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Thread: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

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    Default Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    I have a vintage Omas Lucens pen from the late 1930s, or so. A bit of ink was seeping from the area where the section meets the body of the pen. Now this is
    an old celluloid pen so I was very gentle. I tested to see if the section unscrewed at all. It did with minimal pressure. So I unscrewed it a bit more, not entirely
    just a little over about the half way mark. I then applied a little bit of 100% pure silicone grease to the exposed threads. I used grease that I bought from Richard Binder years ago.
    I screwed the section back into place and the leak was solved.

    But then I wondered if the silicone grease was the best produce for the old celluloid pen.

    Any advice would be appreciated, thank you

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    Senior Member Ron Z's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Silicone grease won't hurt the pen, but neither is it the best thing to use to seal threads. Silicone grease is a lubricant, not a sealant. Any "sealing" benefit gained is because it tends to repel water. From what I've seen working on the pens, Omas used a sealant like thinned jewelers pitch. I use a rosin based thread sealant that I make, that is identical to what Sheaffer and Parker used to seal the threads on their celluloid pens. Mine is an exact duplicate of Sheaffer's product, made using their formula.

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Thank you Ron.
    Does anyeone sell the rosin based thread sealer or the jewelers pitch?
    How would you recommend that I clean the silicone grease off if I decided to use the route of using
    the rosin product?

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Ron,
    Oh, I just did a bit of web searching and see that you sell the rosin product. Perfect

    But I still would like to know how to properly clean the silicone off of the threads
    thank you.

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Just wipe off the excess on the section threads with a paper towel, and wipe the inside with a cotton swab. You can use your thumb nail to push into the threads on the section. The thread sealant is really sticky and will also fill the gaps between the threads. Cleanup is with naphtha or mineral spirits. You don't want to use alcohol on celluloid. Warm it a bit before you clean the excess off, and it will come off more easily.

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Thank you again Ron for this useful information.
    If the sealant is sticky, does it make future unscrewing of the section more difficult?

    I see what you mean about the silicone grease not being a sealant, but for years I have used it on my vintage Waterman eyedropper pens and it has always worked very well.

    The person that I bought the pen from, who is in Italy said that they use a tar sealant. That sounds like what you said that Omas used.
    Last edited by Pen Tom; March 8th, 2024 at 02:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    You just warm the barrel a bit to disassemble. This stuff gets stiffer but never sets [I]hard,[/I and softens to the consistency of honey at maybe 95 F, well below the temperature for shellac.

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    The person that I bought the pen from, who is in Italy said that they use a tar sealant. That sounds like what you said that Omas used
    Omas did use a rosin sealant.

    We had a former poster "Flounder" who experimented with making rosin sealant, and where I learned it from - to use on a leaky Omas. Rosin by itself is very hard and brittle. You mix it with castor oil, and can vary the consistency based on the ratio. I use a high-rosin ratio for sections now, because it's easier to remove than shellac when replacing sacs. You do need something for cleanup, as Ron notes.

    Here's Flounder's old thread:

    https://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread...d-tribulations

    I assume Ron's is similar (he can clarify) and is ready-made for the less adventurous.
    "A truth does not mind being questioned. A lie does not like being challenged."

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    You guys are always generous to us! Thank you!

    Could you all perhaps give us a recipe for your sealants?

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bisquitlips View Post
    You guys are always generous to us! Thank you!

    Could you all perhaps give us a recipe for your sealants?
    The YouTube links in Flounder's thread show his mixtures.

    Just get a quality "violin rosin". It's maybe $10 a tin, and it'll make all the sealant you'll ever use. You could also get soldering colophony (same stuff), but in my head the violin rosin is surely higher quality. You'll see how hard and brittle it is.

    Rosin is hard tree sap. Tree sap is sticky. It's stickier when you melt it. Naptha or mineral spirits (for clean up) Ron mentions is required. You've been warned...

    Assemble whatever apparatus you can contrive to heat the rosin. Flounder uses a makeshift bain-marie. I've used a small metal salt dish (held with needle nose pliers) directly on a low electric burner. The rosin will start to melt. Add castor oil and stir. Hit somewhere between a honey to syrup consistency. More castor oil is more "syrup-ee".

    You have to let it cool to see the result. It'll be pretty firm, but it's fluid and will run slowly (think hours or days). You can pour it into something for storage while it's warm.

    Only benefit of doing it yourself is whatever benefit you derive from experimenting or whatnot. I did it to have two different consistencies.

    I suspect it's a lot easier to buy Ron's, in most people's case.
    Last edited by dneal; March 11th, 2024 at 06:20 AM. Reason: Added “for clean up”
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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Shameless plug: I use Ron's Sheaffer recipe sealant. I also have Max's wax-type sealant, but cannot recall the last time I used that.

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Don't use naphtha or mineral spirits as the solvent to thin the rosin. Rosin thinned with castor oil won't burn - I've tried... as in really tried with a torch under a blob on a rod. Remove the torch, and the flame goes with it. Rosin thinned with mineral spirits or naphtha likely would.

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Who said anything about thinning the rosin with naphtha?

    I guess if you can misread, then others can too.

    Thin with castor oil. Clean up with naphtha.
    "A truth does not mind being questioned. A lie does not like being challenged."

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    There is someone on the web who sells a thread sealant with the rosin thinned with naphtha.

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    I have used, and strongly prefer, the sealant sold by Tom Westerich at Penboard.de
    It is described by Tom as "a tar based sealant, a mix of resin, bee wax and tar. A similar mix OMAS used for their classic pistonfillers like old Paragon style pens."

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Tom's stuff was the first I used. It looked exactly like what was on a late-production Omas I bought in Wiesbaden, and what I used for the leak.

    Its tacky and almost putty-like, and easier to use for thread sealant. Rosin and castor oil makes for a spun-sugar sort of problem (hair-thin strands stretching out and getting on everything if you're not careful - hence the need for something to dissolve/clean). I assume the wax helps prevent that, but I have no idea what "tar" means. Hopefully more "pine" and less "road"...

    Flounder prompted me to try to make my own, which is when I realized if you make the ratio rosin-dominant it works good on friction fit sections in lieu of shellac. I wouldn't use Tom's stuff for that though.
    Last edited by dneal; March 11th, 2024 at 08:24 AM.
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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    Tom's stuff was the first I used. It looked exactly like what was on a late-production Omas I bought in Wiesbaden, and what I used for the leak.

    Its tacky and almost putty-like, and easier to use for thread sealant. Rosin and castor oil makes for a spun-sugar sort of problem (hair-thin strands stretching out and getting on everything if you're not careful - hence the need for something to dissolve/clean). I assume the wax helps prevent that, but I have no idea what "tar" means. Hopefully more "pine" and less "road"...

    Flounder prompted me to try to make my own, which is when I realized if you make the ratio rosin-dominant it works good on friction fit sections in lieu of shellac. I wouldn't use Tom's stuff for that though.
    Good information and important points.
    Given that the OP initiated this thread with a question about a vintage Omas and a section related leak, I thought for completeness sake my experience with Tom's sealant might be a helpful addition to the thread.
    In the end, as we gain experience, we all find what works best for us. I, too, have used pure Silicone grease for this type of work and I have been very pleased with the outcomes.

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    Quote Originally Posted by 724Seney View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    Tom's stuff was the first I used. It looked exactly like what was on a late-production Omas I bought in Wiesbaden, and what I used for the leak.

    Its tacky and almost putty-like, and easier to use for thread sealant. Rosin and castor oil makes for a spun-sugar sort of problem (hair-thin strands stretching out and getting on everything if you're not careful - hence the need for something to dissolve/clean). I assume the wax helps prevent that, but I have no idea what "tar" means. Hopefully more "pine" and less "road"...

    Flounder prompted me to try to make my own, which is when I realized if you make the ratio rosin-dominant it works good on friction fit sections in lieu of shellac. I wouldn't use Tom's stuff for that though.
    Good information and important points.
    Given that the OP initiated this thread with a question about a vintage Omas and a section related leak, I thought for completeness sake my experience with Tom's sealant might be a helpful addition to the thread.
    In the end, as we gain experience, we all find what works best for us. I, too, have used pure Silicone grease for this type of work and I have been very pleased with the outcomes.
    Yep. If I had an Omas, or even had to do my 146 again; I'd use Tom's stuff - especially if I were in Europe because shipping is simpler.

    I haven't purchased Ron's mix. I have an idea of its consistency, which would work fine and is clearly based on an American pen company's. It's probably similar to what I used in my Montblanc threads. Mine was stringy. You need a solvent to clean it up (pen, application tool, and likely fingers). Just buying his saves you a lot of work, and you'll probably spend less overall for a lifetime supply as an average user (same for Tom's, but I threw it away when I moved the household back to the states).

    Flounder's thread (and videos in there) are something you can't briefly describe in text. There's something about seeing - which is made crystal clear if you try it yourself. Let me emphasize "sticky" again. Hell, I have sap from a soft pine I cut down still stuck to my tractor steering wheel. That was 3 years ago. Rosin is just really nice, hard sap. Tar is sap on a baseball bat (a la George Brett). It's all the same stuff. When it's "petrified", it's amber.

    It is kinda fun to make and play with though. The rosin is brittle hard caramel of a sort, to start with; and ranges to a syrup if you added enough castor oil - although I can't see a use for it being that thin.
    Last edited by dneal; March 11th, 2024 at 09:42 AM.
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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    re. "sticky" From the instructions that I send with the stuff:

    Warning! This Stuff is sticky!
    Keep out of reach of kids and cats.
    'Aint nobody going to be happy if they get into it. Just saying....

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    Default Re: Is silicone grease compatable with vintage celluloid pens?

    The cat warning conjures "Roomba dog poop story" levels of horror.
    "A truth does not mind being questioned. A lie does not like being challenged."

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