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The Pen Doctor XXVII

(This page published November 1, 2016)

Reference Info Index | Glossopedia  ]

Fixing Cap Threads That No Longer Engage Properly

Q:I have a great Eversharp Skyline, but the cap threads don’t work right. When you screw the pen in too firmly, it goes beyond the end of the threads, and then it’s loose again. What size of threads repair tool should I use?

Barrel and expanding tool heat gun℞x:You cannot restore the threads with a chasing die (thread repair tool) because it’s a multiple-lead screw that’s not a standard size, and it’s loose because some of the plastic material has worn away or has shrunk, or both, over years of use. Instead, you must expand the diameter of the barrel very slightly at the threaded end. To make the tool you need for this task, remove the clip from a Parker 61 cap.

Heat the open end of the barrel gently using a rubber stamper’s embossing-type heat gun like the one illustrated in How to Replace a Pen Sac, never an open flame! When the end of the barrel has begun to soften the least bit, carefully press the smaller end of the 61 cap into the opening just enough to expand it by about 0.004" (0.1 mm). Allow the pen body to cool, then remove the 61 cap. Usually, 0.004" is enough to make the threads engage, but you might need to repeat the operation to expand the body opening a little further.

Done right, this technique creates a slight taper on the inside of the barrel end. If you did the work carefully, the barrel will probably still fit the section tightly enough. If it’s too loose, apply a thin coat of shellac to the tenon of the gripping section. Allow the shellac to dry completely, then test-fit the section to the body. If it is still loose, apply additional coats of shellac in the same way until you achieve the right fiction fit. If you go too far, making it so that the section is too tight, use 600-grit sandpaper to remove just enough shellac until you get the proper fit.

Do not use any other adhesive-type substance, and do not try to fake this repair with Teflon tape. Either of these cheats is a sure road to destruction for the pen.

As with any repair technique that is new to you, try this first on a pen you don’t care about, not on your Skyline.

Repairing Parker Lucky Curve Pens

Q:Are Parker Lucky Curve Pens Easy to Repair?

Lucky Curve feed, section, and nib

℞x:In most respects, yes, they’re ordinary and easy to handle. They’re button fillers, of course, and there’s a discussion of button fillers’ peculiarities near the end of Richard’s article on sac replacement:

(The article illustrates what I have found to be the easiest method for installing a sac on a section with a Lucky Curve feed.)

The only real fly in the ointment when you’re doing a Lucky Curve pen is the feed. On most pens, you can simply drive the nib and feed out through the front of the section. Many Lucky Curve feeds have had their Lucky Curves cut off as advised in a later version of Parker’s own repair manual, but if the Lucky Curve is still present on your pen’s feed, you can’t just drive the nib and feed out. You will need to wiggle the nib out the front and then work the feed out the back. With this done, clean the parts until they look like the photo above.

Reassembly consists of three steps:

  1. insert the feed from the back of the section, positioning it about halfway in.

  2. Align the nib visually with the feed and then, from the front of the section, push the nib to its proper depth as shown here:

    Nib in place, feed partially in
  3. Finish aligning the feed with the nib and then force the feed forward under the nib to hold things in place. This can be ticklish. Here is the finished position:

    Feed fully inserted

When resacking a Lucky Curve pen, always insert the pressure bar so that it is aligned with the top surface of the nib; that way, the notch in the back end of the feed will provide the necessary clearance when the button is pressed to fill the pen. If you don’t align the pressure bar this way, it can cut into the sac when you try to fill the pen.

Sacs for Esterbrook Pens

Q:I’m just getting into pen repair, and I have several Esterbrooks that need new sacs. Where can I buy sacs for these pens, and what sizes do I need?

℞x:There are several dealers who sell pen sacs. Because the list does change from time to time, I’ll just say that you can find them quickly with a web search. It’s easy to choose the right sac sizes for Esterbrooks. All members of the J family (J, LJ, SJ, H, and CH) take a No 16 sac cut to 2" (51 mm) in length; the LJ, SJ, H, and CH are the same diameter inside, while the J has a plastic tray to adjust its inner diameter. A 2" sac is short enough to go into the C and CH, and the SJ and LJ have rubber plugs in the barrel to position the pressure bar correctly. There are three sizes of Dollar Pens, and these use a No 18 sac cut to length as described in my article on sac replacement:

Despite the fact that latex sacs do not last forever and will need to be replaced, I still recommend them as the best available alternative. Do not use PVC sacs, which will bond themselves chemically to the barrel wall of an Esterbrook (or any other pen with a barrel made of a cellulosic or styrene-based plastic). I also dislike silicone sacs; they will not leak ink, but they are gas permeable and will allow air to pass into them such that the pen will leak ink through the nib and feed if it is not carried and stored nib upward.

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