At shows, one of the things I enjoy the most is helping people get their broken pencils "back on the road." This year at the Ohio show, there was a bumper crop of busted pencils hobbling in, and I had pretty good success with all of them.
One guy, who I've seen at the Ohio show before, brought me a 1930s Waterman pencil that had a nose cone that wouldn't stay on -- a common problem that occurs with these, since the goofy design Waterman came up with made these particularly prone to coming apart. My friend not only had the pencil for me to work on, but he supplied me with a second pencil from which I could harvest the parts I would need.
I took a look at the "parts" pencil and told him I thought the parts piece was nicer than the one he wanted me to fix. Turns out what he didn't like about it was the name engraved on the clip, and that's why he thought it would be a suitable donor.
Now I don't want to start a pencil collectors' rumble or anything, because the collectors who are opposed to any engraving and those who don't mind it so much are like the Jets and the Sharks. Personally, I don't mind a little engraving if it is tastefully done, and I certainly wouldn't condemn an otherwise nice piece to the parts bin because of it.
But before I could get into a discussion about this, my friend offered me a deal I really couldn't refuse. If I could fix the pencil, I could have the "parts pencil." It was tricky, but after a couple hours I had it repaired without stripping out the other pencil -- turns out that would have been the only way to do it anyway, since the parts between the two weren't compatible. My friend went away happy, and I was a pencil richer. Here it is, the green one (called "emerald ray") next to the one I had in my collection already, in red ("copper ray") . . .
NOTE: This article is now included in the print version of The Leadhead's Pencil Blog, available anywhere you buy books, or also from The Legendary Lead Company.
To order, here's the link: Volume 1 at Legendary Lead Company