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Learning how to restore & repair fountain pens.


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60 replies to this topic

#21 Ron Z

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 01:20

QUOTE(Kelly G @ Dec 29 2007, 07:39 PM) View Post
.
13. And remember, it's cheaper than seeing a shrink.


Hey Kelly, are you sure about that!! lticaptd.gif

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#22 Kelly G

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 01:33

QUOTE(Ron Z @ Dec 29 2007, 07:20 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Kelly G @ Dec 29 2007, 07:39 PM) View Post
.
13. And remember, it's cheaper than seeing a shrink.


Hey Kelly, are you sure about that!! lticaptd.gif


Well, I suppose that depends on the pen; and the shrink!

I agree on the heat gun. Early on I tried one of the name brand paint stripper models that I had out in the garage - bad move. It took me a good long while to find the replacement parts for that brown striped Sheaffer 1000 that I melted. I've been using the Sears Craftsman Industrial model since. The one with the infinite adjustment and a 120 degree low end. It is a bit large, but it sets on the bench well and doesn't drift off temp. I do check the air temp when I get away from my normal settings as I don't want to experience the celluloid melt down again.

Oh, my wife's sister is a shrink, so maybe it's not cheaper - or maybe it is; h'mmm...
Maybe I should say, it's a lot better than seeing a shrink?
May we live, not by our fears but by our hopes; not by our words but by our deeds; not by our disappointments but by our dreams.

#23 Shangas

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 05:24

Hey guys!!

Thankyou all VERY much for all the stuff you've given me. That Tryphon Enterprises site was a wonderful look-around. I'm all jazzed up and want to get started right away!

Next stop, the flea-market to pick up pen-trash and start my torture-methods on it!

I have a list of trash & treasure/flea/junk/bric-a-brac (and what-have-you), markets *Holds up wad of post-it notes* and this-coming weekend, I shall head out to find repairable fountain pens!

Wish me luck.

Also this weekend, I'll be dropping by Melbourne Vintage Pens to pick up DA BOOK.

Edited by Shangas, 30 December 2007 - 07:03.

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#24 Shangas

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 09:13

Got more questions before I go trash-pen hunting - What are some good 'starter' pens? What should I go for? By this, I'm referring to actual filling-systems, not brand-names.

I saw a 'nice' (And I use the word loosely) Conway-Stewart lever-filler at a flea-market once. It was bright blue and had a petrified sac (Two tugs on the lever that wouldn't move more than a few millimeters told me all I needed to know about THAT pen). I was thinking of starting by buying one or two lever-fillers and tinkering around with those. Is that a good idea, or should I go for something else?
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#25 Fox in the Stars

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 13:58

Lever-fillers are the standard norm and IMO the best thing to start with. I'm finding out Sheaffer Touchdowns are easy, too.
Laura Fox ~
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#26 Shangas

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 14:05

Yeah, I figured that lever-fillers were the easiest thing to start with as well. In that case, I'll search for lever-fillers. But I'll buy whatever other stuff I can find, too. Just in-case.
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#27 circle

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 02:33

Anyone want to talk about light. What kind of light(s) are used in repairing fountain pens?

#28 wdyasq

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 03:07

QUOTE(circle @ Dec 31 2007, 02:33 AM) View Post
Anyone want to talk about light. What kind of light(s) are used in repairing fountain pens?

None of my pens came with lights. I have not seen after-market lights for fountain pens and only the patents for those with lights.











Now, if you are talking about working lights, I like to work under the compact florescence lights and keep an LED flashlight handy to peerpeel into barrels. I plan on some lights for my bifocal visor, but haven't made them yet.

Ron

Edited by wdyasq, 31 December 2007 - 03:47.

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#29 Fox in the Stars

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 03:19

Then there's the kind of light you want to look into barrels. I hear the Streamlight is the best, but the little gooseneck LED things will get you started.
Laura Fox ~
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#30 Shangas

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 13:58

According to the MVP site, they sell little LED lights. I may buy one.

By the way, something else I'd like to know...

Obviously, when I find a pen in the wild, it's going to be crammed full of dry ink up the feed and god-knows-where-else...How do I clean out this ink? What's that water & ammonia-mix that everyone's talking about...?
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#31 david i

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 18:32

QUOTE(Ron Z @ Dec 29 2007, 08:19 AM) View Post
QUOTE(david i @ Dec 29 2007, 08:15 AM) View Post
Actually, having known the odd rocket scientist......
d


Do tell, how odd was he?


As odd as most.

-d



#32 Kelly G

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 20:48

Shangas - a few more answers (they're worth what you paid for them)

You asked earlier when Frank D. passed away - that would be Dec. 7, 2003. He died from a heart attack while shoveling snow -after receiving news of his mother's passing.

Water and ammonia - until you get an ultrasonic cleaner - and that's something you will eventually get if you don't already own one - using a water/ammonia solution can clean out a lot of old dried ink. I use a 90/10 mix of water and household (non-sudsing) ammonia cleaner. That means you're getting a fairly light mix as the cleaner is also diluted. Still, use caution; good ventilation and eye protection. Ammonia in the eyes isn't a good thing. Don't expose any more of the nib/feed than you have to - some hard rubber will be discolored by the solution, so use care. And of course, rinse well with clear cool water.


May we live, not by our fears but by our hopes; not by our words but by our deeds; not by our disappointments but by our dreams.

#33 Shangas

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 23:12

So that's a ratio of nine-parts-water to one-part-ammonia, and keep only the nib & feed submerged. And just standard household ammonia.

What measurements should I use? I recall reading somewhere about a tablespoon of ammonia to a certain amount of water, but I can't remember what it was.
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#34 Jinnayah

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 23:28

QUOTE(Shangas @ Dec 31 2007, 05:12 PM) View Post
What measurements should I use? I recall reading somewhere about a tablespoon of ammonia to a certain amount of water, but I can't remember what it was.

It's one tablespoon to 2/3 cup. That comes to about a 10:1 ratio. (According to Richard Binder's site.)

#35 Shangas

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 23:37

That's it! Thanks!

And do all pens have breather-tubes that I have to concern myself with? Will I have to worry about them? You see, my plan was -

1. Buy DA BOOK.
2. Buy some busted pens to practice sac-replacement on.
3. Buy tools.
4. Try fixing pen.

a. Soak nib & feed in A&W solution.
b. Dry & then pull apart pen. Remove sac, replace sac, leave to dry.
c. Test pen. Refill with water & squirt around and then try again with ink.

Is there something that I should do, apart from that? I'd like to start with a lever-filler, if I can. I've never had one, and I've always wanted a 1920s Sheaffer flattop.
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#36 wdyasq

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 01:14

QUOTE(Shangas @ Dec 31 2007, 11:37 PM) View Post
Is there something that I should do, apart from that? I'd like to start with a lever-filler, if I can. I've never had one, and I've always wanted a 1920s Sheaffer flattop.

First, start with a third. fourth or eighth tier pen. ANYTHING that is shellaced together. Then do several more. Learn how and how much heat it takes to get these things apart. THEN, only after you are comfortable with the process on 'junk' pens, redeaux a pen with a bit of value to yourself. In the process of rebuilding a few old pens you may find some with great nibs. You will learn what feeds look like and maybe why they have the cuts and channels must they have. You may learn how to adjust the flow on a few pens before break the feed on one ... that is near impossible to replace.

While rebuilding pens isn't difficult, there are tricks to it and until you encounter a problem, you won't know how it is solved. Eventually, you will be able to look at the nib and feed of a pen tell it is going to have a problem. You will graduate to more complicated pens and understand why those who are very good with pens would and usually are good at several other technical disciplines.

Tools needed - a pair of section pliers, a good temperature gage, some small pieces of rubber hose and the most important tool, your mind.

Ron
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#37 Buzz J

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 02:42


None of my pens came with lights. I have not seen after-market lights for fountain pens and only the patents for those with lights.


Jeez Ron, give the kids a chance! wink.gif

John
so many pens, so little time.......

#38 Shangas

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 04:05

I'm not a kid! *pouts*

...but yeah, go easy! You're still scaring me!! laugh.gif

I don't think I'll use a heatgun. Dad says he has one lying around the house somewhere, but he advised against it as it's apparently quite a powerful one and said I should go with Ron (Zorn's) suggestion of using mum's hair-dryer instead.

By the way, when I remove the barrel from the section - will the filler-mechanism (filler-button, lever, pressure-bar - especially the pressure bar) - fall out of the inside of the barrel? How do I get it back in?
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#39 FarmBoy

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 04:53

Shangas,

Glad to see you are willing to learn the ins and outs of pen repair.

The FIRST thing to do before you take anything apart is study how the pen is assembled while it is assembled and take notes. Make a note on how things fit and they look assembled. Look at all the parts and how they line up. Make a few notes of your observations as things come apart. Take a good look at each step and did I mention you should take a few notes. Sketches help too. Did I mention to make notes? I do this because it often me a while to get back to a pen after it comes apart. Sometimes because I need a part, other times because it needs to soak, often I'm just busy. The SECOND thing to do is put all the stuff from your project pen in one place. I use small parts boxes and keep one pen in each box. I keep everything from the pen including any broken bits until the pen is finished.

On to some of your questions-

QUOTE(Shangas @ Dec 31 2007, 08:05 PM) View Post
By the way, when I remove the barrel from the section - will the filler-mechanism (filler-button, . . .) - fall out of the inside of the barrel? How do I get it back in?

Usually not. It is almost always held in place by an expanded bottom. Can be a real pain to remove sometimes.

QUOTE(Shangas @ Dec 31 2007, 08:05 PM) View Post
By the way, when I remove the barrel from the section - will the filler-mechanism (. . .lever . . . ) - fall out of the inside of the barrel? How do I get it back in?

If nothing is busted, the lever will not fall out. Levers are usually held in place with a small ring that fits in a groove in the barrel. Some are pinned in place. There are also lever boxes which are usually the most difficult. Some levers can engage the pressure bar and these can be trying and there are usually not replacement bars available so proceed carefully.

QUOTE(Shangas @ Dec 31 2007, 08:05 PM) View Post
By the way, when I remove the barrel from the section - will the filler-mechanism (f . . . pressure-bar - especially the pressure bar) - fall out of the inside of the barrel? How do I get it back in?

The pressure bar will usually fall out if it is a button filler, broken or rotted. It may be keyed to a particular spot on the section or the button, line it back up and then put the section back in place so pay some attention when you first take apart a pen. If you have a J-bar, it will require something narrow to grab it and pull it out. Sometimes you need to twist a bit and other times you need to fit something under the hook of the J to avoid damaging the guts of the pen. Always look at the J-bar through the lever slot, there are some that are attached to the lever and these can be the most fun. It also helps to make a note of how deep the J-bar is inserted into the barrel when it comes time to put it back in.

To reinsert a J-bar install the lever and shove it back in making sure it is lined up with the lever.

QUOTE(Shangas @ Dec 31 2007, 08:05 PM) View Post
By the way, when I remove the barrel from the section . . .

I like this approach. I usually remove the section from the barrel but now and then a recalcitrant little project comes along and thinking your way often works!


Todd

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#40 Shangas

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 05:24

QUOTE
The FIRST thing to do before you take anything apart is study how the pen is assembled while it is assembled and take notes. Make a note on how things fit and they look assembled. Look at all the parts and how they line up. Make a few notes of your observations as things come apart. Take a good look at each step and did I mention you should take a few notes. Sketches help too. Did I mention to make notes? I do this because it often me a while to get back to a pen after it comes apart. Sometimes because I need a part, other times because it needs to soak, often I'm just busy. The SECOND thing to do is put all the stuff from your project pen in one place. I use small parts boxes and keep one pen in each box. I keep everything from the pen including any broken bits until the pen is finished.


Yep. I've been bombarding Richard Binder's site almost every day for the past two or three weeks reading everything he has there about the insides of pens and how they work and I've just started writing up a glossary and general notes on pens, their parts, what they are, what they're used for, how they work etc etc etc etc...*deep-breath*. (I'm handwriting it with a fountain pen, to begin with. I figured this was as good-a-time as any to use my pens! To write about how to restore pens! laugh.gif )

I wanted to start with lever-fillers because they look like the easiest to repair. My main concern was pressure-bars dropping out because I'm worried that I'll have a bloody hard time getting them back in.
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