Do I have to restore my fountain pen myself?
FAQ 32.0 by Burt Janz
  Article # 250 Article Type: FAQ

32.0 Do I have to restore my fountain pen myself?

Well, it depends on how old the pen is and how adventurous you really feel.

I own several pens of recent manufacture... and some of them are truly pains in the lower hemisphere(s). I bought them because some of them are truly beautiful pens. Others are limited editions (ok, ok... so I buy "jewelry" too). Still others have intrinsic value that goes beyond their price (like one pen that I purchased simply to give to a friend. She's addicted now, too).

The nice thing about vintage pens is that some of them are truly better pens than their modern counterparts. The bad thing is that they're only available from collectors, and you have to either pay for the repairs or learn to repair them yourself (and, if you buy good quality vintage pens, you can be a bit afraid to touch them yourself).

I picked up a green Parker Vacumatic (reviewed below) at a pen shop. I know that I paid a bit more than I should have, but the pen was in terrific shape. I got home, filled it, and used it for a while. Then, I decided that I wanted to "tune" the nib (which is as stiff as a nail). I sent it off to Jerry Trafford, who did a marvelous job. He also polished it up and tweaked it a bit. I paid for the privilege, but it was worth the price. But, since I paid for it, I paid for the pen twice: once for the pen, and once for the repair.

On the other hand, although some newer pens can't hold a candle to their vintage counterparts (the modern Duofolds are simply not as good as the vintage ones), the repairs can be done by the company, and usually are covered under warranty.

For example, a friend lent me his Parker Sonnet to look at. He was complaining about scratchiness, and that it seemed to "leak" everywhere. After flushing the pen out, I found two things wrong: the tines were very misaligned, as well as being poorly cut (by that, I mean that one tine was significantly wider at the tip than the other tine). The "leak" was caused by some barely visible hairline fracturing on the section just above the barrel. Parker sent him a new section with a new nib at no cost, and he's a happy camper today.


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