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Regarding Esterbrook repairs...


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45 replies to this topic

#1 ladyinthemists

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 17:26

I just saw where you can get either latex or silicone ink sacs. Which one would last longest and work best? I have 3 Esterbrooks J pens from the early 1960's:
- my blue icicle (I think that the striped pattern is called "icicle"?) is just under 5" and the sac is gone, don't know how bad the pressure bar is but it is still in place
- my brown/copper icicle is a little over 4 1/2" and both the sac and pressure bar are gone (pressure bar is in pieces)
- my solid yellow(purse size?) is a little under 4 1/2" and I'm going to have to soak it to be able to open it and see what's going on inside
Would each sized pen take the same or different sized pressure bars? I'm totally new and green in the area of pen repairs. I just took a look in the Wood Bin website and found quite a few repair items. I would like to know the recommendations of those of you here who are much more knowledgeable than I am regarding pen repairs.
Here are my 3 Esterbrooks:

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#2 Brian Anderson

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 18:19

I wouldn't waste the extra money for silicone sacs. Properly adhered, a rubber sac will most likely last longer than you will be on this earth. Get size 16 for all esterbrook.

As for J bars, you can get the same size and trim them to fit. Believe it or not, I've never replaced a J bar in a purse pen before, so you might ask Simon if his extra small J bar is more appropriate than trimming down a 54 cm one.

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#3 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 18:42

Wow. A SJ Icicle. You don't see those everyday. I wouldn't let that one get away from you LITM.

PS Don't lose the pieces of the broken j-bar, you can use them to size the replacement with.

Bruce in Ocala, FL

#4 FarmBoy

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 19:58

QUOTE (OcalaFlGuy @ Aug 31 2009, 11:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wow. A SJ Icicle. You don't see those everyday. ..
Bruce in Ocala, FL

Bruce,

You are not looking in the right places.

QUOTE (Brian Anderson @ Aug 31 2009, 11:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wouldn't waste the extra money for silicone sacs. Properly adhered, a rubber sac will most likely last longer than you will be on this earth. Get size 16 for all esterbrook.

As for J bars, you can get the same size and trim them to fit. Believe it or not, I've never replaced a J bar in a purse pen before, so you might ask Simon if his extra small J bar is more appropriate than trimming down a 54 cm one.

Best-
Brian


Go with Brian and skip the silicon sac.

If you need a replacement j-bar for the purse pen get one of the mini-ones, you can't really cut a 54mm small enough.

Todd


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#5 ladyinthemists

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 20:26

QUOTE (OcalaFlGuy @ Aug 31 2009, 11:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wow. A SJ Icicle. You don't see those everyday. ..
Bruce in Ocala, FL
Yup, both the blue and the brown/copper are icicles, Bruce. I guess that's even more reason for me to get them back into working condition, right?

QUOTE (FarmBoy @ Aug 31 2009, 03:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Bruce,

You are not looking in the right places.
okay, Todd, tell us all where we ought to go looking for Esterbrook icicles then. I really like the two I have and would love to have a red icicle also...that is, if they even came in red. Is there a website anywhere that shows all of the Esterbrook pen styles, including the icicles, with the colors they came in?

QUOTE (Brian Anderson @ Aug 31 2009, 11:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wouldn't waste the extra money for silicone sacs. Properly adhered, a rubber sac will most likely last longer than you will be on this earth. Get size 16 for all esterbrook.

As for J bars, you can get the same size and trim them to fit. Believe it or not, I've never replaced a J bar in a purse pen before, so you might ask Simon if his extra small J bar is more appropriate than trimming down a 54 cm one.

Best-
Brian
Great info for me to bear in mind, Brian, thanks. Now I need to find out the best place to obtain the items I will be needing. I did manage to get my yellow pen nib loose after a good soaking and then using two rubber jar openers to gently unscrew the nib. I'm still trying to extract the ink sac and trying to be very careful not to damage the J bar...it's really dark inside there and I haven't been able to actually see down in there yet.

QUOTE (FarmBoy @ Aug 31 2009, 03:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Go with Brian and skip the silicon sac.

If you need a replacement j-bar for the purse pen get one of the mini-ones, you can't really cut a 54mm small enough.

Todd
Another good tip. Thanks, everyone, for sharing your expertise with me, a mere novice at this.

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#6 FarmBoy

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 21:09

QUOTE (ladyinthemists @ Aug 31 2009, 01:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
okay, Todd, tell us all where we ought to go looking for Esterbrook icicles then. I really like the two I have and would love to have a red icicle also...that is, if they even came in red. Is there a website anywhere that shows all of the Esterbrook pen styles, including the icicles, with the colors they came in?

There is only one place you need to look: www.esterbrook.net

I hear the guy that runs the site is a bit OCD when it comes to Esties so if there is a pen missing and he finds out about it, it doesn't take long and a picture appears. I'm still puzzled as to how he gets the pens so quickly. (Heh heh heh)


As for Icicles being hard to find, they are not as common as the ubiquitous J but they are far more common than many of the models.

If hunting Icicles, look for the ones "Hencho en Mexico" they tend to have more vibrant colors than the US versions.

T

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#7 Lisa Anderson

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 22:54

QUOTE (FarmBoy @ Aug 31 2009, 04:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (ladyinthemists @ Aug 31 2009, 01:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
okay, Todd, tell us all where we ought to go looking for Esterbrook icicles then. I really like the two I have and would love to have a red icicle also...that is, if they even came in red. Is there a website anywhere that shows all of the Esterbrook pen styles, including the icicles, with the colors they came in?

There is only one place you need to look: www.esterbrook.net

I hear the guy that runs the site is a bit OCD when it comes to Esties so if there is a pen missing and he finds out about it, it doesn't take long and a picture appears. I'm still puzzled as to how he gets the pens so quickly. (Heh heh heh)


As for Icicles being hard to find, they are not as common as the ubiquitous J but they are far more common than many of the models.

If hunting Icicles, look for the ones "Hencho en Mexico" they tend to have more vibrant colors than the US versions.

T


roflmao... a bit OCD... Todd, you always make me smile!! Yes, esterbrook.net is run by someone who is quite the stickler when it comes to details, and when it comes to sorting the fact from fiction regarding everything Esterbrook. Don't get him started on made up names for colors, or clearly mismatched "sets" on Ebay, or blatantly incorrect auction listings lol....

as for Icicles, Mexican ones do have lovely color, I never met an Icicle I didn't like, personally..... and the LJ size fits better in my smaller hand...

Lisa

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#8 FarmBoy

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 23:50

QUOTE (Lisa Hanes @ Aug 31 2009, 03:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
roflmao... a bit OCD... Todd, you always make me smile!! Yes, esterbrook.net is run by someone who is quite the stickler when it comes to details, and when it comes to sorting the fact from fiction regarding everything Esterbrook. Don't get him started on made up names for colors, or clearly mismatched "sets" on Ebay, or blatantly incorrect auction listings lol....

as for Icicles, Mexican ones do have lovely color, I never met an Icicle I didn't like, personally..... and the LJ size fits better in my smaller hand...

Lisa

You mean the Streaker Root Beer wasn't factory? The guy on e-bay swore is was a rare color.

There are a few that insist that there are only six colors of the basic J: Red, Blue, Black, Green, Silver, Copper, and Grey (Sometimes spelled Gray). I contend there should be a seventh color of Js: Black with "Bell System Property" and without a doubt, no book on Esterbrooks is complete without at least a mention of Ma Bell. It may not need to go on the cover but somewhere for sure.

While we are on colors, I've decided that the Navy Blue A101 doesn't exist. I know HE has one but I found an ad for them and only 5 colors are listed. White seems to be not one of the colors but is listed separately I'm sure as the Nurse's pens were never listed with the rest.

Back to work....

Todd


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#9 ladyinthemists

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 00:30

Okay...so I'm finally, at long last ready to do something about getting my old Estie friends back into working order again. I know that I will need ink sacs (size 16 is what Brian said I'll need) and at least one J-bar (the one in my brown icicle is in 2 pieces). I have never managed to get my yellow purse pen opened so I don't know the condition of its J-bar or ink sac but I'm reasonably sure that it will need at least a new ink sac. What else do I need besides the parts? I've read somewhere that I'll need shellac, talc and I can't remember what all else. Do instructions (and I do mean DETAILED instructions!) come with these items that will tell me how to keep from messing up my pens? Now...where do I purchase all of the parts and assorted other items that I'm going to need? Hopefully there is a really great source with exceedingly reasonable prices...I hope!!

She who laughs, lasts 


#10 gregamckinney

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 01:14

<!--quoteo(post=1207360:date=Aug 31 2009, 03:54 PM:name=Lisa Hanes)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Lisa Hanes @ Aug 31 2009, 03:54 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=1207360"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->roflmao... a bit OCD... Todd, you always make me smile!! Yes, esterbrook.net is run by someone who is quite the stickler when it comes to details, and when it comes to sorting the fact from fiction regarding everything Esterbrook. Don't get him started on made up names for colors, or clearly mismatched "sets" on Ebay, or blatantly incorrect auction listings lol....

as for Icicles, Mexican ones do have lovely color, I never met an Icicle I didn't like, personally..... and the LJ size fits better in my smaller hand...

Lisa<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
You mean the Streaker Root Beer wasn't factory? The guy on e-bay swore is was a rare color.

There are a few that insist that there are only six colors of the basic J: Red, Blue, Black, Green, Silver, Copper, and Grey (Sometimes spelled Gray). I contend there should be a seventh color of Js: Black with "Bell System Property" and without a doubt, no book on Esterbrooks is complete without at least a mention of Ma Bell. It may not need to go on the cover but somewhere for sure.

While we are on colors, I've decided that the Navy Blue A101 doesn't exist. I know HE has one but I found an ad for them and only 5 colors are listed. White seems to be not one of the colors but is listed separately I'm sure as the Nurse's pens were never listed with the rest.

Back to work....

Todd


Todd, I think that was a _medium_ root beer streaker, with a 7/10 streakiness rating.

I am ready to believe you about no navy 101. Are you saying no A101, or neither the A nor the CA?
The closest I've ever come (in lots of looking) is an oddly discolored light blue pen that was much darker than usual, but still not navy.

Regards, greg
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#11 ZeissIkon

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 01:30

Okay...so I'm finally, at long last ready to do something about getting my old Estie friends back into working order again. I know that I will need ink sacs (size 16 is what Brian said I'll need) and at least one J-bar (the one in my brown icicle is in 2 pieces). I have never managed to get my yellow purse pen opened so I don't know the condition of its J-bar or ink sac but I'm reasonably sure that it will need at least a new ink sac. What else do I need besides the parts? I've read somewhere that I'll need shellac, talc and I can't remember what all else. Do instructions (and I do mean DETAILED instructions!) come with these items that will tell me how to keep from messing up my pens? Now...where do I purchase all of the parts and assorted other items that I'm going to need? Hopefully there is a really great source with exceedingly reasonable prices...I hope!!


No, there are no instructions with the parts, but there are very good instructions around on the net (though I've forgotten where they are -- I'm one of those people who reads the instructions a couple times, in a couple different versions, and then never needs to see them again unless something really odd crops up). Let's see -- #16 sacs, check; short J-bar(s), check (something to grind/file down the channel edges on the new J-bar would come in really handy,assuming you don't like loose, rattling levers). Shellac, pure talc, and something to heat the barrels with to make cracking less likely when removing sections (or when reinserting a tight one). You might want a knitting needle or something similar to fish out sac bits, and you may also want a pair of hemostats for removing J-bars if you want to rub the rust off the ones that aren't broken (recommended -- fine steel wool works a treat). You'll need a pair of sharp scissors to trim the sac(s) to length (1 15/16", as I recall, or you can just size to fit -- the detailed instructions cover that, when you find them).

Tryphon should have everything you need -- I'm certain they have sacs, J-bars, shellac, talc, and hemostats, and the whole lot ought to fit in a middle sized padded envelope, so shipping shouldn't be bad.
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#12 Enai

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 01:34

Richard Binder has an article on how to replace an ink sac:

http://richardspens....replacement.htm
I keep coming back to my Esterbrooks.

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#13 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 03:24

Todd, I think that was a _medium_ root beer streaker, with a 7/10 streakiness rating.

Regards, greg


"A Medium Root Beer STREAKER"??!!

From GREG?!

Quick. I'm getting lighthead. I need to lie down.

:) (Where are all the emoticons when you REALLY need them!)

Bruce in Ocala, FL

#14 Jack7770

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 15:38

Okay...so I'm finally, at long last ready to do something about getting my old Estie friends back into working order again. I know that I will need ink sacs (size 16 is what Brian said I'll need) and at least one J-bar (the one in my brown icicle is in 2 pieces). I have never managed to get my yellow purse pen opened so I don't know the condition of its J-bar or ink sac but I'm reasonably sure that it will need at least a new ink sac. What else do I need besides the parts? I've read somewhere that I'll need shellac, talc and I can't remember what all else. Do instructions (and I do mean DETAILED instructions!) come with these items that will tell me how to keep from messing up my pens? Now...where do I purchase all of the parts and assorted other items that I'm going to need? Hopefully there is a really great source with exceedingly reasonable prices...I hope!!

My dear LITM, I found a little bag of talc at the local spa and billiards store. A bag about the size of a 2x2 plastic bag cost $4.00 if I remember correctly. The shellac I ordered twelve years ago is in a fingernail polish sized bottle and still half full (and I've resacked at least 250 pens). You can probably get some at a woodworker supply; they might even donate such a small quantity if you bring along a small container. O/w the advice you've gotten is sound. Happy repairs; it does even become an enjoyable accomplishment, not something to fear. Jack

#15 gregamckinney

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 16:19


Todd, I think that was a _medium_ root beer streaker, with a 7/10 streakiness rating.

Regards, greg


"A Medium Root Beer STREAKER"??!!

From GREG?!

Quick. I'm getting lighthead. I need to lie down.

:) (Where are all the emoticons when you REALLY need them!)

Bruce in Ocala, FL


I had assumed that my previously stated feelings about such terminology, and using Todd's joke as a basis for my own would be sufficient, but perhaps I should have thrown in several of these: ;) ;) ;) ;P

greg
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#16 ladyinthemists

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 21:23

Would it be a recommended step to just replace all of my pens' j-bars? Three of them seem to be intact or, at least, not broken as far as I can tell. I have no idea as to how to check to see the status of the existing j-bars. I've tried to shine a little light down inside the barrel but when I try to look in there I go cross-eyed not to mention that I can't seem to make the light shine on whatever it is that I'm supposed to be looking for. The j-bar replacement is probably what I fear doing the most as it seems to be the most delicate repair that I may encounter with my beloved Esties. What sort of tools would I need to manage to accomplish this tiny feat? Where oh where are Alice's "Eat Me" cookies (or was that the "drink me" potion?) to make me small enough to see down inside my pen barrel when I need them?

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#17 gregamckinney

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 22:31

Would it be a recommended step to just replace all of my pens' j-bars? Three of them seem to be intact or, at least, not broken as far as I can tell. I have no idea as to how to check to see the status of the existing j-bars. I've tried to shine a little light down inside the barrel but when I try to look in there I go cross-eyed not to mention that I can't seem to make the light shine on whatever it is that I'm supposed to be looking for. The j-bar replacement is probably what I fear doing the most as it seems to be the most delicate repair that I may encounter with my beloved Esties. What sort of tools would I need to manage to accomplish this tiny feat? Where oh where are Alice's "Eat Me" cookies (or was that the "drink me" potion?) to make me small enough to see down inside my pen barrel when I need them?


No, there is no reason to "proactively" replace j-bars. Unless a j-bar is badly rusted or abused, it is unlikely to fail. Of the nearly 200 (lever filled) Esterbrooks in my collection, and probably another 100 that have passed through my hands, only 1 has required a replacement j-bar.
Further, even if a j-bar were to break, it usually isn't in a way that is going to damage the pen (further) or cover you in ink.
So, replace them if they break, but don't worry about them unless you have to.

Regards, greg
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#18 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 22:46

Would it be a recommended step to just replace all of my pens' j-bars? Three of them seem to be intact or, at least, not broken as far as I can tell. I have no idea as to how to check to see the status of the existing j-bars. I've tried to shine a little light down inside the barrel but when I try to look in there I go cross-eyed not to mention that I can't seem to make the light shine on whatever it is that I'm supposed to be looking for. The j-bar replacement is probably what I fear doing the most as it seems to be the most delicate repair that I may encounter with my beloved Esties. What sort of tools would I need to manage to accomplish this tiny feat? Where oh where are Alice's "Eat Me" cookies (or was that the "drink me" potion?) to make me small enough to see down inside my pen barrel when I need them?


It is my preferance to use the original j-bar if possible. Any rust on them can easily be steel wooled off (I use 00 steel wool). The have the original lever stop detents and don't have to be ground down to work properly like the replacements MAY have to be.

Others may use different implements, but the best one for me is a pair of 5.5" long hemostats. (I have the 7" size and while they will work, they are really too big) This is the cheapeast place I've found to get the Perfect Sized ones. If you have a "head shop" near you, they may also have them as I've been told ;) they are sometimes used as roach clips.

http://www.scissorsa...m/hemostat.html

I use a nuclear powered (2AA) flame throwing Fenix L2T led flashlight, perhaps The Brighest led light in it's size available for the money. Any nice tighter forcused flashlight would be fine though.

With a good light you can see if there is any rust on the j-bar and that's what you want to know most. If it's not rusty, leave it be. You won't have to worry about getting it back into it's proper position and I contend that each time you pull and re-insert one, you take away a bit of the springinicitiness of the j-bar.

For the actual pushing into place of the j-bar (reinserting) I use one of my most favorite (base) "tools", the wooden coffee stirrers from the Race-trac convenience/gas station/stores. Cut the end square with scissors for a precision "pusher" or shave it with a pocket knife to a knife edge for a scraper to get old sac out with. A 3/16" strip from a pop-sicle craft stick would also work if there's no Race-tracs near you.

Bruce in Ocala, FL

#19 ladyinthemists

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 00:03

Thanks again, Bruce. I don't think I'll ever get out of debt to you for all of the excellent information you have given to me. I dug out my old mini-Maglite and adjusted the light to the straightest and most direct small beam and looked down into my pens:
- the blue icicle j-bar looks okay as best I can tell so I may only need to replace the ink sac.
- the brown icicle j-bar is definitely broken in two pieces plus a little cylindrical shaped thingie that looks like a tiny pencil eraser also came out when I open the pen up and let the loose parts slide out onto the table. I will definitely need to replace the j-bar and ink sac but I have no idea what that other little piece is or how to deal with it.
- the yellow pastel is still a mystery to me as I have not been able to get it apart to see what needs to be done with it. I tried to heat it with the hairdryer but still couldn't budge it. How long must I heat it before it loosens up enough to come loose?
- the red marbleized j-bar is easily seen and is in good shape so I'll only need an ink sac for it. Only problem is that, like my yellow pastel, it is so tight that I'm afraid to force it back together.
It would seem to me as if it would not be a good thing for it to be so danged tight that you can't pry the two pieces apart. I would really like to be able to get my pens apart and back together again without having to go through the rigmarole of having to heat them up and so forth. Is there no way to make it easier to open them up whenever necessary?

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#20 ZeissIkon

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 00:12

The little "pencil eraser" thingy is a spacer for length; it would sit against the jewel in the end of the barrel, and serve as a stop when inserting the J-bar; this was part of Esterbrook's thoughtful design that allowed use of the same size sac in all the J family pens (which, in turn, saved money and reduced manufacturing errors, because they could pay less per sac by buying more of one size, and trim them all to the same length, and never, ever have the wrong sac installed on a section because all the sacs were the same). I'm not sure how you'd reinsert it and get it to stay in place; perhaps stick a thin knitting needle into it, put a dab of silicone adhesive on the end, push it into position, then retrieve the needle after allowing 24 hours for the adhesive to cure (though I'd bet there's a better way, involving different or no adhesives and avoiding poking a hole in the J-bar stop). For that matter, since you'll be inserting the J-bar on an individual basis, rather than on an assembly line, the spacer might not even be necessary.
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