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Monday, May 30, 2011

Pelikan size comparison

Recently a good friend of mine was so generous as to loan me some of his gorgeous pens to "test-drive". I was thinking of reviewing them but there are already so many reviews out there so I thought I'd do something a little different. I decided to do a quick little size comparison showing the difference between the (seemingly) most popular Pelikan models. The Pelikans featured here are the m400, m600, and m800. Accompanying them is a beautiful Sailor 1911 and my Parker 51.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's finally here! - The long awaited bamboo dip pen tutorial!

Took me a long while to get around to making this but I've finally done it! The hands in this tutorial are those of my brother. He's the one who makes the dip pens and introduced me to the idea. This tutorial will show how we make our bamboo dip pens. If you're able to get a hold of bamboo and some basic hand-tools then follow along and enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Another New Video! - Parker 51, under the hood!

Here's a new version of an old "tutorial" of mine. It's not so much to show how to remove a 51 hood but it does tell how anyway...

This is mainly to show the anatomy of a 51 hood, nib, feed, and collector. For those who are interested I hope you enjoy this!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Video! - The innards of a Sheaffer Vac-Fill!

Here's a pen that once broken down is easy to understand. However, there's a lot of confusion when people try to describe it without proper pictures or with complex drawings. I thought I'd try and make a little more sense with this video here. Hope this helps.

Note: In the video you will hear me speak of a link to a reference on vac-fillers. Here is the link.

Also, forgive my cheap camera footage. It's not so great... :) At least you can see what I'm doing though!

If you enjoyed this video please drop me a comment below! If you didn't enjoy this video please also drop me not and tell me how I can improve. I'd love to hear your suggestions!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Time lapse nib grinding video is here! Check it out!

Okay guys! Here it is: The official first 777 Pen Repair Video! This one is of me grinding a fine italic nib. The video is a time lapse, I didn't think you wanted to watch me grind for 15min... :)

Enjoy! If you like this video leave me a comment on my blog please! If I get enough comments and good responses I will know to continue keeping up the videos.

Notice: This video is not attempting to instruct and in any other way teach Pen-repair or nib grinding. Nib grinding requires much more knowledge, experience, and skill than can be gained in 1 or even 10 videos. Nib grinding is an art that takes patience, practice, hard-work, and talent to learn. Be safe, and don't do anything to your pens unless you're confident you have the experience/knowledge to be doing so. Also, remember to have fun too!  Fountain pens are a hobby for all of us!

So, what did you all think of this? Like it? Drop me a comment and let me know!


Time Lapse Nib Grinding Video Coming Up Soon!!!

Don't miss it guys! I finally got out the camera (yea, it's a cheap one...) and decided to start producing a few videos for the blog! This may become big if I get a good response to it. Expect this video later this afternoon. I've never done a blog-video so things may not work out but if all goes well then I'll have the first 777 Pen Repair video up by tonight at latest!

This video is a time lapse of me grinding a fine-italic nib. I thought it'd be cool to show and I thought it turned out pretty nice for my little camera... :) You will note that the white balance will change occasionally throughout the film... Oh well, if this gets big then maybe I'll upgrade my camera!

Here's a screenshot!

777 - Tyler Dahl

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Homemade Pen Stand

So, I thought I'd share another homemade creation of mine. I was inspired to do this when I saw a very expensive Japanese pen stand. They were about $50.00+ a piece... I thought I'd try and make my own for free. Mine comes nowhere close to the one I was inspired by but it sure does work.

Here are some pictures:

It's made of solid oak - Very sturdy little thing!

As you can see, not the prettiest thing in the world but very functional.

777 - Tyler Dahl

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another pen makes a full recovery!

Here is a gorgeous copper J that came in for restoration last week. It had two broken jewels (ouch), some cosmetic surface scratching, and a mangled lever/internal snap ring. Here are some before pictures. These photos are the property of Briant Greer - They are not taken by me and do not belong to me...

Here's the broken top jewel...

You can see the bottom jewel is busted up in this photo...

So, on May 14th this pen was introduced into my shop. Just three days later it's all fixed up and ready to serve for many more years to come!

Here it is in all its glory! What a beautiful pen!

Check this out! This pen is fitted with an awesome 9314-B - Broad Stub Nib! When I first got this nib for tuning it wrote pretty nasty. Actually,  how most of the Esterbrook nibs write before I tune them. It was very dry, scratchy, and had very little line variation for a stub. 
After I tuned it up it's now a super-smooth, wet, excellent writer with lots of variation to spare!

Both jewels all fixed up and ready-to-go!

So, do you need a pen restored? My turn-around time is ultra-fast! This pen was in the shop for only three days!! Basic repair starts at only $25.00! Let me help you out with your pen next!

777 - Tyler Dahl

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Parker 51 VS. Hero 616 Jumbo. An extensive comparison...

So, here is going to be a comparison of two pens. Some people say these pens cannot be compared because of the huge price difference. I'm not of that opinion. I like both of these pens and they are very, very similar. Being so similar I thought I'd do a head on comparison and really nail down the differences and similarities between them.

Here goes:

Note: Remember to just click on the pictures for a super-sized view of them!

Parker 51 VS. Hero 616 Jumbo.

I'll start out by talking just a bit about each pen.

Paker 51 - This pen has become legend among collectors as "the best pen in the world". Now, in some respects it certainly is not the best pen in the world. When people say that they refer to the fact that the Parker 51 is such a timeless and well built pen. It lasts, it's extremely sturdy, it still looks modern even though the design is over 50 years old. Most of all it's one of the most reliable pens ever made. Specifically the Aerometric model which I'll be using in the review. The Vac-Fills are also great but the Aeros are prctically indestructible.

Hero 616 Jumbo - This pen is, in the simplest sense, a Chinese knock-off of a real Parker 51. However, this pen does sport some good qualities which the 51 does not. As a pen it's very actually nice and when compared to a real 51 it can hold its own...


So, lets jump right in with size, weight, dimensions, etc.

Parker 51 - 5 1/2" or 14cm capped - 5" or 12.7cm uncapped -  6 15/16" or 15.1cm posted - 2 1/2" or 6.3cm cap length

Hero 616 - 5 9/16" or 14.2cm capped - 5 1/16" or 12.9cm uncapped - 5 7/8" or 14.9cm posted - 2 9/16" or 6.5cm cap length

I don't have a scale on hand but the 51 weighs almost twice as much as the 616. See the materials section for more information on this...

So, both pens are very close in dimensions the 616 being a tiny bit larger. Both pens are a very good size for me and feel comfortable in hand. One thing you will notice in the pictures below is that the 616's hood is much longer than the 51's. The 51 has a longer barrel, shorter hood. The 616 has a shorter barrel, longer hood. Measurments as follows:

51 - 1 1/2" or 4cm hood length - 3 3/8" or 8.6cm barrel length
616 - 1 7/8" or 4.7cm hood length - 3 1/8" or 7.8cm barrel length

Here are both pens. The 616 is the red pen. The 51 is the black pen. keep that in mind throughout the review.

51's a bit longer posted...

Notice the large section on the 616. Same length total but larger section. This makes the barrel smaller which makes the filler smaller too...


Appearance and Design

Both pens look good though in my opinion the 51 is definitely a better looing pen. Especially if ou get one with a GF cap. To be fair to the 616  decided to use a simpler 51, just black with a steel cap.

Both pens are simple, understated and somewhat modern looking. At a distance, they can easily be mistaken for a ballpoint. Sometimes thi sis nice and other times not so much. If you're trying to not get noticed by carying a fountain pen tan a 51 or 616 is a good choice. If you want people to see that gorgeous open nib then a 51 or 616 is notyour best bet. I like the hooded design, others hate it. Many people grow to like it because they like the way the pen works so much.

Here are both pens, 616 in Red and Parker in Black. Very nice looking they are!

You can see the jewels in this picture. the 616 has a machined aluminum jewel as opposed to the 51's plastic jewel.

Here's a small design difference. The 616 has a very interesting clutch ring. It s transparent in between the two metal washers. The 51 clutch ring is all metal and a little thicker as you can see.


Materials or Fit & Finish

Here I'll talk about the materials used in each pen. 51's differ from pen to pen in things such as cap material i.e. - gold, lustraloy, steel, etc.

Parker 51 - This pen has much beter materials than those of the 616. The plastic is thick and durable, the cap s much thicker too. Caps are usually steel, lustraloy, or gold filled. All of these are built very well and last for a very long time. The thicker plastic and steel cap make the 51 much heavier than the 616. The 51 is considered to be a light pen on its own...

Here 616 - This pen on the other hand has very inferior plastic. That's not to say it doesn't get the job done. On its own it stands very well but whe ncompared with a real 51 it is lakcing. The cap is really what's lacking. It's machined aluminum and is very lgihtweight. I can forsee the 616's cap getting dinged up very easily due to how thin it is. Because of the thin plastic and aluminum cap the 616 is a very lightweight pen.

Fit & Finish gets me talking of quality control aspects for each design. The Parker is by far a superior made pen. I'll talk a little more aobut this in the materials section but here I'll talk about the QC of the 51 VS. 616.

From afar both pens look very nice but it's only when one examines them up close that one begins to really notice the flaws i nthe 616's design. Things like: cheaply stamped clips, offset/crooked jewels, sharp edges on metal pieces, machining marks, unfinished pieces, etc. These are the kind of problems the 616 has. The 51 has none of these. It is superbly finshed and made in every aspect.

An example of the poor QC on the Hero. The 51 filler is on top and the 616 filler on the bottom. You can't really tell it in the picture but the edges of the opening in the 616's filler is very sharp and unfinished. Not very comfortable to press...

Here is another lack of QC in the 616. As you can see, the hole on the 616 (left pen) is rough and gouged from where the machine drilled it.

As can be seen here,  the left cap, belonging to the 616, has a much sharper lip than the 51 cap (to the right).


Filling System

Both pens use the same filling system the 616 being a copy of the 51. For a cheap pen the 616 has a very nice filling system. It functions just as well as my 51's filling system. The only gripe I have with the 616's filler is the sharp edges we talked about in quality control.

Parker 51 - We are spekaing of Aerometric fillers today as I don't think the 616 is comparable to a Vac 51. The 51 uses a very well designed Aerometric filling system. This system was design over 50 years ago and still is one of the best out there. It is said to be leak proof in flight which my 51 certainly is. The 51 utilizes a plastic sac instead of a latex one. Though you can't see it in the pictures, the 51 sac is actually clear. Over the years it's been stianed black with ink but originally they were clear. The filler is operated by pressing the ribbed bar down 4 times while the pen point is in ink.

Hero 616 - Copying off of the 51's filling system makes this inexpensive pen have a very nice filling system for the price. The filler unit operation is the exact same on the 616 as it is on the 51. The filler is just a tad smaller in size. I havn't done a capacity test but someday I might. I also have not tested the 616 filling system in flight. I'm sure it would work just as well as the 51 though.

Here are the Aerometric filling units of each pen. The 51's is definitely larger in size and capacity.



So, everything aside the most important hing about a pen is its nib. Mainly, the way it writes. I'll say right up front that both of tese pens are great writers. Both have ups and downs.

Parker 51 - First thing of not is it has a gold nib. Some people say gold nibs are better than steel. I've had no such experience. I enjoy my steel nib pens sometimes more than my gold nib ones. Still, gold is pretty to look at and is a status symbol of sorts. The 51 nib is what is known as a nail. Meaning it's a very hard nib with absolutely no flex at all. This is due to the tubular shape of it and te hood which prevents it from moving around. Now, in my case, the 51 has a uge advantage over the 616's nib. My 51 has a BB stub retip. I will not factor this in but instead talk about factory 51 nibs. The original fine nib I had on this pen was nice. Not great, not buttery smooth but nice. It wrote a fine line with 5/10 wetness aand it never complained. Parker nibs usually are good. I have yet to come across a bad one yet though I' msure they're out there.

Hero 616 - This pen can be both good or bad with the nibs. This is due to the lacing QC in the Chinese factories that produce these. If you have some knowledge of nib tweaking as I do then these 616's can be transformed into great writers! The fine nib on this 616 writes just as well as the factory nib on my 51 and it exhibits a softness to it instead of the nail hardness of the 51 nib. For the price these pens can be had for they are truly excellent writers. This nis is, just like the 51 nib, iridium tipped and will last for many years.

All in all both are great writers but the Hero wins out because of price.

Nibs of each pen. Both are excellent writer! Feed design is a little different on the 616 (right pen). Thinner and flatter than the 51 (left pen).



Here's where the 616 really shines! in terms of value for dollar the 616 cannot be beat and totally smokes the 51.

Parker 51 pricing - This wuld be a fair price for a good condition pen, i.e. - not mint, but certainly not user grade. Nothing fancy like GF caps or rare colors. $85.00. 51 prices can go way up form thier but you can easily snag one for that price. Once you get into rare colors, DJ models, and factory stub nibs the price can up to $450.00 and beyond.

Hero 616 - This is where the pen tuly shines. They are best found on ebay in my experience and can be bought here in a 10 pack of 3 different colors (red, green, and black) for the humble price of $14.00 shipped. Now that's a deal! Only $1.40 a pen! They can be bought individually but they are about $4.00 a pen then. I  would recommend getting a whole pack, keeping a few, and then giving the rest away as starter pens! These 616's are really a great value for dollar. Think about it, even if half the pens in the pack are bad you're still getting a great pen only $2.80 a piece! I've never heard of half a pack being bad. I have heard of having one or two duds in a pack of ten though...


All in all these are both great pens and if I had to choose one I'd probably pick the 51. However, if you're wanting try out a real 51 but don't have the $$$ yet then buy a 616. They are excellent carry-around pens. I take mine places where I would never take my other pens...

Hope you'e enjoyed the review/comparison. Please, do me the huge favor of dropping a comment below. It helps keep me going on the blog!

777 - Tyler Dahl

Friday, May 13, 2011

A bunch of pens for sale! Parker, Sheaffer, and Esterbrook!!!

Hello to all of my Blog readers, subscribers, followers, etc. Today I am offering for sale a bunch of freshly restored pens. All are excellent writers and are ready for new homes.

To purchase any of these pen or ask a question, please email me here.

Parker 51 Vacumatic in the color Dove Grey.
This pen has been professionally restored by me and is working just as well as the day it was made. Takes up ink very well and writes just as nicely!

Clip is tight but does show brassing. Imprint is good. Blind cap is very well aligned in respect to the barrel. Surface is excellent cosmetically. No scratches or gouges, just the typical micro-scratching we see on pens of this age. Jewel is good but not the prettiest thing in the world... Overall a very nice pen!

Nib is a fine bordering a medium and writes a very nice smooth line at 7/10 on the wetness scale. The nib has the kind of perfect feedback that I love in my nibs. Smooth yet you can feel it on the paper...A great writer this pen is!

Price is $85.00 + shipping (CONUS only) - $5.00. PayPal please.


Sheaffer Sovereign TD Thin Model.
It is the TM or thin model which I find very comfortable in my hand. This pen has been professionally restored by me and takes up a great amount of ink. More than some of my other pens in fact. Filling system is very smooth to operate and will last for years to come with the new sac that I've installed.

The pen has been filled with ink for testing and then thoroughly flushed clean. While inked up I tuned the nib to ensure proper writing and alignment.

The pen is in excellent condition with the micro-scratching that one would expect on a pen of this age. Trim is good, clip is tight, nib is clean and beautiful! Blind cap imprints show wear. Pen Imprint is good. Overall a very nice pen!

The nib specifically is a medium to my eyes. It writes a very nice line with that perfect kind of feedback that I love. I would say this nib is "soft". Not flexible but definitely soft. A very nice writer this pen is! The plating on the nib is very good, the only minor problem with the nib is this: there is one feed fin that is broken. You will see it in the last picture. It's hardly noticeable from afar and has no effect on the performance of the pen.

The price for this little gem is $65.00 shipped (CONUS only). PayPal please.


Esterbrook Dollar Pen/Pencil set in the color copper.
This set is in perfect working condition and has been professionally restored by me. The pen takes ink, and writes very nicely. The pencil also works perfectly. It expels led when the top is pushed. It still has the double sided eraser and is mostly unused. The pencil is filled with about 5 pieces of the original lead (.036" diameter).

To get specific here's what was done with the pen: New sac installed and dusted in pure talc for smooth functioning. Nib was cleaned very thoroughly. The 9550 nib has been dip tested and tuned by me to ensure excellent performance. This is a great nib! It's an Extra-Fine that writes a true EX line. For this size of nib it's considerably smooth and is not to dry or to wet. 5/10 I'd say on the wetness scale. Pen was cleaned and polished to a gorgeous shine! This pens cosmetic condition is as near perfect you can get without being mint. Almost no micro-scratching at all. and absolutely no scratches, dings, cracks, or gouges.

The pen is specifically a 1941-1942, H (Demi) model. It's on the small side but would make a superb pocket pen!

The only, only cosmetic quibble with this pen is this: the gorgeous 9550 nib has some very, very small dotted nib pitting spots. Just look at the pictures. If this bothers/discourages potential buyers at all please let me know. I can exchange it for a different nib per request. I'm just selling it with this one cause' it's original.

This is truly a stunning pen/pencil set that needs a loving home.

Price is $100.00 shipped (CONUS only). PayPal please.


Red Esterbrook J.
Here is a beautiful pen that needs a new loving home. This poor little guy came to me in a disastrous condition. Horrible scratches, a cracked piece, dirty...

I was going to scrap it but the color of red was just so gorgeous I couldn't let it go. Finally I decided to revive it. So here it is, a pretty Red Esterbrook J with just a few problems. I call this pen user-grade but if you're not looking for the flaws you'd think it was almost perfect.

What's wrong with it? I'll tell you. Both of these flaws are pictured below so please check them out.
1 - There are two deep indents in the cap. They look very non-offensive and are barely noticeable from far away.
2 - Here's the bugger, the threads on the barrel had a small chuck broken out of them. So, to fix it I cemented the section and barrel and broken piece all together. They are very secure and will not fall apart on you. You don't hardly even notice the cracks but they're there.

So, those buggers aside this is a stunning pen! Gorgeous red color that's a real looker!

The nib on this pen is one of the best I've used. Perfect combo of smooth and feedback. 6/10 on the wetness scale. This pen is a fabulous writer.

So, this red J is ready to be taken into a new loving home where it will be used well. It's a great daily user and still looks excellent!

What do we say to $30.00 shipped?