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A New Year And The Snorkel Repair

sheaffer snorkel sac diy

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19 replies to this topic

#1 tonybelding

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 14:32

Yesterday I started my new year with a new achievement: I restored a Sheaffer Snorkel!

 

I’m sure that’s not exactly a “stop the presses” moment for most of you, but it was a bit of a watershed for me. I’ve been collecting and using fountain pens for some years now, and I’ve done a bit of light tinkering along the way. I’ve learned to swap standard #5 and #6 nibs around freely, made some basic nib adjustments, got a sonic cleaner. I even replaced rubber bulbs on my bulb-fillers, which is about as easy as it gets, because it doesn’t even require disassembling the pen at all.

 

But the Snorkel… It’s got a reputation as possibly the most advanced—and most complex—fountain pen ever produced. Jumping into this was a leap of faith for me. With three non-functioning Snorkels in hand, I snagged a fresh bottle of shellac and a parts kit from eBay. Then took a while to work up my nerve.

 

The most scary thing to me is disassembly, if a pen was put together with glue and not designed to come apart easily. I figure if I’m going to break one, or scar one up, that’s when it’ll happen. Fortunately, a lot of Snorkels seem to come apart quite easily. Unfortunately, the one I picked to start working on was stubborn and seemed like it got a triple shot of glue back at Ford Madison. I had to apply heat and a fair bit of torque (with latex-coated gloves for extra grip) before it gradually turned loose.

 

My parts kit came with three O-rings, three point seals, and three sacs. After getting the pen apart, the orginal factory O-ring and point seal were in great condition. They weren’t hard or cracked or gummy, and I decided to just keep them. (Getting that O-ring back in place after examining it was pretty comedic, though!) The sac, though… It had turned to crumbly, stubborn goo. Or gooey crumbs. Either way, it didn’t want to come out. I eventually discovered that a 22-caliber bronze bore brush was very helpful with this.

 

I probably shouldn’t even call what I did “restoration” because all I ended up doing was replacing the sac in this pen. It was already a superbly preserved “eBay minty” specimen. Even so, I can’t help feeling a little pride that I managed to disassemble the notorious Snorkel, replace that sac and reassemble everything correctly without damaging anything or losing any parts, and I got it working as it should.

 

One down, two to go!



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#2 tamiya

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 14:41

You managed to get the sac protector bung out? Bravo!

#3 tonybelding

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 15:44

You managed to get the sac protector bung out? Bravo!

It wasn't too hard on the first pen.

 

The second one, which I am working on right now, was a lot more stubborn in coming out, but I eventually got it.



#4 tamiya

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 16:23

Appreciate any tips you might have to offer.

Do you heat? Did you leave any marks on the protector that shows you've been in there?

I have several Snorks needing that to be done but haven't yet found enough courage to start.

#5 tonybelding

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 16:47

Do you heat? Did you leave any marks on the protector that shows you've been in there?

On the second pen I did try heat to make the plastic bung turn loose, but I'm not even sure if it helped.  The key seemed to be getting aggressive with those little crimp points.  I didn't want to damage them or needlessly fatigue the metal, but then I found being timid wasn't getting me there.  I used a knife tip to pry them up, then I inserted a tool through the length of the sac protector to push the bung out.  I don't think I've done any visible harm to the sac protector.



#6 Estycollector

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 17:10

Ive read about these pens. Congratulations. :)

#7 ethernautrix

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 17:16

Congratulations! Good way to start a new year. Sets the tone.

And, yeah, I've heard that repairing Snorkels is complicated. Good on ya!

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#8 tonybelding

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 14:47

The end results.  The black pen with the steel cap also has a gold filler tube, which if I remember right was only produced during the first year the Snorkel was on the market.  Both it and the blue pen (with a PdAg nib) are mediums, the desk pen is a fine.

 

renewed_snorkels.jpg

 

So I'm done.  Or… am I?

 

Oh yeah, I still have a PFM here that needs some help!



#9 Ron Z

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 14:53

 

Did you leave any marks on the protector that shows you've been in there?

The fact that there is a good sac in the pen is evidence enough. 

 

I go in from the back end to push the plug out.  Just make sure that you pull the snorkel tube first, so that you don't damage the end of the insert.


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#10 tamiya

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 15:37

On the second pen I did try heat to make the plastic bung turn loose, but I'm not even sure if it helped.  The key seemed to be getting aggressive with those little crimp points.  I didn't want to damage them or needlessly fatigue the metal, but then I found being timid wasn't getting me there.  I used a knife tip to pry them up, then I inserted a tool through the length of the sac protector to push the bung out.  I don't think I've done any visible harm to the sac protector.

 

thanks Tony!

 

I go in from the back end to push the plug out.  Just make sure that you pull the snorkel tube first, so that you don't damage the end of the insert.


thanks Ron! That would've been my next question :)

Assume there's nothing holding in the tube, just the friction against rubber bung?

#11 tamiya

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 15:39

The end results.  The black pen with the steel cap also has a gold filler tube, which if I remember right was only produced during the first year the Snorkel was on the market.


That's what I read too. Also the collar on the nib module is narrower than later pens.

#12 corniche

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 16:21

Congratulations, Tony and Happy 2020. :D

I've never been a big fan of Snorks, so I've never worked on one, but I've heard their one of the tougher ones to work on. So, I reckon if you can handle that; you're in pretty good stead.

Sean :)
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#13 Ryanlim

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 16:42

Congratulations, Tony! What a nice start to 2020!

I just sent a message to tbickiii that I am loving the Sheaffer PFM III that I bought from him. I'm not into restoration at all, but i know it's an amazing and unusual filling system. Well done!



#14 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 20:19

Congratulations, Tony! :thumbup:

We've done a few Snorks, including a PFM...when all we had done before was re-sac lever and button fillers.

#15 OMASsimo

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 21:47

Congratulations, great job! You inspired me to work on my snorkel, which was waiting in the row for repair for a long time now. I think, they are great fun to work on, such well-engineered pens.

 

Happy 2020!



#16 Ron Z

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 23:41

 

Assume there's nothing holding in the tube, just the friction against rubber bung?

 

No adhesive is used.  The end of the tube is often rolled over, especially the end of the splines.  That needs to be expanded again before you put the plug back in.  A tapered punch pushed in makes doing that easy.   Some of the sad guards have dents between splines that interlock with dents in the plug.  They're a little easier to get out.


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#17 WLSpec

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 00:06

Congrats! 


-WLSpec

 

 


#18 tonybelding

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 05:02

I go in from the back end to push the plug out.  Just make sure that you pull the snorkel tube first, so that you don't damage the end of the insert.

Yeah, uhh…  I hope that little end bit wasn’t too critical.   :unsure: 

The pens seem to work fine, as far as I can tell.

 

By the time I did the PFM today, I had it completely figured out.  Hot water was very helpful both in getting the barrel open and getting the plastic bung out.



#19 jbphotographs

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 13:51

I was eyeing a snorkel on eBay today but now I think I'll runaway

Definitely way beyond my skills for now.  Thanks to all for your posts!



#20 bsenn

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 15:12

Good overview of the snorkel rebuilding process is here (with the added bonus that Dirck's writing entertains me).

http://dirck.delint....ta/?page_id=709

One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: sheaffer, snorkel, sac, diy



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