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Good, Cheap Repair Starter Kit: Any Recces?

repair kit recommendations online international

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12 replies to this topic

#1 Plume145

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 04:06

Hi everyone! This summer as I was decluttering my grandparents' home I found an old pen - looks like it might be a frankenpen. It makes a perfect repair guinea pig for me, because the barrel is pretty enough to act as incentive, yet the pen has no sentimental value (and apparently no monetary value either) so if I mess up there's no tears or gnashing of teeth :P 

 

The only sticking point now is getting the supplies. I would much prefer an inclusive kit rather than collecting everything over time, because every time I've approached a new activity that way, I have invariably ended up overspending and getting more stuff than I really need because of how everyone seems to have their own favorites that they swear by and I can't sort out the absolute necessities from the personal favorites. I've found that going with a starter kit cuts through that. The other problem is price, particularly shipping. I'm in Greece, so it can add up!

 

The ideal kit for me is inclusive, but not overwhelming, and should cost under $100 including s&h. And if it only includes tools and multiple use supplies (eg talc, polish) but no parts (like sacs), then it should be a lot less than $100 since I'd have to buy those things extra ;)

 

So far I have found exactly one place (the first kit probably, the second includes 'Da Book' which is probably a bit more information than I could absorb this early on). If you have experience with them, I would love to hear from you. But if you use somebody else, please let me know! I am just sort of feeling my way around right now so I'll happily take recommendations :)

 

Thanks in advance!!

 

 

 


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


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#2 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 15:58

Get the first kit but ask them to please substitute the 20x loupe for the 40x one.

 

Forget Da Book, get the newer Oldfield book. More expensive but worth it.

 

The quoted individual retail prices in the kits are within reason.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl



#3 Plume145

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 18:46

the first kit is the one that has the stronger loupe, actually! I didn't realize I needed something this strong! I have one that's x15 and illuminated, and it's the self-standing style as well. I thought that was enough! Just goes to show how much I know, right :P

 

The book you suggested does seem better than Da Book, but OMG - the price is way off my budget. I'm basically working on a student budget here (not currently a student, but budget-wise I might as well be). If I can't get this, should I just forget about doing my own repairs? Or if there enough material online that I can get a start, then get the book later if I know I'm doing a lot of repair work and can justify the cost?

 

Thanks! And if anyone wants to add anything, by all means wade in :)


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


#4 Kelly G

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 20:16

While Oldfield's book is far superior to Da Book, Da Book will do for starters as long as you don't follow a few of Frank's suggestions.  In particular, don't use open flame on a fountain pen - it can be done, but you run a high risk of torching the pen.  After you have a lot of experience, you can get away with open flame, but there is no need with adjustable heat guns being available.  Also (and I'm working from memory here) don't use clear finger nail polish to attach sacs - only use shellac.  Personally, I don't think finger nail polish has any place in pen restoration.   There may be some other outdated methods in Da Book, but they evade my memory.  Other than that, it contains some good advice on pen restoration.  It is not the best source, but back in the day, when Frank was publishing them himself, it was the "go to" manual.

 

My best suggestion is to read all you can on this site, Richard's site, and any other site you can find on the finer points of pen restoration.  The pen you have will polish up to be a great looking pen - while Wearever's were certainly not top tier, they used some neat looking plastic.

 

Good Luck with your pen.


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#5 redbike

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 21:17

the first kit is the one that has the stronger loupe, actually! I didn't realize I needed something this strong! I have one that's x15 and illuminated, and it's the self-standing style as well. I thought that was enough! Just goes to show how much I know, right :P

 

The book you suggested does seem better than Da Book, but OMG - the price is way off my budget. I'm basically working on a student budget here (not currently a student, but budget-wise I might as well be). If I can't get this, should I just forget about doing my own repairs? Or if there enough material online that I can get a start, then get the book later if I know I'm doing a lot of repair work and can justify the cost?

 

Thanks! And if anyone wants to add anything, by all means wade in :)

There's lots on-line. Check out the Reference section of richardspens.com It has very good info on restoring lever and button fillers, Touchdowns and Snorkels. You'll also find recommendations on tools and supplies. Good luck.



#6 Plume145

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 21:29

Thanks! I did think there was so much online, and I don't feel like investing in a book yet - any book. I think it's too early and I have no idea how into this I'm likely to be, so I don't know if I could justify it since the supplies are a must anyway; it's not a matter of getting the book so you don't have to get the supply kit because the book shows you how to do things using regular household items, or anything like that. You know?

 

I think I'll get this kit then! Thanks for the help everyone, and if anybody has anything to add, go ahead! I'm listening :)


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


#7 FarmBoy

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 22:02

Pen repair isn't a low cost adventure if you include the cost of professional/dedicated tools.   I can't imagine getting by with just $100 inculding shipping in tools.

 

Farmboy


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#8 Plume145

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 23:40

I don't want, and probably don't need, 'professional' tools. Just starter ones. If I like it and find myself doing it often and on many different types of pens, then sure, I'll get the professional tools. But it's no use buying an industrial sewing machine if you barely know how to sew a button - and have no idea whether you even like to. So you get a $150 Singer and start stitching...you can always buy the beast later on if you find yourself sewing like a fiend :P


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


#9 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 00:35

Pen repair isn't a low cost adventure if you include the cost of professional/dedicated tools.   I can't imagine getting by with just $100 inculding shipping in tools.

 

Farmboy

 

And you are far from any beginning pen repair person.

 

Everyone has to start somewhere.

 

The kicker here is the OP living in Greece. That 1st kit IS probably the cheaper way for him to get all those items and again, I didn't see their suggested individual prices to be exaggerated for any great deal effect.  For MANY pens there is sufficient information available on repairs on-line that makes a book Right Away not so necessary in my mind. In a perfect world, IMO, one would compare Da Book with the newer Oldfield book and adjust the procedure accordingly.

 

I WOULD seriously ask them to swap the loupe though, 40x is overkill and has too narrow of a field of view. 20x is much better.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl



#10 Hooker56

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 03:40

A word of Caution Plume:

 

You will repair this one, then want another...

 

and another...

 

Etc. 

 

Before you know it you'll find yourself looking for pens in NEED of repair!  :D

 

Good Luck!

 

Clayton


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#11 Plume145

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 02:46

 

And you are far from any beginning pen repair person.

 

Everyone has to start somewhere.

 

The kicker here is the OP living in Greece. That 1st kit IS probably the cheaper way for him to get all those items and again, I didn't see their suggested individual prices to be exaggerated for any great deal effect.  For MANY pens there is sufficient information available on repairs on-line that makes a book Right Away not so necessary in my mind. In a perfect world, IMO, one would compare Da Book with the newer Oldfield book and adjust the procedure accordingly.

 

I WOULD seriously ask them to swap the loupe though, 40x is overkill and has too narrow of a field of view. 20x is much better.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

Yep, you hit the nail on the head! The s&h really drives up the cost all around, but getting things locally is tough too: a kit is out of the question, so I would need to hunt all the items down one by one. This could take days of running around town, plus lots of time before to locate all the suppliers and then check here that I got the right kind of sac cement/talc/clamp/whatever :P

 

If I was doing this as a hobby, for its own sake, I wouldn't mind so much, maybe I'd even enjoy it, but for me repairing pens is a means to an end: being able to use vintage pens. I would like to branch out to vintage pens because of all the wonderful variations in nibs and features (eg double-ended pens!), but I can't afford the ones that are already repaired, and neither can I afford to have them repaired after purchase (just the shipping both ways would cost a good $60). I'm a low-budget pen buyer and I've been using FPs for over twenty years, so by now there isn't much left for me to discover when it comes to (modern) budget pens. The only place to go from here is vintage pens, and the only way I can currently see to afford those is if I fix them myself. 

 

About that loupe though, I do see what you mean about x40 being overkill! If x20 is enough, do you think maybe the x15 one I already own might work too? It's illuminated with two super-bright leds and it's an easy-to-use, hands-free table-top style - which I feel more confident using than the eyeglass style in the kit (I already wear vision corrective glasses so this could end up being kinda complicated :P). Plus, if iI don't need a loupe I can ask them to leave it out altogether and maybe put the money towards the j-bar(s) I will need too!

 

Finally, just a small correction :) This part: 

 

 the cheaper way for him to get all those items [emphasis mine]

should be 'her' :)

 

 

 

 

A word of Caution Plume:

 

You will repair this one, then want another...

 

and another...

 

Etc. 

 

Before you know it you'll find yourself looking for pens in NEED of repair!  :D

 

Good Luck!

 

Clayton

Haha, yeah, I've heard that before :P But seriously, the draw for me right now is just to be able to use the pens. If I knew someone locally who could repair pens for, say, thirty bucks with a modicum of reliability and professionalism, I wouldn't bother with the DIY route at all. When it comes to pens I'm a user first, not a tinkerer :)


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


#12 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 16:41

I think the 15x will be fine. It's actually the power I'd recommend first. ESPECIALLY since you are already comfortable using it.

 

Keep this in mind on international shipping. Just go with the cheaper, uninsured, not tracked shipping. 99% of the time it'll get there just fine.

 

I contend the higher priced shipping is questionable in value anyway. The tracking only works within the country it's mailed from. If the item is lost, I contend it's most likely each country will say the other one's PO did the losing. 

 

I've sent and had sent numerous items with the basic overseas shipping, it's all arrived safely.

 

There ARE Some countries that concern me about packages evaporating like Italy. Greece isn't one of those.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl



#13 Plume145

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 23:04

I think the 15x will be fine. It's actually the power I'd recommend first. ESPECIALLY since you are already comfortable using it.

 

Keep this in mind on international shipping. Just go with the cheaper, uninsured, not tracked shipping. 99% of the time it'll get there just fine.

 

I contend the higher priced shipping is questionable in value anyway. The tracking only works within the country it's mailed from. If the item is lost, I contend it's most likely each country will say the other one's PO did the losing. 

 

I've sent and had sent numerous items with the basic overseas shipping, it's all arrived safely.

 

There ARE Some countries that concern me about packages evaporating like Italy. Greece isn't one of those.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

Yep, agree with you on using the cheaper, uninsured shipping! That's usually what I go for, but some sellers are completely adamant about only shipping (say) Priority. 

 

In this case, I'm afraid he probably IS using Int'l First Class - just from eyeballing the contents :-/ I mean, I'm just looking at the single-parcel rates, but to be honest I doubt a small-scale shop like that would have enough volume to negotiate lower prices, right?

 

About the loupe: good to know! Yes, I'm used to the one I have, I think I could work with it. I already use it mostly to check for things like whether there's gunk between the feed and nib, or whether there's a hair caught between the tines, that sort of thing. It seems to work fine. 

 

Thanks all! I will get the kit soon and when it's here, I'll be baaack! *cue scary music*


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 






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