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How to replace an Esterbrook Sac


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#41 Bill C

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 17:13

Thank you sir! Something clicked in my brain after seeing this and I had to give it a go.

Can anyone give me a lead on some pure talc? I've got a #16 sac and some shellac in my cart over at Pendemonium but it appears they do not sell, or may be out of talc.

I won a Ebay Auction for an Esterbrook "double jewel" LJ I think it is, definatley not a J, could be an SJ and want to give replacing the sac a go. Thanks!

Edited by Bill C, 12 December 2011 - 19:44.


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#42 subbes

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 17:25

Just off the top of my head - paperskater in the classifieds is selling small vials of talc for $3 each (under "Pen Parts & Tools"). I thought R Binder sold talc too, but I can't find it on his site. Hm.

ETA: You can get talc at Indy-Pen-Dance (they have a 12% off thing going on for the rest of December, check the Market Watch forum for details) under Pen Parts.


(I KNOW THERE ARE OTHER PLACES - I REMEMBER SEEING THEM - BUT I CANNOT REMEMBER THE URLS.)

Edited by subbes, 12 December 2011 - 17:31.

"Perdita thought, to take an example at random, that things like table manners were a stupid and repressive idea. Agnes, on the other hand, was against being hit by flying bits of other people's cabbage." (Pratchett, T. Carpe Jugulum.)

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#43 Bill C

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 17:28

Just off the top of my head - paperskater in the classifieds is selling small vials of talc for $3 each (under "Pen Parts & Tools"). I thought R Binder sold talc too, but I can't find it on his site. Hm.


Thank you kindly.

#44 manoli

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:53

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
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This is a nice Esterbrook J with a Bell System Property imprint.

Step 2: Heat the pen
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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
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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
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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
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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...
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Step 6: Clean up your parts
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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.

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

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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.

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You'll need orange shellac for the reinstall.

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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.

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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.

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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!
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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
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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.

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Step 10: Put the pen back together again
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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!
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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!
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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:
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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!



I have to commend you on this tutorial on Esties. It was very well done. I do have a question regarding the sac size in the tutorial as it seems alot of it was cut off for this demo. It seems that a smaller sac could have been used, although all the data I have seen so far, says that all Esties use the #16 straight sac. Could a smaller one have been used? thanks Manoli

#45 thefenlander

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 12:03

Just wanted to say thanks for this tutorial, I picked up an old Estie off Ebay and with this was able to successfully replace the sac. It has a 9450 nib and writes beautifully, I think I may have caught the bug...
Rotring core, Pelikan Pelikano School, Ohto tasche, Parker frontier, Duke carbon fibre, Hero 3266, Duke 962, Baoer 508, Parker 25, Parker Arrow

#46 kcoen52

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 06:50

As previously stated this thread will be unbelievably useful for many new to car repair (including me), and it should most definitely be pinned!

-Kyle

Edited by kcoen52, 22 January 2012 - 06:54.

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#47 PhilMilazzo

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:22

Thanks to this tutorial, I have soaked and disassembled my first vintage Estie without complication or mishap, this evening. The sac was cracked and leathery as expected but it remains firmly attached in one piece to the section. Removing the sac and then cleaning the nipple will be a simple operation.

I cannot anticipate having the pen in business until next week, for I have yet to acquire any sacs, shellac or talc. I will see to that detail immediately, before any more of these sturdy instruments show up at my desk. Thank you everyone.
"Do what you can, where you are, with what you have." Theodore Roosevelt

#48 Eduardo

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 21:22

My "J" starts to no-fill... I think that I have a punctured sac, but when I dismantle the pen, I saw a FLAT sac, i.e., it remains in squeezed shape no matters the lever is pulled or not.

I made an hydrostatic test and the sac isn't punctured or slotted. Are there a kind of "renewal" bath to re-flex the rubber or a sac change is the best deal??
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#49 zepharia2

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 21:40

I don't know any "renewal" bath, but for the couple of dollars the sac's cost, i think you would be better off replacing it. That way you know the problem is fixed.

#50 Eduardo

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 13:45

See next post please...

Edited by Eduardo, 15 March 2012 - 13:48.

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#51 Eduardo

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 13:46

I made a "new tool" to help the re-sac service... I've used a non-blowed PET bottle to store an amount of talc. I have two caps. One to close the tube, the other with a 9 mm dia. hole where I insert the nib section with the new sac already installed.

The next step is remove the closing cap and thread the cap+nib section. Let's shake and apply talc to the new sac...


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Look at my horse, my horse is amazing!!!

#52 subbes

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 13:58

Ooo! That is fancy.

"Perdita thought, to take an example at random, that things like table manners were a stupid and repressive idea. Agnes, on the other hand, was against being hit by flying bits of other people's cabbage." (Pratchett, T. Carpe Jugulum.)

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#53 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 23:29

I wanted to tell Chiro what a nice job he did on this. Well done. :clap1:

I actually only have a couple minor comments.

When using the hair dryer, try to aim the heat as close to the end of the barrel where the threads are as possible. IF you get it warm enough down near where the lever is, you could cause a barrel bulge. Just aim for the end and you'll be fine.

My section removal secret is a piece of bicycle inner tube about 3" x 2" that I lightly wrap around the whole section and nib. Getting the edge of the tube even with the end of the section. Then I warm it. The inner tube keeps the heat off the section and but allows the barrel to slightly expand from the heat. The section NOT getting heated as much keeps it closer to it's normal size and things come apart easier and quicker. The inner tube also gives a nice grip area. I just roll it around the section and hold it there.

I say just a hair heavy in the pics on the talc. I flick the end of the sac when done to get the real EXcess off.

Good Job Chiro!

Bruce in Ocala, FL

#54 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 23:29

I wanted to tell Chiro what a nice job he did on this. Well done. :clap1:

I actually only have a couple minor comments.

When using the hair dryer, try to aim the heat as close to the end of the barrel where the threads are as possible. IF you get it warm enough down near where the lever is, you could cause a barrel bulge. Just aim for the end and you'll be fine.

My section removal secret is a piece of bicycle inner tube about 3" x 2" that I lightly wrap around the whole section and nib. Getting the edge of the tube even with the end of the section. Then I warm it. The inner tube keeps the heat off the section and but allows the barrel to slightly expand from the heat. The section NOT getting heated as much keeps it closer to it's normal size and things come apart easier and quicker. The inner tube also gives a nice grip area. I just roll it around the section and hold it there.

I say just a hair heavy in the pics on the talc. I flick the end of the sac when done to get the real EXcess off.

Good Job Chiro!

Bruce in Ocala, FL

#55 JosephJames

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 00:47

I wanted to say thanks for this thread. Sacs for my two Esterbrook J pens came in today. I used the knowledge here to replace the sacs and they are working great!

One is a greenish tint...my wife wanted that one. Nib is listed as clerical/bookeeping (1550) and it writes like a dream. It is the shorter model (4.75"). The other one is blue (5")...supposed to be mine. It has a clerical style nib(2550), too, but it is like writing with a needle. If I make my writing very, very small it works. Otherwise, not enough flow. I love the blue color of the pen and would love to use it but not with the nib it now has. I am not up on Esterbrook dating very well, but both pens have the jewel on each end.

#56 Chiro75

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 21:23

Glad people are still getting use out this! Thanks for all the comments!

I like the bottle preform idea. Where do pick those up?
Steve. Just plain ol' Steve.

#57 rizo52

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 04:02

I just began collecting Esterbrooks and found that one needed a replacement sac. I looked in this forum and found all that I needed thanks to you. You did a great job of detailing the entire process for anyone to follow.

Thanks!

#58 Mags

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:54

I will be looking this over for an Eversharp repair. Many thanks for all the details and pictures. I am not sure where to buy talc powder locally nor orange shelac. Is this the sort of thing to be found at Home Hardware or an auto supply store or is this only something a specialty, specialt, store carries???
Bob Maguire (Plse call me "M or Mags" like my friends do...)
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#59 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:58

On your side of the fence, http://www.woodbin.ca on our side, Anderson pens or Pendemonium.

Bruce in Ocala, FL

#60 JRW711

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 05:27

Being new to this area, I truly appreciate your methodical description of restoring your Esterbrook pen. I have a couple plus of these pens, including a black dollar one. These are truly fine fountain pens. I am not sure if my black dollar one needs to have the sac replaced, but I suspect it does given I am unable to raise the lever but just a small degree as opposed to the full range one has to fill the sac. Thank you again. Jon






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