The Pen Doctor XIII

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More on Leaking Targa Nibs

Rx: Cap. Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure I’ve acquired some useful data on the sealing product I mentioned earlier; a colleague contacted me back-channel to say he’s been using it with great success. The stuff is called Capt. Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure, and it’s available at boating shops and on line. I bought my bottle from Boats ’N’ Bits, a dealer in the U.K., because even with international shipping it was less expensive than at the U.S.-based dealers I found. It’s important to note that this is not a quickie 5-minute fix! Capt. Tolley’s needs to be applied several times over a couple of days. (Instructions for use are on the bottle, and they’re very clear.) Also, you will still need to disassemble the pen, because you have to work at it from the underside of the nib to ensure that you get the point from which ink can pass from inside the pen to the outside.

Finding Replacement Pen Sacs

Pen sacs I just purchased an old Remington fountain pen. The sac is cracked and needs to be replaced. The sac is 1/4×25/8. Could you please tell me where I could obtain a replacement ink sac?

Rx: Most of the information you need was actually published in the previous Pen Doctor column.

The bit of info that isn’t in the article is how to determine the size of the sac you need. You can see from the illustration here that sacs come in different shapes and sizes. Your pen needs a straight sac. If the sac is really 1/4” in diameter, you need a Nº 16 sac; sacs are measured by their outside diameter, expressed in increments of 1/64”. (This means that you need to be careful to get the right size, as a sac that’s too big won’t fit properly and one that’s too small won’t fill well.) Elsewhere on this site you’ll find an article on sac replacement.

Using Ultrasonic Cleaners

Ultrasonic cleaner As a brand-new pen aficionado with very little prior experience, I wonder, if you could tell me, whether a small ultra-sound cleaning unit is safe to use, when restoring older (Pelikan) pens. Which parts should definitely not be cleaned in this manner?

Rx: Smaller, lower-powered ultrasonic cleaners such as the small imported unit I use, pictured here and sold by Micro-Mark are very good for cleaning pens. Cleaners of the type you want sell in the USA for prices in the range from about $75.00 to $150.00. Don’t cheap out by buying a really, really low-priced unit; most of those bargain-basement cleaners don’t actually run at ultrasonic frequencies. A good cleaner runs at 40 KHz or higher.

I’ve experienced damage to parts with serious cracks; the cavitation from the cleaner is energetic enough to extend the cracks. Celluloid parts with surface crazing (actually a reticulation of tiny cracks) can blister if your cleaner is too powerful. Note that ultrasonic cleaning inputs energy into the cleaning fluid (water works for virtually everything!) and can eventually warm it. Do not allow hard rubber parts to sit in warm water; they can discolor very quickly!

Still More on Waterman C/F Converters!

Rx: In addition to dropping into the Waterman C/F, Waterman Lady converters also happen to fit some older Montblanc pens that have a cartridge nipple that’s very small in diameter. Montblanc is no longer selling converters that fit these pens. The Waterman converter is a little small; to keep it from rattling in the pen, shim it with a 1/8" piece of rubber tube cut from a sac. Place the rubber on the back end of the filler, immediately adjacent to the pressure-bar opening. Too far back, and the tapering pen barrel can jam on the converter and pull it off the nipple when you remove the barrel. You may also want to fashion a plug of wood, plastic, or even a crumpled bit of paper towel to shim the barrel’s inner length so that the converter cannot shake loose.


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