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Restoring An Mb 146G (1950S) - My Journey


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#1 siamackz

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 05:15

Hi All,

 

I finally purchased my grail pen - an MB 146G with an OB nib and long ink window. I bought it for a fraction of the cost they sell in the market today. But, that's because its going to take some serious work to restore. 

 

Cosmetically, to me, the pen is as good as it can be. However, it doesn't function, it requires a cork change. But, here are the issues:

1. The section is super duper tight. I have been soaking for 2 days, and applied dry heat once, but still no sign of budging. 

2. The telescopic piston does not unscrew either - I've tried, trust me!

 

So, this means I am in for a bit of a challenge. Instead of simply sharing after everything is done, I thought I would start a sort of daily log to share what I am doing on a step by step basis so that I may attract good advice from experienced FPNers out there, or even just have curious members live through the suspense of this journey with me :)

 

I consider my skill level as intermediate (on a scale for recreational restorers). I have worked on about 40 vintage pens till date. I have some skill with tuning nibs, regrinding them to different types, restoring BHR barrels that are heavily oxidized, re-corking pistons, and re-sacing all kinds of lever pens. I am more interested in learning how to restore pens, than collecting them. And this is why I am attempting to restore my grail pen myself, instead of sending it off to a professional. 

 

Here are some pics of the pen after a quick outer cleaning. I will update the next steps soon.

 

fpn_1512364163__img_1208.jpg

 

fpn_1512364192__img_1209.jpg

 

fpn_1512364235__img_1210.jpg

 

fpn_1512364262__img_1211.jpg

 

Notice that the nib is not a screw-in (below):

fpn_1512364291__img_1213.jpg

 

fpn_1512364356__img_1214.jpg

 

fpn_1512364383__img_1218.jpg

 

And the long-ish ink window (about 1/4th of the window still shows when capped):

fpn_1512364465__img_1219.jpg



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#2 siamackz

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 00:21

Update:

 

Its been three days and nights now of soaking in water. Every few hours in the evening, I will remove it from the water and then use a brass shim to clean the glue out of the gap between the section and threads. This should help the water really get into the section area and hopefully soften the glue (clever suggestion by the very helpful Vasco). Here are some pics. 

 

The pen is now drying for a few hours. I will use gentle dry heat to tonight. Wish me luck!

 

Some pics of the process thus far:

 

fpn_1512433211__img_1222.jpg

 

Notice the remnants of glue coming out thanks to flossing with the brass shim below. The section was sealed super tight before this!

fpn_1512433275__img_1221.jpg



#3 CS388

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 00:47

Looks like a good one! Congratulations.

 

Fingers crossed for a smooth restoration - if such a thing exists, there's usually a niggle somewhere along the line.

 

My section came out pretty easily, but the piston was tight. I eventually got it with dry heat and a good (home-made) tool.

 

Old mechanic's trick for tight threads: try to tighten before loosening. Sometimes turning the piece clockwise first can break the 'lock' of the threads, allowing it to be loosened easier.

I should add, however, that this was what we used to do on siezed engine parts (usually steel), which could tale a lot of 'stick' without breaking. Old celluloid pen parts are, of course much more fragile, so proceed with caution!

 

Following with interest.

Good luck.



#4 slippery when wet

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 01:38

You maybe better served if you were to place this thread over to the MB forum

#5 slippery when wet

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 02:10

I have used WD 40 with great success and while there are members who may say don't use it on celluloid, I have never seen any ill effects myself, the amount of time it needs to be on the pen will be minimal and you can always wash with soapy water. It migrates quickly into the thread and should loosen the section enough for you to remove it

Edited by slippery when wet, 05 December 2017 - 02:11.


#6 siamackz

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 02:57

You maybe better served if you were to place this thread over to the MB forum

Thought about it, then thought it was more appropriate to post here. Will take your advice and post a link there though, so that anyone interested might follow!


Edited by siamackz, 05 December 2017 - 03:04.


#7 siamackz

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 02:59

I have used WD 40 with great success and while there are members who may say don't use it on celluloid, I have never seen any ill effects myself, the amount of time it needs to be on the pen will be minimal and you can always wash with soapy water. It migrates quickly into the thread and should loosen the section enough for you to remove it

In fact, Vasco sugegsted the same. So, I did soak just the section area in WD 40 for about an hour x 2 times. Washed with soap and re-immersed in water for the night. The section still doesn't come lose. It will need heat tonight. Fingers crossed!



#8 siamackz

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 14:14

OK, reporting back on progress:

 

I took the pen out after another whole day of soaking - its been a total of 3 full days and nights of soaking in a glass of water, and 3 x one hour soaking in WD 40. 

 

After letting the pen dry for a few hours, I applied dry heat. I wanted to protect the ink window from heat though, so I covered it in a thick layer of Blue Tac:

 

fpn_1512482759__img_1225.jpg

 

I would heat, then test. I realized after 30 min that I was being too careful. So, I placed the section closer to the hairdryer. The section threads got pretty hot, it needed some serious heat in increments. I tested again, to see if the section would unscrew. Nope After three days of multiple attempts here is what my finger looked like:

 

fpn_1512482845__img_1227.jpg

 

I did, however, notice that the separation between the barrel threads and section had widened just a tiny bit:

 

fpn_1512482910__img_1228.jpg

 

This got me thinking, let me try and get some WD40 inside. I did just that. Washed the pen, tried to unscrew. Nope! So, I filled another glass of water and readied the pen for an overnight soaking. 

 

But, something told me to give it just another shot. So, I did, and voila:

 

fpn_1512482979__img_1230.jpg

 

Now, onto to fixing problem #2 - the piston. I have prepared a cork, but the piston won't extend outside the barrel. Only one stage of the telescopic mechanism is working. Considering the fact that I cannot remove the piston from the back without first taking out the cork nut/washer fro the section first, what should I do next? Help! See pics of piston fully extended:

 

fpn_1512483063__img_1231.jpg

 

fpn_1512483090__img_1232.jpg



#9 piscov

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 14:51

Now I would take the nut out using a tool that you can make with a brass tube or any metal tube of the appropriated diameter. The first one I made for myself I used an old car antenna metal tube.

 

Here is a picture of the old, on the right, and of another that was machined in the lathe and milling machine. Use it to unscrew the nut and take it out. Then take the old cork out. Some pens also have a small disk below the cork, see if it's the case. After all of that is out, take the filling mechanism from behind.

 

20171205_144042.jpg

 

Then using the other tool  bellow you can take the piston out.

 

IMG_1538.jpg

 

IMG_1541.jpg

One advice, also heat the end part of the barrel before taking the piston mechanism out. There is no need to heat as much as you did for the section but some heat will help to prevent the barrel to break.

 

Another advice for your fingers: use a thin rubber rectangle cut fro tire re to grip the section, that way you will not hurt the fingers and you will have a lot more grip.

 

Unscrewing both section and piston mechanism, can be hard and sometimes they will break, so always remember patience is the key. Take the time you need and never rush nor do extreme force , extreme heat and never use open flames!


Edited by piscov, 05 December 2017 - 15:33.

Best regards
Vasco

simbolo-e-nomesmall2_zps47c0db08.jpg

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#10 siamackz

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 15:24

Vasco, these tools are ingenious!!!! Ill report back soon!

#11 siamackz

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 17:09

Update:

 

Used a pair of tweezers to unscrew the cork nut. It came out along with the dried up cork:

 

fpn_1512493582__img_1234.jpg

 

fpn_1512493669__img_1235.jpg

 

Question for the way ahead. Two options:

1. Should I just replace the cork the same way I took the old one out? It will be cumbersome but probably doable. 

2. Should I try to open the piston from the back and repair it? Is it possible to repair? At present only one stage of the piston works. 

 

Thanks!



#12 piscov

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 17:22

Does the piston mechanism go up and down as it should?

If so, you can just put a new cork the same way you took the old one out.

If not, you will have to take it out to see what is the problem.

 

I always like to take the pen all apart and clean the back part of the piston, but if it's working properly, there is no need to do it.

 


Best regards
Vasco

simbolo-e-nomesmall2_zps47c0db08.jpg

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#13 hari317

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 17:22

The mechanism might simply be jammed.

What are you planning to use to remove the filler? Planning and fashioning a sturdy tool for that should be your next step.

Having come this far, I would suggest you squirt a llittle bit of penetrating oil wd40 into the barrel and let it soak into the filler and its threads to the celluloid barrel. After letting it stand with the cone down, pour out the excess. Heat the filler threads area alone and attempt to unscrew the filler.

Edited by hari317, 05 December 2017 - 17:25.

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#14 piscov

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 17:25

Do not force the mechanism. It can break. If it does not mode take it out. Unscrew it with the pliers and see why it's not working. Use heat to help you.


Best regards
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#15 siamackz

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 17:27

Does the piston mechanism go up and down as it should?
If so, you can just put a new cork the same way you took the old one out.
If not, you will have to take it out to see what is the problem.
 
I always like to take the pen all apart and clean the back part of the piston, but if it's working properly, there is no need to do it.
 


The piston goes up and down but within a limited range of motion. So, its not working as it should. I want to take it apart too, Im just gonna do it.

#16 siamackz

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 17:30

The mechanism might simply be jammed.

What are you planning to use to remove the filler? Planning and fashioning a sturdy tool for that should be your next step.

Having come this far, I would suggest you squirt a llittle bit of penetrating oil wd40 into the barrel and let it soak into the filler and its threads to the celluloid barrel. After letting it stand with the cone down, pour out the excess. Heat the filler threads area alone and attempt to unscrew the filler.


Yup was thinking of a wd40 soak. Will do tomorrow if my tool arrives.

Will update you guys as soon as I get my tool and I manage to fashion something like Vasco did. I dont have a drill but Ill find someone to help!

Wd40 soak, wash clean, then heat, and use the tool.

Ill report back in a day or so!

Thanks for all the feedback everyone!

#17 hari317

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 18:08

My Guru Francis made this for me:

fpn_1512496365__bba90ee5-4422-449b-9d61-

fpn_1512496416__45eea8a4-32df-4e6f-9f8c-

Some points to consider when fashioning your tool.

The tool must NOT pinch the filler tube even when tightly closed.

The pin is kept removable so that first the tool is clamped/closed around the tube. It will now rotate with slight clearance so that tube is not deformed under any condition. Then the pin is inserted aligning the tool hole and filler hole. Now the pin provides the traction.

The depth of the pin entering the filler must not be too much or it will contact the innards- driving shaft and possibly mar/ damage.

A tool can be made in the disc concept as well instead of the plier concept.

HTH.

Edited by hari317, 05 December 2017 - 18:09.

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#18 fountainbel

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 18:57

You've got the section out which is the most delicate operation, well done !

Next step is getting the filler unit out :

Open the filling knob completely and cover the filling knob and the barrel end with Blu tack, avoiding the edge of the celluloid filling knob  and barrel get overheated & deforms

Then do as Hari suggests : "Heat the filler threads area alone and attempt to unscrew the filler"

Wishing you succes !

Francis



#19 piscov

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 19:16

Vasco, these tools are ingenious!!!! Ill report back soon!

The tools I show can be made by anyone that does not have lathes, milling machine, pillar drills or any knowledge of machining, are cheap and easy to make and will do the job perfectly. 

A simple file and a drill are enough to make these tools.

 

Off course that if you want you can make more complex and bespoke tools, therefore better, but you will need to have the proper equipment and skills or spend some money buying the tools already made.

 

The pliers costs 5USD, a 1mm drill costs 2usd, so for 7 usd you can make the tool to take the piston mechanism from any 14X series.

 

The metal tube to take the nut out probably doesn't have a cost if you have a junkyard nearby.


Edited by piscov, 05 December 2017 - 19:19.

Best regards
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#20 slippery when wet

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 20:59

All of the above is great advise, remember to clean out the threads before you reassemble






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