Fountain pens are treasured by collectors. Once made from a duck feather, steel nips replaced quills in the early 1900s and have been in use ever since. Though many people prefer a ballpoint pen, pen companies still manufacture fountain pens, and they are enjoyed by writers and collectors alike. Because they are not a throwaway item, fountain pens can break over time and will need repair.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Silicone grease
- Orange shellac
- Sac forceps
- Talc powder
- Pen sac (bladder)
Assemble your supplies. You will need to purchase pen sacs and tools from an antique pen repair shop or site. Then, begin with caution. Many pen owners repair their own pens, because finding an antique pen repair person is not easy. The pens are not hard to repair, but it takes precision. Antique pens are fragile and some are quite valuable, so they need to be treated with care.
Start with a test pen. Test your expertise with a pen that has no value. This will ensure that you can complete the steps without damaging a valuable antique. Pad the floor of the work area, in case you drop a piece of a fragile pen.
Lift the lever. If it is stuck, do not force it. The cause of this is usually a dried ink sac. Take the pen apart and remove the dried sac and then lift the lever again.
Open the pen. Using the special pen pliers, tug on the pen until it separates or use silicone grease. You may need to heat the pen slightly in order to do this, as many sealants will soften above 71.1 degrees C. The old bladder may be hard and need to be chipped out. Use heat to soften.
Remove the nib by soaking it in warm water. Do not use soap or alcohol. The nib is very delicate and can bend easily. Check the nib with a magnifying glass. If the nib is twisted or broken, it can be repaired by professionals. It can be straightened by hand, with a delicate touch. Nibs are made of gold and platinum and can break if they are cold. Gently warming the nib will make it more pliable. Place them near a light bulb or other source of heat to warm them. Nibs can also be cleaned with ultrasonic cleaners.
Lubricate the ink sac. Dry lubricant is recommended, or talc powder. Do not inhale the talc powder; it is poisonous.
Slide the new ink sac into place. Glue with shellac. Do not use silicone grease on this part of the pen.
Replace the nib gently and glue into place. A rubber strip placed over the base will allow for more stability.
Repair Your Fountain Pen
Tips and warnings
- Pens can be polished after repair.
- Do not solder clips from a Parker 51 aerometric pen because it contains poisonous beryllium that can be inhaled.
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