What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

Posts Tagged ‘Parker 51’

Posted by Dirck on 29 June, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 18 manuscript pages (thin air up here.  Thin indeed).

The annual summer silence is about to descend on this enterprise, as my two weeks away† from The Regular Job begin on Monday.  Of course, the way things have been running lately, the interruption will be almost imperceptible.  As it ever the case, I’ll hope to get some writing done around the expectations of family and fabric of the house without expecting to.  This will make for a good deal more physical work than last year, carting the giant heap of paper home and then shifting it out of the way while doing whatever it is that gets in the way of writing is; we remember that another translation of codex is “lump of wood.”

We will try to overlook a more colloquial use of the word by native Latin speakers; blockhead.  I’m sure I shall feel like one in a fortnight when I’ve failed to advance the work beyond its current state, however much I hope to.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Anti-Nausea Treatment

Posted by Dirck on 11 May, 2017

A bonus entry!

In the progress report, I have today’s pen down as the Parker Challenger, but I am in fact carrying a second pen today.  This is not the only transgression of my usual policies, because that second pen is not mine– it belongs to a client.

I am at least as shocked as everyone else.  But it’s done for a noble cause.

The reason this pen is in my clutches at all is because it has been throwing up in its cap.  That’s not good.  It’s also very unusual behaviour for the model.  The Parker “51”, after all, invented having enormous buffers between ink and outside world, and the only thing I could think of was that the owner wasn’t filling it properly… except in discussion with that person, I got a sense of someone who actually knew what was what in the filling of pens.  Like me, they are a user of collected pens, seeing little point in a pen left sitting on a non-marking velvet pillow in a safe-deposit box.  If it wasn’t pilot error, then… what?

Exterior inspection first.  The “51” is well known as being durable, but it’s not Kryptonian.  Might there be a covert crack in the hood?  Careful, well-lit turns under the loupe said no.  And that meant I had to take it apart and look at it’s guts.

There are, of course, two main sorts of “51”.  There is the initial wave, using a Vacumatic filling mechanism, which was swapped out after seven years of production for the Fotofil press-bar rig, which we call today the Aerometric… and actually, this word is of some importance.  It described a breather tube in the very heart of the filler, so long that it reached to nearly the end of the Pliglass sac (oh, so many neologisms out of Parker!).  This allowed the sac to fill fully by working the bar several times, but to avoid catastrophic leakage during air travel, there was a teeny little hole in the side of the tube, close to the open end of the sac that equalizes pressure inside and outside the tube; that’s what was originally meant by “Aerometric”.  This pen has a Fotofil reservoir, and all the other outward signs of being a post-1948 product.

…so imagine my surprise when I opened the pen and found the stubby little breather tube of a Vacumatic filler peeking out the back of the collector.  There was a 1951 date-code on the point, which is entirely appropriate, but the feed and the associated breather were Vacs.  It seems that at some point before the current owner got this pen, something awful happened to the feed.  Whoever had it at that point cast about for a spare, and had only the older Vac type at hand; the breather tube in question was a new plastic item, not the original celluloid, so modern monkeyshines are indicated.  “Oh, well,” said this imaginary repair-person.  “It all fits; where’s the harm?”

Frankly, I don’t really blame my figment, because it took me a while to figure out how the symptoms developed.  That short breather would prevent a complete fill, and I suspect if it had been a little shorter, nothing would have come of it other than the owner occasionally wondering at how frequently fills were needed.  However, the narrower ink chamber of that style of filler meant that the relatively shallow fill was still enough to cover the inner end of the breather tube, and also gave slightly greater thrust when the air in the reservoir expanded.  If the collector was partially full, as it might be in a freshly-fed pen, that’s enough to overwhelm it, and there’s your cap-full of ink.

What remedy, then?  Ideally, an Aerometric feed and a fresh tube.  But I don’t have a spare feed.  What I do have is about a meter of the very same Teflon tubing Figment used to make the problematically correct Vac-length tube, which fits very nicely in the back of the Vac feed, and so I cut an Aerometric-appropriate length from that.  I also have a pin and the capacity to warm it, allowing me to put a teeny little hole in the tube, close to the open end of the sac.  Theoretically, then, problem solved.

But I’m in the business of practical solutions.  So, we need a field test.  The first aspect of the test was see if the pen filled at all; the Vac tube is of a wider bore than the Aerometric, and there was some chance this would afflict filling.  Trial proved this fear unfounded, and so we move onto phase two of the field trials.  That is me sticking the pen in my shirt pocket, staggering around for a few hours and exposing it to my raging personal furnace (I have a surface temperature approaching 30C!), and then taking the cap off.

Carefully.

Over a disposable sheet of paper.

SUCCESS!

Alas, I lack an aircraft to test against serious changes of external pressure.  My parents live on the fifteenth floor of their building, but I don’t expect the 0.07 psi change will really prove much one way or another, so any visit to them will be purely for the pleasure of their company.

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Move It, Soldier!

Posted by Dirck on 7 April, 2017

I have, sadly, more or less stopped fighting in armour.  Time constraints, fears about (more) concussions, equipment failures… it all adds up.  Something that I don’t entirely miss about it is that “scalds with safety” thing Shakespeare mentioned.  However, I did enjoy, when we did public demonstrations, people being surprised at how well we could get about in our outfits.  Just check this chap out:

…and yes, I wish I had that gear.  Look in your heart– I’ll bet you do, too.

Today’s pen: Parker 51
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 30 March, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 20 manuscript pages†

†I think I actually brushed up against writer’s block this week!  I found the strands of the novel had gotten out of their bundle and would not be gathered for almost half of Monday’s session.  I’m sure there are some writers in the world that would like to skin me very slowly for having dealt with the problem after only about twenty unproductive minutes, but I am pleased that I found a cure (this time, at least) in thinking very carefully about the sequence of events in the as-yet-unwritten chapters.

Also– this happened this week:

I am pretty pleased about that, especially given that I took almost a month off it to work on something else.  I can now pretend that I’m on the downhill part of the expedition, rather than the bit where a sensible climber is breaking out the oxygen cylinders.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 23 March, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 17 manuscript pages†

†I took Monday off work so my wife and I could have a nice St. Valentine’s Day lunch at one of our favourite local restaurants.  If the lateness of that observation troubles you (external forces at work; if we could have swung it, it would have been on or near the right date), then take it was our celebration of the arrival of the vernal equinox.  The part of the day I would have been writing in was otherwise engaged.

Also, today’s output was seven pages, despite yesterday afternoon’s tacit admission by the provincial government that they have indeed mismanaged the economy into a dark, glowing sulfurous hole, and thus will be eliminating as much as they can in the new budget of things that make life here tolerable (seriously; 100% reduction of funding for urban libraries).  That I didn’t just spend my whole lunch hour shrieking obscenities in the direction of the Legislature is a testament to my work ethic.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 16 March, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • First draft surges onward: 29 manuscript pages!

†Why yes, I do have two pens with the same ink on the go, which is outside my usual practice.  I put the TM in battery last week for an evening’s writing workshop, and I’ve decided to write it empty rather than flush it.  This also puts more Sheaffers into rotation at once than is usual, but as I’ve no one in a position to chastise me effectively for policy breaches who isn’t me, I don’t think I’ll get in much trouble out of it.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 9 March, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  Finished up the second draft of “Lots of Land and The Open Sky Above” at a little over 4700 words… and I’m contemplating a title change… which puts me back onto the novel: only 12 pages done, but they’ve got some momentum to them.  The break was useful to the novel as well as the shortie.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Disputable Premise

Posted by Dirck on 3 March, 2017

This is a charming little film, and although it rests on a shaky foundation, I thought the tone of it is just what the current age calls for.

I know at least four households that defy the notion of cats and dogs not living together well.  And that’s not counting The Simpsons.

An aside– I published a little something on my fiction front just now, for those who care about such things.

Today’s pen: Parker 51
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 16 February, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  only five manuscript pages, but seventeen for that Victoria-era thing.  Progress, I calls it!

I’ll also remind everyone to have a look at the previous entry if for no other reason than to rush to the end of it and give your input on the matter of the Challenger challenge which challenges me.  There has been some response there, but not quite what the pollsters would call statistically significant (although the unanimity to date is pretty suggestive).

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 9 February, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  17 manuscript pages, plus a whopping three pages for a story aimed at that anthology of Victoria-era weird tales I think I mentioned, which closes in mid-April (that’s painfully close).

Some of my scribbling time has been eaten up this week in getting research details in hand for that short story, which I haven’t been quite able to convince myself to not bother with. Fool!  Don’t I know how few hours of productive writing I can count on in a week?  The novel must be done this year, not next!

While I’m diverting myself from the effort on the novel, I’ll also mention that coming up… sometime this month, I’m going to go old-school with a look at a slightly wicked pen repair and a call for input as to what should be done with a blameless orphan pen that has come into my care.  As usual, it’s a lack of pictures that makes these things not happen yet.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »