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Feed diameter and the replacing of nibs (vintage)


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#1 JonSzanto

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 05:23 AM

I'll try to explain briefly: attempting to resurrect a mid-20's mid-tier pen (M. Ratner and Sons). The nib was in very poor shape, and I have another nib I would like to put in, from a Moore pen. Being non-1st-tier, the original nib was (besides being a bit shorter than the Moore) somewhat thin. When I attempt to place the new nib and feed into the section, they won't seat far enough in, and the nib and feed are sticking out too far (not to mention being about 1/8" too long for the cap.

 

For a moment I thought about lightly taking down the diameter of the feed, but then I thought there might be leaks around the nib. So my question is: does one look for a different feed? Move on to another nib? or is there a modification that can be done to the original feed to accommodate the other nib?

 

Thanks, folks.



#2 Procyon

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 03:26 PM

Jon, I believe I have encountered this situation a couple of times.  My solution was to file the inside of the section a bit, since I thought that would be easier than trying to keep the feed round. This seemed to work out fine for me.  I used a round file and just kept going around the inside of the section gradually increasing the diameter. You won't have to remove much.

 

If you ever need to change the diameter back to original size you can coat the inside with layers of shellac, letting it dry with each application.

 

Hope this helps.



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#3 JonSzanto

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 04:31 PM

Thanks, Allan, that sounds reasonable.



#4 D Armstrong

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 06:07 PM

Don't forget, heat is your friend (assuming it's a rubber section and feed). The extra space you need is measured in thousandths of an inch, and you might find you can get enough using compression. You need to warm the front end of the section right up to about 200ºF (until it smells strongly of rubber), then press in the nib and feed, using some soapy water as a lubricant. You may have to warm and press a few times. You can also try heating up the feed concurrently, but it is a much flimsier part. You may find that, when warm, it buckles under the pressure of fitting it in a tight section.

 

If it should become mis-shapen, you can just take it all apart, and heat it up again until it pops back into it's original dimensions. Then try again. Post-WWI hard rubber is surprisingly robust; don't forget this is the stuff Parker used to throw out of airplanes for publicity (and then use for writing after the fall).

 

The round file method also works, but is irreversible. So try heat and soapy water first.


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#5 JonSzanto

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 06:09 PM

Thank you, David, always more to learn!



#6 Robert111

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 11:37 PM

It's also a good idea to mark the section before knocking out the feed and nib. Then make sure they go back in the same orientation.

 

Also, I've been scraping the feed lightly with a utility knife held at 90 degrees--maybe twice around the perimeter. Then I stand the section on the knock-out block with the sac nipple in an appropriate size hole and push the feed and nib down hard into the section, gripping them firmly along their entire length between thumb and side of forefinger to support them and keep them aligned correctly. Never had any problems because of this scraping.



#7 JonSzanto

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 12:44 AM

It's also a good idea to mark the section before knocking out the feed and nib. Then make sure they go back in the same orientation.

 

Also, I've been scraping the feed lightly with a utility knife held at 90 degrees--maybe twice around the perimeter. Then I stand the section on the knock-out block with the sac nipple in an appropriate size hole and push the feed and nib down hard into the section, gripping them firmly along their entire length between thumb and side of forefinger to support them and keep them aligned correctly. Never had any problems because of this scraping.

 

Yes, I always make it a point to mark the section for proper orientation. The rest, duly noted, thanks.



#8 D Armstrong

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 02:07 AM

The problem with scraping is that, when it goes wrong, it is irreversible. It's not so much ink that you have to worry about, as air. If you take off too much unevenly, you end up with an air leak, and a pen that drips ink off the nib. Then the only fix is a new feed. Although, admittedly, it will take quite a bit of scraping to get to this point, as hard rubber is extremely hard.

 

As far as orientation goes, in the context of hard rubber, it's a bit of a myth. It is true that the rubber gets compacted over time. The danger could be that a nib and feed replaced out of alignment with the compaction could cause an air leak (and thus a drippy pen). But, the section was not originally indented at the point of nib contact. So, you simply apply dry heat (around  200ºF) and any impacted parts instantly return to their original shape. Alignment then becomes irrelevant.

 

I love hard rubber. It's magic. : )

 

And I should mention that much of this doesn't apply to plastic sections. And that you should be careful with pre-WWI rubber, as it is much more fragile.


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