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Securing Parker Clip Screws And Jewels....



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There is little doubt that Parker used something as a thread lock compound when they installed the clip screws and jewels on Vacumatics and 51s. Popular wisdom is that one should use a dab of shellac to hold the jewels in place. Not so! Here's why....

 

A common trick used when removing a jewel is to drop some naphtha into the cap, or under the clip screw. The naphtha acts as a light penetrating oil, and allows the jewel to come out when a little heat is applied. (No, it won't burst into flames unless you're using open flame, but you know better than that.) Sometimes just a little heat is all that is needed to get the jewel out of a clip screw, and I do mean a little. Too much heat and the stem of a jewel can shear off.

 

Now, think this through a for a minute. If Parker had used shellac, this little trick wouldn't work - and it would take a lot more heat to release the jewel, which you don't want given how easily jewels shear off. Naphtha softens whatever holds the jewel, and in some cases clip screws in place. We know that shellac is broken down by alcohol, but naphtha doesn't touch it. Shellac can hold so well that sometimes you end up sacrificing a jewel so to get the needed clip or tassie off of a pen.

 

So what did Parker use, and by extension, what should be used?

 

A rosin based thread sealant. Parker already had this around the factory and on the assembly benches to seal the section threads. It's properties are ideal... It's nice and sticky, releases at a much lower temperature than shellac, and also is broken down by naphtha or mineral spirits which unlike alcohol, will not damage the celluloid. But because it is so sticky, it will hold a jewel quite well until you want it to come out. The residue on the threads is not shellac, but rather dried rosin based thread sealant.

 

 

 

Short story - don't use shellac to hold a jewel on the pen - use a rosin based thread sealant.

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  • Ron Z

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thanks for this great tip, ron. now where can we buy this sealant?

 

Ron sells it on his website.

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thanks for this great tip, ron. now where can we buy this sealant?

 

Ron sells it on his website.

 

As does Richard, I believe, and a nearly identical product is also available from Tryphon.

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I have both Ron's rosin based sealant, and the Tryphon section sealant. They are not nearly identical.

 

Ron's sealant is a light amber color and never sets hard. The section sealant from Tryphon is rosin based as well, but very dark and does harden to virtually solid. Both have their places, but I pretty much exclusively use Ron's sealant these days. It cleans up much easier, is pretty easy to work with and softens very quickly with heat.

 

Cheers,

Sean

PenRx is no longer in business.

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  • 8 months later...

There is little doubt that Parker used something as a thread lock compound when they installed the clip screws and jewels on Vacumatics and 51s. Popular wisdom is that one should use a dab of shellac to hold the jewels in place. Not so! Here's why....

 

A common trick used when removing a jewel is to drop some naphtha into the cap, or under the clip screw. The naphtha acts as a light penetrating oil, and allows the jewel to come out when a little heat is applied. (No, it won't burst into flames unless you're using open flame, but you know better than that.) Sometimes just a little heat is all that is needed to get the jewel out of a clip screw, and I do mean a little. Too much heat and the stem of a jewel can shear off.

 

Now, think this through a for a minute. If Parker had used shellac, this little trick wouldn't work - and it would take a lot more heat to release the jewel, which you don't want given how easily jewels shear off. Naphtha softens whatever holds the jewel, and in some cases clip screws in place. We know that shellac is broken down by alcohol, but naphtha doesn't touch it. Shellac can hold so well that sometimes you end up sacrificing a jewel so to get the needed clip or tassie off of a pen.

 

So what did Parker use, and by extension, what should be used?

 

A rosin based thread sealant. Parker already had this around the factory and on the assembly benches to seal the section threads. It's properties are ideal... It's nice and sticky, releases at a much lower temperature than shellac, and also is broken down by naphtha or mineral spirits which unlike alcohol, will not damage the celluloid. But because it is so sticky, it will hold a jewel quite well until you want it to come out. The residue on the threads is not shellac, but rather dried rosin based thread sealant.

 

 

 

Short story - don't use shellac to hold a jewel on the pen - use a rosin based thread sealant.

 

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the idea of using Naphtha when trying to remove stubborn jewels.

I also use a thick piece of gum rubber to push the jewel against. It tends to grip the jewel fairly well, although, I must admit that some jewels seem impossible to remove :^) I can't wait to try Naphtha!!

Best,

Michael Quitt

www.charmcitypens.com

Michael Quitt

www.charmcitypens.com

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  • 1 year later...

There is little doubt that Parker used something as a thread lock compound when they installed the clip screws and jewels on Vacumatics and 51s. Popular wisdom is that one should use a dab of shellac to hold the jewels in place. Not so! Here's why....

 

A common trick used when removing a jewel is to drop some naphtha into the cap, or under the clip screw. The naphtha acts as a light penetrating oil, and allows the jewel to come out when a little heat is applied. (No, it won't burst into flames unless you're using open flame, but you know better than that.) Sometimes just a little heat is all that is needed to get the jewel out of a clip screw, and I do mean a little. Too much heat and the stem of a jewel can shear off.

 

Now, think this through a for a minute. If Parker had used shellac, this little trick wouldn't work - and it would take a lot more heat to release the jewel, which you don't want given how easily jewels shear off. Naphtha softens whatever holds the jewel, and in some cases clip screws in place. We know that shellac is broken down by alcohol, but naphtha doesn't touch it. Shellac can hold so well that sometimes you end up sacrificing a jewel so to get the needed clip or tassie off of a pen.

 

So what did Parker use, and by extension, what should be used?

 

A rosin based thread sealant. Parker already had this around the factory and on the assembly benches to seal the section threads. It's properties are ideal... It's nice and sticky, releases at a much lower temperature than shellac, and also is broken down by naphtha or mineral spirits which unlike alcohol, will not damage the celluloid. But because it is so sticky, it will hold a jewel quite well until you want it to come out. The residue on the threads is not shellac, but rather dried rosin based thread sealant.

 

 

 

Short story - don't use shellac to hold a jewel on the pen - use a rosin based thread sealant.

If I didn't have naptha would industrial methylated spirit (aka IDA) work or would it harm the jewel or barrel?

Edited by Chrissy
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  • 11 months later...
crazypencollector

Wow,smart. I use a 4" piece of rubber from a rubber tie down strap to grip the jewel against.If it doesn't want to loosen,I use a little heat around the cap and try again,but heat tends to make it want to brake off at the stem.I ultrasonic the cap first and tray again.Now I know better. Thank you

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  • 1 year later...

Some time ago I made some traditional Rosin Sealant using Flounder's recipe (30% Castor Oil, 70% Colophony plus heat), there's no alcohol or hydrocarbon solvent in it. I've just submersed some of this sealant with White Gas (Ronsonol Lighter Fluid), Naptha as such isn't available in UK, and it's not affected the tackiness of the sealant in any way. So I'm wondering if Parker's Jewel sealant was indeed traditional Rosin/Castor Oil based or something else. Incidentally, about the only thing readily to clean off fresh Rosin Sealant from fingers etc is some vegetable oil (Castor Oil, Olive oil etc)

 

I suppose in the case of old, dried-up Rosin-Sealed joints the Castor Oil may have evaporated/migrated away from the edges open to atmosphere and that the Naptha/White Gas performs as a penetrating/lubricant ?? Heat will improve the penetration I guess ?

 

I also made up some thick, tacky Shellac using EtOH as solvent a while ago; and submersing a blob of this in White Gas doesn't thin the shellac either.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I must be going barmy in the brainbox, I always assumed this was a locked sticky!

 

The problem with ronsonol and off the shelf "white spirit" in the UK is that the distillates inside can vary tremendously. Bah!

 

I prefer Blutack over rubber for removing jewels. Both are usefully grippy, but only Blutack can shear in this torque range, giving the jewel a better margin of safety. I think of it as a 51 jewel torque wrench (scroll down to "Removing Parker 51 jewels").

Latest pen related post @ flounders-mindthots.blogspot.com : vintage Pilot Elite Pocket Pen review

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The "Bull" brand lighter fluid sold in ASDA lists contents as, and I quote, "solvent naptha (petroleum) light aliph ". Not being an organic chemist I wonder if this is the same Naptha that Ron refers to?

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I would think so. Most of the naphtha that I use is referred to as "Varnish and Paint Makers Naphtha" It's a relatively light petroleum distillate.

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The whole subject of Solvents and Thinners is interesting (and open to confusion because of different terminologies in different countries)

This link is informative https://davidneat.wordpress.com/materials/solvents-and-thinners/

and this one too (it's link to a compilation of old Scientific American recipes discussing solubility of various resins)

http://chestofbooks.com/crafts/scientific-american/Recipes/Solubility-Of-Resins.html#.VOSPy-asWO4

 

It says ...

 

Alcohol ... colophony, shellac, sandarac, and mastic are readily soluble therein.

and..carnauba, and very readily mastic.

Ether does not dissolve amber and shellac; ; it readily dissolves dammar, colophony, elemi, sandarac, and mastic.

Oil of turpentine has no action upon amber or shellac; it causes copal to swell, and readily dissolves dammar, colophony, elemi, sandarac,

It doesn't mention Naptha, so maybe it pre-dates it's acceptance into modern terminology

 

The solubility of Colophony and Shelac is interesting from a kitchen-science point of view. And of course, as ever, extreme caution should be used from 'Elf & Safety'. Also... I'm not suggesting that BHR/Ebonite, Celluloid or injection moulded plastics be experimented upon !

 

 

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I'm going to add one thing here.... Even with naphtha and heat, you need to grip the jewels with something other than your finger. Blue tacky stuff may work. I haven't tried it. Rubber bands and things like them were just frustrating. I use these little guys, and have for years. Nothing else that has been offered over the years works as well. They stick well enough that it's possible to shear off a 51 jewel if you aren't careful. But I've never had much if any success without one. I've started to stock them mainly as a result of this thread. They're grippy... not tacky, not sticky, but they give you traction on those stupid little jewels. A wipe down with acetone restores the grip if they get too smooth.

http://www.mainstreetpens.com/stuff/jeweltool.jpg

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  • 2 months later...
monkeydonot

The absolute best way to remove and install most jewels in Parker Vacumatics and 51's is actually very simple. Get a hot glue gun and put a generous drop on it. After it hardens, you can turn the glue blob and the jewel comes out easily. Peel off when done. I've done this tons of times with no ill effects to jewels. Anything stubborn just requires a 5 minute soak in water before turning. To date, I've never had it not work. Hope this helps someone, since it beats all other methods I've tried by a long shot.

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monkeydonot

Mr. Zorn, I apologize if this affects any sales for those tacky grip thingees. You can get a hot glue gun at the $0.99 store and one stick of glue will last for 50 pens. Just thought I would help this great community, since I've benefitted from it so much. Once you try this method, you will bonk yourself on the head over how easy it is. No more painful fingers.

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Mr. Zorn, I apologize if this affects any sales for those tacky grip thingees. You can get a hot glue gun at the $0.99 store and one stick of glue will last for 50 pens. Just thought I would help this great community, since I've benefitted from it so much. Once you try this method, you will bonk yourself on the head over how easy it is. No more painful fingers.

 

 

Not to worry, not something that I will ever try or recommend.

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monkeydonot

 

Not to worry, not something that I will ever try or recommend.

Why not? A tiny bit of heat that cools in a few seconds is surely no more harmful than all the chemicals. Plus, you can get "cool" hot glue guns which run at lower temps. Just try it on a practice pen. You'd be surprised.

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  • 8 months later...

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