The Pen Doctor XV

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Rattling Lever in Sheaffer Pen

I recently put a new sac in a Sheaffer triumph-nib 1000 lever filler. The pen fills and functions well, but the lever is loose when in the closed position; it pivots about 1/8” and rattles when the pen is shaken. The pressure bar appears to be in good shape and tight to the barrel, though I have not taken it out of the pen yet. There is a bulge in the barrel where the lever ring is. My first question is what can be done about the lever, and second, can I eliminate the bulge?

Rx:Sheaffer prssure bar The simplest thing to check is whether the pressure bar is really tight. This entails removing the pressure bar because Sheaffer pressure bars are compound bars but are made in one piece. (See the photo at right.) The center “tongue,” which runs from the front to the back, is the pressure bar, and the side tails are the spring. The tongue is the critical part, but it isn’t the barrel that it needs to be tight against; rather it’s the lever itself. You may need to try a couple of different bends, but the best results usually happen when the bar is straight and aligned properly.

Good and worn leversBut there is, as you may have surmised, more to it. The lever itself can be a problem if its short end, where it bears against the pressure bar, is worn. A badly worn lever will have a pronounced rounding-off where it rubs the pressure bar. (See image at left.) If it is worn, it may not bear fully on the bar, and this can cause a rattle.

I’ve saved the worst for last. That barrel bulge you noticed can be, and probably is, the root of your problem. When the barel is bulged in this way, the lever is not seated as far into the barrel as it should be, and it doesn’t bear on the pressure bar. It’s possible to remove the bulge, but it’s risky. You need to remove the lever and then apply carefully controlled heat to the barrel. The idea is to soften it just enough that you can gradually reshape it back into its original perfectly cylindrical shape; but it is not easy. Soften it too much, and you end up with a worse problem; soften it not enough, and nothing happens. Even with just the right amount of heat, you can still mess it up; among other pitfalls is the possibility that the groove into which the lever clip ring fits will simply collapse and leave a groove around the outside surface of the pen. If you do manage to get the bulge out, you should make a new clip ring using spring wire 0.005" smaller in diameter than the original to reduce the probabilty of a bulge in the future.

Converter Interchangeability?

I recently wanted to purchase a Rotring Newton, but alas, there are no Rotring converters available here (Philippines); while Rotring converters seem available online, I cannot afford the costs due to the dollar exchange rate (more than 50 local currency to a dollar). Are converters interchangeable between brands? Parker is one of the (if not the only) brand that has converters that are readily available.

Rx: There are some swaps that work; for example, many Italian pens uses an off-the-shelf Schmidt converter, but in general, converters are not universally interchangeable. Unfortunately, Parker converters don’t fit rOtring pens. Do you have a correspondent in Europe or the USA who could buy a converter for you and send it in a personal mail?

Pelikan Nib Skips — Easy to Fix?

Somewhere I heard that Pelikan is out-sourcing their nibs and now they are having a problem with skipping. I recently bought a new Pelikan 400 with a broad nib. It skips when starting unless I use a lot of pressure. I am relatively capable of fixing things. Could you please tell me how to fix this problem.

Rx: Butt cheeks problemUnfortunately, the behavior you’re experiencing can occur with any nib and is not the problem that I’ve traced to Pelikan’s recent nibs. The nibs affected by that problem, about which I wrote in an earlier column, are the M800 and M1000. Your pen’s nib could need its tines respaced farther apart, or realigned, or twisted to align the slit walls; or it could need its tip reshaped, as some Pelikan nibs have what I call the “butt cheeks” problem. (See the image to the right.) This problem occurs when the edges of the slit are too rounded; you get great smoothness, but the rounded edges don’t allow the ink to come down to the paper unless you press hard enough to force paper up into the slit. I wish I could give you a silver bullet here, but fixing your nib will require analyzing it to see which of these problems is causing its failure. (Be aware that any given nib can have more than one problem!)


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