’m still using a piece of 5/16” dowel rod to hold the brass finishing washer and the brass eyelet in place, up inside the “test mule” pen cap, during swedging.

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At this point I was just about done. My experiments had worked just fine. The swedged brass eyelet in my final trial held the pocket clip reasonably firmly in place on the test mule pen cap. But I still had no good way to remove an existing brass eyelet that had already been swaged. And I had no easy way to increase the torque used in swedging – the hand press was already at or beyond its limitations. So at this point the result was a 90% solution – it worked pretty well, it just took too much effort and time.

- - - Jim
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#29 Autopoint

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:14

So I went to Craigslist and bought a used Black & Decker drill press - old, well used and rusty, but operable. With luck, I believed that I could use the drill press to:
1. much more easily shape better/more efficient swedging bits,
2. drill out the old brass eyelet to be replaced, rather than using a screw driver,
3. use the geared down leverage of the “press” to generate sufficient torque to much more easily swedge the brass eyelet, and
4. avoid the “flying pieces” caused by squeezing the hand press when things weren’t quite in the proper alignment; since the swedging tool can be put tightly in the drill press chuck (just like a drill bit), and the holder/stand for the cap with the eyelet to be swedged can be bolted to the metal “table” of the drill press.

The ultimate goal now was to improve the brass eyelet removal and swedging technique to the point where the overall pocket clip replacement surgery was safe, quick and easy.

And the story will continue shortly……………..

- - - Jim
Collector of Autopoint + Realite + Realpoint, and Esterbrook accumulator

#30 Rabbit

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 03:55

I'm definitely taking some notes here. Thank you for posting all this! I look forward to seeing any more improvements you make with your methods or tools. I definitely have some pens that need cap/clip work.

--Stephen

#31 Autopoint

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 09:55

I'm definitely taking some notes here.
--Stephen


My bad. I forgot to add the comment that when this project is "finished", I'll provide a link to an MS-Word version of this series of posts with integrated pictures, all in one big file, hosted at the place as these pictures. That way (as I learned in the TW200 forum), if you're interested in saving the entire dissertation, you don't have to do it one post at a time.

- - - Jim
Collector of Autopoint + Realite + Realpoint, and Esterbrook accumulator

#32 Hobiwan

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 10:00

Speaking of all that...

I've recently acquired a visumaster with a broken clip. Does anybody know if the chrome dome jewel on the VM is a screw in like some of the transitionals? I've never had to take one apart before. :hmm1:

Best Regards
Paul


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
– Albert Einstein


#33 Autopoint

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 18:36

This morning the sweet smell of success lingers in the air. Using a rusty old Black & Decker drill press, I was easily able to get enough leverage to perform the swedging that was so difficult with the hand press pictured above.



And so the story continues……………
Collector of Autopoint + Realite + Realpoint, and Esterbrook accumulator

#34 Autopoint

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 18:40

Here's a picture of my rusty old Black & Decker drill press. I used the "drill" portion to form some additional swedging tools/bits out of 5/16" bolts with the heads cut off. It was a whole lot easier than holding the electric drill with one hand and the file to grind the end of the bolt with the other hand! The 3 levers on the right are geared against the side of the chuck, to provide the "press" in drill press.
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#35 Autopoint

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 18:44

Here's a closeup showing how I attached "cap rests" to the work platform of the drill press. The wooden "rest" on the left holds the Esterbrook fountain pen cap, while I drill out the old eyelet. The metal "rest" on the right (a 5/16" bolt with the hex head cut off) holds the entire assembly of cap, pocket clip, brass finishing washer and brass eyelet, while I swedge everything back together. By setting up the "rests" on a piece of metal ell mounted at an angle across the work platform, both the wooden "rest" and the metal "rest" fall directly under the drill press chuck, when the work platform is swiveled.

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#36 Autopoint

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 18:46

Here's the tool I use to drill out the old eyelet. It's a "rotary file" made by Vermont American, ½" wide by 7/8" long. I put the rotary file in the drill press chuck, put the pen cap on top of the wooden rest (with the hole in the center), hold the cap down tight against the wood "rest", and carefully drill out the top of the "bend" in the eyelet.


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#37 Autopoint

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 18:47

Here's what the eyelet looks like after it's been drilled out. The part on the right was originally swedged by Esterbrook over the top of the pocket clip. The part on the left is the remains of the eyelet, less the swedged part on the right. The brass finishing washer fell out of the barrel with the remains of the brass eyelet, after the drilling activity, but isn't pictured here and must, in my experience, be re-used.

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#38 Autopoint

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 18:48

Here are the two swedging tools I ultimately found to work best. I put the tool on the bottom/left in the drill press chuck first, and use.it to get the swedging process started. Its working tip has a fairly sharp taper. The 3 handles on the side of the drill press help me get sufficient leverage, and I can readily flare out the top of the eyelet over the pocket clip while it is mounted on the metal "rest". Then I chuck up the tool on the top/right to finish the swedging, so the clip is completely tightened to the cap. The tip of the second tool is very blunt, with a relatively shallow taper.

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#39 Autopoint

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 18:50

Of course, the proof's in the pudding. Here's a picture of my "test mule" after swedging is complete. Trust me, the pocket clip is firmly fastened to the cap, with a shiny fresh eyelet.

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#40 Autopoint

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 18:51

Here's a picture of a red Esterbrook fountain pen cap from which the pocket clip had come loose and was rotating around the cap. I re-swedged it without changing the brass eyelet. Again trust me, this pocket clip is also now firmly fastened to the cap, using the existing (oxidized) eyelet rather than a fresh eyelet.

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