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Thread: Tales of a newbie pen collector - volume 1

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    Default Tales of a newbie pen collector - volume 1

    Hello everyone. I posted my intro here last week ( https://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread...er-from-London ) and took a few hours this morning to look at a few pens and see what could progress. Some things OK, some tales of destruction Im afraid. Poor pens lasted a hundred years until I showed up.

    1. The first one I tackled was a Swan E444 black pen circa 1920. First thing I did was use a hair dryer heat prior to to open it up and removing the old sac. A metal strip fell out which I assume is half of a J bar so need to find another of those. The section with the feed and nib was seised as you'd expect, so I soaked it in water to try to remove the dried ink prior to knocking it out in a block. While that all worked fine, I didn't realise the pen is (I think) made of rubber, and the soaking I think caused the section to turn slightly grey (or at least I didn't notice it was grey before, so I think my damage here). It there anything I can do about that at this point, other than try to find a new section? Other than that, the trim polished up very nicely and it reassembled well.



    2. Another Swan self filler in a very attractive green snakeskin pattern. This one went without a hitch. I didn't soak this one because of the issue i caused in the E444 above, but in retrospect its obviously not rubber! Do I have to look out for casein now... Trim cleaned well, new sack installed, all good.



    3. A Shaefer's striped brown pen, i think quite nice. Does anyone know what model this is? An utter noobie f-up here and I broke the feed. At the barrel end the feed was very thin and i though not appropriate to try to bash it out like i did on the Swan, so i tried to pull it out from the front and it was too brittle and broke. So I need to find a new feed for that. Any tips on trying to locate these sorts of parts?





    Couple of observations:

    -some obvious learning points above re rubber and being more careful with feeds.
    -I think I'll prepare my shopping list over a dozen pens or so, and order sacs/bars and stuff all together in the future rather than ordering part by part with no ideas what Ill need next.
    - I had anticipated spending quite a lot of time polishing with micro mesh, but in the case of the ones i did here, they weren't so bad. I tried to find whether I could use micro mesh on rubber, and saw quite conflicting debate, so i decided not too. I just did a light polish with a Autosol metal polish and that seemed to remove the surface grit and provide a reasonable shine. Under a loop you can see lots of fine scratches, but Im not sure I'm bothered by that. In my watch collecting world, polishing is a cardinal sin. Im sure it has its time and place.

    Questions

    Is there a way to know if a pen is made of rubber?
    Can you use micro mesh on rubber?
    On the Sheafer's, the section on this one is clear, and I'm wondering how clear should it get? Is it supposed to be an opaque brown, or should it come pretty clear?
    I used a standard Autosol metal polish on these pens, then removed any residue with a damp cloth, dried and applied a coat of Renaissance wax. Is there anything wrong with that?

    Enough destruction for today. Appreciate your helpful replies...

    David
    Last edited by buddman; July 14th, 2019 at 10:52 AM.

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tales of a newbie pen collector - volume 1

    I would say that you're off to a pretty good start. You can use micromesh on hard rubber, and that's how you can restore the black on your E444. I use a rubber bulb to get some water into the section to loosen up any old ink before drifting out the feed and nib. This avoids immersing the section in water. To identify hard rubber, rub it vigorously with a finger and smell it. I avoid using Renaissance wax, or any wax, on pens. It was once used by museums but has become discredited because some of its constituents have proved harmful. Also, once applied to a pen it is well-nigh imposssible to remove. The section of your snakeskin Swan is rubber, by the way.

    You won't find casein in Mabie Todd pens but many Burnhams and quite a few Conway Stewarts are made from it. Avoid any with surface cracking as it can't be restored. Good casein isn't a problem as long as you don't soak it.

    I can't comment on Autosol. I use Novus which comes in three grades.

    I'm not well up on Sheaffers (note spelling). Don't pull a section out from the front. Drifting out with an appropriate punch will do no harm.

    I've posted about tools a few times in my blog. Use "Tools" as a search term and you may find some of it useful.

    Carry on with the good work! You seem to be enjoying it.
    Regards,
    Deb
    My Blog
    My Pen Sales

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    buddman (July 14th, 2019)

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    Default Re: Tales of a newbie pen collector - volume 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    The section of your snakeskin Swan is rubber, by the way..
    Ok. Thanks. Very early in learning..... 😎

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    Default Re: Tales of a newbie pen collector - volume 1

    Hi David,
    I'll chime in here only to echo what Deb said with regards to cleaning up the oxidized hard rubber section. I also use Novus and it works well for polishing. Micro Mesh is incredibly useful when you have a really ragged pen that needs heavy duty polishing....just make sure you work through all the grades and finish off with a micro gloss or nova #2/#1. Mark Hoover sells a hard rubber deoxidizer that I find works wonders. Check out Jim Marshall/Laurence Oldfields' Pen Repair 4th edition book. It's probably the best book out there.
    Your Sheaffer looks like a Craftsman model. and the section will not get much clearer than that. You can try by adding a touch of non sudsing clear ammonia to water and let the section sit for a few hours...then scrub the interior with a appropriately sized round brush. You can source replacement Sheaffer parts through several places online...Pentooling being my go to for such parts. On that note...just scour the web for fountain pen repair tools/services/forums, etc. Lots of info out there.
    You've had a bang up start to your new hobby....love the snake skin celluloid!
    Regards,
    James

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    buddman (July 14th, 2019)

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