Fountain Pen Restoration

1946 Vacumatic Junior

It has been quite some time between Vacumatic repairs. They are one of my favorite pens to work on, and I enjoy writing with them as well. So, when this one showed up on my workbench, I jumped at the chance.  I decided to label the parts this time as I often get questions about the parts I am referring to and this is a good point of reference.  This photo is of the parts after the pen has been taken apart and before I started to clean and repair.   You can see that the later generation plastic filler still has some of the old diaphragm attached and I had not yet taken out the pellet.

I will take each part and describe what needs to be done ~

Clip – Polish with metal polish.  These later third generation vacs have no blue diamond.  For clips with blue diamonds that have worn, you can carefully repaint them (if that is your desire) with Testor’s 1110 or 1111 enamel blue paints.

Clip Screw/Jewel – Clean thoroughly.  Polish the end jewel.

Cap – Clean inside and out.  The inside will very often be coated with old ink and this needs to be removed, especially from the inside threads.  Polish the cap band(s) with metal polish.  The barrel can be cleaned with scratch remover and then polished.  I use Pentiques polishes.  You can see that there was quite a bit of build up under the clip of this pen.  I first removed the crud with my fingernail and then polished with a dremel at low speed.

Barrel – Cleaning the inside of the barrel is very important on vacumatics.  All remnants of the old diaphragm need to be scraped from the end of the barrel.  Even if you think they are gone, it is a good idea to recheck with a small light and magnifier to make certain.  Once that is done, clean the inside by placing in an ultrasonic cleaner and using q tips to remove any old ink.  Clean the outside with scratch remover and polish.

Filler – This one is a plastic speedline filler.  Other earlier fillers are metal speedline and lockdown.  Previous vacumatic posts (see blogroll at right) will have photos of these.  The process is the same for all fillers.  Make sure that you scrape all of the old diaphragm from the filler.  The tricky part is to remove the old diaphragm pellet from the pellet cup on the end of the filler.  This can be done by digging it out with a small pin or drilling it out.  The important thing to remember is too be very careful not to damage the pellet cup.  Doing this will render the filler useless. Attach new debutante size diaphragm and test.  Previous vacumatic posts have described this process.

Blind Cap - Clean and polish.

Breather Tube – clean insides thoroughly and test.

Feed - Clean out the channels and wipe off any residual ink.

Section – Clean inside of section with water and q tip, removing all residual ink.

Nib – 14K can be cleaned with polish and/or ultrasonic cleaner and jewelers cloth.   Be careful of earlier two tone nibs not to remove any silver wash. It is probably better to leave these as found.

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Below is a photo of the section/feed/nib/breather tube assembly.  Note the feed sticking out of the section.  This is not preferable and needs to be corrected.  Underneath this is the completed filler unit and attached diaphragm.

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The filler unit is first reinserted into the barrel end using a vac tool, and once seated, is tested to make sure it is sitting properly.  I shine a light in the nib end of the barrel and push the plastic end in and out and observe the pellet and how the diaphragm is flexing.  I then place my tongue on the nib end of the barrel and press the filler in and out to test for suction.  Assuming all is well, and after brushing my teeth :), I screw the nib assembly into the barrel from the front end.  The rest of the parts can now be assembled   After the pen is fully assembled, I usually give it one last polish.  Wax is optional at this point.  It protects the pen to some extent, but some people do not like the feel of a pen that has carnuba wax on it.

Here is the completed pen – a 1946 Parker Vacumatic Junior – measuring 5 inches closed and 5 7/8 inches posted.  The black color version has a semi clear barrel that really looks great after it has been cleaned out.  When ink is added, it is easy to keep track of the supply.

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Here is  a close up of the imprint.  The darker color on the right side is the diaphragm on the inside of the barrel.   The 6 denotes the 4th quarter of 1946, placing this pen later in the Vacumatic period, and about the time that Parker 51s were overtaking vacs in the Parker pen lines.

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This is not an example of a highly collectible Vacumatic, but certainly a clean crisp example that will be usable for years to come.

March 23, 2011 Posted by | Parker Pen Company, Parker Vacumatic | , , | Leave a comment

   

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