The close observer of past entries may have noticed a bit of an anomaly lately. While Bleu Pervenche remained the ink in use, the pen changed. This may have nurtured curiosity in that close observer’s heart, and I can now clarify the events. I did indeed have a moment of frivolity in my choice of pen and ink when I brought the Stylist out of storage on the 10th, although I only admitted to it for the ink. This frivolity was repaid shortly after the entry for that day, when I found my fingers festively blued… but the source of the ink was the joint of the pen.
That’s not good.
Over the weekend, I moved the ink from a modern converter which wasn’t seating excellently into a cartridge, cleaned up the pen, gave it a couple of hours of lying on its side… and found that the ink was getting out into the barrel. The cartridge went into the Agio and I had to put on my thinking cap.
My history with Sheaffer cartridge pens betrayed my slightly in this. There is not a lot of dismantling to do with the old school pens nor NoNonsenses, both of which were companions of my youth. I was thus slightly blind to the anatomy of the Stylist, but when presented with a leak, there must be a source, so rather than relying on the wisdom of the ancients (that’s me!) I actually looked inside the section.
There I found a suggestive slot on either side of the steel fang that entered the unsuspecting new cartridge. Suggestive indeed, because is suggests that with the right tool, one could unscrew… something. Well, unscrewing something is what inquisitive apes like to do! There was, however, the issue of that rather important fang in the middle of the thing. Here we meet the title of the piece, because I had to take a piece of brass tube left over from a previous bit of cleverness and make a tool to the purpose by grinding away bits of the end until left with to protrusions. The tube goes over the fang, the protrusions engage the groove, and I get to plumb the mysteries of the Stylist.
They’re not THAT mysterious.
There’s more buffering in there than I had given it credit for. The source of the problem was that seal mounted towards the inward end of what I will call the feed because “collector” is a part of a different pen and I think properly has to be separate from the bit that conducts ink from reservoir to point; this thing appears to be all one piece, because the threads are at the far end from the slot. The seal is similar to ones found in Imperials and Targas, and in those situations I find it isn’t quite eternally reliable either. I think it’s made of nylon. My remedy, thus far functional, was to try reviving it with some silicone grease, although if that starts to fail I think the best alternative is to pack some wax into the seam between the walls of the section and the feed rather than take it apart and try to mount some kind of o-ring.
The tool I am not showing because it is extremely ugly. It is functionally similar to the Conway-Stewart cap tool or the Visofil nut tool made by The Pen Practice, but without any of the evident skill of construction found there. I’m shy about my limitations. If I were to make another, by the way, I’d probably find a tube closer to the outer diameter of a Sheaffer cartridge, to get better leverage.
While I had the thing apart, I made an interesting discovery about the contact between the point unit and the feed. There’s less of it than I thought:
Quite a gap, eh? You can see the dodgy seal better in this one, too, just short of the right end of the feed.
The stem at the back of the point unit is bottomed out in its cup on the feed. I don’t know if that’s some clever use of dead space to insulate the feed and add buffering space, or if it’s an idiotic leaving of places for ink to dry and cause trouble. It saves the need to line up the little vent hole in the lower part of the unit with the air-return on the feed, and I guess that’s what the reason for it is, but it troubles me.
While fabricating things this week-end, I also ran up a tool to ease the dismantling of Snorkels, as I’ve a sick one in hand from a client. It’s a stick with a slot in it, and a hole drilled in it. That one I just forgot to get a picture of, which is a shame because it’s damn useful. Maybe later.
Today’s pen: Sheaffer Stylist
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Pervenche