Welcome To My Thoughts On Pens And Pencils

I will respect your right to disagree with what I have to say about Pens and Pencils as long as you respect the fact that I am an Old Geezer.

My Obsession

My Obsession
A Beauty Every One... And There's More At Home!

All Jammed Up?

If you need detailed instructions on how to clear a lead jam from a mechanical pencil then click this link, "All Jammed Up?" or the link in the pages header.


Please enjoy your stay at my humble blog. Please feel free to leave a comment about any article that you read
. Also please notice that there are four reactions at the bottom of each article. If you find any article funny, interesting, cool or helpful please so indicate. Thank you for visiting my blog.

The Old Geezer
Please Excuse My Absence

I have not blogged since July of 2015 due to the fact that my Lovely Wife was diagnosed with 2 types of cancer. A new case of breast cancer which has metastasized and gone to her bones, mainly her back. She had a mastectomy of her left breast which showed the type of cancer that was in her bones. She has been taking an oral med. every day and she has a port under her skin to receive a liquid med. She has gone through one round of radiation treatments to stop some pain in her back. That gave her GERD and the med for that was nasty tasting. The bone cancer has caused the vertebra in her lower back to pinch her left sciatic nerve causing her pain, numbness and foot drag. She also has skin cancer that has only been partly addressed.

I have been busy taking care of her as the treatments have left her weak and sickly. She can not drive so I have to drive her to her appointments and treatments. I also have to do all the cooking and most of what cleaning we do. So I do not have a lot of time for blogging. However the installment of the review of the Schaeffer Ultrafine 0.3mm pencil marks what I hope will be a new review every month. However some of my future reviews may seem familiar as they may be a review of a pencil or pen that I have reviewed before just in another size due to my limited collection of writing instruments and the economic state of our nation.

I am grateful to George Fox for wanting me to do a review of another one of his pencils. I think that as a reader of my humble blog, may fine of interest as the Schaeffer Ultra Fine is a very unusual pencil.

So please excuse my absence and as a reader of my humble blog I hope that you enjoy the review of this unique pencil.

Coming Soon...

Thank you,

The Old Geezer.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Replacing A Dislodged Lead Retainer

This is a rendition of a typical lead retainer, highly magnified. It is found in the end cap, at the base of the lead sleeve, in all push button lead advance style of automatic pencils. Its main purpose is to keep the lead from falling out of the pencil when the push button is pressed to advance the lead. Along with the clutch assembly it helps regulate the amount of lead that is advanced with each push of the push button. It also helps keep the lead steady inside the lead sleeve. For these reasons it is a very important and necessary part of the inner workings of the pencil. It is a press fit and is not supposed to dislodge for the life of the pencil. However there have been several times that I have removed the end cap from an otherwise working pencil to find the lead retainer hanging in the middle of the lead protruding from the clutch or have it fall out with the broken lead piercing its heart.

The first time this happened to me I was dismayed. I tried to use the pencil without it only to find that the lead projected an inch or more when I pressed the push button! When I pushed the lead back into the lead sleeve, leaving only enough to write with, the lead wobbled and eventually broke. Thankfully this happened to a 0.5mm pencil. I was able to use a small straight pin and a small pair of pliers to eventually get the lead retainer back into place. The next time it happened it was on a 0.3mm pencil. The straight pin and pliers fix wouldn’t work with such a small diameter pencil as there wasn’t a straight pin, or any other piece of metal rod, available in the house small enough to fit through the lead retainer without expanding and thus ruining the hole in the lead retainer.

Fortunately the pencil had a clean out rod under the eraser. This clean out rod was a straight piece of rod with a pinpoint at one end. The clean out rod was the same diameter as the lead so the lead retainer fit onto the clean out rod snuggly. I put the lead retainer onto the clean out rod, pinpoint protruding through the lead retainer in the direction of lead travel. I then threaded the clean out rod into the lead sleeve from inside the end cap, pushing it through until the lead retainer was resting at the mouth of the lead sleeve. Using a number 52 drill bit I pressed the clean out rod through the lead retainer and lead sleeve before removing it. Using the #52 drill bit I pressed the lead retainer back into place, pressing around the base, off center. It took several tries but it finally stayed put. Another time, with a 0.7mm pencil I had to use a small drop of super glue in order to keep the lead retainer in place.

If you find that one of your pencils has a dislodged lead retainer you an either give the pencil up for dead or you can replace it. You’ll need a few tools and if your pencil does not have a clean out rod of proper diameter you’ll need a short length of wire of the right diameter* and a push rod, a #52 drill bit works just fine for all lead sizes. The tools you’ll need are the clean out rod, a number 52 drill bit (or a metal rod 1/16” in diameter), super glue and a toothpick (for stubborn lead retainers) and a pair of long nosed pliers (for end caps that incorporate the grip as well).

Insert the clean out rod or length of wire into the lead retainer, about ½ the way up the clean out rod. With the small end of the lead retainer facing inward insert the clean out rod into the end cap, threading it into the lead sleeve, pushing it as far into the end cap as possible with your finger. Using the back end of the #52 drill bit press the clean out rod further into the end cap. Once the drill bit contacts the lead retainer, remove the clean out rod, keeping the drill bit in place so the lead retainer does not slip out. Using the #52 drill bit press the lead retainer in place, pressing all around the rim of the retainer as well as the center.

Test the retainer by inserting the clean out rod into the lead sleeve from the opposite end, as if you were clearing a lead jam. If the lead retainer appears on the end of the clean out rod, repeat the above procedure. If the retainer fails to stay in place after a few tries then use super glue. With the retainer on the clean out rod as before first apply a small drop of super glue onto the end of a toothpick. Gently rub a small bit of super glue onto the outside of the lead retainer. Quickly repeat the procedure for replacing the lead retainer. After a moment repeat the test procedure again. The lead retainer should stay in place.

With the lead retainer now securely in place you can replace the end cap onto the pencil and resume normal operations.

* Wire diameters for the common pencil sizes are: 0.3mm, 0.145" or a #79 drill bit; 0.5mm, 0.022" or a #74 drill bit; 0.7mm, 0.027" or a #71 drill bit; 0.9mm, 0.035" or a #65 drill bit.


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Anonymous said...

Thanks for your descriptive tutorial. This helped me to identify that there was a tiny piece of lead which was stuck in the lead retainer!