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The Pen Doctor XXXIII

(This page published April 1, 2020)

Reference Info Index | Glossopedia  ]


Repairing a Crack in a Parker 61

I have a Parker 61 (capillary filler) with a crack in the hood. How would one repair/seal that, ideally without having to remove the hood? (I’m not sure I could do it without damaging it further, or that I have the necessary tools - I have section pliers and Vacumatic wrenches, but don’t know if those would suffice.)

Rx:First things first. Some 61 hoods have shrunk over time. If the hood you are about to repair shows signs of shrinkage, don’t waste your time trying to repair the crack. Replace the part and be done with it.

There's really no way to seal that kind of crack without removing the hood. You can do this with two pairs of section pliers, but it’s easier with one pair and a Maxima-size Vac wrench, which just happens to fit the threads on the 61's ferrule. The hood is glued to the ferrule and will require a little heat to loosen. Do not apply heat too rapidly, because the edges of the plastic hood will curl if you get the part too hot.

Removing the ferrule

With the ferrule out of the hood, you can pull the pen’s guts out of the hood. You might meet with some resistance from the polyethylene sealing gasket between the capillary cell and the feed, but with gentle persistence you can get the pen apart. If it seems completely unwilling to separate, it is probably ink locked, and you can soak it overnight in cool water or run it through an ultrasonic cleaner to loosen the ink.

The guts with the ferrule unscrewed

Clean the hood well, preferably in Rapido-Eze and an ultrasonic cleaner, cycling the cleaner a second time with just water. The best way to do this is by using one of the Ultrasonic Soaking Jars that you can get from Indy-Pen-Dance; they are just the right size and shape to use in an ultrasonic cleaner. Before you start the repair, make sure the hood is completely dry inside, outside, and especially in the crack. The best way do make sure the hood is really dry is to dry it inside and out with a paper towel (making a twizzle to get down inside), and then leave it overnight in a comfortably warm — not hot — location. Here you can see the crack. The red arrow points to the end of the crack, showing you how far along the hood it has gone.

The crack

Use the tail end of an artist’s paintbrush (the blue brush in the image below) to lever gently on the inside of the hood next to the crack, to spread the crack a little bit. In the photo below, I’m holding the brush with my left little finger.

CAUTION
CAUTION
When using the artist’s brush to spread the crack, apply only enough pressure to barely spread it. Too much pressure will do further damage by extending the crack, and it can render the hood irreparable.

Then, apply a liberal amount of liquid acrylic welding solvent (e.g., Weld On No 3) from the inside, using a second artist’s brush that’s been dipped in the solvent. Capillary action will draw the solvent into the crack.

Fusing the crack
CAUTION
CAUTION
Although you need to apply a liberal amount of solvent, be careful not to go crazy and apply too much on the principle that if a little is good, more is better. If you do, the plastic will soften more than necessary, and this can ruin the whole thing.

As soon as you’ve applied the solvent, release the pressure on the first brush to allow the crack to close, and apply gentle squeezing pressure (just enough to hold the crack fully closed, not enough to distort the hood) with a Vise-Grip, a drill vise as shown below, or something similar. Do not use tape, a rubber band, or a band clamp; the solvent can be drawn around the outside of the hood by capillary action, marring the surface. Let the solvent flash off (evaporate out of the joint) for at least 72 hours.

Flashng the solvent off
CAUTION
CAUTION
Do not grow impatient and release the pressure on the hood too soon. If you do, the repair might hold until about the time you get the pen reassembled before it gives up the ghost.

Use a small square of 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper, dipped in water, to sand away any ridge of softened plastic that got pushed out of the crack, being careful nto to round the edge that will butt against the center ring. Make sure the surface is dry, then buff the sanded area with a small amount of Simichrome metal polish on a 100% cotton flannel rag.

Check that the ferrule screws into the hood easily. If it doesn’t, you might need to clean the ferrule’s threads or carve away some softened plastic that got pushed out of the crack on the inside, or both. If the ferrule does not screw in easily, reassembling the pen can crack the hood all over again, and you’ll be worse off than when you started. Use shellac on the ferrule threads when reassembling the pen. This joint must be sealed airtight.

The restored pen

Reattaching the Feed and Collector in a Parker Falcon 50

I just bought a Parker 50, aka “Falcon.” The grip section/integral nib has separated from the feed/collector, and with it the cap clutch ring as well. I can see traces of what appears to be some sort of adhesive remaining on the collector - or at least, shiny patches that I’m guessing are traces of adhesive. What would be the best way to reattach these parts such that this wouldn’t happen again?

Rx:Apply very small dabs of 2-part epoxy solvent at the places where you can see shiny spots on the collector, and install the collector assembly and clutch ring, taking care that the feed is aligned with the nib. Press it home, and set it aside for 24 hours. (Even 5-minute epoxy takes that long to achieve full bond strength.)

Identifying Eversharp Skylines

How can I tell the difference between the regular Eversharp Skyline and the Executive Skyline?

Rx:The Skyline came in three sizes, of which the Executive is the largest and least common. The easiest way to tell them apart is simply to measure them when they are capped. The sizes given below are only approximate values, as there was some amount of variation, but not enough that you would confuse any of the three sizes with each other. If you don’t have a ruler or a pocketful of Skylines handy for comparison, you can use a U.S. dollar bill as a quick gauge. (Trust me, the fake money shown here is the same size as a real bill.)

Eversharp Skylines
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