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Questions On The Parker 61


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#1 Dont_Flexme

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 01:05

So I've been thinking about getting a 61. Love the unique filling system, not so much the arrow above the nib, but the capillary filling system seems really cool.

So here's the question, those who have or have had one, what's your thoughts? How easy is it to maintain? Is it a multi year quest to flush the thing? Any ink concerns?

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#2 Joane

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 03:18

61s can be wonderful writers but because a 61 can't be flushed like other pens, I find the it more suitable to a dedicated ink, with flushing required only once in a rare while.


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#3 mitto

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 04:23

+1
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#4 tmenyc

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 13:39

I agree, with an addition:  they're nice writers, work better with a dedicated wet/smoothly flowing ink, and really need to be used consistently.  If you're going to put it away for awhile, be sure to flush it out completely, finishing with a flush in distilled water, and get every scrap of the ink out.  If you don't, 61s can be hard to get soaked and writing again.  

 

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#5 Matlock

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 13:45

I agree, with an addition:  they're nice writers, work better with a dedicated wet/smoothly flowing ink, and really need to be used consistently.  If you're going to put it away for awhile, be sure to flush it out completely, finishing with a flush in distilled water, and get every scrap of the ink out.  If you don't, 61s can be hard to get soaked and writing again.  

 

Tim

"and get every scrap of the ink out.  If you don't, 61s can be hard to get soaked and writing again" Fully agree and that flush is going to take a long, long time. That was the main reason the capillary system was dropped.


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#6 inkstainedruth

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 14:22

I have several 61s.  When I bought the first one the seller said to remove the barrel stick it under the tap, nib down, to really flush the pen out.  Well, I have very hard water where I live, so I thought that was a bad plan.  Instead, I used a bulb syringe and distilled water.  And when I started flushing, it reconstituted the ink enough that I (being the consummate cheapskate I am) just wrote with that ink.  When it went dry, I repeated the process.  And continued to do so until the ink was diluted to the point of illegibility!  Which took nearly FOUR MONTHS.  :huh: 

I totally agree with what Joane said -- they're better with a dedicated ink.  And I would recommend not using a dry or overly saturated ink (I've found that many standard-line De Atramentis inks seem to work well, and I'm thinking I need to buy one of the big 100 ml bottles of J Herbin Eclat de Saphir).  My experience with them is that I don't necessarily agree with tmenyc or Matlock -- I just started flushing with distilled water until I saw ink come out the nib and said "Hmmm..."  Have no idea what the ink was (likely something pretty benign like Quink Black).

Oh, one caveat (since you say you're not overly enamored of the hood arrow) -- I've read that you have to be *really* careful if you use an ultrasonic cleaner because the arrow is likely to detach.  One of mine is missing the arrow outright (but meant I got it for a really good price on eBay).  The arrow is apparently there for a reason, though: because it's a hooded nib, like on Parker 51s, people tended to roll the pen and thereby get off the sweet spot; the arrow is a reminder as to how to hold the pen correctly (sort of the same way as the triangular grip on Lamy Safaris).  It's just, well, that as a separate glued on piece, it didn't work all that well....  I bought a replacement hood for cheap, just to harvest the arrow, but I'll have to see how well it works (I've heard that the arrows were individually fitted to the hood).

One thing I've noticed about one of mine.  I didn't realize until I got home with the pen that there is a small crack, right where the threading is.  At first I was getting some ink bleeding through onto my hand, but overall, the ink stays right where it belongs -- going straight from the capillary filler to the feed.  

And let's face it.  The capillary filler is really kinda neat.  I'm amused by the fact that Sheaffer's answer to the influx off ballpoint pens on the market was to come up with the Snorkel -- the most convoluted fill system on the planet (and yeah, I have a bunch of them as well -- I love writing with them but I've had to get every one of them repaired first before even testing to see if they would fill).  Whereas Parker's answer was the capillary fill 61 -- the EASIEST fill system on the planet....  :rolleyes: 

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#7 Matlock

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 17:03

I have several 61s.  When I bought the first one the seller said to remove the barrel stick it under the tap, nib down, to really flush the pen out.  Well, I have very hard water where I live, so I thought that was a bad plan.  Instead, I used a bulb syringe and distilled water.  And when I started flushing, it reconstituted the ink enough that I (being the consummate cheapskate I am) just wrote with that ink.  When it went dry, I repeated the process.  And continued to do so until the ink was diluted to the point of illegibility!  Which took nearly FOUR MONTHS.  :huh: 

I totally agree with what Joane said -- they're better with a dedicated ink.  And I would recommend not using a dry or overly saturated ink (I've found that many standard-line De Atramentis inks seem to work well, and I'm thinking I need to buy one of the big 100 ml bottles of J Herbin Eclat de Saphir).  My experience with them is that I don't necessarily agree with tmenyc or Matlock -- I just started flushing with distilled water until I saw ink come out the nib and said "Hmmm..."  Have no idea what the ink was (likely something pretty benign like Quink Black).

Oh, one caveat (since you say you're not overly enamored of the hood arrow) -- I've read that you have to be *really* careful if you use an ultrasonic cleaner because the arrow is likely to detach.  One of mine is missing the arrow outright (but meant I got it for a really good price on eBay).  The arrow is apparently there for a reason, though: because it's a hooded nib, like on Parker 51s, people tended to roll the pen and thereby get off the sweet spot; the arrow is a reminder as to how to hold the pen correctly (sort of the same way as the triangular grip on Lamy Safaris).  It's just, well, that as a separate glued on piece, it didn't work all that well....  I bought a replacement hood for cheap, just to harvest the arrow, but I'll have to see how well it works (I've heard that the arrows were individually fitted to the hood).

One thing I've noticed about one of mine.  I didn't realize until I got home with the pen that there is a small crack, right where the threading is.  At first I was getting some ink bleeding through onto my hand, but overall, the ink stays right where it belongs -- going straight from the capillary filler to the feed.  

And let's face it.  The capillary filler is really kinda neat.  I'm amused by the fact that Sheaffer's answer to the influx off ballpoint pens on the market was to come up with the Snorkel -- the most convoluted fill system on the planet (and yeah, I have a bunch of them as well -- I love writing with them but I've had to get every one of them repaired first before even testing to see if they would fill).  Whereas Parker's answer was the capillary fill 61 -- the EASIEST fill system on the planet....  :rolleyes: 

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

I think the fact that yours took 4 months to run clear would seem to be an acknowledgement of what I said. The problem we were talking about was leaving the pen to fully dry out and that can cause serious problems as it can completely clog up the capillary system if left long enough. I have one 61 that still will not fill after 5 years of flushing etc. it is completely clogged. Used regularly I would fully agree that it is a wonderful system but far too many users did not appreciate the idiosyncrasies of the capillary system. This resulted in some unusable pens. Another problem that sometimes crops up is the person who thinks that it is a cartridge/converter pen and tries to remove the capillary unit, resulting in a ruined pen.


Peter


#8 inkstainedruth

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 18:00

 

I think the fact that yours took 4 months to run clear would seem to be an acknowledgement of what I said. The problem we were talking about was leaving the pen to fully dry out and that can cause serious problems as it can completely clog up the capillary system if left long enough. I have one 61 that still will not fill after 5 years of flushing etc. it is completely clogged. Used regularly I would fully agree that it is a wonderful system but far too many users did not appreciate the idiosyncrasies of the capillary system. This resulted in some unusable pens. Another problem that sometimes crops up is the person who thinks that it is a cartridge/converter pen and tries to remove the capillary unit, resulting in a ruined pen.

 

The difference was that I was WRITING with that pen for four months, just with the reconstituted ink.  And AFAIK the ink was fully dried out before I bought it.  I'm suspecting that your pen was previously filled with something that probably shouldn't have been in ANY fountain pen (you know, like Higgins India ink).  Have you tried flushing from the back with something like Rapid-o-Eze?  Thinking that might help.

And yeah, you're right about people who removed the capillary filler, not knowing any better.  There was a thread a few weeks ago where someone posted photos of dismantling the capillary unit entirely.  I wanted to cry.  Then slap the person who did it -- I've looked at replacement units on eBay and they are Freaking Expensive™....

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."

#9 Matlock

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 18:13

 

Have you tried flushing from the back with something like Rapid-o-Eze?  Thinking that might help.

 

 

The problem is that once the capillary layers are completely clogged no amount of flushing will clear them. You are probably correct that an unsuitable ink was used, but it happens. I am not too worried as I have another three 61s that are fine, its just that this one had the best nib. The best 61, however, is the Argentinian model with the Aerometric filler, also it doesn't have the troublesome arrow on the hood section. Parker USA and UK missed a trick there, probably one of my favourite pens..


Peter


#10 tmenyc

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 19:02

I cleared mine with a siphon, sort of a continuous intravenous drip, running water nonstop through the filler and out the nib for a couple of weeks, from a pail above the pen through a tube affixed to the capillary filler, into a small jar the pen is resting in, nib down, which overflows into a larger pail below.  It finally cleared.  

I'm not an advocate of pushing water through the nib and up because it can get stuff stuck in the filler that needs to find its way out.   The slow drip worked well. 

 

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home: MontBlanc 149/Waterman Blue/Black;  Esterbook SJ/Iro Yamabudo; Omas Extra/Waterman Mysterious

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#11 pajaro

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 19:25

I have a UK made capillary 61 with a UK medium nib. Very smooth. I left it filled for a year. It wrote when I found it. It's interesting and it works. The arrow on the hood stays put and orients the nib. I like that and the pen in general. Why do you need to change inks in it? Most of you have many pens you can use some other ink in.

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#12 Dont_Flexme

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 22:37

And let's face it.  The capillary filler is really kinda neat.  I'm amused by the fact that Sheaffer's answer to the influx off ballpoint pens on the market was to come up with the Snorkel -- the most convoluted fill system on the planet (and yeah, I have a bunch of them as well -- I love writing with them but I've had to get every one of them repaired first before even testing to see if they would fill).  Whereas Parker's answer was the capillary fill 61 -- the EASIEST fill system on the planet....  :rolleyes: 
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


Yep. This is why I'll eventually get one. The same reason I got a snorkel. It just seems cool.

Thanks everyone for your responses.

#13 jeremycoleman1957

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 16:50

I have been using a 61 pen since 1962.  At that time I never flushed out the pen after using it daily for several years.  I used Parker Quink black.  Years later I learned about the ear syringe and distilled water and found that it is quite easy to flush the pen.  Also, I discovered to keep the pen full of ink by filling it at the end of the day.  It is important to keep fingers from touching the capillary cell that is coated with Teflon.  I never had to wipe the cell off from filling the pen.  Occasionally, I would use a facial tissue(like Kleenex) that had been lightly sprayed with WD40 to wipe the cell to removed any accidental fingerprints.  This always worked.  The 61 pen has a reputation for its barrel and its shell to crack.  I try not to handle the pen roughly and try not to close the pen by pushing the cap on too much.  So far, I have not had mine to crack.

 

I have one in my shirt pocket right now and do use it as a daily writer.  The one that I am using today is a c/c, and it does not require the extra maintenance that the capillary pen requires; however, to this day, I am still very fascinated by the capillary 61 pen.  Mine have always been good writers.  I love the way the 61 feels in the hand too.

 

I apologize for being so wordy.








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