Among my many minor competencies, we may now number fountain pen repair and restoration, as long as we emphasize the “minor” part of the phrase. This afternoon I disassembled a smallish Sheaffer; it looks like a small version of an Balance, though not a Lifetime model (no white dot). It’s 4 5/8″ when capped, a lever filler with beautiful carmine pearlescent stripes, and a #5 Feathertouch nib.
The ink sac was the only real problem with this; I extracted the hardened remnants of the sac that had been installed, carefully scraped off the glued-on residue on the section, and attached a new sac. I polished and buffed, buffed and polished, and the renovated pen is quite a beauty. Sadly, it turned out to have a hairline crack from the lip of the cap well up toward the top of the cap. I’ll see about having a more skilled restorer have a crack at it. The pen writes smoothly; the nib doesn’t flex noticeably, but it’s a steady, firm writer.
In the same mail, I received another red celluloid (no-name) pen, but this one defies my every effort to unlock. It doesn’t have a lever; the barrel is bisected rather clumsily, as though it were supposed to unscrew (further down than I’d expect for a blind cap). The section won’t yet let go, and the nib likewise resists my gentle ministrations. Pippa claims that it’s an undercover ballpoint, but I think it’s just a handsome cheapie that hasn’t yet yielded its secrets. I’d give it a soak, but I’m slightly worried about the celluloid. On the other hand, if I can’t get the pen working, the celluloid will remain a secondary issue.
[An hour later: Patience and heat (wet heat in this case, after I tried dry heat for a long while) paid off; the upper portion of the barrel eventually twisted off, revealing a plastic piston. When I finally freed up the piston, it drew and expelled water satisfactorily, and now has proven its mettle as a firm writer.]