The points of drawing instruments require to be very accurately prepared and shaped, to enable them to make clean, clear lines. The object is to have the points as sharp as they can be made without cutting the paper, and the curves as even and regular as possible.
The outside faces of the pen should be slightly curved, so that when held vertically, as in Figure 20 (the dotted line representing the centre of the length of the instrument), and against the square blade S, the point will meet the paper a short distance from the lower edge of S as shown. By this means it is not necessary to adjust the square edge exactly coincident with the line, but a little way from it. This is an advantage for two reasons: first, the trouble of setting the square-edge exactly coincident is avoided, and, secondly, the liability of the ink to adhere to the edge of the square-blade and flow on to the paper and make a thick, ragged line, is prevented.
The square being set as near to the line as desired, the handle may be held at such an angle that the pen-point will just meet the line when sloped either as in Figure 21 or 22. If, however, the slope be too much in the direction shown in Figure 21, practice is necessary to enable the drawing of straight lines if they be long ones, because any variation in the angle of the instrument to the paper obviously vitiates the straightness of the line. If, on the other hand, the square be too close to the line, and the pen therefore requires to be sloped as in Figure 22, the ink flowing from the pen-point is apt to adhere to the square-edge, and the result will be a ragged, thick line, as shown in Figure 23.
Each of the legs should be of equal thickness at the pen-point edge, so that when closed together the point will be in the middle of the edge. The width and curve of each individual point should be quite equal, and the easiest method of attaining this end is as follows:
Take a small slip of Arkansas oil-stone, and with the pen-points closed firmly by the screw trim the pen-edges to the required curve as shown at A, Figure 17, making the curve as even as possible. Then stone the faces until this curve is brought up to a sharp edge at the point between the two pen-legs forming the point.
Next take a piece of 000 French emery paper, lay it upon some flat body like the blade of a square, and smooth the curve of the edge enough to take off the fine, sharp edge left by the oil-stone; then apply the outside flat faces of the pen to the emery paper again, bringing the pen-edge up sharp.
The emery paper will simply have smoothed and polished the surfaces, still leaving them too sharp, so sharp as to cut the paper, and to take off this sharp edge (which must first be done on the inside faces) open the pen-points as wide as the screw will permit. Then wrap one thickness of the emery paper upon a thin blade, as upon a drawing-triangle, and pass the open pen-points over it, and move the instrument endwise, taking care to keep the inside face level with the surface of the emery paper, so that the pen-points shall not cut through. Next close the pen-points with the screw until they nearly, but not quite, touch, and sweep the edge of the pen-point along the emery paper under a slight pressure, so moving the handle that at each stroke the whole length around the curved end of the pen will meet the emery surface. During this motion the inside faces of the pen-point must be held as nearly vertical as possible, so as to keep the two halves of the pen-point equal.
The pen is now ready for use, and will draw a fine and clean line.
It is not usual to employ emery paper for the purpose indicated, but it will be found very desirable, since it leaves a smoother surface and edge than the oil-stone alone.
Circle-pens are more difficult to put in order than the straight-line pen, especially those for drawing the smallest circles, which cannot be well drawn unless the pen is of the precise right shape and in the best condition.
A circle-pen is shown in Figure 24, in which A represents the point-leg and B the pen-leg. The point-leg must be the longest because it requires to enter the drawing paper before the pen meets the surface. The point should be sharp and round, for any edges or angles on it will cause it to widen the hole in the paper when it is rotated. To shape the points to prevent the enlargement of the centre in the paper is one of the most important considerations in the use of this instrument, especially when several circles require to be drawn from the same centre. To accomplish this end the inside of the point-leg should be, as near as possible, parallel to the length of the instrument (which is denoted in Figure 24 by the dotted line) when the legs are closed, as in the figure. If the point is at an angle, as shown in Figure 25, it is obvious that rotating it will enlarge the top of the centre in the drawing paper. The point should be sharp and smooth on its circumferential surface, and so much longer than the pen-point that it will have sufficient hold in the paper when the instrument stands vertical and the pen-point meets the surface of it, which amount is about 1/64th of an inch.
We may now consider the shape of the pen-point. Its inside surfaces should be flat across and to the curve shown in Figure 24, not as shown exaggerated in Figure 25, because in the latter the body of the ink will be too near the pen-point, and but little can be placed in it without causing it sometimes to flow over the edges and down the outside of the pen.
A form of pen-point recently introduced is shaped as in Figure 26, the object being to have a thin stream of ink near the marking pen-point and the main body of the ink near at hand, instead of extending up the pen, as would be the case with Figure 24. The advantage thus gained is that the ink lies in a more solid body, and having less area of surface exposed to the air will not dry so quickly in the pen; but this is more than offset by the liability of the ink to flow over the crook at A, and cause the pen to draw a thick ragged line. The pen-point must be slightly inclined toward the needle-point, to the end that they may approach each other close enough for drawing very small circles, but it should also stand as nearly vertical as will permit that end to be attained. As this pen is for drawing small circles only, it does not require much ink, and hence may be somewhat close together, as in Figure 24; this has the advantage that the point is not hidden from observation.
In forming the pen-point the greatest refinement is necessary to enable the drawing of very small true circles, say 1/16th of an inch, or less, in diameter. The requirements are that the pen-point shall meet the surface of the paper when the needle-point has entered it sufficiently to give the necessary support, and that the instrument shall stand vertical, as shown by the dotted line in Figure 24. Also, that the pen shall then touch the paper at a point only, this point being the apex of a fine curve; that this curve be equal on each side of the point of contact with the paper; that both halves forming the pen be of equal thickness and width at the pointed curve; and that the point be as sharp as possible without cutting the paper.
The best method of attaining these ends is as follows: On each side of the pen make, with an oil-stone, a flat place, as C D, Figure 27 (where the pen-point is shown magnified), thus bringing both halves to an edge of exactly equal length, and leaving the point flat at D. These flat places must be parallel to one another and to the joint between the two halves of the pen. As the oil-stone may leave a slightly ragged edge, it is a good plan to take a piece of 00 French emery paper, lay it on a flat surface, and holding the instrument vertically remove the fine edge D until it will not cut. Then with the oil-stone shape the curved edge as in Figure 28, taking care that the curve no more than brings the flat place D up to a true curve and leaves the edge sharp, with only the very point touching the paper, which is represented in the cut by the horizontal line.
The point must have a sharp edge all around the curve, and the two halves must be exactly equal in width, for if one half is wider than the other, as in Figure 29 at a, or as in Figure 30 at b, it will be impossible to draw a very small circle true. So, likewise, the two halves of the pen must be of exactly equal length, and not one half longer than the other, as in Figures 31 or 32, which would tend to cut the paper, and also render the drawing of true small circles impracticable.
When the pen is closed to draw a very small circle the two halves of the pen-leg should have an equal degree of contact with the surface of the paper, and then as the legs are opened out to draw larger circles the contact of the outside half of the pen will have less contact with the paper. The smaller the circle, the more difficult it is to keep the point-leg from slipping out of the centre, and the more difficult it is to draw a clear line and true circle; hence the points should be shaped to the best advantage for drawing these small circles, by oil-stoning the pen, as already described, and then finishing it as follows:
After the oil-stoning, open the two valves of the pen-leg wide enough to admit a piece of 000 French emery paper wrapped once around a very thin blade, and move the pen endwise as described for the straight-line pen. This will smooth the inner surfaces and remove any fine wire-edge that the oil-stone may leave. Close the two halves of the pen again, and lightly emery-paper the outside faces, which will leave the edge sharp enough to cut the paper. The removal of the sharp edge still left, to the exact degree, requires great care. It may best be done by closing the pen until its two halves very nearly, but not quite, touch, then adjust it to mark a circle of about 3/16 inch diameter, and strike a number of circles in different locations upon the surface of a piece of 0000 French emery paper.
In marking these circles, however, let the instrument stand out of the perpendicular, and do very little while standing vertically. Indeed, it is well to strike a number of half-circles, first from right to left and then from left to right, and finally draw a full circle, sloping the pen on one side, gradually raising it vertically, and finally sloping it to the other side. This will insure that the pen has contact at its extreme point, and leave that point fine and keen, but not enough so to cut the paper. To test the pen, draw small circles with the pen rotated first in one direction and then in the other, closing its points so as to mark a fine line, which, if the pen is properly shaped, will be clear and fine, while if improperly formed the circle drawn with the pen rotated in one direction will not coincide with that drawn while rotating it in the other. The same circle may be drawn over several times to make a thorough test. If a drawing instrument will draw a fine line correctly, it will be found to answer for thick lines which are more easily made.
In thus preparing the instruments, the operator will find that if he occasionally holds the points in the right position with regard to the light, he will be able to see plainly if the work is proceeding evenly and equally, for if one-half of the pen is thicker at the point or edge than the other, it will show a brighter line. This is especially the case with instruments that have become dull by use, for in that case the edges will be found quite bright, and any inequality of thickness shows plainly.
It follows, from what has been said, that the needle-point and pen-point should stand vertical when in use, and to effect this the instruments, except in the smallest sizes, are provided with joints, such as shown at A and B in the bow-pencil or circle-pencil, in Figure 33. These joints should be sufficiently stiff that they will not move too easily, and yet will move rather than that the legs should sensibly spring without moving at the joint. The needle-point leg should be adjusted by means of the joint, to stand vertical, and the same remarks apply equally to the pen-leg; but in the case of the pencil-leg it is the pencil itself and not the leg that requires attention, the joint B being so adjusted that the pencil either stands vertical, or, what is perhaps preferable, so that it stands inclined slightly towards the needle-point. In sharpening the pencil the inner face C may be made concave or at least vertical and flat, and the outer convex or else bevelled and flat, producing a fine and long edge rounded in its length of edge. In using the circle-pencil and circle-pen it will be found more convenient to rotate it in the direction of the arrow in Figure 34. It should be held lightly to the paper, and the learner will find that he has a natural tendency to hold it too firmly and press it too heavily, which is especially to be avoided.
If in drawing a small circle the needle-point slips out of the paper, it is because the pencil-point is too long; or, what is the same thing, the needle-point does not protrude far enough out from the leg. Or if the instrument requires to be leaned over too much to make the pencil or pen mark, it is because the pen or pencil is not far enough out, and this again may cause the needle-point to slip out of the paper.
In Figure 35 is shown a German instrument especially designed to avoid this slipping. The peculiarity of this instrument consists in the arrangement of the centre point, which remains stationary whilst the pen or pencil, resting by its own weight on the paper, is guided round by gently turning, without pressure, the small knob at the upper end of the tube. By this means the misplacing or sliding of the centre-point and the cutting of the paper by the pen are avoided. By means of this fixed centre-point any number of concentric circles may be drawn, without making a hole of very distinguishable size on the paper.
In applying the ink to the bow-pen as to all other instruments, care must be taken that the ink lies between the points only and not on the outside, for in the latter case the ink will flow down too freely and make a broad, ragged line, perhaps getting on the edge of the square blade or triangle, and causing a blot of ink on the drawing.
In using a straight line or lining pen with a T square it may be used as in Figure 36, being nearly vertical, as shown, and moved from left to right as denoted by the arrow, S representing the square blade. But in using it, or a pencil, with a straight edge or a triangle unsupported by the square blade, the latter should be steadied by letting the fingers rest upon it while using the instrument, the operation being shown in Figure 37. The position, Figure 36, is suitable for long lines, and that in Figure 37 for small drawings, where the pen requires close adjustment to the lines.