Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies






Photo

Finally Got My First Estie Working, And It Writes Like A Dream!

esterbrook model j 9668 nib repair

  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 rbanerjee

rbanerjee

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 16 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Flag:

Posted 27 April 2017 - 05:57

A couple of months ago, I picked up an Esterbrook Model J (Green) at a market. I paid $20 for it, and after a little homework, picked up sac, talc and shellac from Anderson Pens and fixed it up myself.

 

However, the thing came with a 1555 "Gregg" nib, which was the scratchiest nib I have ever experienced in my life. Its feed was also in poor shape (even after lots of soaking in water), so that even if held at the "sweet spot" for writing, it would dry out pretty fast. Instead of doing a whole bunch of nib tuning + ammonia soaking, I decided to try replacing the nib + feed (since Esties have the "renew point" system).

 

I found good advice here, and decided to pick up a Durachrome 9668 (found NOS on eBay for $25, incl. shipping).

02-old-vs-new-nib.jpg

 

With the new nib installed, I am in love with this pen! It is not the contrast alone... the new nib is one of the smoothest writing experiences I have had, ever. Currently using it on Tomoe River paper, which is a personal favorite of mine.

 

Anyway, I thought I'd share my positive experience and document it for the possible benefit of other newbies. If you have a scratchy Estie from a flea market, don't give up on it -- instead, take advantage of its "renew point" design.

 

 

Thanks,

-Rahul



Sponsored Content

#2 Hobiwan

Hobiwan

    All I ever wanted was a nice pen to write with...

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 767 posts
  • Location:San Dimas, California
  • Flag:

Posted 27 April 2017 - 06:58

Nice going, Rahul.  And you picked a great point.  The x668 series are excellent medium smoothies!


Best Regards
Paul


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
– Albert Einstein


#3 ac12

ac12

    Museum Piece

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,040 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA - SFO
  • Flag:

Posted 28 April 2017 - 03:58

Rahul

If you are coming down to SF for the SF Pen Show, I would buy the old nib unit off you.

I need nib unit parts for my restorations.


San Francisco Pen Show - August 25-27, 2017 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com


#4 rbanerjee

rbanerjee

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 16 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Flag:

Posted 28 April 2017 - 04:05

Hello ac12,
 
I'm not going to make it to SF for the pen show this year.
 
However, if you're comfortable with sharing your mailing address, I'd be happy to mail you my Gregg nib. I'm sure you'll return the favor (or pass it on) at some point in the future :)
 
The website wouldn't let me send you a message (perhaps it's because I'm a new member). Anyway, if you can get me an address, I'll send you the nib.
 
 
Best,
-Rahul


#5 goodpens

goodpens

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 232 posts

Posted 28 April 2017 - 04:34

Glad you are enjoying this, Rahul, and that you were able to get it up and running successfully. I had a similar story with my red SJ. I lucked into a few nibs for it and currently have my favorite (9128) on it. Of all my pens, I think this is my favorite -- partially for sentimental reasons, partially because it writes well, is easy to repair, the various nibs are interesting, doesn't dry out, etc. 



#6 rbanerjee

rbanerjee

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 16 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Flag:

Posted 28 April 2017 - 05:45

Glad you are enjoying this, Rahul, and that you were able to get it up and running successfully. I had a similar story with my red SJ. I lucked into a few nibs for it and currently have my favorite (9128) on it. Of all my pens, I think this is my favorite -- partially for sentimental reasons, partially because it writes well, is easy to repair, the various nibs are interesting, doesn't dry out, etc. 

 

Hi goodpens,

 

I have been wondering about the drying out... since there's a "breather hole" in the cap, shouldn't this pen be more susceptible to drying out? I guess I'll find out at some point, but you seem to suggest that it's not an issue even with the ventilation.



#7 Hobiwan

Hobiwan

    All I ever wanted was a nice pen to write with...

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 767 posts
  • Location:San Dimas, California
  • Flag:

Posted 28 April 2017 - 06:54

In (humid) Florida, I never had that problem. 

 

However, for me, the Southern CA coastal desert is another story.  My Private Reserve Copper Burst hasn't lasted more than a week without drying up in my Esty Tranny J.  I recently acquired a NOS bottle of ca.1960 Sheaffer's Scrip Peacock Blue, and am testing that.  So far, so good.  Maybe it's the combination of ink formula and environmental relative humidity; we'll see ....


Best Regards
Paul


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
– Albert Einstein


#8 corgicoupe

corgicoupe

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,006 posts
  • Location:East of Atlanta
  • Flag:

Posted 28 April 2017 - 14:17

I'm glad to see that an Estie guy with your experience is not hesitant to use Private Reserve ink in you pens. I've heard some folks suggest that they ought not to be used, and I sit here with 5 bottles of PR inks.



#9 gweimer1

gweimer1

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,093 posts
  • Location:Ohio
  • Flag:

Posted 28 April 2017 - 14:51

I'm glad to see that an Estie guy with your experience is not hesitant to use Private Reserve ink in you pens. I've heard some folks suggest that they ought not to be used, and I sit here with 5 bottles of PR inks.

 

I have some Naples Blue, but I only use it for brief periods, and flush out the pen quickly.  I think it's the long-term use that shortens the life of the sac the most.  I use some Orange Crush in one of my Venus pens, and it's a nice color, but a crusty, chunky mess within a few days. 



#10 inkstainedruth

inkstainedruth

    Ancient Artifact

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,181 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 28 April 2017 - 19:14

Interesting thread.  

My first Estie (a black SJ) had a 1555 nib on it as well, and it wrote fairly well for a nib that didn't have any tipping on it.  But I'm wondering if the lack of tipping is what your problem was with the nib.  

That was the problem I had with a prototype Desiderata Daedulus, fitted with a Zebra G nib, and it was so scratchy it actually tore most of the paper I tried with the pen -- even really good paper like Rhodia (I've since tried other Desiderata pens, and it turned out I just had a really bad nib).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#11 rbanerjee

rbanerjee

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 16 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Flag:

Posted 28 April 2017 - 19:21

Interesting thread.  

My first Estie (a black SJ) had a 1555 nib on it as well, and it wrote fairly well for a nib that didn't have any tipping on it.  But I'm wondering if the lack of tipping is what your problem was with the nib.  

That was the problem I had with a prototype Desiderata Daedulus, fitted with a Zebra G nib, and it was so scratchy it actually tore most of the paper I tried with the pen -- even really good paper like Rhodia (I've since tried other Desiderata pens, and it turned out I just had a really bad nib).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Hi Ruth,

 

That is probably what happened. I noticed that the nib basically consisted of the tines being bent back.

 

There *were* certain sweet spots where my 1555 would write pretty well, especially vertical strokes. However, any "rolling" while writing horizontally would make it extremely scratchy. I've never experienced tearing of paper before or since, except with this nib. This rather "anisotropic" behavior imposed an interesting handwriting style, where my script was narrow and vertical. After the initial novelty wore off, it was literally cramping my style, so I decided to invest in the new nib (and that paid off handsomely).

 

-Rahul



#12 gweimer1

gweimer1

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,093 posts
  • Location:Ohio
  • Flag:

Posted 28 April 2017 - 20:47

I always tend to look at it this way - nibs like that were loved by someone for a long time, so they have worn to a bias you won't be able to change.  The 1xxx nibs, once they hit that point, might as well be bent, unless it just so happens to match your writing.  I always look for nibs that weren't used so much, so someone gets the full benefit of how they were designed.  I don't look at the nib as one that is poor quality, but one that served its purpose for a long time, and for a very good reason.



#13 goodpens

goodpens

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 232 posts

Posted 28 April 2017 - 21:09

 

Hi goodpens,

 

I have been wondering about the drying out... since there's a "breather hole" in the cap, shouldn't this pen be more susceptible to drying out? I guess I'll find out at some point, but you seem to suggest that it's not an issue even with the ventilation.

 

No, I live in a pretty dry climate, but that pen doesn't have issues with drying out. Eventually it will, as any pen will do, but not quickly. I have had a few other pens that dry out far faster or at least have hard/dry starts. That hasn't been my experience with this. And it seems to like just about any ink I put in it. Currently, I've had the same ink ink it for about a month. It isn't a color I use often, just a quick note once a week or so, but each time I go to grab it, it still writes very well. If you use it frequently (daily/every few days), you'd use up ink far faster than it could dry out, I think.



#14 openionated

openionated

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 326 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 29 April 2017 - 02:35

Nice Estie rbanerjee. It looks very much like the one I got from ac12 last year. Mine has the x668 series of nib as well, buttery smooth writer.

#15 Runnin_Ute

Runnin_Ute

    Grandpa T's desk

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,400 posts
  • Location:Sandy, Utah - Elevation 4504'
  • Flag:

Posted 30 April 2017 - 00:39

I have had a couple 1555 Gregg nibs and they have been pretty good. Especially for a nib without tipping.


Brad

 

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling

"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

fpn_1424623518__super_pinks-bottle%20resl.png


#16 lablanche

lablanche

    Dipped Only

  • Member - Bronze

  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 30 April 2017 - 16:04

Welcome too the wonderful world of Esterbrooks, I think they are the best bang for the buck and definitely my favourite fountain pen.

 

I am new to the FPN and recently acquired my second and third Esterbrooks from eBay.

 

My first  Essie was over 50 years ago, my 8th grade social studies teacher insisted we write in fountain pen because he hated getting smeared by messy ball point ink when he corrected papers. I remember the colour of the pen (grey), but the nib? No. In retrospect, it was probably an LJ, maybe an SJ with a 1551 or 1555 nib. I now have one in blue with a 1555 nib, which is sort of scratchy but not enough to bother me. I have a regular J in green with a 2668 nib and it writes like butter. I am now on the lookout for a reasonably priced SJ with a fancier nib, possibly one of the italics.

 

Over the years I have had various inexpensive fountain pens under $50, not being able to afford better, and none of them have even remotely approached the reliability and joy of writing with an Esterbrook, at least for me. The fact that they are still going strong after decades speaks well for their intrinsic quality and reliability. There were no fountain pen hospitals when my original pen finally gave up the ghost after over eight years of note taking in high school and college. Actually, it was hopelessly clogged after being dormant for years when I  moved onto felt tip pens and I just didn't use it. I think the sac dried out, too. Sometimes I used to fill it twice a day on especially heavy note taking days. I only had one leak of the ink bottle or pen in all that time.

 

I contacted Goulet Pens about a Lamy Safari last year, but when I realised (duh!) that I could buy an Esterbrook for the same price and know I would be happy with it, started looking for one that had some writing samples. I knew it would be OK for me, because when I loaned my first one to many people to scribble an address or phone number it would come back just fine. If I did that with my Phileas, it would have been doomed to the garbage heap.

 

One year when I was in high school a good friend was given a Mont Blanc for Christmas. It was a gorgeous pen, but cost 100 times the price of an Esterbrook. It also was super fat and she let me handle it (not write, it would wreck the nib, HAH!) It felt like a log in my hand and I knew it was not for me. When a skinnier version became available a couple of years later, I was very tempted but just could not justify the $150 for it, especially as a seriously broke college student. I have some basic fountain pen blue ink I got  at the art supply store last month, nothing fancy. They had dozens of India inks, but only three made for fountain pens in black, blue and red. I expect I'll be shopping for some nicer inks in fun colours, especially since I have two pens. I love that both my Esterbrooks can be stored with ink for over a week, and they write as soon as I put them to paper, no fooling around.

 

Sorry to go on and on, can you tell I am excited about re-discovering Esterbrooks?

 

 



#17 rbanerjee

rbanerjee

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 16 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Flag:

Posted 30 April 2017 - 18:54

Hey lablanche,

 

Thank you for sharing your Esterbrook stories! I am happy that you're rediscovering Esties.

It is a fairly acce$$ible hobby, compared to (say) collecting MB 149s.

 

I don't remember what brand of fountain pen I used in grade school (we were forced to use them... apparently they would "improve our handwriting"), but I do remember having ink-stained fingers because of how I held the pen. Decades later, it's wonderful to have a genuine appreciation for the tactile/haptic qualities of a fountain pen.

 

IMHO, forcing these "optimal writing instruments" on children is debatable -- on the one hand, kids may hate the mess and hassle of an ink pen. OTOH, the joy of rediscovering it later, when one has a nuanced appreciation for the finer aspects of handwriting and physical media are hard to argue against.



#18 lablanche

lablanche

    Dipped Only

  • Member - Bronze

  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 01 May 2017 - 00:59

Well, it was because of messy homework, and and not penmanship that I recall his demanding we get fountain pens. I remember my mother grumbling about it at the time, but she got one for me. I have no recollection of shopping for it so I think she probably got it at the local pharmacy. I do recall my dad using an Esterbrook. I think his was grey, too, but the patterning of the body of the pen made it somewhat easy to identify them and we rarely picked up each others'.

 

Now it looks like I have fallen down the rabbit hole. After I wrote the first post, I found an SJ with a 2312 nib that looks decent, so I bid on it and got it for less than $22, shipping included. It is the root beer bronze, untested and  I am taking a chance, but it seems they can be restored with a new sac so if it is necessary, I'll try it. I figure the nib alone is worth the chance I took. From what I understand, it is an unusual nib. I hope it works!



#19 rbanerjee

rbanerjee

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 16 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Flag:

Posted 02 May 2017 - 20:52

Well, it was because of messy homework, and and not penmanship that I recall his demanding we get fountain pens. I remember my mother grumbling about it at the time, but she got one for me. I have no recollection of shopping for it so I think she probably got it at the local pharmacy. I do recall my dad using an Esterbrook. I think his was grey, too, but the patterning of the body of the pen made it somewhat easy to identify them and we rarely picked up each others'.

 

Now it looks like I have fallen down the rabbit hole. After I wrote the first post, I found an SJ with a 2312 nib that looks decent, so I bid on it and got it for less than $22, shipping included. It is the root beer bronze, untested and  I am taking a chance, but it seems they can be restored with a new sac so if it is necessary, I'll try it. I figure the nib alone is worth the chance I took. From what I understand, it is an unusual nib. I hope it works!

 

Isn't it a wonderful time to be alive? The combination of eBay and the postal system is such a wonderful marriage!

Do post an update after you nib arrives.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: esterbrook, model j, 9668, nib, repair



Sponsored Content




|