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The Pen Doctor II

(This page published December 1, 2006)

Reference Info Index | Glossopedia  ]

Dealing with Skyline Plastics

Q:I have read that the plastic used in Eversharp Skylines may shrink over time making the section difficult to remove from the barrel. If one succeeds in getting the section out without cracking the barrel, should the fit between the two be adjusted to avoid cracking the barrel when fitting the section back in place? If so what is recommended: reducing the diameter of the section, increasing the hole diameter in the barrel? Advice on the best way to accomplish this?

℞x:I once had a chat about this very subject with Frank Dubiel. This was shortly after I had cracked two out of three Skyline barrels in a one-day marathon of destruction. They were my own pens, so my penance was limited to feeling really crappy, but the concern was real.

Frank said, and I have since learned, that if you can get the section out without cracking the barrel, you can get it back in, too, and you can do it without hacking away any plastic. The key is to be patient, because pushing too fast or pushing at an angle or twisting wildly will crack the barrel. Be patient. Take time to make sure the surfaces of the barrel and the section are clear of any extraneous material, such as shellac that a previous repairer may have used when the section slipped in too loosely. (This alone may be sufficient to get the parts to go together with reasonable ease.) Be patient. Go slowly to give the plastic time to “think about it.” You may need to bevel the end of the section, where it fits into the barrel, just enough to gain purchase. Be patient. Gentle heat, which works wonders during disassembly, can also help you during reassembly; apply the heat to the barrel but not to the section, so that the barrel will expand a bit. And oh, by the way, be patient.

Skyline plastics are also famous for crumbling away to nothing under compressive stress. If a Skyline is left tightly capped for a long time, this failure can happen to the inner cap, which is a molded part of the derby, and it’s why a bore inspection light is so valuable when you’re buying pens. Note, though, that some Skylines have hard rubber inner caps that are screwed into the derby, and these pens won’t ever have this problem.

Father’s Day Suggestions

Q:I am a “greenie” when it comes to this subject, so I am hoping you can help me.

I am looking for a fountain pen for my Dad for Father’s Day. He loved his pen & lost it at a trade show last month, so I know he’d love a new one. The thing is, I don’t know a lot (or really anything) about this subject. All I know is that it had blue ink & the tip kind of looked like a Waterman pen.

I’m not looking for anything too wild, a basic black or grey pen with a lid that unscrews. I’d like to spend between $100-150. Any suggestions?

℞x:Of course, if you ask two other people, you’ll end up with four opinions among the three of us, but here, listed alphabetically by maker, are a few pens you might consider. All of these, although they carry higher MSRPs, can be found in the price range you've specified:

Please note that the absence of a pen from this list does not mean I don’t like it or think it’s a bad pen. These are just the first screw-capped pens that came to mind. There are a ton of other good pens out there.

The information in this article is as accurate as possible, but you should not take it as absolutely authoritative or complete. If you have additions or corrections to this page, please consider sharing them with us to improve the accuracy of our information.

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