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.



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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.




Saturday, December 6, 2008

Long Term Pen Storage, The Ziploc Solution

A while back, on the JetPens Forum we had a discussion about long term storage of pens of all types. There were many ideas tossed about but we all seamed to agree that vacuum sealing our pens in plastic bags was a viable idea. There was of course the expensive electric vacuum sealer with its expensive roll of bag material. The advantage here is that just about any sized bag could be made and sealed. The disadvantages are that it is expensive, not commonly available and repeated opening and resealing makes the bag smaller and smaller each time so the bag has to be made large enough to accommodate this. Over time repeated openings and closings reduce the bag to the point that it has to be replaced. Not the most desirable route to take. Last but not least, it's not as portable as the Ziploc vacuum, which does not require electricity.

I suggested that one use a regular zipper baggie and a common plastic straw. The idea (which I have used in the past for other things) is to fill the baggie, seal it almost entirely closed then insert a small diameter plastic straw into the opening. By squeezing the opening with the fingers while sucking on the other end of the straw a fairly good vacuum can be achieved. By quickly removing the straw while pressing on the zipper opening to close it preserves the vacuum. While not a perfect solution it does allow for the opening and resealing of the bag. What was needed was a better way of sucking out the air from a zipper baggie while maintaining the vacuum. Along comes S. C. Johnson & Sons, Inc. with the Ziploc Vacuum sealed bags.

The Ziplock Vacuum Starter Kit retails for about $4.50, give or take. I've seen it on eBay for as much as $8.00 with a $9.00 shipping charge! But I found mine at Walmart for the very reasonable cost of $1.50! Amazing the price difference for the same item. But I digress. The Ziploc vacuum system starter kit consists of a 3 quart bags that are diamond cut on one side and smooth on the other and a small hand pump. The directions for use are printed on the smooth side of each bag but the procedure is quite simple. Fill the bag, leaving enough room to attach the pump at the indicated spot, seal the zipper, place the bag on a hard flat surface, place the pump on the designated spot and pressing the pump firmly onto the bag, stroke the handle several times until the desired level of vacuum is achieved or your hand falls off.

I filled a quart sized bag with 40 different gel and liquid ink pens, which was almost, but not quite too much, and pumped out enough air to achieve a pound of coffee like brick, though not quite as tight but very near. The vacuum produced was more than adequate for the job I was asking the system to do and far better that using a zipper baggie and a straw! I did not notice any leakage of ink due to the vacuum in any of the pens, which was a great relief. The bag was easily opened and I was able to reseal it with no problems whatsoever. I suspect that the bags can be reused in this fashion a goodly number of times before having to be replaced, longer if one is gentle.

The pump itself is simple elegance. It is made up of 6 individual parts: the pump tube; the rubber lower seal which acts as a base; the pump handle/piston; the 2-piece removable cap; and the piston's rubber 'O'-ring. The 'O'-ring is shaped much like a pulley wheel with a 'U'-shaped surface. This means that two slender rings contact the inner wall of the pump, not just one. This makes for a better seal. If one were to place the pump opening on one's upper thigh and activate the pump the result would be one heck of a hickey! That's how well the pump works. I am impressed with the system, though I am sure that the designers did not have quite the use in mind as I have for the system. Indeed they designed the pump to be broken down for cleaning for used as designed the pump is bound to get soiled by liquids from foods.

Only a long term test will determine if vacuum sealing of pens is a viable way to store them long term, however I think that it is. If you want to experiment on the idea yourself I suggest that you scurry on down to your local Walmart and purchase a Ziploc Vacuum Starter Kit while the price is so low. Who knows when it might go up again?

2 comments:

John Abraham said...

I stumbled upon your blog while searching for some way to store a spare pen, a black Mitsubishi Uni-ball eye (0.5mm), long term. (These are amongst my favorite pens - God bless Japanese engineers)

The need for careful storage was necessitated by the fact that while mowing lawns, I lost the cap from my current pen and have replaced it with the cap from the pen I keep as my spare.

Reading your article two questions come to mind:

1) Surely the ink within the pens will boil in a vacuum? Also won't any air within the pen itself force ink out as the pen becomes pressurized relative to that in the bag? These are two theoretical drawbacks to your system, but you obviously have practical experience.

2) I was going to wrap my uncapped pen in glad-wrap, seal in ziplock bag, and place in the freezer. I read somewhere (along time ago) that this was the best way of storing typewriter ribbons and wondered if it was applicable to modern ink / gel based pens. Obviously this method cuts down on evaporation, but I was concerned there might be some hidden drawback. A

Great to see that somebody out there is as obsessed with writing instruments as I am. Thank you also for the information about the ziplock vacuum pump - a useful product I would love to obtain, but have never seen for sale in New Zealand : (

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