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Parker Vac Plastic Filler Removal?


judo
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I’ve successfully stripped down about 4 Parker Vacumatics and 2 Parker 51 Vacs over the past 2 years to replace the diaphragms and found the process very straightforward using tools purchased from Laurence at penpractice.com. However, I recently bought a beautiful Duofold Senior Vacumatic in Blue Pearl Laidtone date coded 1943, needing a new diaphragm but unfortunately it has a plastic filler bush. I’ve tried warming the barrel gently (to make it less brittle) and gripping the bush with the Oldfield tool but the filler won’t budge. My hand grip on the barrel (using a soft rubber mat) was greater than the grip of the tool to the plastic bush threads. The tool thus slipped a little and has left light scores on the bush threads. I’m worried that if I apply more pressure on the threads I’ll completely destroy them, or possibly crack the barrel? Marshall & Oldfield in their book “Pen Repair” say that the plastic bushes are almost impossible to remove without damage to the threads and recommend drilling out the bush so it can be replaced with a metal one.

 

This is the only written reference I’ve been able to find describing problems with the plastic bush and wondered if anyone can share their experiences? Is the plastic bush glued in or is it just difficult to grip it with the wrench? If I grip the bush tighter will it eventually release or damage the barrel. If I follow the Marshall / Oldfield recommendation of snapping out the plunger and then drilling the bush, will the remaining bits of the bush simply fall out or will I need to pass a thread tap through?

 

I’m quite happy to fit a replacement unit containing a metal bush so long as I can remove the old one without damage to the barrel and would appreciate to hear from others who have come up against this problem.

"In my early days there were few schools to help us in the pursuit of learning.

If we wanted to climb, we had first to make our own ladders".

Benjamin Brierley (1825-1896),

English weaver and self taught writer/publisher in Lancashire dialect.

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The plastic thread bushing is celluloid, and the barrel and bushing tend to fuse togehter - not a strong bond like glue, but enough that it's a pain to get them out. The blind cap end often gets crushed enough by the vac wrench that either the blind cap doesn't thread on properly, or the pump won't move, or both. Gentle, persistent heat, many attempts, and in some cases a lot of luck are often needed to get them out at all. Last resort is boring them out on my lathe.

 

I know that they likely saved a lot of aluminum for the war effort, but still, I hate the things.

 

Good luck.

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The plastic thread bushing is celluloid, and the barrel and bushing tend to fuse togehter - not a strong bond like glue, but enough that it's a pain to get them out. The blind cap end often gets crushed enough by the vac wrench that either the blind cap doesn't thread on properly, or the pump won't move, or both. Gentle, persistent heat, many attempts, and in some cases a lot of luck are often needed to get them out at all. Last resort is boring them out on my lathe.

 

I know that they likely saved a lot of aluminum for the war effort, but still, I hate the things.

 

Good luck.

Parker didn't save any aluminum, they didn't have aluminum stock due to the designation of aluminum as a war material.

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. 
 

 My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

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The plastic thread bushing is celluloid, and the barrel and bushing tend to fuse togehter - not a strong bond like glue, but enough that it's a pain to get them out. The blind cap end often gets crushed enough by the vac wrench that either the blind cap doesn't thread on properly, or the pump won't move, or both. Gentle, persistent heat, many attempts, and in some cases a lot of luck are often needed to get them out at all. Last resort is boring them out on my lathe.

 

I know that they likely saved a lot of aluminum for the war effort, but still, I hate the things.

 

Good luck.

 

Thanks Ron Z, I guess I just keep trying what I'm doing. It's good to hear that most eventually do come out with the wrench, and if not, it sounds as though the threads separate after drilling out. I was worried that the remains of the bush threads would be glued to the barrel and need clearing out with a suitably sized tap.

"In my early days there were few schools to help us in the pursuit of learning.

If we wanted to climb, we had first to make our own ladders".

Benjamin Brierley (1825-1896),

English weaver and self taught writer/publisher in Lancashire dialect.

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I'm not pushing for work here, but this really should be done on a lathe so that you go in straight and true. Go off to one side, and you can damage the seat in the barrel, or the threads.

 

The thread on the inside of the bushing is an odd size, not readily available. A custom tap to fit will cost you as much as a new pen.

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This has been a very useful thread. I've been watching a Vac filled Duofold (the nib is toast but that's another matter) but on reading the posts, I had another look at the eBay listing and the thread bushing doesn't look like it's aluminum. Dodged a bullet there - thanks all!

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This has been a very useful thread. I've been watching a Vac filled Duofold (the nib is toast but that's another matter) but on reading the posts, I had another look at the eBay listing and the thread bushing doesn't look like it's aluminum. Dodged a bullet there - thanks all!

The experts will no doubt be able to give a more definitive explanation, but according to what I've read and seen on my vacumatics, the very first bushes on the fillers were made from brass and then manufacture changed to aluminium. The plastic bushes were used only for a short time during the WW2 (c1943) due to metals being diverted to the war effort. The metal bushes were coloured black like the plastic ones so IMO it would be almost impossible to distinguish between the two on a photograph. Even with the pen physically in hand I've had to resort to scratching the bush to identify the material. The vast majority of vacumatic bushes are metal and the difficulty of servicing those with plastic won't stop me buying more. Sorry if this thread has stopped you buying the pen you were viewing, but information is power and maybe it will help you to choose a vac you'll be pleased with?

"In my early days there were few schools to help us in the pursuit of learning.

If we wanted to climb, we had first to make our own ladders".

Benjamin Brierley (1825-1896),

English weaver and self taught writer/publisher in Lancashire dialect.

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Ah Judo, never fear, fountain pens are like buses, there's always another one coming along! I have enough challenges in my life without buying a pen that may never be put back in good writing order. It had several strikes against it, a mangled nib, the non-metallic looking filler unit and I think it's overpriced. So do other people too, the sellers has had it up twice, zero bidders.

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If I recall correctly there was an article in the Pennant perhaps 2 years back that covered all the different versions of the Parker Vacumatic filler mechanism. The Pen Collectors of America does have limited back issues available. They can be reached at membership at pencollectorsofamerica.com should there be any interest.

 

Farmboy

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. 
 

 My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

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My Vacumatic thread cleaner will not cost you a mint!

Laurence

Laurence, thanks for the reminder. I've been using one of your vacumatic service kits since I bought it from you at a pen show a few years ago. I'd used the pump socket cleaners for clearing the diaphragm seating collar but forgotten that it was double ended. I'd not needed to use the end with the thread chaser on pens I've serviced so far but I've a feeling that I'm going to need it once I've removed the plastic threaded bush on this Duofold Vacumatic. Great service kit by the way - like all good tools, I thought it expensive at the time, but I couldn't of refurbished any of the vacumatics without it, and it should last a lifetime.

John

"In my early days there were few schools to help us in the pursuit of learning.

If we wanted to climb, we had first to make our own ladders".

Benjamin Brierley (1825-1896),

English weaver and self taught writer/publisher in Lancashire dialect.

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After reading Ron’s post suggesting that most of the plastic fillers can be unscrewed, I persevered with the gentle heating and gripped the split collet onto the bush with greater force. Eventually the filler released from the barrel threads without damaging anything. The threads on the bush and inside the barrel looked a bit clogged and wouldn’t screw together again so I cleaned out the barrel with the thread chaser from Laurence at penpractice.com which made reassembly possible. I will replace the low quality plastic filler with a metal one before fitting a new bladder. I’ve included some photos of the pen parts in the hope that they’re of interest to others. Many thanks to Ron, Laurence and all others who have posted on this thread.

 

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"In my early days there were few schools to help us in the pursuit of learning.

If we wanted to climb, we had first to make our own ladders".

Benjamin Brierley (1825-1896),

English weaver and self taught writer/publisher in Lancashire dialect.

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