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Arnold Pen Fountain Pens


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26 replies to this topic

#1 Ana_

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 01:46

I've been cruising the forum topics, searching for what was to be said here in regards to Arnold Pen fountain pens. I value this forum for the experiential knowledge. The consensus seems to be that these are a relatively cheap pen (and they were sold as such) with many issues that are somewhat difficult to find in decent working condition. I read many clever posts from FPN Gurus and Guresses who are restoring their Arnold FP's in an attempt to stabilize the quality. I can see why. The bodies of these pens I find really beautiful. I am very much attracted to their simple body style and their gorgeous luminosity. They are mesmorizingly sparkly... I first saw them today when I came across an advertisement to sell 4 vintage Arnold FP's, 1960's, never used, and listed in very good condition. They are apparently Old Stock and according to their seller, not guaranteed to be functional without restoration, they are not sure as they have never used the pens themselves, the pens never having been used. They also list their nibs as in excellent condition with no wear. For sale were 1 red, gray, green, and orange for a total of $20. I figured for the price, even if they weren't immediately in working condition, they would be a great place for me to cut my teeth on restoration. I wouldn't be out much. But here's to hoping they just may work!

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#2 kestrel

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 02:18

What you wrote is a pretty good summary.  I own a half dozen or so, mostly acquired in "lots" of pens.  They polish up well and the nibs can be tweaked to average or above average writers.  I enjoy playing with them and writing with them.  I hope you enjoy yours.


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#3 rwilsonedn

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 20:59

Congratulations a fine price on great-looking pens. I suspect that all four will need new sacs, but that's easy to do. From the apparent condition of the barrels, I'd bet that they won't need much more than that.

ron



#4 Ana_

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 21:26

Dave,
I'm looking forward to testing the pens out and then hunting around the forum for issues and solutions to whatever arises should it arise. I had thought of getting a "repair kit" as it were. Do you know of where this type of thing is sold and about the comprehensiveness of such kits in relation to price point? I'm so new to repair NEVER ever having done this work with FPs that i'm sure my next step is to go and search for the insights already posted. . once I have my pens. I hope I enjoy writing with them too, though if I can get them flowing i'm sure I will, the bodies are stunning.

Ron,
Thank you! :) New sacs, that's good to know. I read on other Arnold Pen FP that the sacs are glued in to these pens and read about some who have used hair dryers and the like to get the old sacs out. If the sac is a problem, will that be reflected by the pen not taking up ink? or by it leaking?

Edited by Ana_, 15 January 2015 - 23:19.


#5 Vamino

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 23:12

Richard Binder's site and Anderson Pens are good for repair supplies, I've used them both in the past and have been pleased with both. I bought a beginner kit of sorts from Binder's site a year or so ago, though i don't see it there at the moment. For resaccing you'll need the new sacs (naturally) and some shellac, and some pure talc wouldn't hurt also. Can't comment in regards to the sacs being glued in, I've not heard of that before but am not familiar with these pens.

 

It's pretty easy to tell if the sacs are bad. If they've ossified and gone hard, the lever will be hard to push and you may hear the sac breaking apart. Otherwise trying to fill it with water will let you know if the sac integrity is good or bad without pulling it apart.



#6 Ana_

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 23:22

Vamino, I have noted Richards and Andersons as repair kit place possibilities and also the tools: sacs, shellac and pure talc. Thank you thank you for the tip of running water through the pens first! THAT is a stitch in time saving nine for me! Here I was already thinking of which ink to fill them with first and of the mess if it leaked. Great tip.

#7 Ana_

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 23:29

Dave, what do you use to polish your pens?

#8 kestrel

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 20:18

Dave, what do you use to polish your pens?

I don't do much polishing except to remove accumulated dirt and grime.  Several years ago I bought a bottle of pen polish/cleaner from Tryphon that works pretty well.  I use a jeweler's polishing cloth gingerly on metal parts.  Simichrome is useful but it tends to work its way into every nook on the pen if you aren't careful.

 

If there is any significant resistance to moving the lever, don't force it.  As old as these pens are the sacs are almost guaranteed to be shot and trying to move the lever if the sac is ossified can damage the lever or the hinge.  If the sac turned into hard rubber then you can reach in with thin tweezers or similar tools and remove pieces.  If these pens had the cheaper form of sac that liquifies with age then you will need dental tools and a lot of patience.  Liquified sacs are not only a pain to remove, they sometimes smell like stale vomit.  I have never found a sac that was glued into the barrel but have dealt with several that turned to goo. 

 

Be careful with hair dryers.  High heat can melt pens.

 

If you accidentally get water into the barrel when the sac is bad be sure the barrel is completely dry before you reassemble the pen.  Moisture in the barrel corrodes levers and J bars, especially the less expensive ones.

 

I picked up most of my tools at hobby shops.  I got a nice selection of dental picks by asking my dentist for any tools they were throwing out.  American Science and Surplus has a good assortment of tools.  Search under Arts and Crafts, Tools, and Hardware at their website.  http://www.sciplus.com/  Be advised that some of what they sell is junk but their descriptions are very accurate about quality.  The brushes I use to clean the insides of barrels, several small gooseneck lights, a hands free magnifier, and a number of small tools all came from them.

 

The book Pen Repair by Marshall and Oldfield is available from several retailers including Fountain Pen Hospital and contains a wealth of information.  It isn't inexpensive but you definitely get your money's worth.

 

I think I just bought a set of Arnolds similar to yours.  I plan to repair them and make them available for my students to use in the classroom.  I'll let you know if I find any serious issues.

 

Welcome to the slippery slope of pen repair.


Dave Campbell
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#9 rwilsonedn

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 20:31

You might check out http://fountainpensa...om/da_book.html  or http://www.richardsp...xf/2003/12a.htm as a source of materials and books. I would suggest Da Book as a good place to start. Some people dislike some of Dubiel's ideas, but it is simple, inexpensive, and easy to follow, especially for lever-fillers. Also, there is a fine Repair Forum here on FPN where you can ask questions. Note that as always on FPN, some respondents are more informed than others.

Enjoy working on your new pens!

ron



#10 Vamino

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 20:52

If there is any significant resistance to moving the lever, don't force it.  As old as these pens are the sacs are almost guaranteed to be shot and trying to move the lever if the sac is ossified can damage the lever or the hinge. 

 

If you accidentally get water into the barrel when the sac is bad be sure the barrel is completely dry before you reassemble the pen.  Moisture in the barrel corrodes levers and J bars, especially the less expensive ones.

 

Thanks for adding these points especially. Basic stuff that skipped my mind to mention.



#11 Ana_

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 09:12

Dave and Ron,
WOW, thank you for the wealth of information! I have copied and pasted it and will gather little by little. I'm impressed at the way you've accumulated amazing tools Dave by asking your dentist! I'll have to remember that next time I go in March. Again thanks so much for the attention to detail in your instructions, and thank you for the welcome into the slippery slope of pen repair... i think.. :)

#12 Zaphod_Beeblebrox

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 09:30

Great little pen collection, nice colors. Enjoy!

#13 Ana_

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 00:52

Thank you Zaphod, I actually just received the pens. With each of them, the J bar will not depress, so I presume this is as Dave said above, that the rubber sacs used to hold ink within have been ossified. I have yet to twist the pens open as i'm not prepared for the vomitty smell Dave mentioned... lol I will do this eventually though. :)

#14 kestrel

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 03:06

Thank you Zaphod, I actually just received the pens. With each of them, the J bar will not depress, so I presume this is as Dave said above, that the rubber sacs used to hold ink within have been ossified. I have yet to twist the pens open as i'm not prepared for the vomitty smell Dave mentioned... lol I will do this eventually though. :)

Mine arrived today, also.  Sections on all of mine are frozen in place.  I will try heat when I have the time, maybe this weekend.  There seems to be some deterioration in the plastic around the threads because none of the caps are going on properly.  I have seen this in several other third tier pens, especially Wearevers.  The pens don't have the stale vomit smell.  


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#15 Ana_

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 11:13

Dave, let me know how you manage with the heating and what method you try and I will likely follow suit. I have found so far that the pen will not twist to come open, it seems very sealed. I'm super happy to hear no vomity smell!

#16 bluefish65

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 14:51

I, too, purchased 4 NOS Arnolds some time ago to get experience with basic repairs. I struggled the most with removing the section to replace the sacs and seem to recall reading they were originally glued in. After soaking, heat gun, and even throwing the whole thing in an ultrasonic cleaner (hoping the vibrations would help shake 'em loose), I finally boiled some water, allowed it to cool for a few minutes, then commenced to dunking and wiggling. It took some time, but I was able to get them all separated without breaking them. The sacs in mine (gray, cheap rubber ones) hadn't ossified, but did have some parts firmly adhered to the pressure bar. They were fairly easy to remove, though. I replaced the sacs (#14, I believe, but can't remember for sure) and filled them. While they're certainly lower quality pens, they wrote well. They all cleaned up very nicely with a little micromesh and polish.

 

To start basic repairs, I recommend an assortment of sacs, talc, thin straight forceps or alligator forceps (for removing pressure/J bars and bits of ossified sac), micromesh assortment, polish (what kind is debatable - personally, I use Mother's aluminum polish with great results), microfiber cloth, 10x loupe, dental pick, bulb syringe for flushing nibs and regular syringes for ink filling. There's certainly no end to the amount of stuff you can use to repair, these are just things I've used the most. Also, there's no need to purchase everything at once. I started with nothing and did a lot of improvising.

 

Lastly, and this may get me banned for life from FPN, but I purchased Frank Dubiel's "Da book" and didn't find it to be very useful. IMHO, Richard Binder's site was far more helpful for repair questions and, of course, the good folks here are a wealth of information.


Edited by bluefish65, 23 January 2015 - 15:05.


#17 DanDeM

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 18:24

Here are some Arnolds that have accumulated. The pens were so poorly crafted that most of

them had the section shellaced in place. Makes a simple resac a nuisance. Low grade plastic

susceptible to warping with prolonged heat. Heat, soak, heat, soak required. A normally fifteen

minute process extends across two days.

 

fpn_1415567909__2_arnold_family_-_3.jpg

Arnold emerged from the Southern Pen Co. Southen pens were sold to retailers for $1.75. That

was the wholesale price for twelve pens!

 

Arnold carried on that tradition.



#18 Ana_

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 00:24

Bluefish, that's great to know because my pen budget for this month and possibly err, half of february is now gone. I have to begin by getting the barrel to untwist so I can take a look inside. It's pretty well sealed. After that I will try the boiling/cooled water for removing the sack and find something for removing the sack.

Dan DeM, the $1.75 may well have been for a dozen... lol

#19 welch

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 01:58

About two years ago I bought four Arnolds that look those in the picture. Luckily, the sacs worked, although I haven't felt the urge to fill and use them. Just a test line or two. The seller was from Petersburg, VA, which was home of Arnold Pen Company. Maybe from Remmie Arnold II?

 

Tools, and also check Pendemonium, but these extras are helpful:

 

- small tubular flashlight. Handy for looking down the barrel once you've gotten the section off.

 

- I use a dentist's pick: long, straight thing. Handy for digging out dead sac. Haven't tried forceps, but they both do the job. 

 

- sac-spreader. Some, more skilled than I am, can stretch the sac over the section nipple without a sac-spreader. One tip from either Ocala Bruce or Farmboy: stretch the sac and let the stretched sac sit for a few hours. Makes it easier when you've taken shellac-in-hand for the final stretch / finagle

 

- Sunshine cloth, a jeweler's cloth available from Pendemonium, probably also Richard B and the Andersons. Will take off dirt and corrosion, bring out the colors. I have seen old pens that appear to have been hit with a buffer, judging from how their nibs gleamed. Haven't read a discussion of using a buffer, and certainly would not, for instance, apply a buffer to a lustraloy Parker 51 cap. 

 

- Maybe: a hobbyist's heat gun. Professional pen repair people can wave a pen in front of a heat gun and -- like magic -- shellac melts. It's not as easy as an elegant wave, though, because shellac will melt at about 180 degrees fahrenheit (a guess...haven't looked it up) and various materials we call plastic and pens call "section" and "barrel" will melt just above the shellac melting-point. I did, once, get a Wearever section to surrender its grip. After a bit of hot air, something went "poof", there was smoke around the section, and it came loose. Probably a section that had been shellac-ed into place. 


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#20 Sasha Royale

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 01:58

Last year, I saw a photograph of an invoice for Arnold fountain pens.  $22.50 for a gross.

The date was early 1950's, I think.  In 1950, I would expect to find a fist-full of Arnolds 

in a Campbell's soup can, next to the drugstore cash register.  The survivors are usable,

but material was cheap.  The steel clips, caps, and nibs are often corroded.  

 

I have two red ones.  Both write very nicely, but the pivot pin of the fill lever has broken. 

The fittings are dull and pitted.  

 

Interesting and fun.


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