Monday, 26 March 2012

Parker 51 Vacumatic - Under the Hood

When the pen arrived, I noticed the feed was misaligned with the nib. I've tried, but I can't seem to let little things like this slide. If there's a spec of dust trapped in my mp3 player's display, I'll affect nonchalance for a while, then snap and reach for a screwdriver.

The nib and hood were perfectly aligned on receipt, the feed less so.

With gentle heat, the hood screwed off; I cleaned up the threads for later reassembly. I was pleased to see the (chipped) collector had indeed been flushed as per the listing description,  less so that its spacer rod was missing.

Superficial damage to the collector, and the empty shim cavity.

I used a length of propelling pencil lead as a substitute shim, after reading about a similarly laid up 51 collector on FPN. While the collector was out, I tested the vac unit for leaks by filling the barrel with water, and holding it over a sink. The water stayed in the barrel, so I was reassured the diaphragm isn't leaking on this pen.

While the nib was out, I found this pen's origins were Canadian. I had assumed given the width of the nib, the domestic auction, and the rolled silver cap, that this was probably an English pen. Not so! Later, with strong sunlight and a loupe, the vestiges of a barrel imprint appeared, "Parker '51' Made in Canada". It's a fine thing to get these interesting surprises :-)

Parker - Canada - 1948.

Oh - one other thing while the nib was out, I reduced the flow. It was a very wet writer indeed, which is not a bad thing, but this pen was a bit too wet for even my best paper to cope, with pooling on the page, long dry out times, heavy bleed through, and a lack of shading variety.  I brought the tines closer together till I was happy with the nib's performance.

Tine gap before and after adjustment. 

When I was happy enough with the writing characteristics, I cleaned up, aligned the feed's ink slit between the nib's tines, the nib with the large collector channel, and the tipping with the hood. It's now resealed. That's a piece of lint or something at the mouth of the hood in the second photo, not a split.

 Collector, feed, and hood alignment after flow adjustment.

Rounding off this topic, the next post deals with this 51's dodgy cap. I wrote it before this one, so see you again soon!

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