Fig. 121. - Two Views of Pencil Sharpened to a Chisel Point.
For keeping a good point upon a pencil, a piece of fine sand paper or emery paper, glued upon a piece of wood, will he found very serviceable. A flat file, mill-saw cut, is also useful for the same purpose. Sharpen the pencil with a knife, so far as the wood part is concerned, and then shape the lead as required upon the file or sand paper.
Drawing Pens. - Although most of the pattern cutter's work is done with the pencil, there occasionally arise circumstances under which the use of ink is desirable. Tracings of parts of drawings are frequently required which can be better made with ink than with pencil.
The drawing pen or ruling pen, as illustrated in Fig. 123, is used for drawing straight lines. The drawing pen, whether as a separate instrument or as an attachment to compasses or beam compasses for drawing curved lines, consists of two blades with steel points, fixed to a handle. The blades are so curved that a sufficient cavity is left between them for ink when the points meet close together or nearly so. The space between the points is regulated by means of the screw shown in the engraving, so as to draw lines of any required thickness. One of the blades is provided with a joint, so that, by taking out the screw, the blades may be completely opened and the points readily cleaned after use. The ink is put between the blades with a common pen, or sometimes by a small hair brush. In using the drawing pen it should be slightly inclined in the direction of the line to be drawn, and should be kept uniformly close to the ruler or straightedge during the whole operation of drawing a line, but not so close as to prevent both points from touching the paper equally.
Mo. 128. - Pencil Sharpened to a Round Point,
Fig. 123. - Ruling Pen.
Keeping the blades of the pen clean is essential to good work. If the draftsman is careless in this particular, the ink will soon corrode the points to such an extent that it will be impossible to draw fine lines.
Pens will gradually wear away, and in course of time they require dressing. To dress up the tips of the blades of a pen, since they are generally worn unequally by customary usage, is a matter of some nicety. A small oil stone is most convenient for use in the operation. The points should be screwed into contact in the first place, and passed along the stone, turning upon the point in a directly perpendicular plane until they acquire an identical profile. Next they are to be unscrewed and examined to ascertain the parts of unequal thickness around the nib. The blades arc then to be laid separately upon their backs upon the stone, and rubbed down at the points until they are brought up to an edge of uniform fineness. It is well to screw them together again and pass them over the stone once or twice more to bring up any fault and to retouch them also at the outer and inner side of each blade to remove barbs or Crazing, and finally to draw them across the palm of the hand.
India Inx. - For tracings, and for some kinds of drawings, which the pattern cutter is obliged to make occasionally, India ink is much better than the pencil, which is used for the greater part of his work. Care is to be exercised in the selection of ink, as poor grades are sold as well as-good ones. Some little skill is required in dissolving or mixing it for use.
India ink is sold in cakes or sticks, of a variety of shapes. It is prepared for use by rubbing the end of the stick upon the surface of a ground glass, or of a porcelain slab or dish, in a very small quantity of water, until the mixture is sufficiently thick to produce a black line as it flows from the point of the ruling pen. The quality of ink may generally be determined by the price. The common size sticks are about 3 inches long. Inferior grades can be bought as low as 40 cents per stick, while a good quality is worth $1.50 to $2 per stick, and the very best is still higher. However, except in the hands of a responsible and experienced dealer, this method of judging is hardly satisfactory. To a certain extent ink may be judged by the brands upon it, although in the case of the higher qualities the brands frequently change, so that this test may not be infallible. The quality of India ink is quite apparent the moment it is used. The best is entirely free from grit and sediment, is not musky, and has a soft feel when wetted and smoothed. The color of the lines may also be used as a test of quality. With a poor ink it is impossible to make a black line. It will be brown or irregular in color and will present an irregular edge, as though broken or ragged, while an ink of satisfactory quality will produce a clean line, whether drawn very fine or quite coarse.
Various shaped cups, slabs and dishes are in use for mixing and containing India ink. In many respects they are like those used for mixing and holding water colors. Indeed, in many cases the same articles are employed. The engraving (Fig. 124) shows what is termed an India ink slab, with three holes and one slant. This article is in common use among draftsmen and selves a satisfactory purpose. In order to retard evaporation, a kind of saucers, in sets, is frequently used, so constructed that one piece will form a cover to the other, and which are known in the trade as cabinet sets or cabinet saucers. They are from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter and come in sets of six. In the absence of ware especially designed for the purpose,
India ink can be satisfactorily mixed in and used from an ordinary saucer or plate of small size. The articles made especially for it, however, arc convenient, and in facilitating the care and economical use of the ink are well worth the small price they cost.