Category Archives: Hints & Tips

Fitting the accent cabochon to a Mistral pen kit

The accent components for Mistral pen kits are currently available in a choice of 5 different platings. They consist of a ring for the centre band and a cabochon for the cap finial, and are supplied in a small bag with the kit itself. Supplying them unfitted allows us to offer Mistral pen kits in no less than 15 different colour combinations.

Fitting the centre band accent ring is very straight forward and is dealt with in the instructions for the kit, which are downloadable from our main website. Most of the time, fitting the cabochon is straight forward too, but just occasionally it can be a little tricky. In all cases though, any problems that arise can be easily overcome.

When pressing components into a pen tube, the tube has a little bit of “give” in it. If the inside of the tube is clean and free of dirt or glue, there is rarely a problem. On the other hand, the cap finial into which the the cabochon needs to be pressed has no “give” in it whatsoever. We are aware of that, and the difference in size between the small stem of the cabochon and the hole it fits into is incredibly small in order to facilitate a satisfactory compression fit. The cabochon usually presses into the finial with a pop, so that the top surfaces of both elements are flush with each other.

Just occasionally however, in instances where the stem of the cabochon might have a slightly thicker covering of plating, and the inside of the hole in the finial also does too, because the platings on Mistral pen kits are pretty much bomb proof the combination of a few extra microns on both parts can cause the cabochon to be incredibly difficult to press in. As already said, most of the time it presses in with a satisfying pop without much effort, but if it seems that it isn’t going in without excessive force, simply take it out again and run a 5mm drill bit through the hole in the finial. You don’t even need to mount the drill bit, you can hand hold it – you are only removing a few microns of plating. You will then find that the finial will go in with no effort, and you may even need to introduce a small spot of glue on the stem to stop it rattling if you’ve overdone the part with the drill bit.

The converse of this is in instances where both elements have a covering of plating that is a little thinner. That can mean that the cabochon could be a little loose in the finial, in which case a spot of glue on the stem will again solve the problem.

It goes without saying that the plating on the parts that will ultimately remain visible is tightly controlled. The need to occasionally ream out the hole or introduce glue to the proceedings is not a reflection on the quality of our pen kits, it is just that the parts that will not be seen are used logistically to facilitate the plating of the parts that will be seen, and therefore cannot be controlled quite so tightly. We could easily factory fit all the accents in order to prevent these issues from ever arising, but that would also serve to reduce the choices we are able to offer. We hope you agree that the occasional spot of glue or use of a hand held drill bit, both of which are the work of seconds,  is a price worth paying for the quality and choices we are able to offer.

Accent cabochons correctly fitted on a collection of Beaufort Mistral pen kits

Accent cabochons correctly fitted on a collection of Beaufort Mistral pen kits

Gilded Mistrals – Different and worth a look

Well, here’s something a bit different. Pen makers have been casting pen blanks for years, traditionally from coloured acrylics but more recently also using images applied to tubes, then sealed in a clear resin

Our thanks to Patrick R for allowing us to share his photo, which shows a pair of Beaufort Mistral pens, made from oak, then covered in gold leaf.

His method was to turn the oak to a size smaller than the bushes, apply the gold leaf – one of them here is yellow gold, the other is white gold, then cast them in clear resin which he then re-turned and finished to size. The result is a gold leaf pen which is fully encased and protected, that also shows the grain of the wood underneath.

We think they look great, but even if the finished result isn’t your cup of tea, you have to admit it’s an innovative idea. What clever customers we have!

A pair of Beaufort Mistral pen kits made using oak with gold leaf and white gold leaf

A pair of Beaufort Mistral pen kits made using oak with gold leaf and white gold leaf

Watch this cracking video – the Mistral explained

Our thanks to John Clothier for allowing us to share his recent video on the Beaufort Mistral. John very clearly explains the Mistral fountain pen kit, part by part, and after turning the barrels from his own hybrid cast blanks he then goes on to demonstrate the correct procedure for assembling the components in the pen press.

And what a lovely pen he makes too.

You can see Mistral pens kits on our website here:

But do have a look at John’s video too – it’s well worthwhile (and yes, the grooves on the bushes are wear indicators)

Using liquid melamine as a pen finish

The boss is a pen maker, and he is  frequently asked what finishes he recommends for our pen kits, the answer to which will of course depend on what the pen is being made from in the first place. However, in his opinion, as far as wood is concerned you are never going to achieve a good, strong, lasting finish from wax products alone, and CA, which was never intended as a finish, simply serves to encase the wood in a plastic shell, thereby losing touch with the wood itself.

It’s a personal choice of course, but for most woods he prefers  liquid melamine, and Phil has finally found time to write down his method.

Click the link below to see  Phil’s tutorial on achieving success with melamine as a pen finish. It’s in PDF format and should just open on your screen.

Achieving success with melamine as a pen finish

How’s this for a great photo?

Kelvin and his wife Christine at Pittswood Crafts kindly sent us this image, which we think is well worth sharing. Kelvin has turned a Jr Gent rollerball from one of our unique wine cask blanks and Christine has used her considerable talents to stage and photograph it.

Well done both, and thanks for your kind permission to share the photo, which is worthy of any high class lifestyle magazine in our opinion.

Jr Gent turned from a Beaufort reclaimed wine cask blank - image courtesy of Pittswood Crafts

Jr Gent turned from a Beaufort reclaimed wine cask pen blank – image courtesy of Pittswood Crafts

Notes on making a section for a Bock size 5 nib housing

We frequently get requests for advice regarding the correct proceedure for making fountain pen sections for Bock nib housings, particularly regarding size 5 nibs, which appear to give more trouble than the size 6 ones.

  • Standard practice when establishing the correct drill size for thread taps is to subtract the pitch from the diameter. In the case of a Bock size 5 housing, that would work out as 6.4 – 0.6 = 5.8However, the very bottom of the housing has a tiny non-threaded area which has a diameter greater than the drill size.  Therefore we recommend that you use a 6mm drill, which will allow the housing to be inserted easily, without compromising the integrity of the section thread.
  • Ensure that the non-threaded part of your section is marginally longer than the non- threaded part of the housing. This will allow the housing to locate on the tiny rim under the nib, and not locate by running out of thread, which could cause it to seize up. 
  • Run your taps through the thread as far as possible, right to the end of the cutters, to open up the minor diameter of you section thread as much as possible. Once you have cut your thread, run a tap in as far as possible by hand from the opposite end, which will also serve to open the minor and to clear any swarf or other detritus.
Bock size 5 housing. See our website for full drawing

Bock size 5 housing. See our website for full drawing


Upgrading a Kaigelu 316 nib

Our Bock size 6 nibs are a perfect fit if you want to upgrade the nib in the ever popular Kaigelu 316 fountain pen

The existing nib and housing can pretty easily be knocked out. Although the Kaigelu 316 has a threaded Section, the housing is not threaded and is lightly glued in place. A Bock size 6 nib in a Bock housing can then be fitted in its place, which again does not interact with the pen’s Section thread, but is an excellent push fit with no glue required.

You will also need to replace the ink converter – our Premium push fit converter is ideal for the purpose, as it turns out the the “standard international” converter supplied with the Kaigelue 316 is not as “standard” as it should be.

Kaigelu 316 fountain pen with a Bock 250 size 6 bi-coloured nib - Image courtesy of Dr Photios Zervas

Kaigelu 316 fountain pen with a Bock 250 size 6 bi-coloured nib – Image courtesy of Dr Photios Zervas

Preventing pen tubes from moving with Gorilla Glue

A problem with polyurethane (Pu) Gorilla Glue that is experienced by some, is that the inserted pen tubes move whilst the glue cures.

Tubes only move with Gorilla glue if you haven’t coated them properly. Gorilla expands, so if you have an uneven covering it will push the tube in the direction of least resistance, which is generally away from the area with least glue.

To stop it happening, follow this routine. The tube will never move, you don’t need to check it, and you don’t need to hold it in with tape or anything else. It also takes a fraction of the time it takes to mix and apply epoxy,…..(and it’s million times better than CA for so many reasons)

Place a 2 or 3 mm bead of glue all the way round the tube at both ends. On the end you’re going to hold put the bead 4 or 5 mm up from the end. Also put a bead of glue along the side of the tube between the two ends. Insert the tube about half way in to the blank, twisting it from side to side as you do so. Pull it in and out a few times, still twisting it from side to side as it moves in and out. The inside of the drill hole is now coated. Extract the tube and insert the same end of the tube in the other end of the blank, but this time insert it most of the way, leaving only enough to allow you to hold it. Use the same technique of twisting and moving in and out, then just push it in to its final position.

By doing this, you have evenly coated all of the outside of the tube and the all of inside of the drill hole. Now just put it down on a level surface and forget about it until its cured. To apply the glue and insert the tube as described above takes about 20 to 30 seconds.

We have both Pu Gorilla Glue in a handy 60ml bottle and Gorilla 5 minute epoxy in a re-sealable syringe in at an everyday low price in our online shop.

Gorilla glue from Beaufort Ink

Gorilla glue from Beaufort Ink

Creating web links to Beaufort Ink

If you have a website to help sell your pens and refills, it’s easy to give your customers access to our sales and technical information, but still keep your customers as your own.

We have a website which exists precisely for that purpose, which is, as opposed to the one you’re on now which is

Our “dot com” website is an information only site to help your online customers  learn about Beaufort Ink’s refill products. However, there is no pricing or ability to purchase from it – your customers have to come back to you to get the refills. It’s also not cluttered up with all the other products Beaufort Ink sells –  it’s concerned purely with refills.

Our “dot co dot uk” site is for the pen makers to buy from, our “dot com” site is a resource for the customers of the pen makers. If you notice, on the bottom of our refill retail packs, “dot com” is the site that is advertised there.

Also, if you set  the link to open in a new window, your customers won’t have left your site to view ours, so they can go straight back to your page and carry on where they left off.