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Thread: Parker 51 nibs

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    Default Parker 51 nibs

    As many here know, I have had a few Parker 51 pens in my short foray into vintage pens. Yes, you can groan now.

    Here's the thing. Although I've had one or two 'interesting' nibs (a blobby broad, and a stub for example), I've yet to find one that actually lays down a consistent fine line at the angle (about 40 degrees) that I address the page. This is my preferred nib width for general writing, but I am beginning to wonder if any surviving 51s have a decent fine nib. My sample size isn't huge though (around 10 pens now).

    Anyway, I foisted my last 51 (the grey one from the pay it forward thread) onto another member here - they'll probably figure out where it came from when it arrives - but I am very much open to finding a 51 to fill a very specific niche in my writing life.

    Am I being at all realistic in ever hoping to find a 51 that writes as well as I wish it to? And if so, does anyone know where such things can be found, or whether they will command premium prices because of their apparent scarcity?

    Not in any rush with this, but sooner rather than later would be preferred.

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    Senior Member carlos.q's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    One alternative would be to buy a NOS nib and install it on the Parker 51 of your choice. You can get these nibs at Peyton Street Pens and Five Star Pens.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    In the past I have had great difficulty in getting 51 hoods to unscrew, to the point that I don't dare try it anymore. I appreciate the suggestion nonetheless.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    I don’t know exactly how fine you want your lines, but most of the 51s I find here in the US are fines. Out of the millions made, there ought to be one that works. Made in England 51s are generally broader.

    If a fine isn’t thin enough, Parker made extra fines, accountant and needlepoint nibs for the 51.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    In the past I have had great difficulty in getting 51 hoods to unscrew, to the point that I don't dare try it anymore. I appreciate the suggestion nonetheless.
    If you don't change the nib yourself then you would need somebody else to do it for you.

    The only other possibility is that you get extremely lucky and buy a Parker 51 that writes just the way you want. Not entirely impossible.



    PS. I had never changed a Parker 51 nib before until a few weeks ago. After watching a few Youtube videos I finally did it. It's a lot easier than it seems.

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    As many here know, I have had a few Parker 51 pens in my short foray into vintage pens. Yes, you can groan now.
    ... I've yet to find one that actually lays down a consistent fine line at the angle (about 40 degrees) that I address the page. This is my preferred nib width for general writing, but I am beginning to wonder if any surviving 51s have a decent fine nib. My sample size isn't huge though (around 10 pens now). ...

    Am I being at all realistic in ever hoping to find a 51 that writes as well as I wish it to? And if so, does anyone know where such things can be found, or whether they will command premium prices because of their apparent scarcity?

    Not in any rush with this, but sooner rather than later would be preferred.
    I now have a massive sample of 2 Parker 51 pens (one gold, one octanium) to work with.

    Both can exhibit line variation under my normal writing pressure—needlepoint width on fast upstroke loops (b, l, h, k, y, z, g,...), and fine pretty much everywhere else.

    I mention this as you said "consistent" and I wasn't sure if you wanted to avoid this kind of line variation. I see the same on non-Super Parker 21s and at least to some extent in my 45s.

    Here is a writing sample. The first is from my 48 aero. Although I worked on the nib it is basically identical to my other aero.



    I *think* I have read that "fine" 51s are common in the US (probably "medium" too). My ebay experience certainly supports that. Same thing with 45s.

    Removing the 51 or 21 hood, if affixed with shellac, is difficult to do without deforming it from heat. I have E countered 21 and 51 hoods that weren't cemented much and could be removed by hand. Note I have found NOS replacement hoods on ebay.

    If you get back to me in the next 4 hours or less, I will look try to find you a 51 (or anything else you want) at the pen show.

    How do you like your nibs to behave? How would you describe preferred feedback? Rough, ringing, bumpy, noisy, none—like ink appears on the page magically even though you're barely touching the page, or a feeling of polished metal on Teflon, or?

    It might be worth trying an Esterbrook J or LJ and several nibs. One vendor has proper prices on them and I have a boatload of different nibs. A fine or posting nib might be what you like.

    I'll pm also.
    Also I've had good luck with 30s Balance nibs so far. Some are soft, some firm, some like crazy stiff, xf to med, etc.
    Last edited by azkid; October 13th, 2019 at 10:25 AM.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    I had heard that US market has more proper fine nibs than the UK, so up until now I have been trying to target US sellers on eBay (the only realistic marketplace available to me, sucky as it is).

    Thank you for this most generous offer. I wish I had more time to consider your suggestion and take you up on this, but I have just woken up here and am heading out to a very busy work day (probably end up working late too).

    When I consider the 51 I think about a consistent nib that writes a fine line in any direction, irrespective (within reason) of the angle of nib to page. Smooth, with little to no feedback. Edging toward extra fine if possible, though fine would be acceptable. No flex, no line variation.

    Maybe one will show up sometime, with an accurate description. Who knows?

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    Heat the nib hood gently with a hairdryer. It will loosen the hood, and allow you to unscrew it with less force.

    I have three Parker 51's - none of them write with a "fine" profile - two are medium, and one is bordering on broad - they are all English nibs.

    If you want a "fine" Parker nib, then I suggest the Parker 45 fine nib. I have one of those and it is rather nice.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    It isn't too much to ask of a 51 to write a fine line at various reasonable hold angles and in all stroke directions with no hard starts and no skips given the right ink.

    That's really a bare minimum in my view. Nearly all my pens are able to do so (some I have had to work over to get there). I would say that 51s should write at least slight rotation angles (a few degrees) too.

    Mine are smoother than most of my other pens but I can still tell there is paper below the nib. Some pens feel like writing with a watercolor brush. My 51s aren't like that. But they also aren't heavy on feedback like Pilot fine nibs.

    Finding vintage pens in usable condition, let alone without paying a fortune, can sometimes be challenging but it is possible.

    I favor listings with writing samples figuring the seller at least cares if the pen writes or not. And I favor nib shots where I can detect if the nib is ok or worn flat or bent or whatever. If I can't tell it could very easily be a train wreck.

    Listings that offer a fair amount of details about the pen and its condition and that sound like the person knows pens get my trust. Listings with one liners, or that spend 95% of the description space talking about their store and payment and shipping and fine print I trust less.

    I look at overall pen condition of course. Too shiny likely means polished (rarely it is a very lightly used pen) which is fine as long as it isn't to distract from issues. Heavily scuffed and scratched and dented means abused and makes me more wary. Ideally the pen should look honestly used, but by someone who took good care of their stuff.

    Aerometric fillers are the way to go. The Pli-glass sacs last for ages and ages even if they get stained opaque.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    David, no need to mess with ebay, I got this one covered.

    Wait for my follow up email.
    - Will
    A place to look for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy View Post
    Heat the nib hood gently with a hairdryer. It will loosen the hood, and allow you to unscrew it with less force.

    I have three Parker 51's - none of them write with a "fine" profile - two are medium, and one is bordering on broad - they are all English nibs.

    If you want a "fine" Parker nib, then I suggest the Parker 45 fine nib. I have one of those and it is rather nice.
    I have tried that on another 51 with no success. At one point I contemplated cutting the section off and junking the pen just to get at the nib (it was a stub). A repairman I ain't.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    I know that this is absolute heresy but maybe you should try an inexpensive Hero 100.

    It's not a 51 but it delivers a consistent and smooth fine line. I bought one a week ago and have been pleasantly surprised:
    https://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread...951#post274951

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    I have thought about that, and a long while ago I did have a couple of 616(?) Parker clones that actually wrote quite well, but at the end of the day the idea of an actual 51 that works for me is the draw.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    If you find yourself in the capital, ping me and you can try my 51's. If the fine suits your hand, I know where to source a similar nib. Putting it on the pen is no big deal, I can do it if you don't want to attempt it again.
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    Thanks for the offer, and if I ever found myself in the capital (frankly a bit unlikely) I would take you up on it.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    Mike and Linda Kennedy at Indy-Pen-Dance might be good people to reach out to. Linda works wonders with nibs, and Mike does some amazing restorations on 51s. They were just at the Detroit Pen Show and were amazing to work with.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    Nice suggestion but I have given away my 51 now. It's somewhere on an airplane as I type this.

    I've seen one or two others on eBay, though I am unsure about the sellers, how to assess the general quality, or if they are priced appropriately. So haven't pulled the trigger yet... almost, but not quite.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    After having spent time with Mike and Linda at Indy-Pen-Dance I feel you’d find their customer service quite exceptional. Mike has quite a passion for vintage pens. I’d email or call him and see what kind of suggestions he has.


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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    Gary at MidnightPens on Etsy has a Parker 51 for sale. It does have a medium 14K nib. I'm sure he would send you a writing sample if you are interested it. Or he might have another pen he's restoring in the wings. You might try communicating with him. I've bought a couple of Diamond Points off him and he's a nice fellow.

    https://www.etsy.com/shop/MidnightPens
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    Default Re: Parker 51 nibs

    If I recall correctly I gave Gary a working black 51 vac (with an extra fine nib) a couple of years ago (via FPN). I am no "un-gifter".*



    * there is a more common phrase for this, but it is racially offensive so I won't use it here. The Americans will know of what I speak.

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