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"Fix" for the new 51 cap


Doctox57
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OK, yes, I know this is not a "new" topic - I just could not find the old thread.  

Anyway, there are many faults some have claimed for the new (2020) 51.  Many of these are, IMHO, not that bad.  And have been repeated over many decades in many pens that have not received such disdain.  The biggest fault is that it is not a 140s - 50s 51, and never can be.  Get over it.  But the other big fault (and here I agree fully) is the ability of the cap to let in cooling breezes, and so your ink dries.  If you blow into the open end of the cap, it blows right on through. Does that matter?  Yes.  I did do a blue-ink test of sorts.  Fill it, then let it sit for lengthening periods of time.  Over a while, the blue gets darker and darker, and eventually it skips before starting.  

I did not tear apart the cap, I just experimented with where the gaps are.  I simply used "Clear Museum Gel", which is indeed very clear and pretty much invisible.  I started by working it into the vents at the top of the cap.  I have no idea why they are there, but I not the old Parker Frontier had pretty much the same cap design, with vents.  That accomplished very little.  Then I discovered that the clip is the main culprit.  So, another blob of museum gel went under the clip, and I worked it in with a small, smooth, watchmaking "pusher" tool (so as not to scratch.  It is invisible on the outside, and totally plugged up the gap. Similarly at the top, it is easy to just wipe away the excess gel - it is sort of like rubber cement in being easily rubbed off the unwanted places.  Blow test - A++.

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Sounds like a great fix. But just to clarify, because I've never held one myself, are you really telling me that the new re-release of the 51s have both the screw threads on the cap but also an open cap that lets air in on the top?! I'm in shock here, thinking that the justification for adding the screw threads must have been to keep it sealed so it wouldn't dry out...

See my PIF post for free ink (Canada).

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20 hours ago, E.H. Tersono said:

Sounds like a great fix. But just to clarify, because I've never held one myself, are you really telling me that the new re-release of the 51s have both the screw threads on the cap but also an open cap that lets air in on the top?! I'm in shock here, thinking that the justification for adding the screw threads must have been to keep it sealed so it wouldn't dry out...

I have no idea what motivations anyone at Parker had, or the details of how it is put together mechanically - I had no interest in dismantling to find out.  But, yes, it has open "vents" at the top of the cap, plus the clip is attached in such a way that it sits in a slot that is widely open to let air through.  And the ink does dry too fast.  

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experimented one day with a vintage aerometric cap - it fits on the new 51 and pretty securely!  nib not impacted.  downside may be more barrel scratches in the future

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Does the ink in the New “51” dry any faster than in the original “51” or any other pen for that matter?

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I did my own testing, and you can too.  Pretty much any old 51 cap, or Frontier cap, or 61 cap, and many other caps, are as leaky to air as the new 51.  Pens have been like this for generations.  So it's no big new flaw or reveal.  

I just bought some "infinity ink" from Private Reserve  with "Extended Cap Off".  I shall see if it has any actual slow-dry-in-the-pen advantage.  Otherwise, I have always (or at least for the past 60 years or so) found it best to replenish unused ink at least weekly.  

 

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2 hours ago, Glenn-SC said:

Does the ink in the New “51” dry any faster than in the original “51” or any other pen for that matter?

Of course it depends on the pen, ink and conditions.  But at least for me, as compared to e.g. Pelikan 800, or even compared to a 61 Flighter, it was leakier, and the blue ink darkened faster than in the other pens.  But it does so no longer now I used the Museum Gel.  I did the same on another 1954-ish aerometric 51.  And the flighter.  

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The vents are in the cap to allow air in when the pen is pulled out, to keep the ink from getting pulled out of the pen.  If at all like the Sonnet, the air goes around the outside of the cap, not into the inner cap.  Parker was doing that some of the originals too, hence the cut down the outside of the cap that you find on some inner caps.  If at all like the Sonnets, the inner cap may havecracks in it that allow air in.

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Blowing through the bottom of the cap when it's not on the pen doesn't show anything useful, what happens if you cap the pen, then blow through the top?

That would show whether the inner cap is sealing around the nib or not. 

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18 hours ago, Ron Z said:

The vents are in the cap to allow air in when the pen is pulled out, to keep the ink from getting pulled out of the pen.  If at all like the Sonnet, the air goes around the outside of the cap, not into the inner cap.  Parker was doing that some of the originals too, hence the cut down the outside of the cap that you find on some inner caps.  If at all like the Sonnets, the inner cap may havecracks in it that allow air in.

The air flow is way more than needed for that, and there is no inner cap.

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4 hours ago, Inkysloth said:

Blowing through the bottom of the cap when it's not on the pen doesn't show anything useful, what happens if you cap the pen, then blow through the top?

That would show whether the inner cap is sealing around the nib or not. 

No, actually.  When you blow through the cap when the pwn is capped, your lips seal the top and the pen seals the bottom- so unless you plan to carry you pen in your mouth all day, the logic does not work.

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On 10/22/2021 at 4:22 AM, Doctox57 said:

I did my own testing, and you can too.  Pretty much any old 51 cap, ....... are as leaky to air as the new 51.  

 

Not sure how you tested, but none of my 10 vintage 51 caps has any air leak, based on blowing into the cap from the open end. In my experience, vintage 51s (at least the old style clutch, which is all I have) are amongst the most resistant to drying out pens I have used. 

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On 10/22/2021 at 4:28 PM, Doctox57 said:

The air flow is way more than needed for that, and there is no inner cap.

I have examined the cap with a Lupe and there is, indeed, an inner cap.

Peter

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On 10/23/2021 at 4:53 AM, mariom said:

Not sure how you tested, but none of my 10 vintage 51 caps has any air leak, based on blowing into the cap from the open end. In my experience, vintage 51s (at least the old style clutch, which is all I have) are amongst the most resistant to drying out pens I have used. 

The vac ones with the blue diamond do not leak, but all of my aerometric ones with no blue diamond are not airtight.

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Sonnets might have inner cap - I don't have one.  I meant the new 51 has no inner cap.

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I’m not sure blowing through the cap when it’s off the off the pen is a valid test. 
 

Many caps are designed to interact with the section to seal, and in fact going overboard on sealing can suck ink out of the pen when uncapped. 
 

It’s been a little while since I touched one of my aero 51s, but will check caps on mine tonight. I can’t imagine the caps being terribly different inside given that they attach the same way.

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6 hours ago, Doctox57 said:

Sonnets might have inner cap - I don't have one.  I meant the new 51 has no inner cap.

Hello Doctox57,

I think it does. In fact, I suspect the drying out is poor design/quality control. Personally I don't have a drying problem; I have a scoring of the grip problem. My hypothesis is that there is variation in the liner location and that the plastic used is too hard. For me, it's installed not as deep into the cap, so my nib is well sealed and my grip badly scored. For others it may be deeper, and the nib not well sealed.

I've attached a picture of what I think the liner is based on it lining up with the scratches.

20211025_201813~2.jpg

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22 hours ago, Doctox57 said:

The vac ones with the blue diamond do not leak, but all of my aerometric ones with no blue diamond are not airtight.

 

I have just checked every P51 I currently have in my possession ranging from a couple of blue diamond lustaloy and Vermeil up to aeromatics in lustaloy and 1/10 GF.


None of mine leak with air blowing through them...

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47 minutes ago, bunnspecial said:

 

I have just checked every P51 I currently have in my possession ranging from a couple of blue diamond lustaloy and Vermeil up to aeromatics in lustaloy and 1/10 GF.


None of mine leak with air blowing through them...

Maybe I just am a magnet for leaky caps, or I am just a blowhard.  Either way ...

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17 hours ago, Weaveras said:

Hello Doctox57,

I think it does. In fact, I suspect the drying out is poor design/quality control. Personally I don't have a drying problem; I have a scoring of the grip problem. My hypothesis is that there is variation in the liner location and that the plastic used is too hard. For me, it's installed not as deep into the cap, so my nib is well sealed and my grip badly scored. For others it may be deeper, and the nib not well sealed.

I've attached a picture of what I think the liner is based on it lining up with the scratches.

20211025_201813~2.jpg

Good pic in a tight spot.  I had a look as well, with my dissecting microscope (sorry no pics - I have not yet set up a camera on it since relocating a little while back).  What you point out is a short sleeve that has the screw threads on it for screwing on the cap.  And farther back you can see another sleeve.  That sleeve has a notch right at the bottom of your pic.  That's where the clip is attached.  Not seen in your pic is a plastic "disk".  It is not exactly a disk, but more of a dinner-plate shape.  I expect it is supposed to be an air barrier to close the gap between the inner part of the cap, and the top end which has an unsealed opening where the clip penetrates into the cap.  In my pen, it is tilted with the high side right at clip attachment.   My bet is that this disk is inserted and pressed into place as a late step in cap assembly, and if it is not exactly aligned exactly, jams in such a way that it seals around the rim, then it is leaky to air.  So, a quality control matter.  Some buyers get a pen with a tight seal, others do not.  It is likely a fussy step that requires "feel" that most rapidly-working, low paid line workers don't worry too much about developing.  

In any event, the museum gel works a treat.  

I personally am not worried about some minor scratching.  I have a lot of vintage pens, and most not "NOS", but more like "previously well loved".  Including well loved 51s from 40s and 50s (one loved by me since school days).  The hoods and barrels get scratched.  I have a 1939 Vac. Sr. Maxima that looks like it survived the siege of Stalingrad.  But it must have been well loved, because it writes like on a sheet of butter.  My new 51 will get love scars too.  

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