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Revisiting an old hobby


AndyHull

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A possibly worrying development. I notice yesterday that I can't access Ranfft's website. http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin.bidfun-db.cgi

Anybody else able to see it?

It is partially archived on the Waybackmachine (archive.org), but I hope the issue with the live version is temporary.

http://web.archive.org/web/20220320115409/http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?00&ranfft&&2uswk

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

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I have a couple of fountain pens, picked up over the years, but I was looking for something I could put in my pocket and not feel too upset about if I lost it. With this in mind I dropped into the huge rabbit hole that is the world of fountain pens. Who know that in this day and age, I wasn't the only person who still enjoyed using a fountain pen.

Eventually I pulled the trigger on a couple of low cost Chinese pens. Both are Jinhoa branded. The Mont Blonc esque black one is a "Jinhao X450 Black with Fireworks" with a 0.5mm F nib, the other is a "Jinhao 599 Transparent Fountain Pen" 0.5mm Nib.

I have no idea if they will be any good, but they were so inexpensive (both would qualify for a fountain pen 404 club membership),  that I figured I had nothing to loose. If they are anywhere near as good as the reviews I found on youtube, they will be more than adequate.

Edited by AndyHull
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Posted (edited)

I often wondered how you produce the pins that hold in the plates on old pocket watch mechanisms.

Clearly they weren't cast, or turned.

If you watch the early part of clicksprings latest video, then the method suddenly becomes obvious.

Brass wire, a file and a small abrasive stone, and that most important of watch repairing ingredients, patience, is all you need.

Now I know how to file a replacement when the carpet instantly digests a tiny, and seemingly irreplaceable 18th century tapered brass fixing component. It should work for the hairspring fixing pin on those pin lever Timexes too.

 

I guess this is a lot simpler than trying to find a carpet with less annoying dietary requirements.

On 12/31/2023 at 10:08 AM, Klassiker said:

I came across the fountain pen collecting scene a few years ago, when listening to these podcasts:

 https://offhours.show/ep1/

Chris Manning is a silversmith and fountain pen maker who crossed over into watchmaking.

Well worth watching and exploring. Thanks.

Edited by AndyHull
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Posted (edited)

image.thumb.png.4f8584fe8a643d7bd5fc0d081b74a07b.png

I have to confess, I also added a couple of these with different nib sizes  to the AliExpress shopping cart. "PAILI Black Metal Fountain Pen Titanium Black Nib 0.38/0.5mm Matte Barrel Gift BAG Option Business Pen".

They cost a whopping £1.76 each. I can't get a nib, not even a crap one, nor an ink converter here in the UK for less than a fiver. They may turn out to be trash, but they are pretty good looking trash if they are.  I'll let you know my thoughts on them when/if they arrive.

Edit: After a lot of back and forth with Google, I have some more info about this pen.

It is a Paili 派利 model 869. Paili is a 'Wing Sung' brand, Wing Sung being, apparently one of the oldest and best quality Chinese pen manufacturers. Paili appears to mean "perry" (as in the alcoholic beverage). 

There are two nib options, a 0.38mm shrouded 'extra fine', and a 0.5mm 'fine'.

Edited by AndyHull
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Posted (edited)

Nice little collection. Did I spot a couple of Lamys in that lot?

I have a few older, more refined pens at home, but I'm always a little reluctant to carry them around, which is a little silly. I guess its a bit like having an expensive watch that spends its time in the safe, rather than on the wrist. 

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This is what you apparently get with the Paili - Wing Sung - Black.
 
It has an almost Bauhaus styling to it which is quite eye catching. I'm not sure the quality will match the look, but for that price, you can't really complain. If it writes in a half decent fashion, I'll be more than happy with it.

The nice thing about the Chinese ones I've grabbed is that they are as inexpensive as a disposable rollerball or fibre pen, but refillable, and furthermore, if I do loose them, I wont be too upset. 

Back in the day, when I used to do a lot of driving to visit customers, I learned pretty quickly that you don't carry around a decent pen, as sooner or later it will get borrowed, never to return. I don't mind if they pinch a cheap disposable, but then they whip a Parker, or something a little more valued, and you don't notice till later in the day, by which time its too late to complain, then it is a different matter. 

If these are any good, you could give them out like sweeties to customers, and not worry.

"Sign here sir/madam.. Oh.. the pen, you can keep that with my compliments."

I resisted the temptation to add this Jinhao. 

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Edited by AndyHull
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40 minutes ago, AndyHull said:

Did I spot a couple of Lamys in that lot?

They are all Lamys, good workhorse and when someone (who has never used a fountain pen) borrows a pen and bends the nib or forgets to return it, it's not the end of the world.

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Hand made fountain pen fabrication, for those who appreciate craftsmanship.

These are a little out of my league. If I was lucky enough to own one,  I most certainly would be crying into my beer if someone bent the nib on one of these.

The Lamys are great little pens. You may have noticed a distinct Lamy family resemblance in the Jinhao 599 Transparent I posted about previously. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jf3lbhQR6I

Here's how the Lamys are made.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Majohn-Wancai-Mini-Transparent-Pocket-Size-Eyedropper-Fountain-Pen-F-Nib-Ink-Pen-cropped.thumb.jpg.69e4cd4ae29aec977f5593fdbef3225f.jpg

I also added this Moonman Majohn "Wancai" Mini Eyedropper "demonstrator" pocket fountain pen to the collection.


It was on an offer from Aliexpress that means it would qualify for the 404 club, but they are usually around the $12 to $25 mark.

It seems to be quite popular and according to online reviews, well made.

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They also come in other colours of acrylic, and if you splash a little more cash, they are available in resin too.

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A quick follow up to the Pai Li 869 fountain pen. I must admit I'm pretty impressed with it. Especially since it cost so little.

Here it is compared with a few of my other "go to" pens. Left to right, a "Burnham" probably from the 1960s, with a "Tak Sang" nib, (possibly gold, but who knows),  a Lamy clone (possibly a Jinhao, but it could be anything) an Apollo with an Apollo steel nib, also from the 1960s, a Parker 45 with the original gold nib, which is currently in need of a clean, as the nib is writing very dry, and the PaiLi 869.

The PaiLi is surprisingly  well made, and much heavier than I expected. I assumed it was going to be a flimsy affair, but far from it.

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It is somewhat longer than the Parker 45 when posted, and also heavier, which I like, but which may not be to everyone's tastes.

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The nib is almost certainly a "Wing Sung".

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I've also included a quick scrawl on possibly the worst paper for fountain pens I have ever encountered. As you can see the PaiLi writes just fine. The nib is smooth, and not the least bit scratchy. Arguably the best writer is the Apollo, followed by the Lamy clone and then the PaiLi, but as I say, the paper is terrible, so its not really a fair comparison.  The Parker is struggling, so I'm just about to tear it down and clean the feed and nib.

I'm back from my travels now, so you should see a few watches again soon.

Edited by AndyHull
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Did somebody say "Parker 45"?

Hey, I'm specifically trying to focus on watch maintenance/repair as a way to steer clear of my interest in fountain pens and other writing instruments, which just might have drifted across the line between healthy collector and obsessed hoarder. But then I'm innocently reading about watches when somebody triggers me!

 

P45s.jpeg

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Oooohhhh shiny... me want!!!

Maybe we should set up a penaholics support group.. In addition to the fountain pens, I've got a bit of a Rotring and other technical writing instruments problem....

Now did I see a couple of Parker 45 demonstrators in that lot... Where's the "ebay" button on this keyboard.

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Thanks. I can't claim to have made any of those videos, but there is some useful stuff available, and I've included the ones I found most interesting in this thread. If anybody has any others, feel free to link them here, or perhaps in this thread area.

https://www.watchrepairtalk.com/forum/65-restoration-techniques-polishing-refinishing-bluing-rust-etc/

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On 2/8/2024 at 12:05 AM, Geotex said:

Did somebody say "Parker 45"?

Hey, I'm specifically trying to focus on watch maintenance/repair as a way to steer clear of my interest in fountain pens and other writing instruments, which just might have drifted across the line between healthy collector and obsessed hoarder. But then I'm innocently reading about watches when somebody triggers me!

 

P45s.jpeg

I didn't think I had a Parker problem, then I looked through the stash of fountain pens.
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Does eleven Parker pens count as a problem? Even if a couple of them are Rollerballs, and one of them is a Jin Hao?

If you add in the vintage Platignums, and random odds and sods, the Apollos, the Wing Sungs,  the Jin Hao and assorted Lamys and such like, the Jin Haos that look like Parkers, the Pai Lis, the Heros ...
OK maybe I do have a *little* bit of a problem. 

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Wow, pipes, pens, watches, clocks and knives, there is all kinds of stuff here, I wanted to get a pen mandrel and acrylic/wood and make some pens but haven't done it yet, I saw one made with corn cob that was awesome looking....I have sold a few Conklins, Parkers, Watermans and others from the past... 

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I've gone off on a bit of a tangent recently, but back to watches for this next post. To be exact, an Agat/Zlatoust 4282/4242 single button USSR era 15 Jewel, 1/5th second stopwatch, or to use its modern Agat designation, the СОПпр-2а-3-000 

This is one of the few mechanical time pieces that is still produced to this day. I suspect this particular example is from around 1980, but it looks to have been little used. A quick clean and oil and it looks, and runs as well as it did the day it left the factory. 

@szbalogh did a full teardown of a very similar Agat 2482 here -> 

If you fancy browsing the Agat factory website, follow the link below.

https://www.agatfactory.de/products/mechanical-stopwatch/soppr-2а-3-000-2

A little bonus content.

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Replacing the "bladder" on one my Platignum fountain pens.

This is a pretty simple process. Pick a suitable size, based on the following chart. Nipple refers to the end of the section, where the bladder is fitted. Barrel diameter is the inside diameter of the barrel. These are best measured with calipers.

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Search ebay for something like "Latex Ink Sac Bladders for Fountain Pen".

You will need something else that most of us have. Shellac dissolved in alcohol, to use as the glue to seal the bladder to the "section". 

You may need to cut the bladder to length. Once you are happy with the length, clean off any old shellac and rubber from the "nipple" with isopropanol or methylated spirits (don't use acetone, as it will damage the section).

Ensure the nipple end is un-cracked, dry and clean (this also applies to cows).

Paint a thin coating of shellac on to the "nipple" end of the section.

Slide the open end of the bladder on to this coating of shellac. This should be a fairly tight fit.

Paint around the "collar" on the section to seal the latex to the plastic, and leave to dry for 24hrs.

Take great care to avoid getting shellac in the thread, or you may end up gluing the pen shut by mistake.

Once dry, re-fit the section to the pen. You may need to dust the latex with talc, or coat with a thin coating of silicone oil to get it to slide in smoothly, without kinking or twisting.

A little silicone oil or silicone grease on the section thread will make life a lot easier when it comes to removing the section in the future, as it should stop it gumming up with ink. 

Refill with your favourite ink and you are done.

Edited by AndyHull
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The bladder for another fountain pen arrived today. So here is the follow up.

How now *not* to replace the bladder in your precious fountain pen. 

The process started innocently enough. I attempted to unscrew the cap. Instead, the stainless sheath parted company from the plastic of the top and started to rotate.

This produced two new problems. First, I obviously now needed to re-secure the stainless sheath to the cap, but more importantly, I couldn't actually unscrew the top from the pen. I reached for some light oil and attempted to dribble it in to the threads.

In the process, I managed to pour it down my leg.

Nice.

"Well.." I reasoned, ".. these jeans needed to go in the wash anyway." so I pressed on undaunted.

Next I wrapped some masking tape around the body and the top, and carefully grasped them with mole grips, trying in the process to avoid crushing anything. This worked better than expected and the cap started to unscrew.

Unfortunately however, the next problem became obvious pretty quickly. The pen still had ink in it, which it proceeded to vomit on to my leg...

"Well.." I reasoned, ".. these jeans needed to go in the wash anyway." so I pressed on undaunted.

I cleaned up as much of the mess from my hands and leg and the pen as I could, and set about replacing the bladder.

With the pen now spotless, and no obvious possible source of further trouble in view, I set about securing the stainless cap to the body. The cap by now was considerably more stainless than I was. 

I poured out a small measure of shellac into a little plastic container, and started to dribble it into the gap between the two components, and ... promptly poured the contents of the container onto my leg...

"Well.." I reasoned, ".. I am clearly an idiot." so I pressed on undaunted.

The job is more or less complete, but I suspect the jeans may never quite be the same again. Now I need to sneak them into the washing machine before my wife sees them, and hope that a quick boil wash will hide the majority of the evidence.

Edited by AndyHull
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