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Thread: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

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    Senior Member Detman101's Avatar
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    Default HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    I know this is going to sound crazy...but i'm currently trying to shoehorn an ebonite feed into a pen that was designed with a plastic feed and converter. Now...the ONLY significant difference I can see between the Ebonite and stock-Plastic feeds are the little poker\tail thingie on the end of the plastic feed that goes out the back of the housing.

    This little poker/tail thingie does not come on any ebonite feed that I've seen in the size that's on the plastic housing. I know that the little poker\tail thingie is part of the ink-transduction system that pushes the ink along from the converter up the feed and onto the nib via capillary action.
    I also know that the absence of the little poker\tail thingie on the ebonite feed is what's keeping the #5 ebonite feed from getting any ink when placed into this pen.

    I can bet you're probably saying: "Well why doesn't he just chop off the back side of the housing and let the ebonite feed get exposed to the ink like it needs?" And while you're completely correct, there's two things standing in the way of that precise method.

    1. If I chop off the backside of the housing to expose the feed to ink, I lose the ability to use the converter...killing the pen.
    2. It's a brass pen, so no eyedroppering possible (Ink does'nt like metal...chemical reactions are bad mojo) ...therefore, no chopping off the rear of the housing and the converter nipple which resides on the rear of the housing.


    So does anyone know how to find one of these little tubes\poker\tail thingies to add onto an ebonite feed?
    Let me see if I can find a photo...Ah yes, here's one in a parker-21.


    Apparently, these are a requirement when using ebonite feeds that don't directly touch the "Ink Supply" but are supplied ink? Or supplied air?
    i dunno...but I know I need something poking out the back of the ebonite feed out into the converter to draw the ink to the ebonite feed...lol.

    Would a piece of metal do the trick? I could easily jam a needle or piece of a staple or those other metal thingies that hold paper stacks together...I forget what theyre called...can use them to pick locks too....argh...my brain is failing me....
    PAPER CLIP!!!
    That's it!!....whew...that took way too much energy to recall...

    I appreciate any information and the opinions of the experienced personnel here.

    Thanks!!

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.


    I found this option on Anderson Pens website....but no telling if that metal straw size is going to be small enough. I think I may just get a blood-syringe, see if it passes through the tail/poker/thingie on the housing of the pen, and if it does, stab it into the feed while it's in place.
    Then dremel off the other side and smooth off the end. Chop it down and repeat with dremel after test-fitting the converter to the modded setup.

    Yeah, that might be just the start I need.
    Prayerfully the needle is hygroscopic and not hydrophobic. May have to sand it down first before doing anything so it has some surface...or maybe not....I dunno...gotta find a syringe first.
    Rotten luck I'm not in NYC anymore...syringes everywhere back there...I'll actually have to request one here....which may draw suspicion...though I could just buy one at the pharmacy across town...nowhere near where I live...do they even sell those to civilians?
    I'm not grabbing one from the clinic...that's not kewl.
    Goodness...I've never had to actually buy one of these.
    Would it be stealing if I broke off the needle portion and kept that and threw away the main part of the syringe?
    I could grab one of the separate syringe tips they use for the OR but that's definitely Class-8 supply...crud...

    Best bet is to try and buy one from across town...
    Don't free clinics give away needles?

    This is more complicated than I thought.
    I'll try the paper-clip fix first...

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Breather tube is the term you want for the straw thingy. There are/were metal ones e.g. Parker 51. Not the same as the converter nipple. Spares are available.

    Flexible Nib Factory makes ebonite feeds with Pilot converter nipples but sized to Pilot nibs of course.

    Some Noodler's pens (e.g. Ahab) have ebonite feeds with breather tubes though mostly no. 6 size, I believe. Nathan Tardif used to snip the converter nipples off Platinum Preppys to make them eyedropper only. You may be in the same boat.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Breather tubes existed before cartridges. A breather tube is incompatible with a cartridge or converter. There are many ebonite feeds that never, ever had a breather tube.

    The breather tube is not simply an ink supply part, but also (as the term would indicate) helps equalize the air pressure inside the ink chamber to reduce burping and to maximize fills (as on early Parker and Wahl pens).

    Research, research, research before cutting anything. You need to know what the physics are and why you would make any modification before you actually do so.
    "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: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Thank you all for the information. I will not be destroying any parts of my "Elegy" whilst upgrading her feed to ebonite.
    Just want to be clear as diamond on that point.

    My intention is to replicate the capillary action created by the stock "tail" on plastic feeds that protrudes into the housing nipple of converter-equipped pens.

    In that effort, I have purchased an insulin syringe from Walgreens. I sweet talked the attendant into applying $1.00 price to an unmarked/unpriced bulk-supply insulin syringe. SCORE!

    I will attempt to apply the needle to the rear of the ebonite feed via the housing nipple after it's set in the housing with the ultra-flex nib in place. Then dremel off the metal portion of the needle flush with the housing nipple so that there is no interference with the converter once it's placed back in the pen. This should give the ink a capillary path to the feed in lieu of the housing nipple not providing it. This should also allow air to escape better.

    We shall see...

    Sent from my LG-M210 using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    It begins...



    Sent from my LG-M210 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Detman101; August 26th, 2020 at 08:41 PM.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    I salute you. I've tried, but my patience was never quite enough.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    I have a Sheaffer 440 cartridge-converter pen with an ebonite feed. There’s a short metal tube out the back of the feed, something like you want to make.

    But (1) the metal tube encloses a length of grooved ebonite, as in a Sheaffer snorkel, and (2) the metal tube is a snug fit onto the mouth of the converter.

    So I guess those may the next challenges.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Well, the feed-needle mod works great.

    Too great! Lol...

    I used two different sized fpr #5 ebonite nibs.

    The 5.1 size and the 4.7 size.

    The 5.1 had already had it's ink channels widened and deepened. When used in this mod it was a river of ink coming out the nib.

    So I switched the needle mod to the unmolested 4.7 ebonite feed.
    Now the pen is experiencing ink starvation.


    I'm going to widen the ink channel slightly on the current 4.7 feed and see how it reacts.

    If it doesn't wet up, I'll order a new 5.1 ebonite feed and try the experiment again in a few weeks when it arrives.

    Pics attached. The pad I used was fairly ink friendly.

    Sent from my LG-M210 using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Well....snapped and bent the needle while trying to reposition it.
    So used the tiniest drill bit i had to bore a needle sized hole in the center rear of the feed.
    Success!
    Will use paper clip going forward.
    All that social engineering earlier for nothing...ugh.


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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Okay...fortune has smiled upon me!
    The paper clip is a MUCH better ink conductor compared to the needle!!!

    I ran the razor down the ink channel 5 times and washed the feed with soapy water and put it back in the second with the nib. Attached the converter and let the pen sit for 2 minutes while I cleaned up my workspace.

    THE PEN WROTE ON THE FIRST TRY!

    Very wet on the trash pad I used at first. Flex writing had no problem, but the paper was like a sponge.
    Then I switched to my rhodia dot-pad and got the results I sought. (Pic attached - current test is brown ink at bottom of page...the prose...lol)

    I believe we've done it gentlemen!



    I can flex write for sentences without the ink running dry. And as long as I maintain the proper hand position the wide-ink-flex channel is maintained perfectly!
    I'm going to trim the paper-clip tail down a little more...still getting an interference-fit in the converter. But after that, it's done.
    Perfect!

    Stick a fork in this pen cause she's DONE boys!! WOOHOO!!





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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Does that pen take full-size or short intl. carts? Either way, you better carry a buttload of spare carts with you because that thing is going to write down the ink supply in no time in a pen that small.
    Last edited by Jon Szanto; August 26th, 2020 at 08:30 PM. Reason: typo
    "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: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    In case it helps, stock stainless tube can be found in approximately the right size. Probably also possible to find in brass, aluminum, copper, etc. Replacement celluloid breather tubes can be found at pen parts shops online.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Does that pen take full-size or short intl. carts? Either way, you better carry a buttload of spart carts with you because that thing is going to write down the ink supply in no time in a pen that small.
    How very true! Elegy takes full size converters. She is built based on the kaweco liliput, just bigger enough to fit a full size cartridge. The builder used #5 parts like on the liliput too because I didn't know enough about FPs back then to specify #6 parts. *DOH*
    I carry around spare ink for this pen in my ruck already. Two ink-sample vials of "Diamine - Chocolate Brown" as this pen blows through the ink when you flex-write.
    I couldn't practice my calligraphy much with Elegy the way she was. Besides having to go soooo slowly due to ink-flow issues with the plastic stock feed...I'd run out of ink in half a page of writing.
    It was soooo annoying.

    The small capacity of Elegy was what inspired me to pick up the PENBBS-456 and start modding it. I needed the ink capacity if I was ever going to get my calligraphy improved.
    I'll still stick to the PENBBS-456 for calligraphy practice as it's a better functioning, feeling and writing pen compared to Elegy. Elegy was my first and will outlast the others made of plastic in the long run, but the "456" will get the majority of use...most definitely.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Quote Originally Posted by azkid View Post
    In case it helps, stock stainless tube can be found in approximately the right size. Probably also possible to find in brass, aluminum, copper, etc. Replacement celluloid breather tubes can be found at pen parts shops online.
    I'd definitely like to replace it with something highly hydroscopic/hygroscopic(?) non-metal eventually. I just need to find a size that matches. I can always send them one of these paper-clips to measure by...lol

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    I salute you. I've tried, but my patience was never quite enough.
    Thank you sir!

    I, too, suffer from short-patience. But with enough encouragement and support, I can overcome it.
    I have the fellows in this thread, such as yourself, to thank as much as I am credible for the work.
    I'm capable on my own, but with a little help...I can do a lot!

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    I, too, suffer from short-patience. But with enough encouragement and support, I can overcome it. I have the fellows in this thread, such as yourself, to thank as much as I am credible for the work. I'm capable on my own, but with a little help...I can do a lot!
    Just as an aside, I'd like to tell you how much I appreciate your spirit, and that your couple of threads have really given me a positive feeling - person questing and open for information, a community trying to assist. The world is so fucked up right now that I'm having a hard time coping, but small moments like this give me sustenance and hope.

    Keep on, stay strong.
    "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: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    I didn't read much of this because the first thing I got to made me stop and say done.

    "This little poker/tail thingie does not come on any ebonite feed that I've seen in the size that's on the plastic housing. I know that the little poker\tail thingie is part of the ink-transduction system that pushes the ink along from the converter up the feed and onto the nib via capillary action."

    The breather tube has nothing to do with getting ink to the nib, it is there for filling.

    I'll read more later

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    I, too, suffer from short-patience. But with enough encouragement and support, I can overcome it. I have the fellows in this thread, such as yourself, to thank as much as I am credible for the work. I'm capable on my own, but with a little help...I can do a lot!
    Just as an aside, I'd like to tell you how much I appreciate your spirit, and that your couple of threads have really given me a positive feeling - person questing and open for information, a community trying to assist. The world is so fucked up right now that I'm having a hard time coping, but small moments like this give me sustenance and hope.

    Keep on, stay strong.
    Man, I couldn't have done it without your help. I'm thankful that something I've done has made someone else on here feel a little better, entertained or overall happier.
    Happiness is in short supply in this world nowadays...Luckily we all share a hobby that we can inspire and uplift each other with.

    I'll stay strong if you stay strong too!

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: The little straw...in the butt end of the feed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    I didn't read much of this because the first thing I got to made me stop and say done.

    "This little poker/tail thingie does not come on any ebonite feed that I've seen in the size that's on the plastic housing. I know that the little poker\tail thingie is part of the ink-transduction system that pushes the ink along from the converter up the feed and onto the nib via capillary action."

    The breather tube has nothing to do with getting ink to the nib, it is there for filling.

    I'll read more later
    Thats kewl...but the stock feed on this C/C designed pen has a tail that sticks out the section housing the same way that breather tube in the photo does.
    I'm certain that the little breather tube had a wholly different function in the feeds it was created for...but we're not thinking "Stock" here.
    We are creating.
    New ways for new plays...the old uses for things will be used for new flings!

    I explained earlier that when I put the ebonite feed in the C/C-built housing, the ink didn't transmit to the feed. This is because there was not a low enough amount of surface tension in the ink to allow it to pass through the C/C nipple-hole in the section housing to get to the feed. Ink can't move...air can't move...no glug-glug-glug...it's elementary watson!

    Even left it sitting for hours to try and let gravity do it's work..nothing.
    Tapped on the side of the converter...nothing. Bone dry feed the whole time.
    So I primed it with the converter, and it worked...til the feed ran dry...then nothing in the hand but Desert sand my man!

    With the "tail" added to the feed the ink now transmits to the ebonite feed from the converter and the fountain pen juices flow!

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