I'm able to unscrew the feed section out, but the nib is slid in so tightly that I can't get it out with my bare hands. What should I do; and how do I install a new ink sac?
Best case scenario. The section comes out of the barrel with the complete sac on it. Next best. The petrified sac falls out behind the section in hard pieces. Next best. The petrified sac is still in the barrel, having broken off the section, and falls out when you tip the barrel over. Worst case. The sac remains in the barrel because it has burst while filled with ink, part of it is pliable, part or all of it is “glued” to the inside of the barrel by the caramelized remains of whatever ink was used, and has to be fished out piece by agonizing piece.
Once the section is out, pull the old sac off the nipple (the smallest part of the section). Some sacs, if they’re pliable, will peel off the nipple quite nicely; others are hard and have to be scraped off. Some of the hard ones you pop off in pieces just by nudging it with your fingernail, and others you’ll have to scrape with a sharp knife blade or Xacto tool or whatever you can devise. The important thing is to NOT destroy the roundness of the nipple. The easiest ones will have been secured with shellac, the hardest ones will be those that were glued on with God knows what.
The new #16 sac will be too long, so you have to cut it down to size.
1. Drop the sac into the barrel closed end first, so that it goes to the end of whatever space there is inside.
2. Cut off the part of the sac that protrudes out of the barrel. Scissors being what they are, you can pull the sac out of the barrel about 1/16 inch to be as close as possible to the length. Don’t worry, none of this has to be exact.
3. Now take the sac out of the barrel and place the end that you cut at the part of the section that stops at the end of the barrel.
4. Mark where the nipple starts (the beginning of the smallest part) and cut away the excess part of the sac. In other words the proper length of the sac starts from the beginning of the nipple to the end of its space in the barrel. Anything longer and it’ll kink up when you replace the section, and not work properly, will twist up, and likely break inside sooner or later from that stress. Shorter is OK. Longer is Not OK. So err on the side of a little too short. Strive to make that last cut exactly perpendicular to the length as humanly possible. If it’s too crooked a cut, try again to get it straight. You can lose some sac and it won’t hurt. What you want is a nice, neat straight fit on the nipple.
5. Apply a coat of shellac all the way around the NIPPLE ONLY. Be careful NOT to get any shellac on the collar (the part that friction fits into the barrel) or the “finger grip” part of the section. It’s hard to remove, can mar the finish of an otherwise great looking section, requiring much work to clean off, and is almost like gluing the section to the barrel, which is a no-no. I use masking tape to protect the rest of the section while shellacing the sac.
6. Pull the sac onto the nipple, and massage it one way or the other, until it’s straight. (Sounds easy, doesn’t it?) Here’s where the spreader would come in handy. You’d simply stick the two “jaw” things into the sac, squeeze it to spread, slip it over the nipple and release it.
7. You’re done. The sac is ready, doesn’t need any “setting” time. Make sure none of the sac protrudes over the nipple onto the rest of the section. Slip the section/sac assembly back into the barrel and press it in till it’s where it should be. If the section seems too large to slip back into the barrel, and you’re scared of cracking it, put some talc on it and it’ll slip in easier. Screw the nib back in and you're good to go.