Fountain Pen Restoration

Parker Lapis Duofold Junior Fountain Pen

Parker Duofolds were Parker’s flagship pens starting in the early 1920s. Original colors were Orange and Black. Hard rubber was phased out and plastic (Permanite) became the material of choice in 1926. In 1927 the Duofold line of pens added Jade Green, Mandarin Yellow and Lapis Lazuli Blue to the colors of Senior, Junior and Lady Ringtop versions. Today the Blue and Yellow versions are the hardest to obtain in decent condition. The Mandarin Yellow is even more difficult to find than Blue and is prone to cracking, especially on the cap.

Up until acquiring this pen, I had restored numerous red, jade, black, black/pearl (a new color added in 1928), and red/black/pearl Duofolds. I have always wanted to obtain the blue and yellow colors, but prices are quite high on them.

About a month ago I ran across this Lapis Blue Duofold Junior at a very reasonable price, in line with its rough condition. As you can see, the internal pressure bar had deteriorated and I did not bother to include the old sac in the picture as it was basically dust. Note that the hard rubber blind cap, section, feed, and cap end are all discolored to brown. This is due to probably a combination of factors. Contributing would have been the ink that was left in the pen and dried into the rubber as well as where the pen may have been stored. Any dampness, temperature change and light could have also contributed to the destruction of these parts.

lapis junior before

The good news is that I have several spare parts from Duofolds (in this case Duofold Junior) that I could use. Spare parts accumulate as old pens with some good parts start to pile up in my parts chests. About three years ago I picked up a bunch of Duofolds in very bad shape. Some had cracked barrels, were without caps or nibs. But each had a few good parts. Typically, I was able to salvage buttons, sections, clips, blind caps and nibs.

With this pen I wanted to duplicate the exact blind cap, section. feed, and cap end as in the original. Duofolds came in many different versions over the years and these parts differ significantly from year to year. As you can see from the pictures below, I was able to find matching parts for each.

As with all button fillers (see also my post of 12/29/07) the repair was straightforward. I cleaned the inside of the barrel and cap to remove any residual ink. I then polished the nib, clip, and button using simichrome and a dremel. The clip and nib are 14K gold and there is no problem with being a little more aggressive with them to clean them with a dremel. I used just a q-tip with a small amount of simichrome on the cap rings, however.

After scraping the remnants of the old sac from the section and cleaning the inside of the section with water and q-tips, I reinserted the nib and new feed into the section. I then attached a 16 silicon sac to the section, cutting to size so that it would fit to just short of the button hole at the end of the barrel. I coated the sac with pure talc prior to screwing the section (note that most Duofolds are screw-in sections as this is very important when removing the section at the beginning of a restoration project) back in to the barrel. Talc will aid in inserting the pressure bar and keep the sac from adhering to the sides of the barrel in the future.

The new pressure bar was then inserted through the end of the barrel through the button hole so that the bar rests on the end of the section. It is important to smooth the end of the bar so that it does not cut into the sac at the end of the barrel. The button is then placed on the pressure bar so that it fits in it’s slits. After this process it is a good idea to test the pen with water by placing the nib/section in tap water and depressing the button. Bubbles should appear as the pressure bar presses against the sac and pushes air out. As the button is released and the pen is held in the water, the water should replace the air in the pen. After the pen is removed from the water, press the button again and a nice stream of water should squirt out of the pen into the water again. If this is the case, you have successfully restored the filling system. I tested this pen and it works well.

The blind cap was screwed in over the button, the cap end screwed in over the clip and the plastic was polished and a coat of carnuba protectant buffed on gently. A final touch of white crayon was rubbed over the imprint for highlight.

The only restoration that was not possible, as in so many vintage pens, was the discoloration (darkening) of the permanite plastic due to the deterioration of the sac and ink. There is no reversal of this, but I am happy to finally have an example of a Lapis Lazuli Duofold Junior.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Research indicates that this version dates to 1929 or after, given the two cap bands. At that time, it sold for $5.00. .

My spare supply chest still has several Duofold parts. I will keep my eyes open for a Blue Senior Duofold and maybe even a Mandarin Yellow.

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March 15, 2008 - Posted by | Duofold, Parker Pen Company | ,

10 Comments »

  1. hi, thanks for the very informative pieces on pen repair and restoration! i read this one on the duofold with great interest, since you mention your “parts bin.” i was wondering if you had a 1926 single-banded jade duofold senior cap somewhere in there that you would consider selling. i’m looking for one (discoloration okay, as the barrel is discolored anyway). please email me if you do, many thanks again!

    Comment by Jose Dalisay | July 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. Jose,
    Thank you for your kind words. I checked and do not have an extra jade cap. Regards….

    Comment by all of us | July 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. I am in need of a clip for a Parker Duofold Jr. Might you have one for sale?

    Comment by Fred Markowitz | October 7, 2008 | Reply

  4. I am in need of the black cap that screws over the button filler of my parker junior duofold. Any suggestions on where to find one?

    Love your web site.

    Comment by Robb | December 18, 2008 | Reply

  5. Good evening
    can you help me to find a clip(diametre 11mm ,may be 12mm) for an old lapis duofold Parker Usa
    12 cm long junior or senior ? i don’t know i am not a specialist
    existing in gold or other metal?
    All the stylo look good
    many thanks for an answer
    jean michel

    Comment by fresco | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  6. thanks a lot phil
    jm

    Comment by fresco | February 22, 2009 | Reply

  7. Hi out there,
    Swedish fp pen collector mailing – have anyone of you boys and girl a spare red hard rubber cap w. clip for a 1924 Duofold for sale?

    Comment by Christer Nygren | August 20, 2009 | Reply

  8. hi, i’ve got a yellow duofold cap that has a rather large chip out of the edge – stupid me, i tried to clean the inside and it chip- so my quest is to find a cap which i’m sure is the hardest part of the pen to aquire, or somehow get the cap i have repaired -i’ve been told repair is not possible, but the cap has two metal rings and the chip is almost to the top of the bottom ring, could the thing be ground to meet the metal and still have some type of value?
    thanks,
    eleanor

    Comment by eleanor | September 1, 2011 | Reply

    • Unfortunately, the Mandarin Duofolds are notorious for cap cracks and for these breaks. I assume that the materials necessary for the yellow color weakened the plastic in some way. Grinding down to the cap rings can be done. but this would detract from the value significantly. But with the chip, this has already occurred, so it would at least be a bit more pleasing to the eye. The only solution would be to find a cap that exists on a damaged barrel. As you say, not the easiest thing to do.

      Good luck in your hunt.

      Phil

      Comment by PKM | September 2, 2011 | Reply


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