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Esterbrook Dollar Pen Sac/j-Bar Replacement Questions


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#1 OakIris

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 14:42

I purchased a Dollar pen from one of our respected vendors in April of last year. A lovely green Esterbrook, nice nib, worked fine.  Earlier this month I needed to refill it again but this time when I attempted this, part of the sac was suddenly caught on the end of the lever, it appeared that the J-bar might have slipped, or....  

 

I soaked the pen until I was able to get it apart.  The J-bar appears to be OK and properly installed, but as I have never replaced one, I am not sure what to look for to see if it is the problem.  When operating the lever with the nib section removed, it lines up with the J-bar and depresses/releases it every time.  Does that mean it is fine or is there something else I need to check?

 

The sac is damaged, of course, has a hole in it from where it caught on the lever, so I need to replace it.  I believe the #18 sac is the correct size for the nipple, but.... As this was from a respected vendor who restored the pen, I would assume the sac was cut to the correct size, but it does not appear to be correct to me - it doesn't even extend past where the lever is in the barrel, so it MAY be the reason the lever got caught on it, but I guess I will never know - after all, I had no problems with it for the first year I owned the pen.  

 

The sac that I removed from the pen was 2 inches long, including the approximately 1/4 inch that fit over the section nipple.  Please tell me what the correct length of the sac should be....

 

Holly



#2 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 17:33

There is a post here somewhere from Farmboy that says the #18 sac in a trayless full size Dollar pen (all of them were trayless that I know of) should be 2 3/16" long.

 

I don't know it for a fact, but I would strongly suspect he has measured a few original Estie sacs in pristine Dollar pens. That's how *I* know the Rest of the sacs were 1 15/16".  Some laugh at measuring sacs but 95% of the pens I do are Esties.  I have 1 15/16" marked in XF Sharpie on the top of my tool box. It's just easier that way for this Georgia watermelon picker. [1]

 

The tray if one and the bar need to align straight under the lever tip.  I don't pull a j-bar unless it is misaligned or pretty rusty. If it's misaligned, I want to stop that from happening again, either by opening the J a bit more, realigning the tray, adding a missing spacer past the J-bar or otherwise figure out why it's shifting position.

 

It is rare, but you may have side to side movement of the lever within the lever slot. If so, today, you're screwed. Farmboy has the first one of those of mine I've ever seen. It has resisted two people's attempts at it so far. FB is the poor Root Beer barrel's last hope.  I have confidence in him but he IS it's last hope as of this minute. [EDIT] For some reason, the original and a replacement lever ring fit very loosely within the ring groove.  That May be why there is excessive side to side movement of the lever within the slot. Mr. Hobiwan and I are certainly baffled.

 

[1] I wasn't technically a picker. I was a thrower. The thrower comes between the picker and the catcher/stacker.  ;)

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl


Edited by OcalaFlGuy, 11 June 2014 - 17:37.


#3 Hobiwan

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 17:55

First, look into the barrel with a light, and make sure there's nothing like sac residue back at the end of the barrel.  If your sac appears too short, this might be a reason.  Sometimes, when cleaning the old (beat-up, destroyed, emulsified, rotted out) sac from the barrel, a particle gets missed.  It's happened to me more than once.

 

You can measure the new sac for yourself when you get it.  Just put the new sac by itself into the barrel, all the way to the end of the J-bar.  Cut off the part of the sac that protrudes from the barrel opening.  You can make sure it's not too long, by then cutting off another 1/32 inch (scissor width?). 

 

Then, hold the sac against the section, with the opening of the sac flush against the ridge that butts up against the barrel threads.  Cut the sac again at the part where the section's nipple starts.  I then cut off another, maybe, 1/32 inch just to be sure.  You'll then have the proper length (whatever it is) for installation.  Somehow, I never got around to making any precise measurement for any of the sacs I replaced.  I just let the pen barrel and section do it. 

 

There are others on this board who have taken the extra step of accurately measuring the proper sac lengths for the various Esty models, and if any of them weigh in here, use that info, but the above will do OK just in case ......


Best Regards
Paul


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#4 OakIris

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 18:41

Thank you both for your detailed and informative responses.  

 

Watermelon throwing sounds like good exercise, Bruce!   :D  I had actually found the 2009 thread you started, asking about the sac length, and Farmboy did indeed say that it should be 2 3/16" long.  I guess that I needed confirmation (hand-holding?!?) plus needed some input about the J-bar, so I posted this thread anyway, though I am sure long time members grow weary of seeing the same questions pop up.   :blush:

 

The lever does not move from side to side in its barrel slot, luckily; I would be interested in knowing if Farmboy can come up with a solution for your Estie. That's a strange problem.  I have one root beer Estie - with a toaster jewel, too - which I really like; hope you can get yours back in use!

 

There is no tray that I can see and the J-bar is rust-free; to my inexperienced eyes, it appears to be properly aligned within the barrel so that the lever operates it correctly, so I think I will leave it be unless I run into the same "lever catching sac" problem again.  The interior of the barrel is clean and unobstructed by debris (old sac bits, etc.) so I don't know why the sac installed was cut so short.

 

I rather like your method of sac measurement,  Hobiwan.  I might give that a try first and see how close to the recommended 2 3/16" length it gets me.   :thumbup:

 

Holly


Edited by OakIris, 11 June 2014 - 18:43.


#5 Tom Heath

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 10:47

Lots' of postulating,  simply replace the sac  using 17 or 18 doesn't really matter.

 

How much the pen is used may be a factor, Lots of  exchanges of ink and cleaning etc  could be a factor...

 

You did not say in what condition the sac other than the hole was in, did it seem soft as in poor quality , some have literally turned to a gooey mess, I assume poor batch or bad ink...  Main thing is you checked the lever, the pressure bar and found nothing defective

 

I'd just make sure the inside is clean and install a new sac and get on with writing : )

 

Flukes do happen and maybe that's what happened here. 



#6 OakIris

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 12:11

Wonderful to see you back here again, Tom.   :)

 

The sac I removed was in perfect shape, except for the hole made when it caught on the lever.  The pen was in regular rotation but since I had probably 8 pens inked at a time (I have cut down that number to two right now, but I am sure that will change) it wasn't filled/flushed/refilled all that often.  As I said, I probably won't ever know what caused the sac and lever to compete for the same space, so to speak, though I do think the shortness of the sac MAY have contributed to the situation.  Obviously, this isn't a common problem with lever fillers or there would be a lot more discussion of it, but I thought someone here might have a theory.  

 

I have both the size 17 and 18 sacs so, as you suggested, I will re-sac the pen, keep writing, and see what happens.

 

Holly 


Edited by OakIris, 12 June 2014 - 12:12.


#7 Brian Anderson

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 14:10

I may be the odd man out, but I don't go by the measurement method, I do it based on the pen, so, I hand fit every sac every time.  There may be slight variances, whether or not the stop for the J bar is in place, whether or not it is the original J bar, if there is a tray, if the tray is in the correct place, etc.  Too many variables to leave it to a single measurement.  I put in the sac, grab it with my right hand at the end of the barrel, then cut off the amount the section displaces in the barrel and that's it.  Sure, Esterbrook had them measured and pre-cut, but too much can happen these days to risk a sac to that.


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#8 OakIris

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 14:22

I reckon if that is your tired and true method, Brian - similar to Hobiwan's as well - then it will certainly work for the rest of us!  Thank you for weighing in.  :)

 

Holly



#9 Brian Anderson

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 14:37

I forgot to mention, I usually apply a little talc to the sac as well, this eliminates any error in measuring the sac because the sac got caught on something, stopped short of the J bar, etc.


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#10 Brian Anderson

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 14:38

I reckon if that is your tired and true method, Brian - similar to Hobiwan's as well - then it will certainly work for the rest of us!  Thank you for weighing in.   :)

 

Holly

lol, I guess I didn't completly read Paul's post.  ooops.  Need more coffee, been up since 4:30 am...  :)


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#11 Hobiwan

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 19:16

I put in the sac, grab it with my right hand at the end of the barrel, then cut off the amount the section displaces in the barrel and that's it.  Sure, Esterbrook had them measured and pre-cut, but too much can happen these days to risk a sac to that.

 

Thanks for bringing that up. :)

I put the sac in, grab it with my left hand, snip with the right ... I forgot to mention the difference between left- and right-handed methodologies ...

 

So, I'll bet that when pulling the section, you grab the barrel with the right hand and work the section with the left, eh? If so, has your left thumb developed the "section-puller's sprain" yet?  Had mine on the right thumb for some years now.


Best Regards
Paul


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