Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Clip Swappin'

You can pick up a Wahl Eversharp like this nice Tunis Pearl Equipoised for not much money . . .  when they are missing the clip.

Finding a replacement usually will be more expensive than finding the rest of the pencil was, as was the case this time.  I’ve had the badly cracked and crystallized Kashmir green one for some time – I found it at an outdoor flea market a few years ago, left out in the sun in an enclosed glass for the afternoon and for who knows how many shows before that, and the exposure had cooked it beyond repair.   I talked the guy down from some ridiculous price down to twenty bucks or so, because the only thing good that was left on it was the clip, maybe the trim rings and part of the mechanism.  It’s been languishing as a potential organ donor until now.

Just like with the pens, there’s an inner cap insert that’s pressed up inside there to hold the clip in place, but it’s going to be too small for an inner cap puller to reach.  In the case of the Eversharp Equipoised line, the inner cap is made of soft aluminum, so I was able to use a screw to pull it out.  An ordinary deck screw proved a little too small, but I had some other long screws with wider threads out in the garage that were just big enough to thread inside it, and with a bit of gentle pulling and rocking I was able to ease the inner cap out:

To remove the clip, you’ll need to ease it out of the cap by lifting the ball of the clip away from the barrel as you rock it gently from side to side.  You can see why these are called “z-clips” when you look at them from the side:

If your clip wasn’t snug against the barrel when it was in your donor, it’s a lot easier to correct that now, before you put it back in the new pencil.  To tighten the ball of the clip to the barrel, simply bend down the top part slightly.

The Tunis example didn’t have a cap liner up inside - I strongly suspect some heartless soul must have scavenged the clip for use in a pen.  Most of the time when the clip is missing, the tang is snapped off and is still held in there by the inner cap, which you’ll remove as with the donor cap.

Be careful installing the clip into its new home, because you can neatly snap off the top of the barrel around that slot.  Work slowly, rocking side to side slightly as you ease the bend of the clip through the slot.  Without the inner cap in place, it should look like this when it’s in.  Leave it a little bit out like this for now:

The metal rod shown in this picture is from a feed knockout set, but any solid rod, metal or wood, will be good enough to do the job of pushing the inner cap in place.  Before you do,  examine the inner cap, and you’ll see it will have a little flat spot on one side, where it has been holding a clip in place for the last 80 years.  Align that flat spot with the clip before you push the inner cap back up in.

The reason I suggested leaving the clip a little bit out like this is so you’ll know, as you are pushing the inner barrel back into place, how far up you’ve gone.  These inner caps don’t need to be forced in as hard as you’d push one in on a pen cap, and these caps are delicate enough that if you push too hard, you can push the top of the cap right off.  You’ll feel when the clip starts to pull towards the barrel, and once it’s pulled tight, that’s far enough . . . stop and check the fit by putting the cap on the pencil and see if there’s a gap - if it closes all the way, you’re done.

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