Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies






Photo

How to replace an Esterbrook Sac


  • Please log in to reply
158 replies to this topic

#1 Chiro75

Chiro75

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 662 posts

Posted 16 March 2011 - 20:40

I had some time to kill today and four pens to re-sac, so I decided to break out the camera and make a step-by-step tutorial of it. Maybe this can be incorporated as a sticky? DISCLAIMER: I am an amateur. I am not a professional. Repair your own pens at your own risk! It is easy to break something if you're not careful, so heed this warning!!!!

Materials:
- Pen
- Blow dryer or hot water
- Hands + fingers (preferably at least six distributed evenly across both hands)
- Scraper/pick/thin, long tool
- Pen shellac ("orange" shellac, available at pen repair suppliers). A little goes a LONG way, so opt for a small bottle.
- #16 latex pen sacs. You will trim them to length.
- Talc powder (pure talc), not talcum powder, etc.
- Scissors or a cutting tool

Step 1: Obtain a pen
Posted Image
This is a nice Esterbrook J with a Bell System Property imprint.

Step 2: Heat the pen
Posted Image
GENTLY heat the threaded area and section of the pen to cause a little expansion of the plastic. This will make pulling the section easier and will help avoid cracking the barrel where the threads are.

Step 3: Open the pen up by pulling the section
Posted Image
This is hard to photograph, so this is NOT the handhold I use for this maneuver. KEEP A NIB INSTALLED IN THE SECTION. If you do this without a nib, you greatly increase the risk of crushing the section. I use three fingers to get a good hold all around the section, and I use 3 fingers to surround the threads of the barrel, the I pull and twist maybe 15°. Go slow and be careful. Don't be tempted to "rock" the section out as the lateral stress can crack the threads. You may need to re-heat several times during this operation. Try to isolate your pulling to straight distraction and twisting, no rocking.

Step 4: Stay organized and protect your pen parts
Posted Image
Everyone has their own system. I like plastic baggies because I have them, they take up no space, and they're cheap. If you're only working on one pen, it's not such a big deal, but if you are doing more than one pen at a time, use one baggie for each pen's parts. Also, the baggies help keep barrels and caps from rolling off the table and breaking.

Step 5: Get your bearings
Posted Image
Here is a pen with the section removed (man, it was in there TIGHT!) and you can see the old, desiccated, fossilized pen sac crusted onto the section's nipple. We're going to remove that. The rest of the sac will be down in the barrel...
Posted Image

Posted Image

Step 6: Clean up your parts
Posted Image
If you're lucky, a few shakes will cause the sac to fall out in one piece. This is a good thing. If it doesn't, GENTLY go excavating with that metal tool and dig the sac remnants out.

Posted Image
Also use the metal tool to GENTLY scrape the old crusty sac away from the nipple. It is held on with shellac, so it will be kind of sticky, or maybe rock hard. Just work slowly and get the nipple nice and clean.
Posted Image

Step 7: Install a new sac
Posted Image
You need a #16 pen sac, made of latex.

Posted Image
The rule of thumb for lever-filler pens is that the sac not extend past the end of the lever when everything is reinstalled. So, line the parts up like so and you'll have an idea of where to trim the sac with your scissors.

Posted Image
You'll need orange shellac for the reinstall.

Posted Image
Put a light coating around the outside of the section's nipple. Be careful not to paint the part of the section where it friction fits into the barrel or it could cause problems upon reinstallation.

Posted Image
Reinstall the new trimmed sac. You can buy sac spreaders to help with this if your dexterity if off or if you don't have the hands for this. I put the sac at about 45° to the nipple and push it on with a twist, which gets shellac on the inside of the sac, lubing it up and letting it slip on easily. Sounds sketchy, but trust me.

Posted Image
Make sure the new sac is orthogonal to the section (in line with it). You don't want a sac that veers off in one direction or another.

Step 8: Celebrate!
Posted Image
Let the shellac dry. Suppliers say wait 24 hours, but no one is that patient. Wait a while before the rest of this...

Step 9: Dust the sac with talc
Posted Image
No, that isn't 100% pure Colombian blow. It's talc, and it's enough to run a full-time pen shop with 20 workers for the next 1000 years! :ltcapd: You need pure talc, not talcum powder or that sort of thing. Talc. Powder. Pure. Why? It lubricates the sac and protects it from damage from the j-bar that squeezes it for filling. Keep the talc out of the inside of the section.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Step 10: Put the pen back together again
Posted Image
Most Esterheads are really anal about how the nib lines up with the lever. I tend to like the top of the nib to line up with the lever side of the barrel, so I take this into account when I put the pen back together. I do not heat the section or barrel again for reinstall, which is much easier than pulling the section. But, again, be mindful that your force is directed in line with the long axis of the barrel or you could crack the barrel if you get going too crazy. Again, keep a nib in the section, just in case.

Step 11: Enjoy!
Posted Image
How did that black Bell System Property J turn into a putty-colored purse pen?! What the hell?! :ltcapd:

Now, on some pens from the wild you may find an old sac that seems to work perfectly well. Different people say different things. I've kept a few in use and I've replaced a few to be on the safe side. Here is an original OEM Esterbrook sac that feels great and fills with no problem!
Posted Image

But, further inspection makes me feel a little more cautious, as half of it around the nipple seems really thin and like a potential breaking point:
Posted Image

Anyway, there you go. There are some different things to consider for different pens (i.e. some Dollar Pens take #18 sacs, etc), but this tutorial gives you the gist of things. I hope you get a lot out of it!
Steve. Just plain ol' Steve.

Sponsored Content

#2 kathleen

kathleen

    Simple Things Matter Most

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,434 posts
  • Location:Kentucky USA

Posted 16 March 2011 - 20:57

WONDERFUL, I would love to have seen this step by step when I was restoring my first Estie! Really explained clearly with the captioned photos. I want to see all the wonderful pens of Esterbrook restored and returned to their purpose. This tutorial will, no doubt, convince some that pen restoration is not beyond their abilities, especially the lever fillers.

If there is ever a COMPLETE PEN REPAIR GUIDE published, these are the pages needed in the Lever Fillers: Sac Replacement chapter. Posted Image
"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars" ~Henry Van Dyke

Trying to rescue and restore all the beautiful Esties to their purpose.

#3 Chiro75

Chiro75

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 662 posts

Posted 16 March 2011 - 21:14

Thanks, Kathleen! The info is certainly "out there" in bits and pieces, but like you, I have had to put it together on my own, too. I hope this makes things a lot easier for someone else. As long as you're being careful and you know little things like how long to make the replacement sac, it's really an easy and enjoyable task (until it goes wrong!).
Steve. Just plain ol' Steve.

#4 devaldez

devaldez

    Unwashed mass

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 215 posts
  • Location:Finally back home in OR :-)
  • Flag:

Posted 16 March 2011 - 21:18

Fantastic write-up! Wish I'd had it BEFORE I screwed up my beloved copper with hot water. :( Not even simichrome is touching the oxidation...

#5 Chiro75

Chiro75

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 662 posts

Posted 16 March 2011 - 21:19

What oxidized?
Steve. Just plain ol' Steve.

#6 Sketchy

Sketchy

    Clearly untitled

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 236 posts
  • Location:Living on the Far Side

Posted 16 March 2011 - 21:35

Thank you Chiro75, this will be most helpful.
Fred

#7 inkspot

inkspot

    Audiophile

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,737 posts

Posted 16 March 2011 - 23:32

Wonderful! This will certainly come in handy when I try my own sac replacement!

#8 kathleen

kathleen

    Simple Things Matter Most

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,434 posts
  • Location:Kentucky USA

Posted 16 March 2011 - 23:34

When I am at Step 2. , what I consider to be the most critical moment in the sac replacement procedure, before I warm the section/barrel joint with a hair dryer I wrap a rubber band around the section, as pictured here. I have found this rubberband trick greatly enhances my ability to maintain a good grip on the section as I pull to achieve separation of the section and the barrel to expose the sac. Warming and pulling may need to be repeated several times before separation is achieved. Patience is imperative! Too much force may cause damage, to pen parts! At step 2. I am always saying a little prayer that I won't hear a crack. Posted Image

Edited by kathleen, 17 March 2011 - 04:34.

"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars" ~Henry Van Dyke

Trying to rescue and restore all the beautiful Esties to their purpose.

#9 dduggin

dduggin

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 68 posts
  • Location:Chester, Arkansas
  • Flag:

Posted 17 March 2011 - 01:59

Thank you very much for this reference. It'll come in handy for me here in a couple of days!
"Hey, I'm the Doctor, I can save the universe using a kettle and some string. And look at me, I'm wearing a vegetable."- The Doctor

#10 ArnimFritsch

ArnimFritsch

    Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 118 posts

Posted 17 March 2011 - 02:14

Excellent tutorial. This really should be pinned.

#11 devaldez

devaldez

    Unwashed mass

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 215 posts
  • Location:Finally back home in OR :-)
  • Flag:

Posted 17 March 2011 - 02:54

What oxidized?

I have an inconsistent milky haze on the barrel. I've tried simichrome per recommendations here, but to no avail. :( I'm seriously considering offering the pen to someone who can restore it and who will treat it better than I did.

#12 ClassicHippie

ClassicHippie

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 405 posts
  • Location:Newport Beach, Cali
  • Flag:

Posted 17 March 2011 - 03:25

Thank you so much for doing this tutorial :thumbup:

#13 Chiro75

Chiro75

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 662 posts

Posted 17 March 2011 - 03:34

Huh, weird. If I were you, I would take a toothbrush and toothpaste to it. I've done this to a couple pens using a medium brush and it's a surprisingly aggressive (but not like sandpaper) treatment, but it does wonders to take the little scratches out and even the finish up, prepping it for a good polish after with Simichrome. Give it a shot. Can't be any worse than it is now. I can't imagine water "oxidizing" anything in plastic. Maybe your water is really heavy and left a mineral/lime scum behind or something?
Steve. Just plain ol' Steve.

#14 tmenyc

tmenyc

    Tim

  • FPN Supporter - Rhodium

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,090 posts
  • Location:Manhattan

Posted 17 March 2011 - 12:06

Chiro, thanks! Very well done.

Tim

Current Rotation:

home: MontBlanc 149/Diamine Twilight; 

case: Stiliridio/Aurora Blue/Black; Stephens 106/Aurora Black

office: Varuna Vishal/(vint) Sheaffer Blue; Delta Fusion 82, also (vnt) Sheaffer blue
pocket: TWSB Vac Mini/Diamine Royal Blue
 

see my Pens for Sale and my collection at timsvintagepens.com  


#15 777

777

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,021 posts
  • Location:Big Sandy, Tennessee
  • Flag:

Posted 18 March 2011 - 19:52

Chiro75, very well done! This will help many people who are deciding whether or not to take the plunge and re-sac there first estie. I wish I'd had these instructions when I first started, they're very detailed and helpful. Posted Image

Thanks,
777

Edited by 777, 18 March 2011 - 19:52.

Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.


Posted Image


Colossians 3:17 - And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.


#16 raigne

raigne

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 305 posts
  • Location:Rochester, NY
  • Flag:

Posted 26 March 2011 - 16:08

I just finished my first resac using this guide. I got a pretty little grey SJ off of ebay last weekend, for the nib that was on it, and figured I would put in an order with Pendemonium for some supplies and use it as a Guinea pig.

I do wonder though, when you say leave it alone for awhile, how long is awhile? An hour or two? five or six? I think I lasted two. :x Haven't filled it yet.

Also had a moment of fear when I heard a crack. Must have been the hardened sac cracking off at the edge of the nipple because there's nothing wrong with the section. That part took me about 20 minutes and a couple dips for the section end in an ultrasonic cleaner. The rest was almost anticlimactic. :P

#17 Frank_Federalist_Pens

Frank_Federalist_Pens

    "Federalist Frank".....(Was "FrankieX" here)

  • FPN Supporter - Platinum

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,676 posts
  • Location:South Jersey (Near Philly, PA)

Posted 26 March 2011 - 21:19

Well done! Great pics to support this good tutorial!

Frank :)

"When, in the course of writing events, in becomes self-evident that not all pens are created equal"  (Federalist Frank)

 

Federalist Pens and Paper  (Online Pen Store)

 

facelogo.png

Use Forum Code "FPN" at Checkout to Receive an Additional 5% Discount!

 
 

 


#18 Gallant

Gallant

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPip
  • 21 posts
  • Location:Bavaria

Posted 09 April 2011 - 18:25

Nice tutorial, it motivated me to tackle an Esterbrook, that has been in the drawer for some time.

Just a small problem: while trying to remove the stone hard old sac I pulled more out of the barrel than I expected: a metal flat spring made from two parts, one with a bend end and a clear half tubular piece of plastic.

Is it possible to put that back in the pen and if so, how? Thank you in advance for any help.

Attached Images

  • IMG00013-20110409-2016.jpg


#19 freddy77

freddy77

    Near Mint

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPipPip
  • 26 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 09 April 2011 - 19:55

I have really fallen in love with Esties but have only purchased restored or working ones and have wondered whether or not I could replace a sac. Your tutorial makes me want to take the plunge and get a "fixer-upper" and give it a go so thanks for a really easy to understand tutorial.
freddy77

#20 Chiro75

Chiro75

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 662 posts

Posted 09 April 2011 - 21:07

Gallant, no problem. How did you pull all that stuff out, though?! Push the j-bar back in first (with the long side on the lever-side of the barrel, so the lever will push it to compress the sac for filling), then the sac tray next. The sac tray goes in the barrel opposite the long side of the j-bar. I hope that makes sense. YOu can find schematics or cutaways on this forum if you search.
Steve. Just plain ol' Steve.






Sponsored Content




|