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Timeo Frenchie et Donas Ferentes

Posted by Dirck on 9 April, 2012

The declension is, as usual in my flights into the classics, undoubtedly astray, or perhaps there’s a gender disagreement.  A bit of a Trojan horse appeared on my shores this past weekend (the notice arrived on Thursday, and I collected it on Saturday, for those wondering how I got anything out of Canada Post over the Easter break).  But let me begin at the beginning.

I decided, with the conclusion of the recent  Great Financial Reworking, to treat myself to a pen I generally miss out on making the high bid upon.  I went to a non-auction pen-sale location, and found what looked to be a reasonably priced example of a Parker 75 in a reasonable state of repair.  The seller, located in France, described it as having a little bit of damage to the gold-filled cladding.  I can live with that.  Most of my Parkers with rolled gold have shed a certain amount, and I’m viewing the pen as one who uses rather than COLLECTS.  “Send it hither to my shores, and I shall have it dragged within my gates,” or words to a similar effect.

The thing having been brought within my mighty citadel (nearly a thousand square feet!), I found to my dismay that it was full of angry Greeks… in a metaphorical sense.  The cap damage was as stated and, frankly, quite easily overlooked.  The point was a different matter.  It was bent like a pugilist’s nose, a nice complex S-bend that is the signature of the pen being dropped, and then without reference to any sort of sound advice, manhandled back into very roughly the same shape it started.  This was apparently done with some kind of pliers, as there were deep scuffs on the back of the point, and the feed was rather scraped up as well… including some fragments of its leading edge that were worked up between the point and the main body of the feed.

So, to make the best of a bad situation, I did this:

I didn’t want to nor like doing it, mind you….

What I’ve done is something my written references refer to as “somewhat difficult” and “usually unnecessary.”  I’ve separated the components of what Parker would call a single unit.  The process is something like getting the point off a Lamy Safari, but more terror-inducing, because there’s that little thin tail to worry about and rather more friction between point and feed.  However, since dealing with that bend (which the picture, I see now, rather understates) requires getting at the underside of the point, it had to be done.  I also needed to get at the upper face of the feed to be able to gently grind away the turn-back left by the previous insults, which wasn’t a big thing but it would certainly afflict the function of the pen.

The reason I don’t put myself forward as doing this sort of thing for clients is that I don’t have quite all the tools to do the job properly.  Thus, while I’m relatively pleased with the results:

“Relatively pleased” being self-deprication for “overjoyed and somewhat relieved”

…they’re not the nigh-perfection I know people who do offer to take money for the work manage.  There is a little bit of rippling in the metal not evident in the picture but obvious to the slightly less than cursive glance.  However, it is as close to the right shape as it needs to be for my pleasure, the deeper scars are gone, and it works the way a Parker pen should.

Having gotten to this stage, I should probably admit to being unfair to the seller, who may have convinced himself he’d done as good a job as was needed, and possibly even that it wasn’t the sort of thing that needed comment.  That’s why I’m not naming names, but merely casting aspersions at a whole nation… wait, that sounds wrong.  I’m not mad enough to rouse out the fleets and lay siege to a distant city over the acts of a single person, that’s all.  Caveat emptor, as ever, and all the moreso where there’s not a dispute mechanism in place; one of the few feeble virtues of eBay.  I would be less charitable if I didn’t have the small skills I do possess, though; knowing that I couldn’t fix it, I would be agitating for a refund or at least an undertaking that the seller pay for the repair.

And thus do I urge my readers who are uncertain.  If you try to fix it yourself, and wreck it moreso, the seller can cheerfully snap his fingers at any claims for recompense.  “Hey, it wasn’t like that when I sent it.  I’ve got pictures!”

Today’s pen: The self-same Parker 75 Insignia (which, since I haven’t hadn’t got my page written yet, I’ll add a link to the best source of information possible on this model)
Today’s ink: Quink black (a simple ink for test purposes; why confound yourself with variables about ink/pen compatibility?)

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3 Responses to “Timeo Frenchie et Donas Ferentes”

  1. […] a Canadian source, I’ve finally done enough of the work covertly with good results, both on my own pens and those of others.  The real tipping point, I suppose, was an Osmia 64 (which will be profiled […]

  2. […] was the memorable though remediable disappointment of my Parker 75.  Yesterday there was more of a fright than a disappointment.  A modern Waterman, […]

  3. […] it came from Wallonia rather than Flanders, and when I opened it I instantly remembered my past immoderate statements about people who are French, and realized that I may have to extend them to the merely ethnically French.  The pen was sent in […]

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