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(This page published May 1, 2020)
It’s not often necessary to take a Parker 75 nib off its feed, but occasions do arise, e.g., to repair a sprung nib or to floss a feed that’s clogged so badly that even Rapido-Eze can’t clear it out. Once you’ve decided that you need to pull the nib off, you’re faced with the daunting task of actually doing it. This is not a job that you can do easily with your bare hands, or even with a pair of pliers unless you want to destroy the nib, in which case you might as well stop reading right now. What’s needed is a special tool. This article explains how to make and use such a tool.
The tool you will use to cut the brass tubing to length depends on what tools you have available. You can use a rotary tool, a lathe, or a razor saw. The brass tubing you need is the standard type that you can find on eBay, Amazon, and most good U.S. hobby shops (not craft shops like Hobby Lobby or Michaels). You will need to cut two pieces. Depending on the tool you uses to do the cutting, you might need to cut each piece a little extra long so that you can finish the ends properly.
From the " tubing, cut a piece that you can finish to 2" (55.6 mm) long. A lathe is the best tool for this task because it will ensure that the ends are perpendicular to the axis without any need for additional cutting or grinding.
Finish the two ends so that they are flat and perpendicular to the tube’s axis, and deburr the edges as needed, using the craft knife on the inside edges as shown here. Use the file and the pink or black area of the buff stick on the outside edges.
From the " tubing, cut a piece that you can finish to 2" (50.8 mm) long. Finish the two ends as for the larger tubing. Here are the two pieces of tubing, cut and deburred.
Squeeze one end of the smaller tubing to deform it very slightly, just enough so that it will resist slipping when it is inserted into the larger tubing. Use the white area of the buff stick to clean about " (6.4 mm) of the outside surface of the squeezed end as shown in the photo immediately above. Roll up a small piece of sandpaper so that it will fit into the larger tubing, and sand the inside surface at one end of the tubing to clean it.
Using a cotton swab, paint the cleaned surfaces with liquid spldering flux to complete the cleaning process. Then slide the unsqueezed end of the smaller tubing into the cleaned end of the larger tubing, and push it in until the squeezed end of the smaller tube is exactly even with the end of the larger one. The cleaned surfaces of the two tubes are now together, and there is a " (4.8 mm) “step” between the ends of the tubes at the other end of the assembly.
Clamp the stepped end of the two tubes in the third hand tool so that the cleaned end of the tubes is free.
Sweat-solder the two tubes together at the free end as shown in the photo below. You can use either an electronics-type soldering iron or a micro-torch.
Use care when soldering; the iron itself (or the nozzle of the torch) is extremely hot, and the liquid solder is more than hot enough to give you a nasty burn.Note the “pinky” finger of the left hand in the photo below. It steadies the left hand, which is applying the solder, but it must touch only the third hand, not the brass tubes. The tubes will become very hot, and they can give you a serious burn.
If you are using a soldering iron, plug the soldering iron in and allow it to heat until the end of the solder melts immediately when touched to the iron. Make sure the iron’s tip is clean, and press the tip gently against the outside of the tubes immediately adjacent to the free end. It will take a little time for the iron to heat up the tubing so that solder will melt when touched to the joint at the end of the tubes (not to the iron itself).
If you are using a torch, light it and direct the hottest part of the flame (the tip) on the tubes at the free end. Play the torch over the end area to heat the tubes more uniformly. The exposed surface of the tube will turn coppery red in color as it becomes hot. To test whether the tubes are hot enough, touch the solder to the joint at the end of the tubes to see whether it will melt.
Test periodically, and when the solder melts, allow capillary action to suck it into the gap between the tubes. Feed a little more, allowing that to be sucked in, continuing until the solder has flowed all the way around the joint, and then remove the solder and the iron/torch. Allow the tubes to cool thoroughly before removing the tubes from the clamp.
The business end of the tool (the stepped end) must be notched by cutting away material on one side. Ideally, this is a task for a machine-shop mill, but most of us don’t have a mill handy, so we shall approach the task a little more crudely.
Make two marks on opposite sides of the tube assembly, " (9.5 mm) from the stepped end. Using the rotary tool or razor saw, cut along the center line of the tubes, extending the cut on both sides to your marks as shown in the left photo below. Next, cut away one side of the tubes, as shown in the right photo, to create the shape shown in the drawing below the photos. Note that the drawing shows the cutout as shaped by the cutting tool(s), not as finished. See the instructions and warning below.
Use the file, the craft knife, and the pink or black area of the buff stick to shape and deburr your new cuts. Deburr and round the exposed edges and corners of the cutout extra thoroughly. For a professional appearance, buff and polish the tool. The finished tool should look like the photo below.
WARNINGRounding the edges and corners of the cutout is critical. You will sometimes be applying great pressure on the feed, and it is easy to slip. If these areas are insufficiently rounded, the edges and corners, as dull as they are, can — and will — cut you painfully and quite likely bloodily.
To use the tool, stand it up on a solid surface such as a workbench, with the cutaway end upward. Position the nib to be disassembled into the tool with the back edge of the gold nib resting on the step as shown here.
NoteIf you have a Mottishaw or Steytler nib block, you can stand the nib tool in the closest-fitting hole in the nib block for added stability. If you do not have one of these nib blocks, you can use a piece of 1×2 lumber about 3" long with a " hole through it.
Grasp the nib and feed as shown in the left photo below, with your thumb on the feed and your index finger pressing the nib against the tool to keep things from slipping. While bracing the tool with your other hand, push down with your thumb to dislodge the feed from the nib, as shown in the right photo.
If the feed moves at all, it will slide as far as the bottom of the cutout and stop there, as in the next photo.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you push, the feed will refuse to move. If this happens, you will need to break out your heat gun. The least expensive (and generally the best) kind of heat gun for working on pens is the kind that comes from a craft store like Michaels:
Apply a little heat to the gold nib, being careful not to get it so hot that it melts the feed. You can control how rapidly the heat is delivered by varying the distance between the heat gun’s nozzle and the nib unit. With the nib heated up a little, try again to remove it. More than one attempt might be required, but I have yet to see a nib unit that would not come apart using the combination of heat and the 75 nib tool.
Except for the lower nib unit shown at the beginning of this article, the illustrations show an early-style nib unit with a “spike” feed. The 75 nib tool works equally well for the later units with the finned collector-style feed.
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. My thanks to technical editor Mike Kennedy, whose eagle eye and bloody thumb have made this a better article.