It has been a week of bad practice. My sources tell me that there was an unedifying debate in FPN on the subject of gluing sections in place with shellac. I’m sure that some of you will know where that particular piece of bad advice came from. The proponent of this nonsense shellacs sections in place so that the pens’ owners can’t get in there where they have no right to be. This is a fine example of the weird thinking that is abroad in the world.
Yesterday I took a trip through eBay to see what I could find. I managed to pick up a nice Leverless, one of my favourite pens. As I flicked from one page to the next my eyes were suddenly assaulted with astounding brutality. The offending weapon was a colourful 1930s pen, polished within an inch of its life until it gleamed like the Koh-I-Noor diamond. There were several of these shiny, shiny pens, all emanating from the workshop of the same “restorer.” They were mostly cheap pens to begin with but once The Shining had been imposed upon them I would think they were utterly worthless to any collector of that period.
I’m not going to publish the pen destroyer’s name here. That would be a little harsh, but if anyone wants enlightened just drop me a PM. What made this most amusing is that the seller boasts that his pens are “professionally machine and hand polished.” So it seems that in addition to the traditional professions: lawyers, clergy and doctors we now have professional pen polishers.
“What do you do for a living, Mr Pen Seller?”
“Why, I’m a Professional Pen Polisher!”
“My goodness! That must have taken a lot of study!”
“Yes, four years undergraduate study and another two years to complete my doctorate. My thesis was on the effect of varying speeds with a Dremel and a cotton mop.”
All very impressive. He then goes on to say that his pens are completed with “museum finishing wax.” About five years ago museums and other bodies stopped using Renaissance Wax and other similar preparations. Originally thought to be a harmless polish, they turned out to contain chemicals that were injurious to many materials, including those that pens are made from. It also proved well-nigh impossible to remove. Avoid wax at all costs.