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To Restore, Or Not To Restore This Flex Nib Doric?


Ezekiel
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So, I bought this in an online auction a couple weeks ago. Knew it wasn't mint, but upon receiving and inspecting realized quickly that it was on the lower end of user grade instead of "Good" as described. I had intended to flip it, but now am unsure whether that's worthwhile. So the question:

 

To what grade could professional restoration return this pen? I have about $175 in it at the moment, but really have no idea what it's worth in this state and whether restoration would increase it's worth enough to consider selling it. It's a pleasant pen, and the nib is really a lovely writer, but I hadn't really intended on keeping it.

 

What would you do? Any thoughts/suggestions are much appreciated.

 

 

post-109142-0-69059200-1486483412_thumb.jpg

Burma color isn't bad. Has some nice variation.

 

post-109142-0-28034300-1486483454_thumb.jpg

Deep scratch in the cap. Brassing of the medallion (and other trim as well).

 

post-109142-0-59417100-1486483778_thumb.jpg

Crack in the cap where (it appears) the material is degrading. Runs about 1/3 around the cap.

 

post-109142-0-02065800-1486483575_thumb.jpg

Hairline crack seems stable, doesn't go past cap band.

 

post-109142-0-41980900-1486483642_thumb.jpg

post-109142-0-03875100-1486483695_thumb.jpg

 

EDITED: to add a picture.

Edited by Ezekiel
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If the seller didn't mention the cracks in their sales ad then I would contact them and send it back personally.

PAKMAN

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If the seller didn't mention the cracks in their sales ad then I would contact them and send it back personally.

 

To clarify: it was an estate sale, and items sold AS IS.

 

I knew it was a bit of a gamble.

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Ah, I see. Is it a senior size? Restoration other than the crack repair would only need to entail polishing and sac replacement, which would not be expensive at all. The flexible nib is a great selling point. Also does the seal have a tiny hole drilled in it?

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It would be cheap to restore for personal use, but I wouldn't spend even $175 on it in restored condition. Not with celluloid degradation, large scratches, and cracks. That's an astronomical amount of money to spend on a pen at an estate sale, unless one is certain of its value.

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Ah, I see. Is it a senior size? Restoration other than the crack repair would only need to entail polishing and sac replacement, which would not be expensive at all. The flexible nib is a great selling point. Also does the seal have a tiny hole drilled in it?

 

It's the popular-sized model, I believe. ~5 3/4 inches long.

 

And the seal hasn't been drilled.

 

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That's an astronomical amount of money to spend on a pen at an estate sale, unless one is certain of its value.

 

Yep, agreed. Silly me got into a trigger-happy bidding war with someone.

Edited by Ezekiel
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If I had bought it, my main question would be: Is the celluloid really degrading (not sooo common in black/grey celluloid) or is it just a crack, which I suppose wouldn`t be that big a repair (and can be done very well).

And maybe have a look what a Doric in the much sought after Burma finish in good condition would cost.

Edited by Polanova
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Not that a picture tells all, but from what I can see, it looks like you have a crack(s) and not degradation of the celluloid. Celluloid starting to go bad, especially in Wahl pens, usually has some fluorescing and other changes in the material around the crack like crazing, not just a crack. That means that it should be possible to repair it. If the celluloid really were starting to decay I'd say don't try because the solvents we use often exacerbate things and accelerate the breakdown. But in this case if my theory held up up under closer examination, I'd have a go at it.

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Not that a picture tells all, but from what I can see, it looks like you have a crack(s) and not degradation of the celluloid. Celluloid starting to go bad, especially in Wahl pens, usually has some fluorescing and other changes in the material around the crack like crazing, not just a crack. That means that it should be possible to repair it. If the celluloid really were starting to decay I'd say don't try because the solvents we use often exacerbate things and accelerate the breakdown. But in this case if my theory held up up under closer examination, I'd have a go at it.

 

Here's a picture that shows the area around the crack a bit better. I had assumed that the darkening was celluloid degradation because that crack was in the middle of it. But, it doesn't look like fluorescing or crazing to me. Could that just be discoloration, then?

 

post-109142-0-30183300-1486677948_thumb.jpg

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I can't see enough detail. If the material is going transparent and not just darker (which may be the nature of the material) then it is starting to fail.

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I can't see enough detail. If the material is going transparent and not just darker (which may be the nature of the material) then it is starting to fail.

 

That is a helpful distinction. And in that case I don't think it's actually deteriorating.

 

Thanks!

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These three pictures may help.

 

Quite a few years ago I bought two rods of vintage jade celluloid rod stock at an antique show, and had a friend make a pen from it. One rod was an appropriate diameter for a cap, the other the right size for a barrel. They matched in color and detail, and suspect may have been made for Parker since I have a Duofold Jr cap that is a perfect match.

 

This is the barrel as it is now, and as both cap and barrel were when the pen was made at the end of 2004. Note the detail, white swirl and deep color. It has not changed at all.

http://www.mainstreetpens.com/pix/jade1.jpg

 

A number of years later I noticed that some spots in the cap were losing the white, and were starting to go transparent. This continued to the point where I pulled the cap off of the pen and set it by itself as it was obvious that the celluloid was starting to decay. Fortunately my friend had made it to Parker specifications, and though it was made as a Depression era pen, dimensions and threads matched Parker standards, so a Duofold Jr blind cap and cap fit perfectly - it already had the correct Duofold/Thrift Time section since Parker used the same section in a number of pens including the Streamlined Duofold Jr and Thrift Time pens.

 

This is how the cap is today, and shows perfectly advancing decay of celluloid. Note the brightness of the material, the translucency approaching transparency of the celluloid near the threads, and the loss of the white color. If you see this in patches on celluloid, the breakdown has started and can not be stopped. It will gradually accelerate to the point where the celluloid falls apart. It is relatively uncommon in Parker celluloids. I have one red Thrift time pen that is showing the signs in the cap, but it isn't getting worse. It is quite common in Wahl Dorics. I have no idea why one piece has failed like this, while the other is just fine, showing no signs of decay. They were fine for decades, the cap material broke down after it was machined.

 

http://www.mainstreetpens.com/pix/jade2.jpg

 

One more picture of decaying celluloid. This is a gray/red veined Sheaffer OS Balance cap. This celluloid is also starting to break down. This color in particular seems to be vulnerable to this damage. Note the crazing and cracks. While the decay is relatively slow, it will continue. Trying to solvent weld the material to stabilize it often exacerbates the problem and accelerates the decay.

 

http://www.mainstreetpens.com/pix/RVcrazing.jpg

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These three pictures may help.

 

 

That side-by-side comparison of non-decaying and decaying celluloid is precisely what I've been looking for. Tremendously helpful. And also fascinating: that the cap should begin that process after decades of stability is intriguing to me. Surely the cutting of the material wouldn't do that? Maybe the heat build-up in the lathe process is a more likely culprit?

 

Fascinating.

 

Anyway, thanks a million for the pictures and explanation.

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