This Week’s Ink: August 31, 2013

I figured I’d put up a quick post of my carry going into the next week. Nothing new was inked up, but I’m working my way through the pens that were inked. The 1911 Sterling is a new addition the the carry put it’s still got the same ink used for testing after Richard Binder stubbed it. I read that Sailor will be discontinuing the Sterling so I figured I’d carry it a bit.

After over a month of use, I finally cleaned out the Sheaffer Balance Junior and put it on the shelf. It’s a great writer but I need to give the other pens a chance.

The Pens

The five inked pens

Edison Menlo Pump Filler (extra fine) – Montblanc Toffee Brown // Sheaffer Balance Oversize (stub) – Montblanc Racing Green // Sheaffer PFM I (fine) – Montblanc Bordeaux // Sailor 1911 Sterling (M. Stub) – Waterman Blue-Black // Esterbrook J (#2314F) – Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun

Writing Samples

Writing Samples

Sunday Notes & Links

I headed back to work this past week payinh the price of a 2 week vacation and was crazy busy. I didn’t get a chance to do much with my fountain pens other than work notes. I flushed out a few pens that had gone unused, but my daily carry remains the same as last week.

Here are some links that caught my attention over the last couple of weeks:

Brad Dowdy, The Pen Addict, is starting up Nock Co. to make pen cases. I’m looking forward to seeing what they release.

Crónicas Estilográficas has been writing about Japanese pocket pens.

The Pen Addict reviews his Lamy 2000.

Silent Seeing reviews the Sailor King of Pen (obsolete link removed).

Goulet Pens has a couple new videos out. FP101: Fountain Pens for Students and their first Q&A Video.

Ink Reviews

EdJelley reviews Noodler’s Sequoia Green.

The Pen Addict Reviews Pelikan Edelstein Onyx.

My First Pen Repairs

I purchased 10 beat up Esterbrooks awhile back since they are supposed to be good choices to learn how to re-sac a pen. I finally got around to repairing the first two this past weekend.

I followed these instructions to re-sac the pens. Apologies for the poor photos, I just snapped with my camera phone as I went along.

I started the first pen a couple of weeks ago. It came apart easily, no heat needed to remove the section. The sac was in one piece, until I touched it at which point it crumbled. as shown here.

My Esterbrook J pulled apart

But the pen was clean, no need to scrape it out. I just needed to scrape the sac off the section nipple. I gave the section and nib some time in the ultrasonic cleaner and let them dry.

Originally, I fumbled around trying to get the new sac on, finally giving up and ordering a sac spreader. But when I used it this weekend it wasn’t much help and I decided to go back to fingers only, This time the sac went on easily. Go figure. I was less timid this time and did put more shellac on the nipple this time which probably helped lubricate things a bit more.

After it dried it was just a matter of putting talc on the sac and putting the pen back together.

Barrel, talced sac and cap ready to go
The re-saced pen

The second pen, a Esterbrook LJ, also came apart easily, no heat needed to remove the section, just some gentle pressure. The time the sac was still pliable but a corroded (and borken) j-bar and a spacer tumbled out.

The pulled apart Esterbrook LJ

I hadn’t read anything about a spacer. I assume it was originally there but someone could have added it, In any event, I cleaned it off and replaced it, pushing it to the top of the pen barrel. The sac was covered in corrosion dust but seemed pretty good. Still, I pulled it off and replaced it.

The j-bar was also replaced. It was easy to do, just line up and push in with a thin rod. This video shows a good example. Some of the instructions I saw around the internet suggested washing out the inside of the barrel. The risk of leaving moisture behind didn’t seem worth it, especially since the lever was still attached. I used a circular brush to clean out the barrel and there wasn’t much crud at all in there.

The new sac went on the section nipple with relative ease, without needing the tool. The only issue I had was minor. When putting the section back on it felt like the sac was pressing against the end of the pen, it was “spongey”. I checked the measurements and all seemed fine, and the j-bar seemed out of the was. After a little fiddling it went on fine. [Update: Aug 20 – after Brian’s comment (below) about the j-bar reaching the section nipple I checked the pen and it was reaching. I cut it back and the section went on without any “sponginess”.]

Section, talced sac and cover ready for reassembly
Reassembled Esterbrook LJ

I used the pens for a day and they seem fine, no leaks are apparent and they hold a lot of ink. Both pens could use some polishing but are in good cosmetic shape. One of the nibs needs some smoothing but the hard part is done.

It’s not exactly the hardest thing to do, it’s actually much easier than it seems. I imagine I’ll eventually encounter a pen that’s hard to pull apart. It seems like it’s almost been too easy. I’ll probably feel better after I break or ruin my first pen and learn how much pressure or heat is too much.

The best investment I made was in a cheap ultrasonic cleaner. Both pen had what seems like bottles of ink in their caps and the nibs and feeds were pretty ink encrusted too. The UC made cleaning them out much easier. I don’t use the US on the pen barrels themselves. Doesn’t seem worth the risk of trapping moisture inside.

It’s nice to be able to bring a couple pens back to life.  I’d highly recommend finding a cheap, beat-up Esterbrook and giving it a try. I expected it to be frustrating but it’s not (at least as long as I walk away before frustration sets in, such as my first attempts to install the new sac.

This Week’s Ink: August 17, 2013

I wanted to ink up all my new pens but had to show some restraint. I had inked the Omas 360 with the Omas Turquoise ink that came with the pen. I didn’t like the ink at all so flushed out the pen and put it aside.

I decided to ink the Marine Green Balance and the Sheaffer PFM I. I picked the Edison Menlo to have a modern pen in the mix. Two pens already had ink and I kept them in the mix. The Sheaffer Junior is a great writer and I can’t bring myself to leave it home. The Esterbrook J has my Esterbrook nib of the week.

The Pens

Pens inked for the week ahead

Sheaffer Balance Oversize (stub) – Montblanc Racing Green // Sheaffer PFM I (fine) – Montblanc Bordeaux // Edison Menlo Pump Filler (extra fine) – Montblanc Toffee Brown // Esterbrook J (#2314F) – Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun // Sheaffer Balance Junior (fine stub) – Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun // Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel (fine) – Montblanc Racing Green

I still have the test ink in the pens that had nib work done in DC but I’ll probably flush them out after playing with the nibs a bit more.

Writing Samples

Writing samples from inked pens

CT Pen Posse/Club – August 17, 2013

If you’re in the Hartford Ct area some local fountain pen fans are going to be getting together in downtown Hartford on Saturday the 17th. Check out the latest details at this FPGeeks thread.

Current plan is noon at

Jojo’s Coffee
22 Pratt St
Hartford, CT 06117
Neighborhood: Downtown
(860) 524-1488