Posted in Restoration

Gold Starry, More Than A Ladies Pen

Company Backstory

The origins of Gold Starry date to 1909 with the marketing of Conway Stewart fountain pens in France, under the Gold Star brand name. In 1912, the name was changed to Gold Starry.

In 1921, Gold Starry became a wholly-owned French pen manufacturer of fountain pens, thus ending the import of English pens. Production initially occurred in a pavilion on the outskirts of Paris The company adopted the slogan “le stylo qui marche” (the pen that works). Characterized by the trademark consisting of a star, the Manifacture Francaise engraving on the barrel.

A lever fill model was introduced in 1927. My pen is a streamlined style, made popular by the Shaeffer Balance. This dates the pen to the 1930’s.

My Pen

My pen came from a seller in Rouen France. It is a small mottled ebonite lever filler with a gold loop to attach the pen to a chain and worn around the neck. As with my other 2 Gold Starry’s, there were surprises, some good, some not so good, but all awaiting for me to find.

The most obvious issue is the opening for the lever. It appears a tool was inserted into the opening and used to widen the opening to reinsert the lever and the snap ring. Feeling empowered I decided to try and restore the lever opening/barrel to its original shape.

I removed the lever and j-bar. Armed with an aluminum straw that fit the barrel perfecting, I set the tea kettle to boil. Taking hold of the straw, the damage section of the barrel is lightly applied to the steam for 15 seconds. Then inserting the handle of a spoon into the leveler slot (to prevent the accidentally over correction of the misshaped opening), applied pressure to each side, evaluated the results then the process repeated until the barrel is acceptable. The steam did leave a misty finish to the barrel which quickly came off when a Sunshine cloth was applied.

Before and After

Speaking of the lever, it turned out to be an interesting find. I’ve only seen levers that are plain, this one has a small raised accent shaped like an hourglass. Unfortunately, the hourglass is well worn and hard to see.

Also an interesting find is the J pressure bar, it reminds me of a Shaeffer SH pressure bar but in reverse and this pressure bar is in 2 pieces. The workmanship is really quit impressive.

The ink sac is also a surprise. Firstly, it is too large for the pen. A #18 sac has installed in the pen, which completely filled the inside of the barrel less the j-bar. Secondly, the ink sac is secured to the section by a string – no shellac. WTH. After reinstalling the J-bar, a #16 ink sac was inserted and determined that to be too large with the J-bar. I’ve settled on a #14 which I don’t have so I ordered a couple.

I decided to remove the nib and feed because there was some kind of white chalky “stuff” on the underside of the nib, plus the feed is out of position relative to the nib. Another interesting find, the nib is oblique.

Normally, I would ink up the pen and give it a go, but I am still waiting for the #14 ink sac. The nib is very flexible so I dipped the nib into Waterman Serenity Blue ink. The nib needs a visit to a nibsmith but definitely is flexible.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length. 99mm
  • Uncapped length. 84mm
  • Barrel diameter 10mm
  • Cap diameter 11mm
  • Weighs in at 9g
Posted in Restoration

Keystone: A Brand, A Model or Wearever

The keystone fountain pen, a taper-cap eyedropper-filling model produced by Soper & Sievewright, was fitted with a manually-operated ink shut-off to prevent leakage while in the pocket and also provided an option to fill the pen by removal of a threaded plug in the back end of the barrel.

Keystone was also a pen model name used by David Kahn, Inc. for one of the Wearever pens. Kahn, a manufacturing company operating in New Jersey, was founded in 1896 by David Kahn, a Jewish immigrant. Kahn’s company manufactured ornate pencil cases, mechanical pencils, and pens. The Wearever brand of fountain pens was introduced circa 1918. In the late 1920s, Kahn adopted the injection molding process then being developed in Germany, making them the first manufacturer to produce injection-molded pens.

This Keystone, is it a model, or is it a brand name …. we know that Wearever used Keystone as one of its model names, and this pen looks very much like the Jefferson pens produced by Wearever. I’m inclined to believe this pen is one of the Wearever models known as Keystone.

My Pen

Not trying to be a Negative Nancy, but let’s start with my complaint about the pen. The pen is overall in good shape and attractive but some idiot who previously “restored” it shellacked the section to the barrel after installing an undersized ink sac. I can’t take any pride in sloppy work but I guess “good enough” is as good as some people can manage – I’m a firm believer in the Peter Principle.

Now on to the pen!

Let’s start with the ink sac and section, as you can see this is all jacked up. OMG, it gets even better, the refurbisher did not bother to remove the old sac. Its remains are in the barrel as well as its remnants are still on the section under the newly installed sac – oh this going to be fun.

I had no problem removing the lever, and most of the previous ink sac, which was still rubberized-ish. Naturally, the J-bar broke when I tried to remove it. Or maybe it was already broken, but no worries I can make a new one. I eventually removed the old ink sac from the barrel making use of a wax carving tool and an X-Acto knife.

Then I pulled the nib and feed out by accident, which turned out to be a good thing, The underside of the nib was coated with a white stain. Using an old polishing cloth I went to work on the stain. The nib is imprinted with the verbiage “gold plated,” well as I worked the cloth to remove the stains so did the remaining gold plate.

Look closely below you will notice a series of cracks radiating out from the clip. I’m confident these are manufacturing defects and not related to misuse.

After manufacturing a new J-Bar, I made quick order reassembling the pen, installing a #20 sized ink sac. Time to ink it up and give it a go!

Can’t say I was impressed with how the pen writes. We all know I am not a fan of Fine point nibs. After inking up the pen I had to coax the ink to flow. The feed is not suited for fast writing and would be a horrible choice for note-taking.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 125mm
  • Uncapped length 120mm
  • Barrel diameter 12mm
  • Cap diameter 13.5mm
  • Weighs in at 14g.
Posted in Restoration

1935 Parker Challenger

(Revised from the original posting on 16 March 2021.)

The Parker Challenger was manufactured from 1934 to 1941 and was a surprise success for the George Parker Company. The pen was introduced in February of 1934 during the Vacumatic era and featured a button filler made of the same material as the Vacumatics but at less than half the price. The Challenger was offered in two sizes, slim or standard, and sold for $2.50, whereas the Vacumatic sold for $7.50 and the Parkette for $1.25, making it priced right as a gift pen for school students.

My Pen

When I got my Parker Challenger as a consultation prize for bitching about excessive shipping cost on another purchase. It was in horrible condition, the clip and cap ring is heavily brassed. The ink sac was dried-up, and the section is frozen to the barrel and the nib won’t pull out. The date code 13 is stamped on the barrel, meaning it was manufactured in Q1 1935.

How to refurbish it, I pulled out my Parker Repair manual, which was apparently a bad idea. In the repair manual, it indicated that the plunger section needed or could be removed using the Parker pen vise. Turns out you aren’t supposed to take the plunger section out so when I tried and tried all I did was damage the threads of the plunger cap. Now there are no teeth to hold the cap on.

So I got working on the section and the nib. Both aren’t budging, using a hair drier and soaked them for days, they finally came apart. A peek inside the barrel revealed the pressure bar mixed up with the dried ink sac.

Feeling frustrated I did a Duck Duck Go search and found 2 articles, one on The Fountain Pen Network and the other on Fountain Pen Restoration detailing how to refurb a Challenger, well shit. This is when I realized the vise was a mistake. Removing the plunger was no problem but the pressure bar wasn’t moving. Using a dental pick, I broke up enough of the sac to free the pressure bar, then removed the remaining sac.

I found a guy in South Dakota with a spare clip for the Challenger – I ordered one. Well, the clip arrived and the hole in the washer is too small. At first glance, it is otherwise identical to the one I took off. Placing them side by side the new one is a little shorter.

The inside diameter of the brassed clip ring is 10mm while the replacement clip is 7mm. Could it be a Vacumatic clip since Challengers were made from the same plastic or maybe a remodeled Duofold clip,

Removing years of grim, tooth marks, and scratches. Taped over the name and mfr info and started sanding with 1000 grit paper, then 2000, 3000, 5000, 7000 grit paper then I repeated the whole process. Afterward, I went over the pen with a Sunshine cloth. It feels great! and looks good. The process was repeated with on cap.

Time to focus on the section, it had a brown tint from all the grime which required sanding twice. The paper turned brown, but when I finished it looked great. Installed a #20 ink sac. Used the Sunshine cloth on the nib, it shined up great so I also polished up the feed and put the nib back into the section.

Do No Harm

Turned my attention to the damage I did to the plunger cap. Applied 2 coats of sac shellack to the inside of the blind cap threads. It didn’t help so I cut some black construction paper into a thin strip and put it inside the cap, and shellacked it into place – bingo.

OMG, I’ve found a DIY process for nickel electroplating that is “safe and easy.” I gave it a go, didn’t poison myself or blow up the garage, and my wife didn’t divorce me (lol).

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 132mm
  • Uncapped length 116mm
  • Barrel diameter 12mm
  • Cap diameter 14mm
  • Weighs in at 16g
Posted in Restoration

Gold Starry Safety Pen

Company Backstory

The origins of Gold Starry can be traced back to 1909 with the marketing of Conway Stewart fountain pens in France, as the Gold Star brand. Following a trademark violation in 1912, the name was changed to Gold Starry, retaining the English origin of the pens. The first pens sold by the Gold Starry brand were black hard rubber or mottled safeties. These pens were eyedropper fill safety fountain pens, identified by two digits (models 36 & 39), indicating the price in francs.

At the beginning of the ’20s, fountain pen production began in a pavilion on the outskirts of Paris. In 1921, Gold Starry became a wholly-owned French pen manufacturer, thus ending the import of English pens. The company adopted the slogan “le stylo qui marche” (the pen that works). Characterized by the trademark consisting of a star, the brand name, and “Manifacture Francaise” engraving on the barrel and some dotted rings on the cap top.

My Pen

I picked up the pen from a seller in Germany. The seller said the pen is a model 59, least ways that is how I am reading him. I cannot find any documentation on Gold Starry models beyond 36, 39 and 256. Based on its size, it is a vest pen without a clip.

I’m estimating the pen dates from between 1921 to 1926 as determined by the logo and the cap rings (no dots). The original brand logo is a Star followed by GOLD STARRY, nothing else. In 1925, the logo changed the star now bisects GOLD STARRY and “Manifacture Francaise” is engraved on the barrel. The logo on my pen has a star followed by GOLD STARRY, there is nothing engraved on the barrel and the cap is missing the customary dotted cap rings. This tells me the pen is either a Conway Stewart marketed by Gold Starry or one of the first Manifacture Francaise pens.

1924 (top) and 1927 Gold Starry advertisments

The Restoration

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The pen is in really good shape with the exception of ink stains. The barrel from the section and 1/2” past the cap threads were heavily coated with ink. The mouth of the barrel and operating shaft were covered with a significant amount of ink residue and dust. I spent days removing the ink.

The nib needed a little tuning, one of the tins was slightly bent and had to be straightened and aligned.

Time to give it a try, with the nib retracted I used a straw to drop ink down the barrel. The barrel opening is so narrow a normal straw cannot be inserted into the opening, but I managed, drop by drop. You may be wondering how the ink is prevented from spilling out of the barrel. This is a safety pen, the nib is only extended when being used. At all other times the nib is retracted and the cap is screwed on. Inside the cap is a circular protrusion that will plug the opening of the barrel when screwed on tightly.

With the nib fully extended, the pen met paper. The nib is very soft and flexible, it took a moment to get used to how it writes. Held the pen up to examine the nib….wait, ahhhh the ink is leaking out of the knob used to extend or retract the nib. Damn the cork used to pack the shaft is missing or dry rotted (remember my comment about dust on the operating shaft!). Great a case of inky fingers.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 92mm,
  • Uncapped, nib retracted length 84mm,
  • Cap length 31mm,
  • Barrel diameter is 8.5mm,
  • The cap diameter is 9.5mm,
  • Pen weighs in at 20g.

I mentioned the pen is small, how small you ask? It’s this small.

L-R: Mont Blanc Meisterstuck, Waterman Hemisphere, Bic Cristal, Gold Starry, Conklin All American

Posted in Pens, Restoration

Really, The Dog Ate My Pen

(Originally posted on 6 April 2021.)

In the spirit of TBT and the ghosts of Christmas past, I thought I’d reblog this post with updates. I’m sure everyone was good last year and Santa brought you lots of nice things. Did you put those nice things away? Are they out of reach of the dog? Yes, there is a lesson or two to be learned.

The Backstory

The Esterbrook Purse or Pastel pen was produced with women in mind, they were smaller, dainty, and designed to fit in a purse. The initial pens were made between 1954 and 1957. These Pastel pens were constructed using a much softer plastic, today they are usually found with cracks in the cap, and their color is faded. The pen in this tale was “cherry” when I got it, so I gave it to my wife as a Christmas present along with a sweet bullet journal (160gsm paper) so she could use a fountain pen, markers, etc without the bleed-through associated with the cheap stuff we call paper. This is where the trouble begins, the pen was stored in a cute little bag that somehow ended up on the floor (I blame the cats) and our dog thought she would try it out as a new chew toy. Fortunately, she wasn’t impressed.

CYA announcement

Do not do as I do, but if you choose to ignore my warning please don’t do it with a pen of value.

She managed to miss the nib, the cap clip, the cap ring, and both jewels. And, she didn’t put any holes completely through the plastic. I’ve read in numerous blogs, where people have used hairdryers to loosen the nib section from the barrel, knowing this plastic is a lot softer and more pliable maybe it could be leveraged to soften the plastic and remove the teeth marks.

Restoration

Beginning with the damage to the barrel at the lever, this type of pen uses a snap ring system to hold the fill lever mechanism in place. When the lever is engaged it will actuate a J-bar which compresses the ink sac thus when released ink is drawn into the sac.

Let’s start by removing and inspecting the nib section, confirming there is no damage to the section, nib, or ink sac. Using forceps I easily removed the J-bar, and now it is time to focus on the lever. Remember, there is a bite mark that appears to have grazed the mechanism and partially displace the snap ring. Normally, a lever is removed by raising it 45-degree then pushing forward, but in this case, that wasn’t possible. I managed to manipulate the lever until it and the snap ring came out, everything looks good.

Using the crafting hairdryer, I started intermittently applying medium heat to the barrel. After a couple minutes the plastic felt hot, so I inserted a dental instrument into the barrel. At the damaged area, I began rotating the tool so that the curved side of the instrument would press against the indentation. This I did until I succeeded in pushing out the tooth-mark. Next, I sanded the barrel removing the residual mark. The process is progressive, starting with 1000 grit paper, which will remove significant damage then progressing to 2000, 3000, 5000, and finally, 7000 grit paper leaving a perfectly smooth surface. The process removed all evidence of bite marks and scratches. Looking good!

Now feeling empowered and overly confident, I moved on to the pen cap. The cap has a hard plastic insert that seals the cap to the section preventing ink leakage. One of the bites made a dent protruding through the insert. This will require more heat, more effort, and more attention. Using the same basic principle I began applying high heat to the pen cap. Using a wax carving tool to apply pressure to the damaged area of the hard plastic insert while simultaneously applying pressure to the outside – it’s working!

This is when my overconfidence got the better of me, I applied too much heat plus I took my eye off the cap for just a split second. The tapered end of the pen cap opened up like a budding flower allowing the jewel and clip to fall out. Oh shit! Shit, shit, shit, shit! Now, what am I going to do? I was already patting myself on the back for a job well done.

Wait I have an idea! (Oh no, not again)

To Be Continued…

Posted in Restoration, Stories

“All have their Worth and each contributes to the Worth of the others.” J.R.R Tolkien, The Silmarillion

I came across a pen, a cheap gold-plated metal one with the name “Worth” etched on the clip. The nib needed lots of attention but the barrel and cap are in reasonably good shape – plus the price was right – ok it could have been a couple dollars cheaper.

Back story

I set about researching the “Worth” name on the pen. Pens typically bear the names of the manufacturer such as Parker, Sheaffer & Esterbrook, while some also included names of large retail chains (“big box” stores). House-brand pens as they are known, are not favored by collectors but they are often attractive and on occasion of high quality. Could this be a department store pen, maybe Woolworth’s or possibly the French fashion shop House of Worth? I doubt it, so what’s next?

Are you familiar with Eclipse Pens? I’m not but wouldn’t you know it, they offer a metallic pen with a very similar design of gold-plating. Eclipse was a Canadian Pen manufacturer known for their celluloid and BHR pens. I assume that they contracted with a third party for the metalwork and the service provider probably had a catalog of designs to pick from. Finding two pens with the same design by different manufacturers is not a surprise.

Eclipse fountain pens were originally manufactured in the United States from about 1903 until the early 1930’s, manufacturing moved to Canada from 1925 to 1960 when the company shuttered. Maybe, maybe not, next!

Then I stumbled upon a dip pen manufacturer in NY marketing “Worth College Pen” nibs. These nibs are readily available on eBay and Pinterest. I tried researching the nib manufacturer but to no avail. I also posed questions to the Fountain Pen Network and Fountain Pen Geeks, and no one is familiar with “Worth” pens.

The Restoration

Ok let’s be honest, the nib is gross. There is ink gunking up the feed. The section is easily removed from the barrel. I put it in a cup of water for 24 hrs. Oddly enough the water did not change color based on the dried ink. I guess the gunk isn’t ink or it is not a water based ink (more likely the case). Anyway, the nib and feed easily separated from the section with a gentle pull and I set about working on the tarnished nib with a Sunshine cloth.

When the old dried up ink sac was removed, it was grey primarily, making me think it dated back to the 1960s. The section was showing signs of abuse, sandpaper removed the marks and some accumulated yuck.

As you can see the barrel and cap are in good shape with the exception of the chip missing from the lever – oh well. A Sunshine cloth removed the accumulated dirt and grime, restoring a very nice luster to the pen.

I installed a new ink sac, a #18 fit very nicely without being cramped inside the barrel.

All cleaned up, nib shows no sign of damage, we’ll see if it needs any smoothing but it has what appears to be hard water stains. The stains could be caused by overzealous cleaning with alcohol or an acetone, or fountain pen unfriendly inks.

There does not appear to be any corrosive damage to the nib. I found several options to address the stains, including micro mesh, silver polish, car polish, tooth paste, an emery cloth, so I opted for 7,000 grit paper. If anyone has other suggestions on how to remove the stains don’t be shy.

How does it write? Well, it is scratchy, can’t say I am a fan. If the angle is too steep the nib digs into the paper causing holes. Also, it needs to have the nib and feed heat set (my fingers are blue now). Considering what it looked like when I got it, I guess it writes well.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 127mm,
  • Uncapped length 119mm,
  • Barrel diameter is 10mm,
  • The cap diameter is 11mm,
  • The Pen weighs in at 14g.

——————————- Reference Material ————————-


Posted in Restoration

Esterbrook Green Pastel

Company Back Story

In 1858, entrepreneur Richard Esterbrook established the “Esterbrook Pen Company” in Camden, NJ, which would become one of the biggest and most beloved pen makers in the world. The company started out producing dip pens before concentrating on fountain pens in 1932. At its height, Esterbrook was the largest pen manufacturer in the United States, employing 600 workers, producing 216,000,000 pens a year.

Esterbrook’s most popular and best selling pens were the J series. Of which, the double jeweled models came out around 1948, expanding in the 1950’s with the Pastels. First generation pastels have double black jewels while subsequent models came with matching colored jewels. The Pastels are very “of that era” 1950’s. They are shorter than the Esterbrook J, and came in solid pastel colors. The pens were marketed primarily to women as purse pens.

My Pen

I bought this pen in part as an impulse buy because the dog had just eaten my first Pastel. Though I acted on impulse, I did exercise good judgement focusing on the quality of the pen. That being said, this pen is in exceptional condition, yes I’d go so far as call it cherry much like the one the dog ate. The pen has no tooth marks, scratches nor is the barrel discolored by sunlight.

To my surprise, while cleaning the nib and preparing to remove the section I learned that the last ink used in the pen was green, image that. Another interesting surprise came about when I was removing the old ink sac. A large portion with “Esterbroo”k printed on the side came out. I guess this is the original sac.

Since the pen was in great shape, remember no tooth marks or major scratches, a light cleaning was all that was needed. I installed a new #16 ink sac and we are back in business. Looking good don’t you think?

And YES, I am keeping it away from the dog.

Vital statistics

  • Capped 108mm in length
  • Barrel diameter 8mm
  • Uncapped 100mm in length
  • Weighs in at 11g capped
Sorry my hand writing is so horrible.
Posted in Pens, Restoration, Stories

The Lady Sheaffer “writes like a dream…refills like her lipstick”

The Back Story

“Extensive research” was conducted by Sheaffer to determine if there was a market for a pen designed exclusively for women.

Results showed that women generally considered pens made for them were nothing more than scaled down reproductions of men’s writing instruments while their fashion interests were centered in fabrics, costume jewelry and accessories. The results was a new line of cartridge pens named ‘The Lady Sheaffer’ developed to include all these features. The Lady Sheaffer Skripsert fountain pen debuts in April 1958, offering 19 models with patterns inspired by fine fabrics, like tweed, corduroy, paisley and tulle.

The Lady Sheaffer Skripsert VI is a periwinkle colored enamel over metal, with a gold basketweave that gives the pen a textured finish. The pattern was officially called “Paisley,” and fitted with a stainless steel Triumph wrap around nib. Unfortunately, the periwinkle enamel was prone to flaking off.

My Pen

Lady Sheaffer Skripsert VI

When I got my pen it was dirty and there was a big “stain” on the cap. I planned on cleaning it up but it got lost in the shuffle and my enthusiasm for it faded. After evaluating the direction my pen collection was headed I decide to sell off some pens and this one wasn’t making the grade, but it needed to be cleaned. I set about cleaning it and what a difference that made. The color became so vivid, I had a change of heart.

With the change of heart came a renewed interest in removing the “stain” on the pen cap. Assuming it was oil based, I washed the cap with Dawn dish soap which made the cap really shine but did not remove the stain. Next, I used the nylon circular brushes and the dental picks. This made some progress. Then I got the bright idea to let the cap soak over night in water. That morning I went over the stain again with the brush and removed the periwinkle enamel. F@&#.

It gets better, I’m not done. Since the Dawn soap did such a great job on the cap I used it on the barrel. A metal object covered in soap can be slippery when wet. It didn’t drop far but it landed nib first. F@&#, F@&#, F@&#. The damage isn’t too bad, but the nib is a Triumph circular nib and well ya need a special tool to remove it. OMG I was ready to scream. Doing the best I could with a 1.3 mm dapping punch tool, I managed to remove the majority of the damage.

As this is a cartridge only pen, I dipped the nib in some ink and gave it a go. Damn it looks good and I am impressed with how well it writes. Definitely keeping this pen. The question is can I save it from me?

Posted in Pens, Stories

Parting is such sweet sorrow

I have a problem, I’ve spent too much money on the chase and the delusion that I needed ever “flavor” of pen – ya know, so the collection is complete. After researching the impact our personalities have on our collections, it occurred to me I was going about this all wrong, spending too much money on the idea of completeness or inclusion instead of substance – mind over matter, or is it matter over mind.

After I wrote the blog Our Personalities, They Determine Our Collection’s it occurred to me I have a problem. What does my collection say about me? It lacks direction, I’m not feeling “it.” After a “Come to Jesus” discussion with myself, I’ve decided to “thin the heard,” to cull the collection, to single out those pens that don’t really “get the job done” for me. In short, time to have a sell off. This way I can focus on stuff I really, really like opposed to focusing on the completeness of the collection. Besides isn’t the collection saying something about me? Of the five personal traits I’m thinking “conscientiousness” is probably the most accurate but I’m not feeling this anymore,

So, how do I decide what stays and what goes, what has meaning and what was an impulse, and most importantly, what is going to be the guiding force and direction behind my collection going forward? Should I focus on pens to restore and sell? Or nicely restored pens? Or commit to a particular manufacture or material? Welcome to my nightmare..

Time to make the selection! I took all my pens and spread them across the floor, by manufacture of course. Those that were of a lessor quality were an easy choice, others were duplicates or nearly so (had to acquire minor variations) and finally pens I acquired which needed to be restored but I lost interest and didn’t bother.

Finally tally for now, 1 Schaefer, 5 Esterbrook, 2 Parker’s. Not all of them need restoration before their sale so they will go first. Now it’s time to focus on the direction of my pen collection so I am going to focus on the following for now; black pens, European pens (currently I have a thing for English and French pens), and mottled hard rubber.

After I wrote this (over a month ago) an issue surfaced, I started the process of prepping the pens for sale and wouldn’t you know it, one cleaned up so well I was amazed and it got to stay. Which one, well that’s for me to know and for a future blog to tell.


Posted in Restoration, Stories

Restoration Tools of the Trade

For the most part, tools needed for vintage pen restoration are found in your home already or at the local Walmart or Dollar Store. There are specialized tools, many pens require them but I try to avoid those pens. I have a couple specialized tools/supplies which I will mention later.

Organization, I got a couple pencil storage boxes from Jerry’s Artarama, one drawer is dedicated to restoration tools and supplies. I removed the existing tray dividers and arranged them to suit my needs. The trays came with the foam backing.

I bought a set of 3 dental picks from American Science & Surplus. They are very handy for scraping sacs out of barrels, cleaning grime out of etched cap bands, opening air holes in the cap, etc. I already had a modeling tool, it reminds me of a wax carving tool, which does a great job getting the really stubborn ink sacs out of barrels.

I also bought a 6 pack of nylon bristle circular brushes also from American Science & Surplus. They come in handy cleaning out barrels, feeds, ink filler levers, cap barrel threads. The forceps I acquired 40 years ago when I built plastic model ships. This is super handy for removing/installing J-bars as is a flashlight. Needle nose pliers are too fat. You know how the dentist offers gifts after a cleaning – yup a free soft bristle toothbrush. Does a great job getting grime around the cap band, cap threads.

When it is time to disassembling the pen I put all the parts into a clear plastic box that latches (got it at Michael’s for 99 cents). Parts get lost easily and accidents happen (remember the flat tire scene from A Christmas Story?). All the parts, including the cap and barrel go into this box for safe keeping.

Not in the drawer is an “xacto” knife, but really any sharp pocket knife will do and an infant aspiration. These I use when the section has been separated from the barrel. I use a hair drier to apply gentle heat which softens the shellac and expands the barrel, some people also use section pullers (spark plug boot pullers). I do not! I’ve seen sections that are scratched and damaged by this tool. The knife has one job, scraping the remains of old ink sacs off the sac peg on the section. This can be complicated when the bits of old sac retain some elasticity and stretch rather than come off. Afterwards, I typically use sand paper to smooth the sac peg and remove any residual debris and correct for any damage done by the knife.

The aspirator is used when the nib and feed are refusing to pull out of the section. I don’t force it, simply use gentle heat and a kitchen bottle opening “gripper” to pull the nib and feed out of the section. Others may use a knock-out block to force the nib and feed. If I can’t remove them by hand then they stay. The aspirator forces water through the feed, removing dried ink and any minute sac pieces.

I use the Sunshine cloth to remove dried ink, grime and stains from the nibs, barrel and cap. The toothbrush and dental picks are great for the stubborn, hard to reach grime. Others make use of an Ultrasonic cleaner to remove the grime. I don’t have one. The Sunshine cloth is also used to remove grime and tarnish from the cap band and fill lever. I will use sandpaper – working from a medium grade (1,000 grit) through ever finer grades (to 7,000 grit) – to remove teeth marks and some scratches. When completed, the entire process “polishes” the pen.

Lastly, it is time to install the new ink sac. My ink sac applicator is the pair of tweezers, with rounded tips. Installation is simple enough, the tweezers are inserted into the new sac and spread so the sac stretches. The sac peg on the section is inserting between the arms of the tweezers and pushed forward, the sac slips over the peg and we are done.

I gave up on a ruler and found a manual Vernier Caliper (batteries not needed) so I could get decent measurements, especially if I needed the inside diameter of barrels. And last but not least, well I use it the least, is the nib block. Also used with this is a set of dapping punch tools.

Parker Specific items

Items of interest I did not mention include a small vise, for those moments when you need to get a grip (no it is not Parker specific). And a specialized vise for removing filling units from Parker Vacumatics. Then of course there is the Parker Repair Manual from “back in the day.”

The repair manual provides useful info and info that should never be followed. For instance using an alcohol lamp to apply heat to a stubborn section.