Sheaffer Touchdown in Black

Latest Update: This pen has now been sold through eBay – a last minute sniper dived in and grabbed it for just £7.35 – bargain. Until a few seconds before the auction end, it was sitting at £2.20, and I’d have been a bit upset to see it go for that. Still, nice pen, and I hope its new owner enjoys it.

Getting It

I picked this one up from an eBay auction, in the middle of a heap of other pens and pencils. Most of the others turned out to be pretty worthless, though there was a very nice gold capped Parker 51 pencil in there. All it needed was a quick rinse, and the touchdown mechanism worked just fine.

Sheaffer Touchdown - Cap On

The only problem was the nib. It looks like it had probably been damaged at one time, and someone had tried to get around it by cutting the end off at a left hand oblique – sloping towards the pen to the left. It worked, but not well, and the two halves of the nib weren’t even the same length.

I considered my options…

  • I could just sell it on. With a bit of polish, and some decent pictures, it would probably sell for a decent price, even with the bad nib.
  • I could try to get hold of a replacement nib. It would mean spending a bit more on the pen, but should leave it in a condition where it could sell for a good bit more.
  • I could try regrinding the nib myself. If I got it wrong, though, the nib would be ruined, and there was a good chance I would get it wrong. Since the other options involved the nib being worthless anyway, that wouldn’t actually matter.

Sheaffer Touchdown - Cap and Barrel Imprint

Repairing It

So, I decided to have a go. I started with a knife sharpening block, and later moved on to a nail file. The secret seems to be in working really slowly. The nib on these pens is solid 14k gold, which is fairly soft stuff, and wears away very quickly on an abraisive surface. I just kept gradually reshaping it back towards the shape it should have been (quite a bit shorter, though, obviously). At one point, I found that the shape was about right, but the bottom of the feed would be touching paper when writing at a low angle. I filed away just a little of the feed to avoid the problem.

In the end, it looked pretty good…

Sheaffer Touchdown - Nib - Underside

Sheaffer Touchdown - Nib - Top

Sheaffer Touchdown - Nib - Side

Using It

It probably doesn’t write quite as well as the original nib did – I’m no expert, and Sheaffer certainly were experts at this stuff back in the 50s when this was made. It rarely skips, though, and although the line it makes is quite dry for a Sheaffer, it is fairly consistent, and the feel is good and smooth.

Sheaffer Touchdown - Test Scribbles

It’s not perfect, but it does write better than plenty of other pens I’ve tried, so I’m quite happy with it.

Dave on Sketch Pencils

Dave has a post all about sketch pencils – leadholders taking very thick leads – over 5mm in some cases. I’ve got a couple of pencils that probably count – Pilot Croquis, and one from Boldmere, who I’ve otherwise never heard of. Nice solid thing, though.

Not quite sure where these should fit in (I think the Croquis has gone under Mechanical Pencils), but I’ll pop this here for now and work it out later…

Airplants on ReadyMade Blog

I saw a kit ages ago in a local garden centre, with a couple of airplants, a wooden base, and various bits and pieces to make your own mounting for them. Seemed like a good idea for simple creative indoor gardening. Might be an article in it at some point. If there is, this post on ReadyMade Blog might be useful too, with some links to background info on them.