June 2018 Tool Tip
Updated 05/31/2018

This is the June 2018  issue of the Carving and Tool Tips section.

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A new way to clean your pen tips

This method of cleaning pen tips was told to me by Harvey Meyers, who had heard it from one of his students (a nuclear chemist)...  At the time, I was recommending to Harvey, and others, on how to clean the PH21A & PH21B pen tips, as their unique geometry required a bit more effort that most pen tips.  That cleaning method included using a micromotor tool, and the paper stick from a cotton swab to polish the inside of the "scallop" of that pen tip.  It was a bit convoluted...

Well, while explaining this to his class, this one student said that all that was needed was a block of paraffin wax.  Since Harvey, or anyone else, had never heard of such a thing, it was quickly dismissed.  The next day the student came back, with a block of paraffin wax, and demonstrated to everyone that it works by heating the tip to a moderately high temperature and dipping it into the block of wax.  A poof of white smoke came off of the pen tip, and left on the block of wax was a liquid pool with a chunk of carbon in it.

I believe that this method works by thermal shock and capillary action.  When hot enough, the carbon on a tip will have micro-tubules, not unlike activated charcoal.  When the hot carboned up pen tip is dipped into the block of paraffin wax, the wax is sucked into the micro-tubules via capillary action, which cools the carbon down so fast, that it shrinks and breaks free of the steel surface.

This method would also be a good way to clean the new PH22 Basket Weave pen tip also, as it will not scratch up the surface of the pen tip like a wire brush would.

Check out the previous tool tips to get more useful, and timely carving and tool tips.

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