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Is A Parker 51 A Good Choice As A Restoration Project?


Alexcat
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I would like to dip my toe into the realm of restoration/repair....just for me, hobby, not to make any money: I'm very fond of the 51, and wondered how good - or not - a subject it would be?

 

Any opinions very gratefully received

Alex

 

PS am posting this on the repair forum - hope its ok to do that

"As many nights endure Without a moon or star So will we endure When one is gone and far "Leonard Cohen, of blessed memory(21/09/1934-7/11/2016)

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I could be persuaded a 51 is a good pen to restore.

San Francisco International Pen Show - The next great pen show is on schedule for August 27-28-29, 2021. If we all do what we need to do...you can Book your travel and tables and make SF 2021 the Return. 
 

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They are given they have numerous parts available, just do your research before doing so so you know where to heat, were to tug and were to pull.

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I would not suggest a 51 for a first time resto project for the simple fact that they require several specialized tools to take apart and reassemble.

 

I think a third tier lever fill pen would be a better idea. You can spend roughly $13 On a section pliers (+ a new sac and sac cement) and rebuild yourself a usable pen while gaining much needed experience.

 

Rebuild a few of those, then tackle something more complicated like a Parker 51. That's what worked for me.

 

I've always had good luck ordering parts, tools, and materials from:

 

http://fountainpensacs.com/index.html

 

No affiliation, just a satisfied, repeat customer.

John L

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I had a feeling that it might not be the best for a first attempt....just because I like using it doesn't necessarily mean I'll be good at restoring it....in fact, it might work against me, from the point of view that I'd likely be less inclined to 'get stuck in' for fear of SNAFU..... :)

Thanks, all

Alex

"As many nights endure Without a moon or star So will we endure When one is gone and far "Leonard Cohen, of blessed memory(21/09/1934-7/11/2016)

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You'll stand a better chance with an aero for a first time, but yeah, a vac probably isn't the best idea. You can strip and rebuild an aero without any specialist tools but you have to be lucky that your subject just happens to be one of the pens with a hood that unscrews relatively easily with just some heating and a bit of grippy material. It might turn out that the pen you try is the other end of the spectrum (the welded tight shut end of the spectrum) - but hey if that happens, you'll have an excuse to buy another and try with that :D As has been said, just make sure you read up on it plenty beforehand.

 

I've had more luck with 61s coming apart easily than 51s - but that may be nothing more than luck. 61s have the nice feature that you can't misalign the nib when reassembling as it only goes into the collector one way.

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Do research, ask questions, make a list of tools that you will need and the cost, repair books for reference. It took me a while to finish my research before I took the leap into restoring what I have.

 

I started collecting Jotters then P45's & P21's. Then I started collecting P51's, Vac's & Duofolds.

The next step for me was to learn how to restore them for my collection and using them. If you would have told me 7-8 years ago I would be collecting Parker pens I would have said yeah right..

I go to auctions & antique shops now to find pens to collect and restore and meet people and have fun doing it. I am just a hobbyist.

 

The help here on FPN is a very good place to help you make your decision if you want to restore or not... Once you have enough information only you can make up your mine on what to do..

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You can't be afraid to make mistakes and screw up a pen either. Just know that somewhere along the way you're going to break a pen that you love. It's all part of the learning process. Luckily you can usually find a replacement part if you're patient and willing to put in the time to search one out.

 

I started with Esterbrooks, and am now successfully rebuilding Parker Vacs. But I also have a growing parts bin full of things gone awry. It's just a fact of pen repair.

John L

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On the subject of not being afraid to make mistakes or screw up....I have a Montblanc, which came in a mixed bunch of stuff which I got on eBay ages ago. I only found out relatively recently that it is a Montblanc...;). Anyway, it's definitely a nice thing, ripe for restoration, and is sitting staring at me as I type this.

 

It has what I've heard is a pretty common thing.....a crack in the cap. Now, I know that us 'unfixable' if I ever wanted to sell it, but I want to keep and use it.

 

I had an idea....and am reluctant to share it in case I cause mass panic, shock and horror.....but, would a little dab of superglue, applied on a cotton bud(Q tip?), up the inside, be worth a try?

 

Alex

"As many nights endure Without a moon or star So will we endure When one is gone and far "Leonard Cohen, of blessed memory(21/09/1934-7/11/2016)

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I think it kind of depends on your definition of "restoration". If you simply would like to clean out old ink and generally spruce up the pen, then, yes, an aero "51" would fit the bill as long as the sac is sound. However, if you want to strip the pen right down to it's component parts, clean everything and reassemble it, I think you should start with a less complicated open-nib pen, maybe an Esterbrook or some 3rd tier pen as suggested previously. There is a ton of information archived on FPN. Good luck.

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I'd start with an aero and don't use the superglue on the MB, or nearly anything else related to a pen. Keep it far away and resist the temptation.

 

Glenn

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I suggest you

 

- start with some lever-filling third-tier pens, such as Wearever or Stratford. Wearever pens can take a beating. I found one that had its section glued into the barrel. That one required some heat to open

 

- re-sac an Esterbrook or two. Esties are almost indestructable.

 

- re-sac an Eversharp Skyline. These are brittle pens, but Eversharp made some of the all-time best nibs. You might get to meet a breather tube

 

Try a Parker 51 only after you've practiced opening and sealing a pen, fitting a sac. The 51 was designed when a department store had a pen counter and a connection with Parker repair; Parker service people had the right tools and plenty of spare parts. They worked on pen after pen...they practiced. As mentioned above, a P-51 hood is thin, and it is secured by shellac. The hood begins to melt a little above the temperature at which shellac melts, so that's a tricky step.

Washington Nationals 2019: the fight for .500; "stay in the fight"; WON the fight

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Get some experience. Please don't START with a Parker 51. It is a divine writer,

worthy of angels. If you mess it up, I will never forgive you.

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

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IF you are willing to do your homework, I don't see an issue with an Aero as a first restore.

 

You need to do some serious searching here on what you need to know on how to do it without screwing up.

 

To attempt the restore, Any restore, without doing That is the biggest sin.

 

Everyone makes mistakes restoring pens, the idea is to Not make one because you wandered in having no

clue what you were doing.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

Edited by OcalaFlGuy
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IF you are willing to do your homework, I don't see an issue with an Aero as a first restore.

 

You need to do some serious searching here on what you need to know on how to do it without screwing up.

 

To attempt the restore, Any restore, without doing That is the biggest sin.

 

Everyone makes mistakes restoring pens, the idea is to Not make one because you wandered in having no

clue what you were doing.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

 

Would it be worthwhile to practice on a P21 ?

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

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IMO, no.

 

The 21 plastic is so poor that a poor attempt at removing the hood could crack it easily.

 

I have a nearly NOS Super 21 I have not be able to get writing... [EDIT] I have YET to be able to separate the

collecter from the connector. And again, this pen was nearly NOS.

 

Where the material the 51 is made from would be a safety net for a nOOb repair person, the 21 material is a liability.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

Edited by OcalaFlGuy
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If you think you can restore a 51, then you can. Just do your research as Bruce alluded to.

 

Glenn

 

"Whether you think you can, or think you can't - You're right." Henry Ford

 

"Fake it 'till you make it" - Anonymous, but Brian likes it....

One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.

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Go for it I say- I used my P51 Aero as a basis for my first restoration (which went perfectly by the way). I watched a few videos and read a large number of threads and articles about dissasembly and parts. Once I had some knowledge I picked up a relatively cheap P51 and went very slow on the restoration - e.g. removing the hood. I made sure throughout that if I got frustrated at any stage I would put the pen down and go back and re-read how the pen is put together, this helped immensely rather than trying to 'force' things. Didn't ruin a single part and now works (and looks) new. All I needed was a tool to pull the nib hood loose and some spares easily found on the bay.

 

Goodluck with it!

Short cuts make delays, but inns make longer ones.
Frodo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring, A Short Cut to Mushrooms

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