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The Pen Doctor XX

(This page revised May 29, 2023)

Reference Info Index | Glossopedia  ]

Reassembling a Balky Eversharp Skyline

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:In most cases, all that’s needed is extreme care to align the section perfectly with the barrel so that it will go in straight; cocking it at an angle can split the barrel. But there’s a catch: which cases won't this work for?

The best solution is to make sure that the surfaces of the section and the barrel are perfectly clean: no chips or chunks of anything, especially shellac residue that might be there from the last time the pen was assembled. Turn on your upward-pointing heat gun (never use open flame for this work!). (If you don’t have a heat gun that is permanently mounted with its nozzle pointing straight upward, take time to arrange a reasonable facsimile of one before you start reassembling the pen.)

Heat gun mounted on edge of workbench

Line the parts up and begin to insert the section; hold the pen over the heat gun, rotating it so that all sides of the barrel threads will warm evenly, and warm it gently and not very much. Keep applying gentle pressure to push the section in. When the barrel is warm enough, it will relax just sufficiently to allow the section to slip in. Do not heat it until it softens enough to deform; use a very delicate touch with the heat.

Ink Gets All Over the Top of my Nib

Nib creep

Q:I have several pens (usually the cheaper ones) which have a nasty habit of leaking ink over the top surface of the nib near the tip. This may occur no matter how the pen is stored or kept in my pocket. I often try to wipe off the nib before I write with it, but sure enough, several minutes later the ink will leave the slit and form on the top face of the nib again. The cost and value of these pens makes me reluctant to spend the money to send these to a repair person, especially if the fix is a simple one.

℞x:The fix may be as simple as switching inks, or it may not. What you’re experiencing is called nib creep, and it can be caused by one or more of several factors.

My Glossopedia contains an entry on nib creep; I’ll reproduce it here for convenience:

nib creep   The spontaneous accumulation of ink on the top surface of a nib; the ink is said to “creep” up out of the slit. Some inks are more prone to creep than others, but in most cases the root cause of the phenomenon is a nib slit that is either damaged or manufactured with insufficient attention to finishing; nicks, scratches, etc., can create a capillary path across the edge between the slit wall and the top surface. Platinum-plated nibs are more prone to nib creep than are unplated nibs because platinum is more wettable than gold. See also capillary action, wettability.

If you’re using a creep-prone ink such as many of Noodler’s bulletproof colors, you might stop the creep simply by using a different ink. But if the nib is bad enough, even the best inks will creep on it. In this case, the solution requires intervention by a qualified nib specialist to deal with the slit problem(s).

Removing a Broken-Off Converter

Q:I have a Duke Viceroy fountain pen set that was purchased in England. The plastic tip of the ink well filling device is stuck inside and broken off. I can’t get the broken off piece out. I need to remove the stuck piece in order to put the refill in place. I need help.

℞x:Unless you are a skilled repairer, this is a task better left to a professional. The broken-off piece might be held in by friction alone, but it might also be stuck more firmly by corrosion. When two pieces of metal that are in contact corrode, the corrosion sort of “welds” them together. Worse, the corrosion takes up more space than the original metal did, so not only are the parts stuck together, they are also usually jammed in place by friction. Attempting to separate them without proper tools and the knowledge to do it right can easily break the part you want to save.

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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