What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements


Posted by Dirck on 28 May, 2012

I had a weekend in which I felt slightly like Winston Smith; no head-mounted rodent containers. and while black may not have become white, but ease and difficulty definitely spent some time trying on one another’s hats.  It was a fun-size existential crisis!

The easy thing which proved unwarrantedly difficult was a sac replacement.  What more straight-forward?  Of all the repair procedures, this is the one that gets proposed most often as “Try This At Home” and with entire justification.  In the case of this pen, though, I am coming around to the notion that a previous repair was done by someone that had a somewhat skewed notion of what constitutes “repair”; being aware of the existence of section sealant, this past repair-performer not only used something to seal the section but also applied something a good deal more grippy than the stuff rightfully known as section sealant actually is.  I seems to be rather more grippy than shellac, too.  I’ve had this pen about the place a couple of weeks, and the cycles of heat (coming increasingly close to the point of disaster) and soaking applied to it have done nothing to convince the section to come forth.  I am, I’m sad to say, soon to throw in the towel, as I’ve only got a couple of tricks left that I’m willing to try with someone else’s pen.

Notice the great nasty dent

The prospective difficult thing which proved easy and to which I applied myself after the frustration described above; the weekend was finished with a triumph, at least.  The time available to me was, I decided, sufficient to get out the most expensive of the recently-purchased tools and see if I could get something to do what it was supposed to.  The tools are those for dismantling the cap of a Parker “51” (and some others) and knocking dents out of them.  As it happens, I’ve got some Parker “51”s in rather horrid shape.  I won’t go into a prolonged description of the effort (All: HOORAH!), but it was almost as if the tools did not only all the work but most of the thinking, and the barest effort produced magnificent results.  And because the current public notion holds that nothing happens unless there’s a picture of it, here’s the standard before and the unexpected after:

Isn’t that a shock?

 The photographs are more flattering than they should be, to be honest.  The surface of the cap is still somewhat irregular, and I would be deeply embarrassed to suggest that someone might pay me to do this for them.  There’s still some practice needed.  However, having made these admissions, I will also reiterate my delerious joy over having gotten such a good result from the first attempt.  The “refrosting” is also a little haphazard when seen close-to, as it’s all done with hand abrasives, but it has done away with almost all the serious evidence of abuse that the cap offered.

I say almost, because evidently at some point in this pen’s life it stood in for the Nostromo in a mite-sized production of Alien; there is a pit in the outer cap which is paralleled by a melted hole in the inner one, the edges of which indicate whatever did the business came from inside and moved outward.  I had thought the stories about Superchrome ink were exaggerated until now….

Today’s pen: An entirely different Parker “51”
Today’s ink: Some non-corrosive Noodler’s La Couleur Royale

edited to add: for those who are looking at that cap and thinking, “What an odd clip,” its a 1948 UK-made Vacumatic.


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