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View Full Version : Esterbrook rehab--doable?



MelanieWI
November 15th, 2014, 05:45 AM
I've got two Esterbrooks...one was my my grandfather's and the other was my mom's. No clue what models. All my fountain pens that I actually use are new, but I'd love to get these going again. I have a thing for old stuff!

Given their age, I know the sacs have undoubtedly got to be replaced. Should I even attempt this on my own? If not, is there a reputable place that someone might recommend to me? They probably could use help in other areas as well. I don't need them totally restored, but it'd be nice to be able to use them if it's possible and not ridiculously expensive. I've been doing a little research and watching some videos but I don't want to start a process that I can't finish and possibly risk damaging them further.

whych
November 15th, 2014, 06:34 AM
Have a look at this thread on FPN:
http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/189313-how-to-replace-an-esterbrook-sac/
Don't try and force anything.

BEWARE
If you are only planning on fixing these 2 pens, it may be easier/cheaper to get someone to resac for you. But if you do it yourself, you will have taken the first steps toward the slippery slope of collecting and repairing your own pens.

MelanieWI
November 15th, 2014, 11:32 AM
Thank you! This is a tutorial that I had not seen yet, and it's probably the best one so far. I'm kind of terrified to break them, I think. I'll take any recs anyone has for experts!

Laura N
November 15th, 2014, 12:00 PM
Any competent repair person can fix an Esterbrook, but since you are in Wisconsin I would recommend that you contact Brian and Lisa Anderson of Anderson Pens (http://www.andersonpens.net/), since they are local and they are Esterbrook experts. Another good person would be Danny Fudge, who offers good prices and fast turnaround.

KrazyIvan
November 15th, 2014, 12:07 PM
Esterbrooks are probabably the best pens to start with if you are doing a first time repair. They are very durable.

tandaina
November 15th, 2014, 12:40 PM
Esties are very, very easy to repair and a great to learn on.

If you don't want to start with sentimental pens send them off to get the old one-two sac and polish. Or, hit eBay (muahahaha) and pick up a couple esterbrooks in need of restoration. Get the basic parts and restore a couple eBay finds first. Then you can do your own. But I have found if you aren't restoring a lot of pens honestly the parts needed to get started are similar in price to just getting a pen or two restored professionally.

welch
November 16th, 2014, 01:59 PM
As Tandaina says: part of the appeal of Esties is that you have to work doubly hard to ruin one. Yes, I've done that, but it took an extra-long blast from a heat gun, and I should not have tried a heat gun just because Pendleton Brown made it look so easy!

I'd suggest you buy a few (few...less than a dozen!!!!) Wearevers and Esties from EBay. Look for pens that have not been priced upward because they have been renovated.

Then practice away!

Sacs are cheap. Shellac is cheap. Get a long dentist's scraper so you can clean out whatever dead sac wants to stick to the inside of the barrel. For fun, get a barrel flashlight. Oh, and don't forget real talc -- not "talcom powder" but the stuff used to chalk the tip of a pool cue.

Entire kit is about $15. Get some sandwich bags for parts (as in, "where did that thing-a-ma-jig get to?")

Wearevers are Esties are will survive anything except a direct blow from a sledge-hammer...or over-heating from a heat gun, and most inexpensive pens from the '30s were "friction fit". Meaning that the section was jammed into the barrel, but the only "stickum" used was what held the sac to the nipple.

You will gain by the plain fun of restoring something built in, say, 1937, and by discovering how pens were made. Most were simple, and even the great Eversharp Skyline used a simple lever-and-sac filling system. It was simple and it worked. You will also find some weird ideas that never caught on: I shattered a no-name pen that had a clear section attached to an ordinary section. Shook and twisted in the wrong place.

If you happen across a first-class pen, such as a Parker Vacumatic or 51 or a Sheaffer "plunger", leave those to the experts. If a pen is $10 or less on EBay, you can't lose much.

(Any pen with sentimental value, and family pen, for instance...pay an expert. There are many. By the way, Esterbrook "points" were made to fit any Esterbrook (except for their "Relief" pens made in the UK). Don't like the point? Don't worry...just buy another...or three more ("like buying three pens", as the Esterbrook advertising said)

MelanieWI
November 18th, 2014, 08:35 AM
Oh. Oh, my. This could be seriously, seriously dangerous to my bank account. Thanks so much for all the information (and inspiration!).

whych
November 18th, 2014, 09:51 AM
Oh. Oh, my. This could be seriously, seriously dangerous to my bank account. Thanks so much for all the information (and inspiration!).

You did the damage when you made your first post ;) All you can do now it try and regulate/control the addiction that is waiting for you. Most users will tell you it's not that easy to do though.

tandaina
November 18th, 2014, 09:56 AM
And more fun not to bother. ;)

ac12
November 19th, 2014, 11:32 PM
I've got two Esterbrooks...one was my my grandfather's and the other was my mom's. No clue what models. All my fountain pens that I actually use are new, but I'd love to get these going again. I have a thing for old stuff!

Given their age, I know the sacs have undoubtedly got to be replaced. Should I even attempt this on my own? If not, is there a reputable place that someone might recommend to me? They probably could use help in other areas as well. I don't need them totally restored, but it'd be nice to be able to use them if it's possible and not ridiculously expensive. I've been doing a little research and watching some videos but I don't want to start a process that I can't finish and possibly risk damaging them further.

IMHO, since these are pens with a sentimental value to them, send them to a pro to restore.
The DANGER is in removing the section from the pen. If you are lucky, the section will easily come out. If you are NOT lucky, you will destroy the pen attempting to remove the section. I have a couple such pens in my AW SH*T box.

Practice on "junkers" with no sentimental value to you.

gbryal
November 20th, 2014, 02:35 AM
If you want to get into simple repair and restoration, take into account the parts and tools you'll need. I went to fountainpensacs.com and bought one of their starter boxes and have used everything in it and so far have repaired/damaged 3 pens :). Some stuff I bought for repair I end up using a lot on my modern pens too, like loupes, flashlight, mylar, section grips, etc.

It's an expense you might not want to undertake. I have sent pens for repair and it's always been worth the money for my peace of mind and getting back a brand new old pen. But now, if I see a Waterman or Esterbrook on ebay not in writing condition, I can pay a lot less and know I have a chance to bring it back if it's not a big job, instead of limiting myself only to restored, NOS, or new items.

MelanieWI
November 20th, 2014, 07:22 AM
Thanks so much to all for the advice. I've been in touch with Anderson Pens since that was recommended here. It's not exactly local since it's four hours north of me but it's at least in the same state. I'll send them off when time/budget allows. I trust them. I am not even sure I'm going to like the way these pens write...I did fill the smaller Esterbrook once and it worked briefly but I'm sure the inside's all filled up with ink. That was before I knew about sacs and I didn't know what I was doing. It did function well for a short time but the nib is really fine and I like the broader ones. That's a smaller, pink one...obviously made for women. The other one is a little larger and is a dark blue, and it's a better fit for my hand, but I don't know what the nib is like.

Laura N
November 20th, 2014, 07:33 AM
Melanie, one of the great things about Esterbrooks is that they made a variety of different nibs, all easily swapped in. The Andersons are a great source of the nibs, so ask them about that, too. :)

-Laura

gbryal
November 20th, 2014, 10:00 AM
http://www.esterbrook.net/nibs.shtml shows you all of the nibs you might be able to find. Practically speaking there are a few that you will find everywhere and a few that are unicorns. The common ones are the 2xxx, the premium are the 9xxx. The 2xxx didn't have tipping; instead, the end is turned back to provide a curved steel surface. The 9xxx have tipping material. The 2xxx in my experience aren't too bad, but if I buy any new ones they are 9xxx.

Be careful, it quickly turns from a reference to a shopping list.

welch
November 29th, 2014, 04:41 PM
I write with medium points. The Esterbrook 2668 and 9668 are my favorites. Thinking about it...I don't remember seeing any sort of broad Estie point. Not on the Andersons' site and not on EBay.

Melanie, if you have a pastel Estie, then you probably have one of their "purse pens": more in-demand. They are about 4.5 inches long. The next size up was the "Small J", or SJ, which was about 4.75 inches. Next was the "Slender J", about 5 inches, but, you guessed it, more "slender" than the standard J. Just to confuse things, Esterbrook also made a "doctor and nurse pen", all white with black or red or green end-jewels. Legend says that the different colors matched the ink in the pens, and the ink differentiated hospital shifts. The nurse&doctor pen was about 4.75 inches long, but fatter than the SJ.

If you like a nib, you can swap it to the pen you prefer.

Runnin_Ute
November 29th, 2014, 06:07 PM
I have a LJ (black Bell Systems "skunk") with a 2464 - "rigid broad" - Manifold nib.
I also have a green J that came with a 9550 EF when I bought it. I have a 1555 Gregg (firm fine) currently installed and a Venus fine as well. So two pens and four nibs.
The LJ was PIF'd to me by a member on FPN fully restored. I paid about $40 shipped for the J on the FPN classifieds. (restored)
Have fun with your Estie's.

southpaw52
November 30th, 2014, 04:42 PM
i have had excellent pen restoration from Linda, at Indy Pen Dance. She did a great job on recent pen repair.

gbryal
November 30th, 2014, 06:58 PM
I have two 2968 -- firm broad nibs -- so they exist. Unless I have the last two!

Frank
November 30th, 2014, 07:42 PM
Yes, 2968/9968 are the broad nibs for Esties!

Welcome to The Addiction!!

:-)

welch
November 30th, 2014, 09:58 PM
I have two 2968 -- firm broad nibs -- so they exist. Unless I have the last two!

I believe broad points...somewhere. I've never seen one for sale, though. I think, maybe, you caught the last two!