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Parker 61 Capillary - Should I Just Give Up?


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My Mum found and gave me the pen she used at university back at the end of the 60s: a Parker 61 with the dreaded capillary filler (and, like another poster here, with the little arrow on the nib hood missing). The hood I can deal with. The filler...I'm wondering if I should just put the pen in one of my boxes and give up.


I spoke to Greg Minuskin about it (I had idle thoughts about getting the nib reground to be a bit less...boring), and he basically said it wasn't worth repairing because the fillers are such a nightmare. Looking into home repairs, I agree with him: the filler (full of dried ink and, being a capillary filler, unflushable) is glued in with epoxy or something similar, but heating the barrel is a no-go because the plastic on these things is prone to warping.


It'd be nice to use it because of the sentimental value. The monetary value is not high. Does anyone have any clever tricks that'll allow me to get the capillary filler out without damaging the section, or that'll allow me to clean the filler itself (and the nib hood, which that epoxy renders near-impossible to detach) properly?

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I would try submerging section and filler unit in a solution of water and ammonia and leave it overnight. If the day after you find ink it the solution it is good news. Flush it and try forcing water through the system with a cleanout bulb. You can place the bulb by the nib and by the filer side and see if anything goes through. Repeat for a few nights. This could work, if it doesn't you can think of keeping the pen as is for its sentimental value or have a professional install a new filling system.

" I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." -- Albert Einstein

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The capilliary filler is a nightmare to get working again, but persistence and an ear bulb will probably pay you in the end.


The pen will really need a mighty good flush.

To see what the pen looks like inside, take a look at the photo of the P61 capilliary innards here: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/39324-parker-61-capilliary-to-cartridge-conversion/

ignore the waffle about the c/c conversion as it wouldn't be applicable.


What you will have is a pen where the finned collector is clogged with ink and, in all probability, the crinkly plastic will be clogged too. If you can force water into this area using an ear bulb, it will eventually dissolve the ink and slowly the pen can be resurrected. Expect it to take time, and lots of it. I wouldn't be surprised if the time is measured in weeks if you flush it for 15 minutes a day and soak it for the rest of the time.


The Burgundy & Teal colours of hood are particularly prone to damage through microcracking from attack by the ink inside the pen, and this will show up first as loss of the tip of the hood above the nib then as discolouration of the hood compared to the rest of the pen. If it gets too bad, the hood becomes porous and that's terminal. Before that happens, the pen is gorgeous.





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Thanks very much! It's the grey hood, and looks OK through my loupe. I'm going to have a good old ponder about whether or not to start trying to flush it - I suspect it might turn out to be a bit of an albatross around my neck. Visions of still flushing next Christmas...

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Ernst Bitterman

I was only at it for about three weeks. Alternate flushes with leaving the filler standing most of its length in water, and you'll get there eventually.

Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.



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Give it a go - its strangely therapeutic!!


I,ve done about 15, and only one defeated me

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Never give up! Never surrender!


One of my greatest fears is giving up one minute, hour, or day too soon when that one more minute, hour, or day might have made the difference!

MB JFK BB; 100th Anniversary M; Dumas M FP/BP/MP set; Fitzgerald M FP/BP/MP set; Jules Verne BB; Bernstein F; Shaw B; Schiller M; yellow gold/pearl Bohème Pirouette Lilas (custom MB-fitted EF); gold 744-N flexy OBB; 136 flexy OB; 236 flexy OBB; silver pinstripe Le Grand B; 149 F x2; 149 M; 147 F; 146 OB; 146 M; 146 F; 145P M; 162 RB
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When I did mine I went all high tech and attached one end to a vacuum pump and the other end I put in a cup of water and just the pump to suck water threw the capillary unit, it didn't take too long before the water coming out was nice and clear.


After that the pen has worked a dream and seems to write and write with a nice juicy broad nib as well, and always starts first time no matter how long its sat capped in the case.


Give it a go, you don't need to go high tech just use an ear bulb and suck or blow the water through depending on which end you attach it to.



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I wouldn't give up on it. Once you get it running, I think you'll be very happy with your 61. From what I've read, ammonia is a bit harder to come by in Britain than here in the States. I think soaking in just plain water will do some good. Just put it point down in a a glass of water over night. Next day try blowing water out from the back end, then try soaking the filler end. Once water starts to move freely, you can try shooting water through both the nib side and the filler side using the ear bulb. The more water you move through the pen, in both directions, the more progress you'll make. Good luck.

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It's probablyfull of years of dried ink.


I had the capillary filler on my first Parker 61 replaced for $55. FPN member suggested soak and flush for the second P61. Cut a rubber earbulb to fit the capillary filler tightly. Use it to push flushing solution in both directions. Soak for a few hours. Flush. Repeat ten times. "Solution" is 5-10% ammonia and water.


Second and third Parker 61 pens work as well as the $55 restored one. Try it. What's to lose ?

Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn.
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen:
Verweile doch, du bist so schön !

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I bought an English Parker 61 on ebay, medium nib like a broad nib, capilliary filler. I was curious about these pens. It works perfectly, and it's a great pen. These pens are certainly worth cleaning up and flushing.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.



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In this case I would reach for a technical pen cleaner like Koh-i-noor or Rotring. It's much more effective than the ammonia solution (from my experience with an old P51, which has the feed clogged probably by dried Superchrome ink).

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Ammonia is available in the uk so there should be no problems with mixing up a nice load of pen flush, you should be able to get it from most hardwear stores.



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I agree with the soak & flush routine, but found that having an accumulation of 'gunk' in both the feed+collector and the reservoir lead me to back-flushing the pen - adding water from the nib end. Why force gunk through the feed channel that's designed to control flow / be a bottleneck?


Fortunately most of ye olde FP inks can be loosened-up with plain water.


A static plain water soak helps to loosen things up, then I slip a bit of soft [surgical] hose over the hood then gently push water through the pen. I've used a siphon as well, to give a slow 'rolling soak'.


Once things are flowing pretty well, I'll use some DIY pen cleaner of 0.5% plain ammonia with a bit of Kodak PhotoFlo. If things become too tedious or exposure times to the ammonia solution become a bit long, I'll use a technical pen cleaner such as Rapido-Eze.


The 'salad spinner' used to clear Vacs may also be useful.


One key thing is not to let the pen dry out once you've started.





__ __

See also : Limit to Soaking? https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/229245-limit-to-soaking/?p=2453755

Edited by Sandy1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


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Wow, that's a lot of answers - thank you! You've convinced me, and I'll persevere with it. (I'm a pen nerd. Of course I have ammonia.) :P

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The 61 would be The One pen that comes to mind that I probably wouldn't use Rapido-Ez with.


What you flush it with, you need to get ALL of back out. Easier said than done with this pen. Rapido-Ez is also really gloopy until you highly dilute it. If a 61 is clogged enough to need Rapido-Ez, I'd say it's time for a new filler.


I wouldn't hesitate to use the Ammonia water flush though.


Bruce in Ocala, Fl


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I've only flushed out one dried up P61, and it wasn't so bad. I started by manually flushing it with a rubber bulb, but soon became bored. I didn't have the soft rubber tubing for Sandy1's siphon suggestion, but I came up with something similar.


I took a big plastic freezer bag and cut off a corner, leaving a small hole. I then put the pen in the bag and stuck the end through the hole, which was small enough that it fitted snugly around the barrel about halfway up it's length. The fit was tight enough that the seal was watertight. I filled the bag with water, sealed the top and put the whole thing in a big jam-making funnel over a jar. The water slowly dripped through the pen, putting a litre or two through it while left unattended. A few days of that got the water coming out colourless, filling the bag in the morning and evening and occasionally squeezing the bag to send water through quickly.


That said, if I were to do it again, I think I would follow Sandy1's advice of sending the water through backwards. Since there's a step between the filler and the section, it would be possible to stick the filler through the hole, with the water going in at the nib end.

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I faced this problem after a seller here sold me my 61 with the reason for its low price being that he didn't have the patience to flush it...

I set up a siphon -- a) the 61 in a low jar, nib down. with a piece of plastic tubing securely fitted to the top of the filler; B) the tubing ran up and into a jar of water above the pen jar; and c) the pen jar overflowed into a third jar beneath it. Got it flowing and basically let it run for a few days nonstop, using a 50/50 mix of KohINoor pen flush and water. It eventually got all that old stuff out, with particles actually sinking to the bottom of the pen jar.


After that, the pen worked beautifully with lubricated ink, and then I sold it, having decided that it was a touch too slender for my hand. Since it has sentimental value, don't give up.




@timsvintagepens and timsvintagepens.com


Currently inked pens:

Sheaffer Valiant, Parker Junior Duofold, Aurora 88 (modern), Montblanc Meisterstück (home desk), Esterbrook Deluxe (home desk), Delta Fusion 82 (office desk)




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It took me about a month of overnight soaking and daily flushing before my 61 was completely free of the old ink. My time was just a few minutes each day. But the elapsed time was about a month. The pen now works perfectly and I use it almost every day.


In my opinion, the only real disadvantage of the 61 is that changing ink colors is a chore - maybe not quite as difficult as cleaning out old ink - but still a chore.

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