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  Space pens, Sharpies and other signing tools (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Space pens, Sharpies and other signing tools
Helios
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posted 03-03-2002 01:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Helios   Click Here to Email Helios     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can anyone tell me why blue sharpies are used most of the time when signing autographs? On some photos, the blue signature just ruins the look of the photo. What's wrong with using either the black, red, or green sharpie?

The color of sharpie should match the overall color scheme of the pic. All the sharpies are permanent ink. Why aren't the other colors being used?

uzzi69
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posted 03-03-2002 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for uzzi69   Click Here to Email uzzi69     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On most of the older signed pics, you will see black sharpie... which is what they had available to sign with back then, and what I prefer, especially on black and white photos.

As far as a preferred color on a given photo, you run into what's called the fade factor. Signatures have a tendency to fade over time...even though they say permanent they're usually not.

Blue ink usually lasts a little longer than black... but both are good if kept out of direct and reflected sunlight.

Red is notorious for quick fading... sometimes without sunlight. I would never recommend red ink on any autograph.

Green is alright, but it seems to have been Jim McDivitt's trademark... and I think it should be left as such.

The newer silver and gold gel pens are great, especially on dark backgrounds... but they are slow drying, and have a tendency to glob and smear if not set aside a few minutes before they are handled.

The last one I purchased to send with a photo is a great pen... it's by Uni-Ball and is called Gel Impact. They write smooth, with no globs, and dry really fast. They have gold and silver... be sure to get the bold point.

Aztecdoug
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posted 03-03-2002 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was just looking at a 20 year old oil painting I received as a gift. There was some stuff written on the back of the canvas in ballpoint pen. It was very faded and difficult to read. But, the canvas dimensions were also written on the back in pencil. That was still quite clear. I understand that pencil works the best over time on paper products.

As for sharpies, I just love the way the blue stands out on balck and white photos. It appears to almost float and stand out. Very nice looking.

The silver gel looks great on a black background. My most beautiful pieces are things I bought at Novespace, signed with the silver gel. (Scott with rover pic, Lovell Earthrise and Cernan with flag and Earth overhead.)

The matter of pen color between black and blue is probably taste. I understand black used to have problems but that was resolved years ago.

albatron
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posted 03-03-2002 07:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The reason for the proliferation of blue Sharpie ink, is because Sharpies original formulation for black ink contained a yellow color, that after time would come out. The black ink would fade, and youd be left with a yellow line in the middle of it. If it was signed on a page it was very prevelant on the versa. So collectors began using the blue inks as it did not yellow over time.

Sharpie remixed the ink, and that is no longer a consideration. Ive found personally - there is no fade diference between blue and black now. To me anyway and Ive not done any experiments - simply from over the years. I use both blue and black; sometimes Im happy to have the sig no matter the color nd whatever was handy, but if I have a choice then I select it according to contrast to the background.

While I will use them out of necessity I truly dislike the gold and silver paint pens. They have a tendency to stick to a plastic sleeve (even after drying for quite some time), especially if there is any pressure at all on the page. Also,in time they harden and chip. Why for the love of Pete Sharpie does not make a silver, gold or even white permanent marker, is beyond me. Ive asked them several times and always get a 1 line answer "Sharpie has no plans in the future to develop such a pen". No explanation - zip.

Helios
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posted 03-14-2002 10:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Helios   Click Here to Email Helios     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks so much for the helpful information and history on the sharpies. Also thanks for the warning on the problems with the gold and silver. I guess we must take into consideration the life of the picture and signature over how it appeals to one's eye.

UKRuss2
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posted 08-17-2002 08:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for UKRuss2   Click Here to Email UKRuss2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've heard before that metallic pens can be problematic.

Does anyone have any experience of this?

If you were going to purchase an autograph (separate to the aesthetics involved with different pens) would you go for sharpie or metallic?

Which will last longer?

mikepf
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posted 08-17-2002 11:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikepf   Click Here to Email mikepf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have two photos of Ed Mitchell he signed for me in person using gold metallic pen. They sure looked great when they were new. I am sure that I was careful to make sure they were both well dried before putting them in page protectors. After about 6 months I noticed that they were becoming smeared. They are now both barely legible. I had a similar problem with a John Glenn gold ink photo I had bought pre-signed. This one was most definitely, without question, dry when I purchased it. On the other hand, I have another Ed Mitchell photo that he signed with silver metallic ink. It looks as great now as the day signed. I wonder if anyone else has had this problem with the gold ink, if there is special care needed for storing photos signed with it, or if I just have bad luck. Needless to say, I recommend keeping away from the gold ink.

albatron
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posted 08-18-2002 05:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I personally do not like metallic or paint pens at all - period. I agree in some instances they look pretty and in some others they are totally necessary (totally black surfaces, picture etc), however they are ALL problematic.

If there is a situation you have a choice, go for the sharpie. I've seen metallic pens chip, flake, smear, flatten - everything imaginable.

In this instance of silver vs. gold, I believe it has more to do with the style paint pen and width rather than the color.

The new gold and silver gel pens - my jury is still out on also - as far as a glossy surface. You have to be EXTRA careful with them.

John K. Rochester
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posted 08-20-2002 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as photos, I would never use a metallic pen. Books, I have a few that are metallic, and have not had any problems. Models and ceramic items (I have an Enesco shuttle cookie jar signed by five shuttle astros, and a Gemini signed by Richard Gordon), just a QUICK spray of clear acrylic sealer keeps the autograph in great shape forever.

Cliff Lentz
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posted 08-21-2002 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been collecting sports memorabilia as well as Space collectibles for quite some time. I can tell you that there can be problems with both Sharpies and metallic pens. Anything that comes in contact with the autograph can begin to remove it.

I find that protective pages, no matter what claims the manufacturer makes can eventually pickoff or smear your autograph. This can happen if it's in a book and weight is applied to it in storage. Humidity and temperature changes can attribute to it. Framed pieces that touch glass will also begin to deteriorate.

If I do frame an autographed photo, I make sure it has a mat over it so the glass never touches the autograph. If I use Hard plastic protectors I try not to stack them or put any weight that will start the problem and avoid humidity at all costs.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-29-2002 11:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks to Al Hallonquist (albatron) for bringing this product to our attention:
Sharpie, Popular Designer Frank Bielec Agree 'Tis The Season To Be Silver'

December 16, 2002

Bellwood, Ill. - With a ho, ho, ho, Sharpie, the world's most popular family of permanent markers, today announced that it is answering the call for a marker that can be used on dark surfaces - just in time for holiday arts and crafts. Introducing the Sharpie METALLIC marker in silver, the perfect accent to make the season even brighter.

In addition to offering a signature bold silver line, Sharpie Metallic marker eliminates many of the issues associated with most other metallic markers - such as difficulty controlling the amount of ink flow and the need for shaking and tip pressing before the using a marker. The latest addition to the Sharpie family provides even ink flow, as well as permanent and fast-drying silver metallic ink with no mess and no preparation before use - simply uncap and go.

"It's the perfect time for silver," said Frank Bielec, designer for a popular, do-it-yourself decorating program on cable television, who also owns his own arts and crafts business. "These days, more and more people are looking for simple, cost effective ways to make gift giving more personal.

The new Sharpie Metallic marker - with its bold silver metallic ink - provides an easy to use, distinct touch that can turn the most everyday holiday item into something special. As one of the most trusted names in arts and crafts, Sharpie markers can write on virtually any surface. I'm sure we'll be seeing lots of crafters coming up with creative, unique ways to answer, 'How do you use your Sharpie?'"

Bielec says there are almost limitless uses for the new Sharpie Metallic marker - for holiday or year-round crafting. Try some of these holiday crafts using the new marker from Sharpie:

  • The Write Stuff - Holiday Wrapping Paper and Gift Bags - Personalize dark-colored wrapping paper with a flourish of silver and a look unique to each gift you give.
  • Endless Ornaments - Commemorate the season by adding life to traditional green, red, blue, gold or any old holiday ornaments.
  • A Glass With Class - Snuggle up to a warm fireplace on a cold winter's night with a decorative champagne flute, coffee or tea mug.
  • Picture This! - Write a note on holiday pictures and cards for the warmest of wishes.
  • Handcrafted Holiday Cards - Transform ordinary cards into attractive, custom-made greetings.
  • Capture The Moment - Put a permanent mark on those holiday memories by labeling videotapes with the help of the Sharpie Metallic marker.
  • The possibilities are endless. Be creative with Sharpie Metallic and the twelve other colors now offered, including: Aqua, Berry, Turquoise, Lime, Black, Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Orange, Yellow and Brown.
"We are pleased to bring loyal Sharpie customers yet another signature innovation," said Chris Heye, vice president and general manager for Sharpie. "We look forward to continuing the Sharpie brand's tradition of innovation and customer satisfaction as we introduce more bold, exciting new colors and products in the months and years ahead."

Initially available in silver fine point, the Sharpie Metallic is non-toxic as approved by the Arts & Crafts Materials Institute. Sharpie Metallic is available where writing instruments and art products are sold, in 1-, 2- and 4-packs starting at a suggested retail price of $1.45.

John K. Rochester
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posted 12-29-2002 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just the thing for my ceramic Shuttle Cookie jar autographs!!

AuthenticItems
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posted 12-29-2002 09:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AuthenticItems   Click Here to Email AuthenticItems     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I used this pen this weekend on some sports autographs and it works well. It's no hassle, dries as quick as sharpie too, not streaky. No shaking, no rattling, no potential puddles of paint.

Aztecdoug
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posted 01-12-2003 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I picked up some of the new Silver Sharpies when they came out a few weeks ago. Recalling a post in the past about a sunshine fade test, I thought I would put them to the test. So, I wrote on some Fuji Crystal Archive paper with 6 different Sharpie colors. I put one test batch in a dark drawer and the second in a South-facing window. After only seven days I noticed some results and scanned them. (I put the test back in the window for further tracking.)

Mind you, this is not scientific, it is just something I threw together after recalling somebody else's lead.

I used Silver, Black, Blue, Green, Red, and a Light Violet. Mind you this is after only seven days. I was surprised at some of the colors and happy with the others. I will scan them again after two weeks and compare again.

See a much larger version here. [328k]

farthestreaches
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posted 01-12-2003 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for farthestreaches   Click Here to Email farthestreaches     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So how did the silver hold up?

albatron
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posted 01-12-2003 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I cant speak for Doug - but I was the one who started the whole silver sharpie hoopla. I took a glossy photo, marked all over it and left it OUT side in the Florida sun for 4 days (and over night also). NO fade whatsoever (although it was not hot it was still lots of UV and very bright). The only problem? A smear when it got rained on but that smear was part of the emulsion on the photo as well, not so much the ink.

Aztecdoug
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posted 01-12-2003 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What I have seen so far is that the Silver holds up just fine. The black is very, very good too. I expected the Red and Green to not do so well and they lived up to expectations. It's just that darn Blue. The Blue faded out a lot worse than I had hoped. (Blue is, I mean was, my favorite color.) As for the Violet, it did okay. (To be honest, I chose that Violet shade by mistake when I thought I was grabbing Red in a dark closet!)

Aztecdoug
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posted 01-21-2003 10:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have scanned the Sharpie fade test again. This is day 18.

The Blue, while still visible, is starting to look like a stain more than writing. I looked real hard at the Silver and I want to say that it looks different, but it just isn't really a detectable change yet. The same goes for the Black. I think it may be losing a little of its depth of tone, but I just can't really see it clearly.

The Red is not of this Earth much longer, the Green is fading. Surprisingly my little mistake, Violet, or Fuschia, is holding out much better than the Reds, Blues and Greens.

I should add that these are getting some heat from the South-facing window. So that will add to their decline. I will run another test out of a North-facing window soon.

See a much larger version here. [316k]

cms
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posted 02-02-2003 08:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cms   Click Here to Email cms     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was wondering if some of you could lend some of your experience to this small concern of mine. What is the best instrument (pen/marker) to use when requesting an autograph on a Beta Cloth Mission Patch? I was originally going to send along a black Sharpie but thought I would run this by some of you for your advise. Thank you in advance for those of you who took the time to respond. Best wishes to all and take care.

astronut
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posted 02-02-2003 11:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astronut   Click Here to Email astronut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris, Sharpies tend to bleed on Betacloth. I've had excellent luck with medium point ballpoint pens. They write quite easily on the cloth and don't bleed.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 02-03-2003 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Charlie Duke recommends biro for signing betacloth and who am I to disagree.

cms
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posted 02-03-2003 09:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cms   Click Here to Email cms     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks or your responses guys. Rick, forgive me for asking but what is "biro"? I have never heard of that before. Anyway, I will definitely take both of your suggestions under consideration.

albatron
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posted 02-04-2003 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We've been using (for the signing) the plastic tipped sharpies, black is stock number 35001. Im not sure what blue is. Hold the material tight (as you would a ball point) and I believe it is much more permanent.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 02-04-2003 04:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry Chris, biro is a generic term used in the UK for a ball point pen. I believe it is a brand of pen that has found its way into the English language rather like "Hoover"; a term used for any and all types of vacuum cleaner, regardless of brand.

Dennis Talbot
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posted 02-04-2003 05:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis Talbot   Click Here to Email Dennis Talbot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Biro was Hungarian and invented the ball point pen.

Rob Sumowski
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posted 03-30-2003 10:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Sumowski   Click Here to Email Rob Sumowski     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tonight, I bought some silver Sharpies and have spent the last hour experimenting with one on an unsigned duplicate space photo. I agree that the ink flow is good, however I did notice that the line is fairly broad and fat- even though I purchased the "fine point" version. Does anyone know if Sharpie makes an "extra fine point" marker?

I compared it to some of the silver ink sigs from pens that Kim Poor has issued to astronauts at his signings, and Kim's markers seem much more definite, clear, and "thinner."

Of course it's just my personal preference- The Sharpies seem fine...It's just that, if given the option, I prefer thinner lines because they don't come across as muddy...

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Does anyone know which markers Kim uses?
I'd be interested in any feedback, as I'm taking several 16 x 20 photos to the Washington signing in May...

Jake
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posted 04-03-2003 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jake   Click Here to Email Jake     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These things are TOO COOL...!

I found some at Michael's Crafts in Issaquah, WA, and they are everything a paint pen is NOT! Smooth, silver, no shaking, awesome.

Civilization is progressing! (ha!)

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 04-04-2003 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've used the new silver sharpie and after priming it, it works good, yet only for a short time. The next morning it came out almost devoid of silver. After further priming it worked for one more day. Best when working on a glossy surface, paper products dry it considerably faster.

Paint pens work longer (though more messy and much longer to dry, you'll get more out of paint pens than the Ag sharpies.)

Danno
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posted 04-04-2003 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Danno   Click Here to Email Danno     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, I'll be first to say I don't care for them.

I also bought some of the silver sharpies and thought they were pretty great at first. Then about a week later I came across my test item and inadvertently lightly rubbed my fingers over the writing. The ink didn't smear, but it did deposit a thin halo of silver around the writing. A smudge really.

I also had a rather unfortunate episode with the US mail where an item signed with a silver sharpie was crushed in its tube and rained upon and the great inscription with a silver sharpie was also smudged. That was the closest to crying I've come in my adult life.

turtlebac
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posted 06-13-2003 10:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for turtlebac   Click Here to Email turtlebac     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a photo of "Pete" Conrad at Surveyor III signed with a blue Sharpie by Conrad and Richard Gordon. I would like to have Alan Bean sign. For balanced placement, his signature would look best where the picture is darkest. I fear a blue Sharpie would be hard to see. If I go with a silver Sharpie there would be two color inks. My other option is a signing location I do not prefer. Does anyone have experience with how blue and silver Sharpie inks would look on the same photo?

Russ Still
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posted 06-14-2003 10:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Russ Still   Click Here to Email Russ Still     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Totally opinion and subjective, but I'd probably keep the inks the same and go with the less than optimal placement. But then, after seeing the piece, I might change my mind...

If the other inks are blue and the photo is essentially black/white, what about using gold ink instead of silver?

Spaceflyer
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posted 06-14-2003 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceflyer   Click Here to Email Spaceflyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a photo taken from Yankee Clipper in moon orbit with the earth (AS12-47-6891). Pete and Dick have signed on the moon part in black and Al has signed in gold and inscribed on the black part. In my opinion it looks great. They all signed it on different places in front of me!

turtlebac
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posted 06-16-2003 10:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for turtlebac   Click Here to Email turtlebac     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks yall for helping a beginner. I'm going to print a copy of the image and write some letters in blue and gold to see what it looks like.

I checked prior posts and saw Uni-Ball Gel Impact mentioned for gold autographs. Is this still a good choice for a gold pen?

MrSpace86
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posted 10-01-2003 06:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wanted to get a few items signed by some astronauts and was wondering which is better? Which one would last longer? The Silver Sharpie or a Paint Pen? (the pictures are dark) I was writing with the silver sharpie the other day and it started coming off real easily. I haven't really tested the paint pen since it's expensive, but price isn't an issue, it's which one is better and which one will last longer. Please let me know your opinion and if you have any bad/good experiences with either pen. Thanks!

Scott
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posted 10-01-2003 08:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have not used the new Sharpie but a well known dealer has told me he doesn't care for it.

Aztecdoug
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posted 10-01-2003 08:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I like the Sharpie because of it's ease of application. It seems the paint pens I have used always seemed to muck up one way or another. I was also real happy with how well the Sharpie dried.

But, I think the paint pens, when done correctly, seem to, "look," a lot better.

My unscientific judgement is that I use Sharpie when I am having somebody sign in person, or perhaps through the mail. If the signing is being done by a pro, I would go with the paint pen.

I do look forward to other people's opinions though. Personally, the jury is still out on this one for me. Those are really just my preliminary findings.

Rizz
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posted 10-01-2003 10:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the paint pen is 'primed' prior to signing, it can look great. If they attempt to start signing after taking the cap off and just start writing away.... ooh... can be very messy.

Cliff Lentz
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posted 10-02-2003 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Paint Pen can really be messy. Jack Schmitt told me as he was signing for me with a Silver paint pen to "Get it started, first!". Apparently he was about to sign the Flag shot a week before and the pen wouldn't write so naturally he shook it and the pen leaked all over the photo. Still and all, in using both, I prefer the paint pen. Sure they are messy and hard to start; they may leak and dry up quickly, but the results are terrific, especially for space photos. I don't think the Silver Sharpie has been quite perfected yet. They do dry up very quickly and there are some surfaces that it doesn't take well to, mostly certain magazine stock papers.

albatron
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posted 10-02-2003 09:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We used both during the signings (Als) - and if you handle the silver sharpie correctly it works much nicer than the paint pens that have a tendency to flake off after drying. And the paint pens will stick to plastic sleeves so I traditionally put a piece of paper in the sleeve OVER the signature to protect it for its journey home. But THAT has problems too. Sometimes the pressure flattens out the paint pen and it looks terrible.

The thing Ive found with the silver sharpie, is it needs to be "primed" too. I generally break it in by writing just a little FIRST otherwise its too weak a fluid. Dunno why but it is true (for me at least). Once you do that it works fine. Also, the tip dulls much more quickly than a standard sharpie so be careful of that as well.

An as mentioned, it does not do well on some surfaces so test it first.

Cliff Lentz
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posted 10-07-2003 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This past weekend I decided to test run the Silver Sharpie at an appearance of Brian Duffy in Philadelphia. I got all my primary objects signed and since there was only a small informal group I headed back with a few Spaceshot Cards and the inside black pages of two Shuttle books I had in my library. Mr. Duffy was not familar with the new marker and we talked about the paint pens where you have to shake the heck out of them to get them started. The Sharpie worked well on the glossy surface of the Spaceshot card and very well on the lesser glossy black page of the books. It does make a large stroke, but for the most part, is a nice look.


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Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





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