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Snorkel - Use Or Service?


PDW
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I have a Sheaffer Snorkel which I have not yet used, so the interior state is not fully known. The tail turns and pulls out smoothly, the Snorkel tube extends and retracts nicely, and I get a reassuring hiss when I push the tail down. But I have read of nasty issues arising if I try to fill or flush a Snorkel whose sac has gone bad, mostly relating to rusted springs.

 

So I'd like some advice - should I fill this pen and use it as it is, or get it serviced before use in case the sac has gone? Or is there a way to test the sac safely without filling the pen?

 

And if a service is recommended now or if it's needed in the future, can anyone suggest a good UK repairperson?

Edited by PDW
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It is very possible to test the pen sack.

Snorkels routinely easily disassemble.

Once it is apart test the sack while it remains in the sack protector by taking a matchstick or simialer item and push on the sack through one of the access holes. The sack should be pliable and easily compress if it is in good condition. Place a small amount of water in a clear glass, place the end of the filler tube in the glass and push on the sack. If the sack has no holes when you pull back the match stick the sack will fill a little. Move the match stick back and forth. If there is a little ink in the sack you will see swirls in the water. Take the sack in its protector out of the water and push on the sack with the matchstick. If the sack is intact water will squirt out and when you withdraw the matchstick air will go in.

 

So, assuming the sack is intact, you can't assume it will stay intact, but as you routinely use the pen you will become familiar with it and so if when you fill it one day it doesn't fill as usual, you may have developed a leaky sack. At that point you test it as indicated above.

 

I have been disassembling and reassembling Sheaffer's Snorkels for 45 years. The only ones that did not easily disassemble without tools were ones which were damaged in some way.

Edited by Parker51
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Thanks for the idea. How much disassembly (and what) is needed to get to the matchstick stage?

 

And, for the nervous, are there any ways of testing the sac without disassembly?

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Thanks for the idea. How much disassembly (and what) is needed to get to the matchstick stage?

 

And, for the nervous, are there any ways of testing the sac without disassembly?

fpn_1602347884__snorkel-guts.jpg

 

That's from a desk pen that I need to work on (first I need to Milliput a repair to the trumpet which had a wedge cracked off of the mouth during in transit from CA to MI when I moved).

 

There isn't really any way to test the sac... A sac that has turned hard and inflexible, but does not (yet) have holes and cracks, will behave about the same as a good sac if you attempt to blow air into it -- ie; no leakage/movement.

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If the sack is hard but has no leaks, it will not draw in any water, nor expel it.

 

If the sack has ruptured and the inner seal is intact, the pen will draw water into it when pulling back and then will expel it when the piston like part is pushed in.

 

So to test it, do not insert the tube in water when drawing back. Then place the tube in water and push the end in once. Irrespective of if the sack is intact, if the inner seal is intact air will be expelled, but only if the sack is intact will the sack have been compressed during the downward movement, the valve opened and an intact sack as it expands back to its normal size draw in water.

 

After doing this, remove the end of the tube from your glass of water, and then move the piston back and again forward, but above the glass, not in water so that you can see how much water the tube expels.

 

If it is a little, then the movement of the piston like action is expelling the small amount of water which flowed up the tune due to capillary action from when the tube briefly remained in water after the air was expelled.

 

If however it is an a good amount, then it represents the water drawn in by an intact bladder when the bladder returned to its normal size.

Edited by Parker51
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If there's any potential for the sac being bad, you want to have it checked out before you try inking it up, or even testing it with water. Becuase if it turns out the sac IS bad, then you run the risk of ALSO damaging the spring. And that's a $20 replacement job all on its own -- not counting the cost of any other repair issues.

So, what did I do recently? Buy another Snorkel -- and with no pen shows scheduled for the near future! :headsmack: What was I thinking? Oh, right, I was thinking "20% off if I pay cash, which will make the pen a little under $8.50 US...." :thumbup: (It's a bottom end Snorkel Special, but still a Snorkel....)

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Please take the advice given here and get the pen serviced, even if the filling mechanism "sounds" right. You won't be sorry.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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