Posted in Restoration

Really, The Dog Ate My Pen – Part 2

As a quick recap (pun intended), previously I blogged about my dog chewing on my wife’s pen, well things got better before they got way worse when I used a hairdryer to soften the plastic of an Esterbrook Pastel pen. I was able to fix the barrel and lever without issue and got overly confident with the cap.

  • The challenge:

I over heated the pen cap and now it’s deformed, plus the jewel and clip have fallen out. I tried heating the cap and reshaping it but nooooo. The cap wouldn’t stay round and it needed it to be tapered at the end, so how am I going to reshape the cap? That’s when the bright idea hit me! I need a form, to mold the hot plastic back into the shape of the cap.

  • The bright idea:

How to make a mold? A quick trip to Hobby Lobby where I found molding clay. Figured I could shape it into a block then press a similar pen cap into the soft clay then bake it. After it cools all I needed to do is heat the pen cap and push it into the mold and it should reform – right? Yeah right!

I bought a small block of FIMO molding clay (2 oz), it cost less than $3. Using only a 1/4 of it I formed a block and pressed a similar pen cap into clay. It looks good, just like an inverse pen cap. Next, into the oven at 230 F for 30 minutes. After it cooled I inserted the pen cap I used to make the imprint just to confirm the baking process didn’t misshape the mold. It was a bit tight so I took a wax shaping tool and was able to shave the inner sides of the mold allowing the pen cap a better fit.

The moment of truth arrived, I inserted the jewel and clip into the mold, then got out the hairdryer and applied heat to the damaged cap until it was very soft. I pushed the cap into the mold and it mushroomed out. Yup it looked just like a pot belly stove so I return it to the heat, it straightened out and pushed it back in. This time it went in but it took a teardrop shape with the point protruding at the clip. Instead of dragging this out the bright idea turned out to be a failure.

For the silver lining, the pen cap does have that inner cap which completely protects the nib and keeps it from drying out, the offensive tooth mark that started the entire process is gone and finally the pen is fully functional.

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