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"why Won't This @*%^! Vacumatic Filler Come Out?"


Ernst Bitterman
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I was reading this thread, which is mainly a wonderful example of how firmly held opinions can be, but there's a side issue in it that I think is worth recording here.

 

There's a couple of threads in RQ&A recently lamenting the difficulty of getting some Vacumatic fillers out of the barrels. I myself have cast aspersions at the foolish home repairmen who have adulterated their Vacumatics with some kind of adhesive, contrary to the current received wisdom. However...

 

In that thread above, a scanned page of a Vacumatic Repair Manual (date not mentioned) appears (page 3, entry #78), and I will quote from it:

Before inserting a new filler unit, apply a little shellac to the threads so that it will stick tight after it is screwed in.

 

 

 

I boggle. I swoon. Then I go and check my own resources. Let me read from the 1946 Parker manual (p. 14-- this is in the section regarding "51" refits, but the Vacumatic chapter just says to refer back to this):

Place diaphragm lubricant on end of diagram, see Fig. 1, with a small camel hair brush. Then place a small quantity of "51" cement on top of threads, see Fig. 1. [the figure is a drawing of a filler unit being menaced with a brush; it doesn't add much for current purpose, and I don't have my image software to hand to insert it]

 

 

This '"51" cement' is mentioned again with reference to fixing the hood on that model and rendering it leak-proof. What exactly it might be is not explained.

 

Looking at the section for reassembly of Vacs in the 1953 manual, we find no mention of anything other than the lubricant being applied to the filler unit before reassembly, so obviously Parker after some long years of sober consideration decided to stop inflicting this treatment on the pens. I do not suggest that using shellac or any other gunk on Vacumatic fillers is appropriate; this is not a cry to return to the old ways. I just thought that there might be some comfort for those struggling to get one of the dang things loose that it might be stuck in there because at one time Parker told everyone it was appropriate to glue it in.

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

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

 

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I find your post very interesting, indeed.

 

However, I will point out, that there is a world of difference between what Parker might have used (essentially shellac or rosin-based thread sealant) and what we know as "glue" today.

 

Shellac and thread sealant soften with heat. Some have taken super glue to filler units. To my knowledge, that does not respond to heat. My issue with Parker vac filling units is not so much sealant or shellac use (though I don't recommend it). My issue is putting things into the threads of the filler units that have no business in pen repair at all--superglue, etc.

 

Blessings,

 

Tim

Tim Girdler Pens  (Nib Tuning; Custom Nib Grinding; New & Vintage Pen Sales)
The Fountain Pen: An elegant instrument for a more civilized age.
I Write With: Any one of my assortment of Parker "51"s or Vacumatics

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I'm being a little free with my words, certainly. "Adhesive" is probably a better general term, and I'm quite in favour of a light boiling for anyone applying superglue in this connection.

 

I can't help but wonder, though... was "51" Cement shellac, rosin-ish, or something else? I've seen some pink particulate in the threads of some "51"s that makes me think the latter.

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

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

 

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Never used shellac or any other thing to seal the filler unit on any vac and I've restored a few and it's really not necessary since the diaphragm wedges tight between the barrel and the tapered screw down unit on the filler and keeps the barrel airtight I suspect that the stuff mentioned in the 51 manual was more of a sealant than an adhesive, but the earlier and later manuals don't mention anything like it. I do recall seeing it in the '48 manual as well... 'Mystery goo' ? I've only seen a suspicious whitish flaky material on those threads on taking down 51s but never on the older Vacs or Duofolds....

 

My rule of thumb is to avoid sticky stuff if I can get away with it :-)

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Interesting thread!

 

Never used shellac or any other thing to seal the filler unit on any vac and I've restored a few and it's really not necessary since the diaphragm wedges tight between the barrel and the tapered screw down unit on the filler and keeps the barrel airtight I suspect that the stuff mentioned in the 51 manual was more of a sealant than an adhesive, but the earlier and later manuals don't mention anything like it. I do recall seeing it in the '48 manual as well... 'Mystery goo' ? I've only seen a suspicious whitish flaky material on those threads on taking down 51s but never on the older Vacs or Duofolds....

My rule of thumb is to avoid sticky stuff if I can get away with it :-)

 

I've seen white stuff on several vac unit threads too, a sort of caulky consistancy that cleans off easily. Maybe we should keep this stuff, and send it off to some sort of CSI lab for analysis.

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

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The white chalky stuff is aluminum oxide crystals - i.e. corroded aluminum. It causes the filler to bind in the barrel when you try to remove it. Use some lighter fluid (naphtha) as a light penetrating oil to help it come out.

 

Ernst - the Parker repair manuals do not say what it is, just that you should use it. Richard argues that it's shellac. I disagree. I think that the rosin based thread sealant is a good candidate. I had a NOS (as in the machining dust was still inside) 51, and the sealant on the threads of the hood had the odor of a sealant, and did not have the appearance of shellac. But that's another whole argument for another day.

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Am I wrong in doing what I do? When I replace the diaphragm & filler unit I place a little silicone on the diaphragm and a little on the filler unit threads to make it easy to thread so there is no binding when I push in the diaphragm in the barrel and screw the threads into the barrel.

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Am I wrong in doing what I do? When I replace the diaphragm & filler unit I place a little silicone on the diaphragm and a little on the filler unit threads to make it easy to thread so there is no binding when I push in the diaphragm in the barrel and screw the threads into the barrel.

 

I can't imagine a little bit of silicone causing any problem. Although Richard Binder advocates the use of a special 'Vacumatic lubricant' on his webpage (sold also therein), though he indicates a dab of saliva works fine as well. But the lubricant/spit is applied sparingly to the end of the diaphragm and and at the top where it rests on the pellet cup (rather than the threads).

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Am I wrong in doing what I do? When I replace the diaphragm & filler unit I place a little silicone on the diaphragm and a little on the filler unit threads to make it easy to thread so there is no binding when I push in the diaphragm in the barrel and screw the threads into the barrel.

 

Can't see it doing damage, though it oughtn't be necessary to lubricate the filler unit threads. I like to check their cleanliness using the filler sans diaphragm. Going slow and feeling with your fingers, any balkiness is a good sign there's still a little gunk somewhere. When the barrel to filler threads are clear, it should be easy to screw the filler in with mild finger pressure.

 

Also, spit is the reason I service my own vacs - no thanks. I've seen glycerine mentioned as an alternative, so that's what I use.

 

http://i773.photobucket.com/albums/yy19/flounder2009/1950%20Parker%2051%20English%20Black/th_Black51Vac096.jpg http://i773.photobucket.com/albums/yy19/flounder2009/1950%20Parker%2051%20English%20Black/th_Black51Vac090.jpg

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Am I wrong in doing what I do? When I replace the diaphragm & filler unit I place a little silicone on the diaphragm and a little on the filler unit threads to make it easy to thread so there is no binding when I push in the diaphragm in the barrel and screw the threads into the barrel.

 

The only problem I can see is if the blind cap holds onto the filler when you unscrew it. Glycerin for the diaphragm is the usual thing; I'd avoid spit because there's protein left behind when it dries... and it's icky.

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

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

 

fpn_1465330536__hwabutton.jpg

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I would imagine that the Parker repair manuals had an intended readership of Parker employees, who would have had been issued the appropriate "51 cement." Probably a supersecret substance and an item of competitive adfvantage highly classified for the ingredients list, anyway.

 

Nice picture of the barrel. So, the filler unit screws into the barrel, and I could take a plier to the blind cap threads to get out the old unit that I am not going to re-use. After heating gently, of course.

"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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The only problem I can see is if the blind cap holds onto the filler when you unscrew it. Glycerin for the diaphragm is the usual thing; I'd avoid spit because there's protein left behind when it dries... and it's icky.

I have had a few blind caps unscrew the filler unit out when I do pre-checks when I reassemble the pen to see if everything is in working order. { always learning } I just have to clean the pens even better than I do now. { Did I say always learning } I will not use spit on any pen that is a given.

 

Ken

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Ernst - the Parker repair manuals do not say what it is, just that you should use it. Richard argues that it's shellac. I disagree. I think that the rosin based thread sealant is a good candidate. I had a NOS (as in the machining dust was still inside) 51, and the sealant on the threads of the hood had the odor of a sealant, and did not have the appearance of shellac. But that's another whole argument for another day.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you search online you'll find an eyewitness narrative of someone Inside a P-51 service area at Parker. They noted a sizable amount of rosin there that they stated was used to make a sealant or cement. While this person Wasn't a Parker 51 repair person, they were a well known pen person.

 

So that said rosin Was in the repair area appears all but undeniable.

 

The only question is what did they Make with it and What did they use the finished product For.

 

The options for the later, to me, appear rather limited.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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Nice picture of the barrel. So, the filler unit screws into the barrel, and I could take a plier to the blind cap threads to get out the old unit that I am not going to re-use. After heating gently, of course.

 

Seems a shame to take pliers to your old filler paj, why?

 

 

I have had a few blind caps unscrew the filler unit out when I do pre-checks when I reassemble the pen to see if everything is in working order. { always learning } I just have to clean the pens even better than I do now. { Did I say always learning } I will not use spit on any pen that is a given.

 

Ken

 

That's a interesting point, and a situation that would make me consider the use of some kind of mild sealant if all other paths were exhausted.

 

Blind cap alignment is also something I check before the diaphragm goes in, IMO how far the filler screws into the barrel does make a difference*

 

First I check the blind cap is square to the barrel with no filler, just in case it has been abused in the past.

 

Then I screw the filler into its clean cavity, and find the depth that gives the best possible blind alignment. With the diaphragm added, that depth is with the filler screwed in at a torque of finger tight plus a few degrees. If that alignment were only possible at so low a torque the filler unscrewed with the blindcap, I would use sealant, though shellac seems excessive. Take that, establishment! I also like highlighted imprints.

 

http://i773.photobucket.com/albums/yy19/flounder2009/1950%20Parker%2051%20English%20Black/th_51VacBarrelImprint.jpg

 

*Nowhere close to the difference clean vs dirty barrel cavity can make, more "a hiccup off" to "looks & feels perfect". I'm going out on a limb here - my gut feeling on this is the loose interaction of the filler-blind cap threads + years of wear allows slight eccentricity?

Edited by Flounder

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

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Seems a shame to take pliers to your old filler paj, why?

 

 

 

 

That set me to thinking, and so I concluded no such force would be needed. I unscrewed the old filler unit by hand. The old sac was gunky in the barrel, and I got that out. Then I screwed in one of John Lynch's (jaxxon's) brass filler units. No sealant. Blind cap lines up. Filler fills and expels water. I am testing to see that it holds water. OMG, that was easy!

"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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To the original post; maybe you are confused on the definition of the words? What we call shellac and rosin now in this day and age. I went out on my back porch and took off the shelf

 

Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary Of The English Language Unabridged 1952

Copyright,1951, by The World Publishing Company

 

So here are a few photos of the definitions of Lac, shellac, rosin & resin

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f239/Jotteraddict62/100_4272_zps30e9b1fb.jpg

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f239/Jotteraddict62/100_4273_zpsc5fb6031.jpg

 

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f239/Jotteraddict62/100_4271_zpsbd9fdaa7.jpg

 

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f239/Jotteraddict62/100_4274_zps8b58bf31.jpg

 

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f239/Jotteraddict62/100_4275_zpse2cbfdd9.jpg

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To the original post; maybe you are confused on the definition of the words? What we call shellac and rosin now in this day and age. I went out on my back porch and took off the shelf

 

Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary Of The English Language Unabridged 1952

Copyright,1951, by The World Publishing Company

 

So here are a few photos of the definitions of Lac, shellac, rosin & resin

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f239/Jotteraddict62/100_4272_zps30e9b1fb.jpg

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f239/Jotteraddict62/100_4273_zpsc5fb6031.jpg

 

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f239/Jotteraddict62/100_4271_zpsbd9fdaa7.jpg

 

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f239/Jotteraddict62/100_4274_zps8b58bf31.jpg

 

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f239/Jotteraddict62/100_4275_zpse2cbfdd9.jpg

 

More likely the issue is the difference of opinion as to whether it is better to use shellac, which hardens and requires heat to cause it to release its hold, and a rosin based thread sealant, which in my understanding does not harden, facilitating easy removal of the sealed parts while maintaining a seal against leaking ink. The context here being that the rosin based thread sealant has a special and proprietary formulation, potentially differing with the dictionary definition.

"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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I would imagine that the Parker repair manuals had an intended readership of Parker employees, who would have had been issued the appropriate "51 cement."

 

The repair manuals were intended for dealers and Parker repair shops. Parker sold the repair supplies to the dealers, so wouldn't want to give details about what the stuff was. I've looked in several and none define what the "cement" is. Some modern repair manuals say that the parts were assembled with a "white glue" but again, don't spell out what the stuff is. When you take a modern pen like a Duofold apart, it's evident that this is not your typical Elmers white glue.

 

BTW, rosin, not resin. There is a difference, though rosin fits into the classification as being a resin.

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I find your post very interesting, indeed.

 

However, I will point out, that there is a world of difference between what Parker might have used (essentially shellac or rosin-based thread sealant) and what we know as "glue" today.

 

Shellac and thread sealant soften with heat. Some have taken super glue to filler units. To my knowledge, that does not respond to heat. My issue with Parker vac filling units is not so much sealant or shellac use (though I don't recommend it). My issue is putting things into the threads of the filler units that have no business in pen repair at all--superglue, etc.

 

Blessings,

 

Tim

 

 

Tim,

 

Too bad that we ALL could not utilize one source for those of us who fix pens such as these and when we overhaul such a pen, e-mail some specific information to that source for to be put into a spread sheet. Then when enough data is collected it can be shared amongst ALL who are participating, or more?. What's in the data? Some of the stuff that is in this posting, I believe...........Just a thought to help things out

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