Mentmore Autoflow And The Spares Chaos

Yesterday was a pen fixing day. I was getting along great guns until a Mentmore Autoflow stopped me in my tracks. The weak point in Autoflows is the feed. The teeth are very thin in the comb at the sides of the feed and often break off. A comb feed with missing teeth can have very uneven flow, so it isn’t just a matter of appearance. I tried a spare Autoflow feed or two but they were too slim for this particular model. It was a rather nice raspberry marbled button filler. I’m slow, but eventually I catch on. Perhaps the button fillers took a thicker feed than the lever fillers!  Well, to cut a long story short, some do, others don’t. To expand on that, none of the lever fillers have the thicker feed and some of the button fillers have a slightly thicker one; others have a considerably thicker one, it seems.

The trial and error took quite a while. It took much longer than it need have, of course. This is because of my lack of organisation. My Conway Stewart and Mabie Todd spares are reasonably well arranged. Everything in else is in a large wooden box, all jumbled together – bits of every make of pen you ever heard of and some you probably haven’t, caps, barrels, sections and miscellaneous components. It takes some time to take each one out of the box, look at it, lay it aside or add it to the “possibles” pile. Then you have to put it all back again…

I know that this is no way to work. I’m very organised in every other respect. All my stock of pens is stored according to their status: awaiting repair, repaired, listed on the website and so on. My spreadsheets enable the calculation of annual taxes in an hour. My image files are regularly archived and my description files save reinventing the wheel for every pen I repair. All of those things are fine, but my spares have been a blind spot. One day soon I must amass some containers and bring order and convenience to the chaos.

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