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Esterbrook J issues


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8 replies to this topic

#1 inkyfingers

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 20:23

I got a J off ebay recently. Binder's web pages about the Js were helpful in evaluating my purchase. It writes swell but there are two issues:

1 - The cap band is loose and spins on the cap. It's not incredibly loose but it spins freely in my fingers and can make a tiny bit of noise. This is an easy fix for me, but I wonder if this is common with these pens? I'm talking about the band down by the open end of the cap.

2 - The pen rattles inside the barrel when it's full and I jiggle it (not sure if it rattles when empty too). Some smarty pants' might respond saying "then don't jiggle it!" but I wonder if this too is common. Is it the lever assembly that rattles around a bit, or is my sac hardening and is this a sign of repair needed soon?

Thanks!

Edited by inkyfingers, 26 April 2005 - 20:25.

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#2 John

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 20:36

The rattling may be the plastic spacer in the top of the barrel coming loose. It doesn't serve any useful purpose. I believe it was put there to allow a standard sack and J bar to be used in the J, LJ and SJ and was needed in manufacturing.
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#3 KendallJ

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 21:05

I have not seen many loose cap bands on pens that I've restored - in fact, have seen none. Easy fix with some shellack.

Johns comment about the spacer is probably the best bet. Shouldn't affect the performance of the pen, but also relatively easy to fix.

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#4 Brian Anderson

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 00:34

Sounds like it'd be worth the effort to fix this guy up. Your rattle could be a spacer, although from those I've seen they're usually a pretty tight fit. It's also possible it could be part of your pressure bar has broken. Since you'll need to take it apart, you might as well put in a new sac too. Then you'll know you're in good shape for a while.

As for the spacer purpose, from what I've heard, it's to allow for fuller compression of the sac and to also act as an insulator. I'd use a size 16 in ANY J, LJ, or SJ, regardless of spacer.

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#5 Gerry

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 00:36

I would tend to agree with the other responses you have received. I have plenty of Esterbrooks, although not all J's and have only seen 1 other loose cap ring, and no rattles. I would not classify either problem as common, but on the other hand, they are not unheard of. Take a very practical approach to it in either case - employ the most direct and appropriate fix, and forget it. For the band, that would be Shellac or CA glue applied carefully.

To check out the barrel noise, I'd recommend dissassembly - fairly easy for the Estie, just to check it all out inside. The sac could be replaced, and if necessary, the J bar and plastic removed to see if there's anything loose in the barrel besides those parts. A little silicone lube on the lever and J-bar, a little talcum on the new sac, and you've completed a major Estie overhaul, and given it probably another 15 years before it will need looking at again.

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#6 Maja

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 00:40

I've had several loose cap rings on pens, but I think they were all celluloid pens.
The problem was easily solved by the application of a small amount of shellac.

Esterbrook J/LJ/SJs are fun pens to use and one of the simpler vintage fountain pens
to fix, owing to their durable yet simplistic design. Good luck, inkyfingers!
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#7 Gerry

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 00:43

Looks like we were both composing at the same time Brian. :)

I was thinking of the J-bar too, but neglected to mention it.

The only issue remaining is that I think that you and John may be thinking of two different spacers. You are right about the one that supports the sac and insulates it - it appears as a crescent or half circle when viewed end on in the barrel. I have ocasionally come across another one at the end of the barrel which I think John meant - It appeared to be designed to keep people from pushing the J-bar too far into the barrel, since they were sized to also fit the SJ I think.

Cheers

Gerry

#8 Brian Anderson

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 00:52

The only issue remaining is that I think that you and John may be thinking of two different spacers.  You are right about the one that supports the sac and insulates it - it appears as a crescent or half circle when viewed end on in the barrel.  I have ocasionally come across another one at the end of the barrel which I think John meant - It appeared to be designed to keep people from  pushing the J-bar too far into the barrel, since they were sized to also fit the SJ I think.

Aaah, yes, I forgot about THAT spacer, sort of looks like a pencil eraser. You are correct that it keeps the J bar from going too far back.

The more you learn, the more you forget I guess. :)

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Brian
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#9 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 00:57

The rubber spacer in the end of the J and LJ barrel is there because these pens use the same J bar and ink sac as the shorter J and this keeps everyting in it's proper place and makes sure the tab on the J bar sits in the right place to stop the lever from moving past 90 degrees when the pen is being flushed or filled. The other spacer that sits in the barrel keeps the ink sac lined up in the larger J barrel and adds a little insulation.

The rattle could be the result of a slightly loose lever bar and disassembling the pen and checking all the internals would be a good first step in determining the problem. The J bar could be showing some wear in a loss of springiness or have become mishapen which could be causing the lever to rattle a little because it isn't being pushed back completely.

Replacing the rubber spacer isn't any harder than finding a readily available erasor stick and cutting a section to the proper size.
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