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My Celluloid 149 Journey

silver rings celluloid 149 refurbish

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80 replies to this topic

#21 soapytwist

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 10:24

As one of the select bunch with a celluloid 149, whichever of the three you send it to will be fine. When it comes back you'll get possibly the nicest pen there is to write with bar none.

 

It's great when these sorts of pens get ressurected like this - I'm glad you've undertaken it; the rewards are worth far more than the money you'll pay for the restoration IMHO!


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#22 johnkim424

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 17:21

Wow, this is a great thread! Restoring 149 can be a very rewarding experience both emotionally and financially if done right.  I did see your pen on ebay for sale and I passed on it since the seller wanted more than I felt comfortable paying.  If you purchased the pen for a good price, it can be a great project.  I am sure there are people in US that can restore your pen but I do not know any or dealt with any.  Only one I sort of dealt with is John Mottishaw @ nibs.com and he does excellent work if you are willing to wait 6 months before he works on your pen.  This is what I would do if I were you.

 

I would send the nib to Greg Minuskin for re-tipping.  He does excellent work and has super fast turn around time.  Since a chunk of your nib is missing, you might want to take a picture and get an estimate from Greg before sending it to him.  My guess would be $150 with 10day turnaround. 

 

Now for the rest of the pen, I would either go with Max or Francis depending on what you want to do.  Do you want to restore it to a daily user or center piece of your collection.  Francis will remove most of the gouges on the barrel and cap.  But there is limit to what can be done.  It probably will not be perfect but very acceptable.  Francis is super fast with his work and his price can't be beat.  You will have the pen back in your hands within 3 weeks.   

 

Go with Max if you want a perfect pen.  He can basically do whatever you want given enough money and time.  He can completely remake the cap, if needed.  Unlike most of the restorers, he has the materials( i.e. blank celluloid rods) to do the job correctly.  It could get expensive but his work is well worth the price.

 

You should also consider Mr. Lutz of Interpens.de, a member of penboard along with Tom and Max, he also does excellent work.  Most of the time I send my pens to Francis because I try to stay away from pens that require extensive work.  A good polishing, cleaning and a new cork would be what most of my purchases require.  So let's review, nib work Greg Minuskin and rest Max or Francis.  Please keep us updated.  I would love to see how your 149 turns out. 



#23 johnkim424

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 17:35

I just purchased this and will be sending it out to Francis.  As you can see it is missing one of the silver bands and clip.  It also has some minor scratches on the barrel and cap but nothing major.  I was afraid the ink window was permanently stained but after a good flushing and cleaning, the ink window came back to life. 

Attached Images

  • MB 149c.jpg
  • MB 149a.jpg

Edited by johnkim424, 15 January 2015 - 17:36.


#24 Paul Raposo

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 21:15

Paul, you are another one I thought of when deciding on the pen. I think this might be the one you were looking at maybe in August or Sept. last year and decided to pass on because it was a mess. I am not sure, but maybe you can comment.

I hope you were able to find one you liked with less work.

 

I believe it is the same one zaddick:

 

http://www.fountainp...-celluloid-149/

 

Based on the advice I received here I passed  on it.  The seller was motivated to sell, but the pen seemed beyond traditional repair methods.

 

I love to see pens saved and brought back to working condition.  I hope you're able to get this one in order zaddick.


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#25 zaddick

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 07:10

First, thanks to all those that have replied. I have sent it to Francis, Tom, and Max 5 times each in my head, but no one yet in reality. The feedback has been helpful. I guess I am still deciding how "perfect" it should get back to after restoration.

 

Can anyone from the US give me guidance on if there are customs issues I should be worried about. I would hate to pay import duties on my own pen. Is this an issue or have I invented a problem? (Probably the later.)

 

I find out my bonus next Tuesday. That may also influence my decision of how much to get it restored. ;)


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#26 zaddick

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 07:17

Just so you know the pen has not been forgotten in a drawer, I did procure a new home for it while awaiting restoration (and for after). Many of you will recognize this case. I missed them during their initial release, and now they tend to go for more than I think they are worth. I found a bundle deal I couldn't pass last week so I jumped. Here is the new home...

 

20150123_150730_resized.jpg


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#27 sd10521

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 14:56

Nice case indeed, she will be safe in there.

As far as customs duties go if I recall correctly, you only have to pay the fee on the price of the repair coming back. I'm not sure of the deal on the sending out part.



#28 johnkim424

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 23:02

As far as import duties/customs fees are concerned, you only have to worry about declared value when sending the pen to a restorer.  If you declare a full value and insure the pen for full value, the person receiving the pen will pay a hefty fee and I am speaking this from an experience.  I usually send my pens out first class parcel with no tracking and insurance.  Sometimes it takes up to a month, but most of the time transit period is approximately 10-14days.  If you are nervous about this method, I suggest registered priority international parcel.  This option gives you full tracking but once again you can not declare full value.  I usually declare pen value at $20USD, and no one had to pay any custom's fee for either Germany or Belgium.  Besides, USPS, I have also used UPS but they are very expensive.  Usually twice the cost of USPS.  Make sure you contact the restorer for shipping instruction before sending out the pen.



#29 zaddick

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 05:38

johnkim424 and sd10521 - Thank you for the info. I want to minimize fees (like we all do) so I'll probably do tracking with a low declared value. I'll be sure to clarify with whomever is restoring the pen.


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#30 zaddick

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 21:22

Time for a good news update... I ended up going in a different direction for the restoration work. I wanted easier and faster communication than a European-based restorer would provide and I just decided that I want the pen to be a really solid user, not a completely flawless masterpiece that I would never take out of its case. I contacted Brad Torelli after seeing FredRydr's celluloid 149 for sale that Brad previously restored to a high level.

 

Brad was fantastic on the phone and was very generous with his wealth of information. Based on the pictures I sent (the same ones above in this post), he had all types of ideas as to what could be done. However, he also noted it might be a good idea to just buy a restored pen and to cut bait on this one as it might never be up to snuff. Given the few recent 149 silver rings for sale here, that seemed like a logical choice, but if you have read this thread from the start you'll know that is not always my style when it comes to vintage MBs. :D

 

I sent the pen to Brad last Saturday and we have a call to discuss what could be done once he saw the pen in person. We spoke this past Tuesday and he had already take the pen (and another early resin 149 I sent) apart and assessed them. The good news for me was that he felt the pen was not as bad as I had described or the pictures made it look. He also confirmed my pen had the later poly ring piston seal and not the more typical cork. The clip on the pen looked a little later than the correct period piece, being a little too thin. Luckily the barrel was in good enough shape to buff out the scratches and the more deeply gouged section could be fixed with some liquid, paint-like celluloid and then buffed back down to smooth. The nib clearly needed a retip and he was able to put enough ruthenium on it to give me a nice MB-style stubbish B/BB. The cap, possibly the ugliest part of the pen before, is now back to black. The dent is removed, the cap opening is now wide enough to clear the threads and post (although I am not a poster), and the rings are tightened up again after becoming a little loose.

 

So all of that (plus a few surprises I'll save for the photo reveal) was done in 2 days between his other projects. I got an email from him at 3:30 AM Wednesday morning with a progress update. Apparently he stayed up late working on the pens I sent him. Who knew there was still such a thing as overnight service in the pen repair world!?!? (Please note, I think this is the exception and do not take my comment as an implication that all his work is done this fast or that he will pull all-nighters for any future projects. I was just impressed with the turnaround time. Stunned is more like it.)

 

The pen should be in the mail to me today or tomorrow and I will definitely post pictures here when I receive it.


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#31 FredRydr

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 21:47

The pen should be in the mail to me today or tomorrow....

 

:yikes:



#32 watch_art

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 22:38

I saw that pen at DC.  It was at the table to my left on Friday.  :)

 

img_20140808_153548.jpg


fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#33 canibanoglu

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 22:45

Can't wait to see the pics (and the surprise part)! I'm so glad to hear that it has worked so well for you. If only I could join the MB club with a celluloid 149 as my first MB!


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#34 _Stormin_

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 00:41

Really excited to see the pics. One of these and a 139 are both on my top ten list.



#35 zaddick

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 00:41

I saw that pen at DC.  It was at the table to my left on Friday.  :)

 

 

That's funny Shawn. It is almost like stumbling across a picture of a good friend in someone random person's facebook posts. (Not that you are a random person.)

 

I think the seller had it sold once or twice with people backing out before I bit. I got what I felt was a fair deal in the end and the seller (who is a member here) was great to deal with.

 

Good thing I don't go to the DC show or I would be living in a car full of pens!


Edited by zaddick, 06 March 2015 - 00:46.

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#36 zaddick

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 00:44

If only I could join the MB club with a celluloid 149 as my first MB!

 

That is one club where no special skill or talent is needed, just some money. :D


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#37 bstnnyc

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 01:35

I can't wait to see the big reveal; I think the threads with before and after photos of restored pens are some of the most exciting!



#38 Michael R.

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Posted 07 March 2015 - 08:34

Great to hear :thumbup:

 

Really looking forward to see pictures :puddle:

 

Cheers

 

Michael



#39 zaddick

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 19:54

Update time. I received the pen back today. (Actually it sat in my office mail box all weekend, but it had an early resin, press-fit piston filler to keep it company in the box.) The pen is unboxed and looks great. There are no unboxing pictures, but if you want to live the experience yourself: take a pen, wrap it in a paper towel, roll it in bubble wrap, and then tape it with clear tape. Viola!

 

When I spoke with Brad, i was clear I was not looking for a perfectly new pen. As a result, you will see there are still some marks in the pictures that he COULD HAVE taken care of, but I was looking for a solid user, not a museum piece. To me these "imperfections" are part of the character of my pen and are like scars that show a life lived outside the box. (Ha, sounds like a motivational speaker is writing this post.)

 

Without further delay...

 

pen in sun.jpg

pen on notebook.jpg

 

Now, you may recall the most dismaying thing for me was the fact the cap was gray and the body was black. Well, that problem was solved and now they are the same color!

 

cap and pen - same color.jpg

 

In addition to this cosmetic improvement, Brad was able to heat the cap in order to expand the lip and allow the cap to be posted. It now also easily clears all the threads on the body and can be tightened and removed easily. He also cleaned out some of the corroded reinforcement ring inside the cap and tightened all the bands so they no longer move at all.

 

There was also a dent in the cap that made it look a little wavy. This has now been reduced to a small ding.

 

dent is now a ding.jpg

 

The remaining ding now lives under the clip I transferred over from another early 1960s 149. It is still not quite right for the celluloid 149 (as it does not have the XX mark on the underside), but it looks a lot better than the old worn out clip I had before.

 

The next big functional issue was the missing nib tip. It was broken off, not just worn down. (Like the front teeth of an old Canadian hockey player from the 1950s.) Brad was able to re-tip and broaden the nib to a B/BB for me and re-plated the rhodium portion as there was yellow gold showing through previously. Here are some close ups.

 

nib top close up.jpg

rear of nib.jpg

side of nib.jpg

 

The piston turned out to be in decent shape so Brad cleaned and refreshed it for many years of reliable service in the future. No pictures of this, but you have probably all seen the lovely 2-stage piston. If not, Google it as it is quite a looker for an internal part.

 

Heading back to the cosmetic issues, Brad was able to remove almost all of the gouges in the pen. He was able to completely smooth the section and repainted it with nitrocellulose lacquer. 

 

retipped nib & section.jpg

smoothed front of section.jpg

smoothed rear of section and ink window.jpg

 

There were also some gouges on the barrel. I did not want him to completely remove these for fear of taking part of the barrel down to the transparent celluloid. As a result, there is still a faint gouge on the body, but it is hard to capture in a photo. It is the kind of gouge that I would probably get after a little drop during usage or pens coming into contact with other items in my bag.

 

gouges on body.jpg

 

Brad buffed out the ink window. The worn lines are now just a memory. I traded the faded lines for clarity, which when I think of it, is the point of an ink window. At some point in the not too distant future, the pen will head back to Brad where he will reapply lines to the ink window. For now, this is not a big deal for me.

 

To round out the cosmetic improvements, Brad not only applied a little gold to make them easy to read, but he changed the F mark into a B to represent what is currently on the pen.

 

149 mark.jpg

blind cap.jpg

 

All that is left to do for now it to ink it up and try to think of something profound to write... or a grocery list.

 

 

 

 


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#40 Michael R.

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 20:23

Wonderful work!

Once the lines are added to the ink window again the pen will look reall great. That's a process I really like to learn more about.

Was the filler knob exchanged or was the engraving changed?

Enjoy in good health!

Cheers

Michael

PS: how does it write?





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: silver rings, celluloid, 149, refurbish



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