I was working on some pens the other day and I used about 4 gallons too much glue putting a pen tube into a blank. As opposed to using a solvent to clean it out and possibly hurting the integrity of the bond of blank to tube, I searched around the shop and came up with some other ideas. I’ve recently started using Titebond Polyurethane Liquid Glue to glue the tubes into the blanks unless I am in a hurry. It takes about 4 hours to cure, so I use it if I am preparing blanks for another day. Otherwise, I use some 5-minute epoxy. I prefer the glue because it is easier to clean up and you don’t have to mess with mixing multiple parts. So far, I give the Titebond glue a thumbs-up. Other than a long cure time, another drawback is that it ‘fizzes’ while curing. This leads to a lot of gunk that sometimes gets into the pen tubes such as in the first picture.
I used two things to banish the glue from the inside of the pen I was working on. I had purchased a transfer punch set (cheap from Harbor Freight) to use for pen disassembly. I had purchased a pen disassembly kit from Woodcraft. Whereas it works great, it only works on a few sizes of pens. If you expand beyond slimlines and mont blancs, you may want to pick one of these up anyway. This kit has punches in increments of 1/64″, so you should be able to find one for pretty much any pen you need to take apart.
Using the largest punch that will still fit in the tube, you can push the excess glue out. I had to use a hammer as well, but I used WAY too much glue. I had put glue on the tube as well as inside the tube to see if I could get better coverage. The tube simply pushed the glue and it rolled inside. Since then, I’ve used a Q-tip to make sure that glue was evenly spread inside the tube. It will allow a thinner layer of glue and less mess.
Lastly, a small nylon brush (or possibly even a pipe cleaner) will allow you to scrub any remaining residue out of the tube. I have a conical one that works well for a few different sizes of pens. It was part of a cleaning kit for an Earlex HVLP sprayer, but I suspect you can find something similar at Harbor Freight, a hobby store, or possibly the cleaning aisle of the grocery store.
The tube is a lot cleaner now, which is important since pen components have to be press-fit inside there!