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Trying To Enliven An Esterbrook Pen



Quintane

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I got and Esterbrook FP (I guess it is a J) in a flee market in Mexico City for about 15 dollars more than ten years ago. I have not given it any serious use because after a while it started to drip, and besides it has a somewhat scratchy feeling. Lately, after my addiction for pens increased (look at this if you want to see why: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/267147-why-i-am-here-or-just-another-tragic-story/), I decided to give it another try. The other day I saw that it had the tines misaligned, so I aligned them. Now it writes really smooth, but it still drips, and it also writes quite wet and the nib is not so fine for my taste. Well, only yesterday I discovered that the nib could be screwed out and be changed. I just had no idea! This discovery brought my view of this pen to another level, and I am decided to enliven it!


Of course it needs a resac or whatever repair to control the dripping. Then, and this is my main question, I would like to hear suggestions about Esterbrook extra fine nibs or finer!


Finally, anybody has an idea about what to do with this 1461 nib? It was already curved when I got it. I thought it was normal. Now I am almost sure it is not. I guess someone did the curving trying to control the dripping or the wetness...


(The barrel reads "Esterbrook. Hecho en México. Marca reg.". The nib is 1461 and says "Made in U.S.A.")


Open to your consideration! A pair of photos follow...

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Look CLOSELY for where the leak is actually coming From.

 

If per chance, it's from the threaded area of the nib assembly, just tighten it a smidge.

 

If it's From the feed itself, that usually indicates a pinhole leak in the sac. See the pinned resaccing thread at the start of this forum.

 

If the nib is writing fine now, I'd be (with no replacement at hand) inclined to write with it as is.

 

HAVING a replacement at hand, I might be inclined to put my thumbnail just aft of the bend as a support and press the nib down against something to bend it back up. (Very small increments at a time) There IS however a Good Chance that will make it not as nice a writer as it is now without more adjustment/smoothing.

 

My personal record at rehabbing "bad" Estie nibs is abysmal.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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PS; That IS a nice J. Even Nicer if it says Made in Mexico.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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Finally, anybody has an idea about what to do with this 1461 nib? It was already curved when I got it. I thought it was normal. Now I am almost sure it is not. I guess someone did the curving trying to control the dripping or the wetness...
(The barrel reads "Esterbrook. Hecho en México. Marca reg.". The nib is 1461 and says "Made in U.S.A.")
Open to your consideration! A pair of photos follow...

 

 

Your pictures and the fact that the tines were misalighed indicates that the pen was most likely dropped by its previous owner. And (as it seems ALL pens are designed to do), it landed on its point. Before I discovered that for 35 cents I could have bought a new one, I went through the exercise of bending it straight with needle-nosed pliers, and fiddling with the tines to align them to where the nib would write smoothly again.

 

The easiest and best solution today would be to re-sac the pen as you plan to, and hunt around for one of the nicer 9xxx series fine points. A 9550, for instance is a smooth fine point that would probably suit your writing preference better than a bent 1461. There are other 9xxx fine points (9461, 9555, etc.) listed on Brian's website http://www.esterbrook.net/nibs.shtml, and they're more reasonably priced than the medium/broad nibs.

 

Nice looking Mexican pen, BTW.

Best Regards
Paul


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
– Albert Einstein

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Look CLOSELY for where the leak is actually coming From.

 

If per chance, it's from the threaded area of the nib assembly, just tighten it a smidge.

 

If it's From the feed itself, that usually indicates a pinhole leak in the sac. See the pinned resaccing thread at the start of this forum.

 

If the nib is writing fine now, I'd be (with no replacement at hand) inclined to write with it as is.

 

HAVING a replacement at hand, I might be inclined to put my thumbnail just aft of the bend as a support and press the nib down against something to bend it back up. (Very small increments at a time) There IS however a Good Chance that will make it not as nice a writer as it is now without more adjustment/smoothing.

 

My personal record at rehabbing "bad" Estie nibs is abysmal.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

Thanks, Bruce. The leak seems to come from the feed. I will see the thread suggested. Perhaps I can learn to do the resaccing myself (?).

 

The nib writes fine, just too wet. But it is not as fine a nib as I would like. I'll try to get a replacement. Meanwhile, I will not do anything to it. When I get the replacement, then let's see.

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PS; That IS a nice J. Even Nicer if it says Made in Mexico.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

Oh, yes. HECHO EN MEXICO. It seems the pen was really used. The whole engraved legend, even if still legible, is start to fading.

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Your pictures and the fact that the tines were misalighed indicates that the pen was most likely dropped by its previous owner. And (as it seems ALL pens are designed to do), it landed on its point. Before I discovered that for 35 cents I could have bought a new one, I went through the exercise of bending it straight with needle-nosed pliers, and fiddling with the tines to align them to where the nib would write smoothly again.

 

The easiest and best solution today would be to re-sac the pen as you plan to, and hunt around for one of the nicer 9xxx series fine points. A 9550, for instance is a smooth fine point that would probably suit your writing preference better than a bent 1461. There are other 9xxx fine points (9461, 9555, etc.) listed on Brian's website http://www.esterbrook.net/nibs.shtml, and they're more reasonably priced than the medium/broad nibs.

 

Nice looking Mexican pen, BTW.

Thanks Hobiwan. I will look indeed for those extra fine nibs. I really don't know what happened with this pen in its first life. For me it was a cheap pen with an interesting fine nib that just did not stood to my expectations. But now! The smoothness of the writing once I aligned the tines was a first surprise. The second was the capacity to change nibs. Now I am also starting to look at it as a very nice and promising fountain pen.

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Thanks Hobiwan. I will look indeed for those extra fine nibs. I really don't know what happened with this pen in its first life. For me it was a cheap pen with an interesting fine nib that just did not stood to my expectations. But now! The smoothness of the writing once I aligned the tines was a first surprise. The second was the capacity to change nibs. Now I am also starting to look at it as a very nice and promising fountain pen.

Certanly not a cheap pen if it was made in México, there should be few, maybe we can count them with the fingers in our right hand, a prize for coleccionist.

Send it to Brian Anderson or Pendemonium for restore. Of course is a promising fountain pen.

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Send it to Brian Anderson or Pendemonium for restore. Of course is a promising fountain pen.

 

If it were a pen other than (I should say, "more complicated than") an Esterbrook J-pen, I might agree. But the great thing about these pens is their ability to withstand the handling of the novice repairperson. Before I knew much of anything about FPs, I "cut my teeth" on Esterbrooks of all models, fixing everything from simple "sac & go" to major surgery, even replacing levers, without any problems, other than my own inexperience in doing things efficiently.

 

I graduated to Sheaffer Touchdowns, then to Snorkels, then anything and everything that I got my hands on; even to the point of re-manufacturing the inner cap of a Triad triangular pen. And all because of the confidence I got from fixing Esties.

 

So, I'd say to anyone who can spend the time, give it a go yourself. Get your fingers properly stained, know the thrill of anticipation as you work the section loose, and the frustration of fiddling that uncooperative sac onto a shellaced nipple. Have the fun and eventual pride of accomplishment when you load up and write that first smooth line with the pen you restored on your own.

 

Then, show us the results, so we can all celebrate.....

Best Regards
Paul


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
– Albert Einstein

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Certanly not a cheap pen if it was made in México, there should be few, maybe we can count them with the fingers in our right hand, a prize for coleccionist.

Send it to Brian Anderson or Pendemonium for restore. Of course is a promising fountain pen.

So, I'd say to anyone who can spend the time, give it a go yourself. Get your fingers properly stained, know the thrill of anticipation as you work the section loose, and the frustration of fiddling that uncooperative sac onto a shellaced nipple. Have the fun and eventual pride of accomplishment when you load up and write that first smooth line with the pen you restored on your own.

 

Then, show us the results, so we can all celebrate.....

 

Perhaps the main problem for doing this myself is the time. Even though I have always loved fountain pens, this sort of obsession is rather new to me, and I am still not quite sure how I will accommodate it in an absurdly busy academic life. Otherwise, I would love to get my fingers stained and all the rest. Also, I must say I have received an offer from someone in TFPN to do a complete restoration of the pen at no cost. I think this is generous, and as I assume he has enough expertise, I took his offer and will send him the pen. (He also has a 9550 nib to replace the 1461 bent one.) Anyway, I promise to show the results here.

 

Considering this and what penrivers says about the scarcity of this kind of pens, I think it is a good idea to do a walk (provided I find the time one of these Sundays) in the market where I got the pen and other similar markets and shops in downtown Mexico City, to see if I can find another similar pen. I might be suffering some kind of illusion, but I can easily imagine finding not five, but dozens! If I do, I'll let you know of course.

 

It is really an extraordinary experience to be able to see something extraordinary in a thing that for most people is such an ignorable trifle. This is for sure one of the wonders of a hobby like this. And it feels good to be among people who have more or less the same "eyes" that you start to discover in yourself. Pens are one thing, fountain pens another, Esterbrooks still another, now mexican Esterbrooks… Wow.

 

Thanks to all.

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Get your fingers properly stained, know the thrill of anticipation as you work the section loose, and the frustration of fiddling that uncooperative sac onto a shellaced nipple. Have the fun and eventual pride of accomplishment when you load up and write that first smooth line with the pen you restored on your own.

 

Then, show us the results, so we can all celebrate.....

 

Chuckle. I only Half joke about getting shellac on my eyelids my first few times playing Catch the Flying Shellaced Up Sac. :lticaptd: I STILL resac with an Alcohol soaked piece of Bounty right beside me.

Sometimes the Only way to finally learn the Right way is to do All the other wrong ways first. That's what so good about most of the advice here. The advice givers are trying to give the benefit of their own mistakes without the newer tryer having to suffer them themselves.

 

I STILL get a laugh out of some of my own fumbles.

 

And of course, Paul is right.

 

Pics or it never happened. :D

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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Allowing another to bring this pen back to life is no shame, just remember that you can do it yourself. As many Paul's and a Bruce or two will say, re-saccing an Estie is a great first repair. Patience and the ability to follow directions is all you need. I take that back. Confidence is also needed. Hooker56 lent a hand, and along with some good natured ribbing, had me installing sacs and even freshening up a "51" Vacumatic with a new diaphragm.

Your friends here all understand where you are at, we were there once also.

 

Paul

 

BTW If you are successful in locating more "Hecho en Mexico" Esties, there are folks here that would love to know everything about them, and maybe add one to a collection.

"Nothing is impossible, even the word says 'I'm Possible!'" Audrey Hepburn

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You should check Coyoacán there must be hiden places with bazars, antiquities stores, and rich people flea markets, good luck, I need an emoticon for envy. Greetings from Coahuila.

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BTW If you are successful in locating more "Hecho en Mexico" Esties, there are folks here that would love to know everything about them, and maybe add one to a collection.

 

You should check Coyoacán there must be hiden places with bazars, antiquities stores, and rich people flea markets, good luck, I need an emoticon for envy. Greetings from Coahuila.

Yes, I accept wholeheartedly the task to look for some "Hecho en Mexico" Esties. An agreeable task indeed. As said, I just need time. Let's see. Of course, Coyoacan is a possibility to check (and much nearer to my neighborhood: I work at UNAM). I got my J Estie in the Zona Rosa (Londres street, Plaza del Angel market). There are other tips. There are huge second-hand markets in Mexico City. Perhaps there is a little one in Coahuila also? I dream in going back to Parras, the most lovely mexican town in my personal experience.

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Yes, of course Parras is not for fountain pens. Or perhaps just for writing with them about the beauty of the place.

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Your friends here all understand where you are at, we were there once also.

 

Paul

 

BTW If you are successful in locating more "Hecho en Mexico" Esties, there are folks here that would love to know everything about them, and maybe add one to a collection.

Count me in as one eager to learn the results of your search for these Esties. I wish you good luck and hope you enjoy writing with your fabulous Esterbrook fountain pen.

 

-David.

No matter how much you push the envelope, it will still be stationery. -Anon.

A backward poet writes inverse. -Anon.

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Count me in as one eager to learn the results of your search for these Esties.

-David.

I certainly will, David. Even though I know those things may depend mostly from chance and luck, I would like to start the research with some general and broad idea about the most appreciated Estis and nibs. Consider I have no idea about this, so I don't want to be picking a bunch of pens of second order of significance, and let some estimated stuff just because is not so handsome for my taste… So, as long as we have time (I think I will not be able todo my first walk until September), perhaps some of you can give me orientations (or tell me where I can gather from this Forum). Of course I also have no idea about which Esties were produced in Mexico, and when, and for how long, etc. Thanks again...

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A good place to start with your decision about Esterbrook nibs is to look for nib numbers that match your own personal preferences. I happen to like a broad wet line so looked for broad, stub and relief nibs. (relief is a slight oblique angle) Some of the nibs say they are flexible or extra flexible. Do not be fooled. They will not give the real flexibility of a turn of the century vintage gold nib.

 

Since you like very fine nibs that is a perfect place to start the 2xxx series are better than the 1xxx, and the 9xxx are the best quality, but they all write well.

 

Good luck,

Rob

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