So Much Busy!
Posted by Dirck on 13 February, 2017
Well, I promised an old-style entry. Not only lots of gabble about fixing pens, but as you shall see presently there’s also a powerful demonstration of my camera’s unreliability at close-up work. We start all of the above with a Parker 51 that wanted to destroy itself rather than be repaired. The client got it for cheaps, happily, the first 51 to come his way, and thus the rather amazing bend of the point wasn’t instantly obvious as a problem; there was no other damage to the pen, and it worked, so why question one more element of odd configuration in a pen that is, from the tradition fountain pen design standpoint, made of oddities? After playing with it for a while, though, he realized that all was not as it was meant to be, so he handed it along to me.
The first thing I said when I looked at it was, “That shouldn’t be so haaaaa…. oh, hell, it’s going to be a big hassle to get that hood off!” And so it was. Why? Well, after the first rotation of unscrewing the hood, you’d have the very thin plastic of the widow’s peak riding over the upthrust metal of the point. Like this:
I foresaw the pointiest bit of the hood snapping off, and then there’d be extra hassle in cosmetic remediation which would still leave the end of the hood looking more like a manicured finger-nail than a vampire’s hairline. The solution was to rotate the shell only half-way, leaving enough clearance for my tiny little pliers to get in and do a rough re-shaping ahead of full disassembly. That did the trick, allowing me to then pull the point right out and get at it with all the necessary tools, and return it to something very like the original form.
I haven’t actually contacted the owner yet, as there was also an unusually splendid Eclipse turned in for a new sac at the same time, and I haven’t had time after the shellac’s setting to put it back together. Oh, on that point– if the lever of a pen isn’t working properly, it might not be just an ossified sac. It might be that some underpaid person in a long-ago factory put the pressure bar in sideways and the lever binds on it during travel. This would go a long way toward explaining why the pen seems to have never been used.
This weekend I also got a pen of my own back in shape. Today’s pen, in fact, which has been laid up for… cripes, years with a bad case of shattered collar on the point/feed unit. A big hoorah to Custom Pen Parts for running up brand new components for old pens, and a big smack on the back of the head for me for not asking them for the part sooner.
The final triumph of the weekend was getting this poor thing back in shape:
This was sent to me by a… I hesitate to say “client”, because the Pelikan 140 she sent me a while back needed little more than a sharp look and an imperious gesture to return to function, and only slightly more effort was called for with her Parker 51. This was not only more challenging a Challenger than she wanted around the place, it was surplus to requirement, so she passed it on to me– not for my own enjoyment (I too, have a sufficiency of Challenger in my life) but so I could act as a link in a chain seeing it into worthy hands. We’re about to enter the audience participation portion of the programme…
My first thought was to find someone who hasn’t had a vintage pen and hand it to them, a kindness in a world in need of such things. But… apart from figuring out how to find a recipient, that damage I sorted out is likely a result of someone who had not previously used a vintage pen overdoing things. I don’t want to deprive someone of a chance at a pen of this sort, but I also don’t want their experience of vintage pens to be “Oh, boy! A vintage pen! *gloink* Awwww….”
So, I turn to my long-suffering readers for advice. Do I persist with the original plan, with its potential for disappointment? The other alternative that struck me is to auction it, careful to point out its not-quite-mint condition, with the stated goal of gathering money for a charity. If I get shoved in this direction, I may come back asking which charity to direct the proceeds to; I’ve got some in mind, but I don’t think this thing will draw in enough to make splitting the donation a sensible prospect.
So, everyone who isn’t me reading this: OPINE! I’ve got a poll, but comments are also open for reasoned arguments for or against the options, and to provide alternatives. I’ll give this a couple of weeks, and then with a decision in hand I’ll start the process of acting upon it!