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What To Look For In A Desk Set

esterbrook desk pen desk set

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14 replies to this topic

#1 TimCasey13

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 00:44

I don't know if this has been asked before, but what should I look for when buying an Esterbrook desk set? Either a 444 or 407 and the variations upon them.



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#2 Hobiwan

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 21:38

If it's one with a base that serves as an inkwell, you want all parts there, such as retainer, seals, etc., and also proper fitting of the pen into the well.  

 

If it's a fountain pen rig, good seating of the pen into its holder (hole or horn) to keep the pen from going dry when not used. 

 

The rest is up to your own individual sense of aesthetics and performance.  You can read the other two threads here ("Desk pen  edition ... " and "Keeping a desk pen ... ") for many well-presented examples and lots of helpful information. 


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#3 jdllizard

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 02:03

I started by just buying what I liked or intrigued me. That way you can't go wrong.

I also echo Hobiwan's advice about making sure the set you purchase is complete, although new gaskets for Esterbrook 407's (as well as several other makers) are readily available on fleabay.
John L

#4 TimCasey13

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 22:33

Ok thanks everyone! I've got a (possibly unused) 444 set coming my way from ebay.

#5 ac12

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 02:42

Ok thanks everyone! I've got a (possibly unused) 444 set coming my way from ebay.

 

Good catch.

Enjoy the pen setup.

 

Be VERY careful when prying up the top, if the gasket is sticky/tight you will want to get some water in there to try to make it easier to open.  Too much force will crack the lip  :(   Once I got mine open, I put a smear of silicone grease along the gasket, so it won't stick.


Edited by ac12, 23 September 2015 - 02:42.

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#6 RonLyke

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Posted 25 September 2015 - 10:42

Desk Set.jpg

 

Good catch.

Enjoy the pen setup.

 

Be VERY careful when prying up the top, if the gasket is sticky/tight you will want to get some water in there to try to make it easier to open.  Too much force will crack the lip  :(   Once I got mine open, I put a smear of silicone grease along the gasket, so it won't stick.

 

I got a very nice one at the DC show. The dealer recommended WD40 applied around the edge of the top, and allow lots of time for it to penetrate, then VERY carefully prying up the top--fingers only. No tools. That worked for me, and it cleaned up nicely. Mine was the type used in commercial settings, with the chain attached. Unfortunately, the WD40 and / or the water cleanup destroyed the decal that said "Please replace pen in socket" (see picture). I made a new one, but it's not correct. Be careful if that's what you have.



#7 ac12

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 00:18

attachicon.gifDesk Set.jpg

 

I got a very nice one at the DC show. The dealer recommended WD40 applied around the edge of the top, and allow lots of time for it to penetrate, then VERY carefully prying up the top--fingers only. No tools. That worked for me, and it cleaned up nicely. Mine was the type used in commercial settings, with the chain attached. Unfortunately, the WD40 and / or the water cleanup destroyed the decal that said "Please replace pen in socket" (see picture). I made a new one, but it's not correct. Be careful if that's what you have.

 

I would not use WD40, as it might attack the gasket material.  Though it might penetrate the dried ink better than water.

I just used water and a lot of patience.


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#8 jdllizard

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 06:28

I would not use WD40, as it might attack the gasket material.  Though it might penetrate the dried ink better than water.
I just used water and a lot of patience.



AGREE! I wouldn't use any petroleum product anywhere near a rubber seal. If you absolutely must, find a silicone alternative.

Water and patience are what is required here. And when prying up the top, a fellow FPNer mentioned once about using the edge of an old credit card. Much more gentle than a screwdriver, less likely to break the brittle top.
John L

#9 Brianm-14-FRMS

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 16:07

WD-40 is mainly kerosene, a petrochemical that should be kept away from all rubber and many plastics. It isn't anything special to speak of, as a penetrant or a lubricant. It is fine for flushing away grit, sand, or grease on tools or engines. If you need a penetrating oil, Kroil is the old standard. Again, not on rubber.

With objects such as ink wells, pens, and the like, slightly warm water with a little Dawn (or Photo-Flo or Tween) to reduce the surface tension and improve penetration is the way to go. That, and patience. If you use gentle pressure, eventually you will obtain at least a little movement, incrementally allowing greater penetration of the water. Then one day soon, Bob will be your uncle!

A little naptha (I like a brand name lighter fluid for purity and ease of application) can help, and is safe on most plastics. You might test it in an inconspicuous place. It penetrates well, and lubes a bit. Apply, wait, attempt movement, then allow to evaporate before returning to soaking in detergent and water.

Gentle -GENTLE- tapping is often used along with penetrating oil when freeing corroded or stuck metal parts. I 'd be tempted to repeatedly rap around the object with something like a chopstick. The tiny vibrations should assist penetration of water or naptha.

Alternating a soak in slightly warm water, and then in ice water (beware of temporarily increasing brittleness), might allow the different coefficients of expansion to work in your favor, too. You get the idea. Sometimes success only comes when you break some unknown form of adhesion that was established over decades.

Reminds me of how a ground glass stopper can get firmly stuck in a reagent bottle. Or a glass buret would seize up. When I was head tech in a research lab in my very early years, a grad student would present me with such a bottle, and I'd say, "Come back in a week." This was always accompanied by a panicked response of, "But I need it today." The conversation would conclude with a polite reminder to therefore bring it to me yesterday, as my own TARDIS was currently in the shop, and the lab's Sonic Screwdriver fresh out of batteries.

Sometimes we could use acetone to help, depending on what was in the bottle. But a multiplicity of approaches, over time, usually did the trick, unless alkali had attacked the glass itself. Sounds a lot like removing the section from an old pen, doesn't it?

Good luck!
Brian

#10 ac12

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 22:45

I stuck my STUCK Esterbook 444 dipless inkwell into my USC. First with water, then a 10% ammonia solution then a 50% ammonia solution. It eventually got the gasket cleaned enough to be able to pry it open. The stuff inside was just as hard to remove. I think someone put India ink into the 444. grrrr

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#11 Larry Barrieau

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Posted 24 October 2015 - 13:45

Sometimes a little twist instead of a pry works for me.

To better see my icon     http://fpnlcb.shutterfly.com/pictures

Looking for a black SJ Transitional Esterbrook Pen.  (It's smaller than an sj)


#12 FarmBoy

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Posted 25 October 2015 - 00:05

I stuck my STUCK Esterbook 444 dipless inkwell into my USC. First with water, then a 10% ammonia solution then a 50% ammonia solution. It eventually got the gasket cleaned enough to be able to pry it open. The stuff inside was just as hard to remove. I think someone put India ink into the 444. grrrr

Will you be showing this group your new project or are you chained to the desk?


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#13 ac12

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 19:38

This is the desk set that Farmboy was talking about. 
A double with chains and red and clear tapers.

FB does have a way with words.

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  • Esterbrook double with chain.jpg

Edited by ac12, 28 October 2015 - 19:40.

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#14 FarmBoy

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 03:25

I distracted you.  Red taper goes on the right.

 

Well done.


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#15 ac12

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 16:03

FB, you're right. red=red ink=credit entries. And I'm the one that should know that...duh.

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