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Thread: Esterbrook nibs

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    Default Esterbrook nibs

    I have two Esterbrook J's that have been in the family since the 1950's, both were put away in the 70's and haven't been touched since.

    The time has come to try to get them back on the road.

    I can get the pens apart and have new ink sacs on the way, but I can't unscrew the nibs from either pen. I don't want to use excessive force and risk damaging the nibs or cracking the sections.

    Does anyone have any suggestions about how to free up the nibs so they can be removed?

    Thanks,

    Mason

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    Placing the pen, nib down, in an inch or two of water in a glass and leaving overnight may help dissolve ink and crud built up around the threads and collar inside the section. Even better would be to suspend the pen so the nib points down but doesn't touch bottom, in an ultrasonic cleaner.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    Yes, and if soaking in water, be patient. A lot of crud could suddenly come out later than you would think. I remember being told that a drop of dish soap in the water can help?
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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    Thanks. I'l try both of these.

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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    If you haven't already set out to soak, I would recommend Dawn dish soap. I think it's supposed to be easier to rinse away.

    Pax,
    John

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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    I've soaked the section/nib in water for about two weeks. No success. I added a drop of Dawn and soaked for several days, same result. The nib seems to be absolutely frozen in place. No movement at all.

    Any other suggestions out there I might try?

    Thanks,

    Mason

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by mmurph12 View Post
    I've soaked the section/nib in water for about two weeks. No success. I added a drop of Dawn and soaked for several days, same result. The nib seems to be absolutely frozen in place. No movement at all.

    Any other suggestions out there I might try?
    Next up would be one of two things: gentle heat to warm the section gradually, and then holding both the section and nib/feed with rubber gripping material (like the non-stick "spider mat" stuff for kitchen shelves) and see if that works; the other would be to find someone who has an ultrasonic cleaner and let the section/nib ride in there for a few minutes at a time and then try disassembly as above. This one is really being a pain - I wonder if someone used India ink or something else that formed a more 'permanent' bond?
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    Thanks, I'll try the heat and, in the meantime, try to track down an ultrasonic cleaner.

    What do you think about adding a couple of drops of white vinegar to the soak?

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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by mmurph12 View Post
    Thanks, I'll try the heat and, in the meantime, try to track down an ultrasonic cleaner.

    What do you think about adding a couple of drops of white vinegar to the soak?
    I would not use vinegar. You could go the opposite way and put in a few drops of ammonia.

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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    Stuck nib units usually require several/many cycles in the USC.
    The old ink has dried and cemented the nib unit to the section.

    When you soak the nib+section, do it with the nib DOWN in a narrow glass.
    This way the dissolved ink will drift down and out of the section.

    Be CAREFUL about turning the nib.
    Don't use force, as you could twist and pull the nib+feed out of the collar of the nib unit. Then getting the collar out then become more difficult.

    Are you wanting to clean the nib or replace them?
    If just cleaning, you can do that with the nib in the section. Although it would be nice to be able to replace nib units.

    Finally, the section could have SHRUNK, and is now squeezing the nib unit TIGHT. In this case, you may not be able to unscrew the nib unit, and the nib may not be able to be removed without surgery. I had this problem with one pen.
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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    I've about given up in getting the nib out in this pen. I plan to use clean it and fit a new sac. I'm using a 16 sac. Any suggestions on how long it should be? When I took the pen apart the old sac measured about 50mm in length. Now that I have a new one to slide in the barrel before cutting, it appears that I could use at least 55mm. Any thoughts, please?

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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    I've about given up in getting the nib out in this pen. I plan to use clean it and fit a new sac. I'm using a 16 sac. Any suggestions on how long it should be? When I took the pen apart the old sac measured about 50mm in length. Now that I have a new one to slide in the barrel before cutting, it appears that I could use at least 55mm. Any thoughts, please?

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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    I can't answer that, but I hope you have that wonderful experience of the nib just popping out all of a sudden (when you want it to, NOT when it is inked and being used!)
    Good luck
    Fortibus es in ero

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    Default Re: Esterbrook nibs

    It might be possible that a bit of shellac got into the nib threads during a resac. Not likely, but something is holding the nib unit in. I would just go ahead and resac the pen.

    You might think you could get an extra five mm of sac in there, but I would just trim to the length of the existing sac. There might be a good reason for which the sac was trimmed as it was, and you might find out if you try to trim the sac longer. How much more ink do you think it would give you anyway?

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