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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review - Greg Minuskin Re-Tip to a Parker 51 nib!

Recently I've changed my tastes in what nib sizes I enjoy. I used to love my fine/extra fine nibs but these days I'm loving broad, 2B, and 3B stubs. The more ink output the better, right!?! Anyway, my Parker 51 had a very nice medium stub on it which I have enjoyed for quite some time. I loved that nib but after I tried my first broad stub -  I never thought the same of that nib again... It was just a little to small for my new tastes.

Buying a new 2B stub for a Parker 51 is very expensive. I was quoted $130.00! Ouch is right... That's far to much for any nib. Along the road I heard about Greg Minuskin. He can re-tip your nib to any size (up to 1.8mm I think) for around $70.00! Not bad at all compared to $130.00! After exchanging a few emails back and forth, deciding on what size I wanted, and then selling the old nib to procure the funds, I was ready to get a re-tip. Let me just tell you this: Greg's work is amazing! The pictures will really tell the story so I'll leave the details to them. His turn-around time was way better than I expected. Less than two weeks! Just to show what he can really do, here are the before pictures of the nib. The tip on this nib was broken! This was (of course) no problem at all for Greg!

A bent nib with the left tine missing the tipping.

Here's another shot showing the bend and the broken tipping.

So, I sent my nib off in the mail to Greg who received it shortly thereafter. What I decided upon for my nib was a 1.3mm stub. This size is perfect for what I need though some people don't like nibs quite this large. After an appoximate 1.5 week wait I receiving it back in the mail, set it up in the pen, and tried it out, I'd say it's as good as a nib can get! Super smooth, excellent line variation, nice and wet! Greg was so pleasant to deal with and was very quick to respond to my questions. If I ever need another re-tip I know exactly who I'm going to.

Now for some pictures of the finished product! As always, just click on the picture for a super-sized view of it. I'll start with the photos that Greg sent me. They are much better than the ones I took, Greg is a great photographer!

There it is! Doesn't it just look gorgeous!

This nib looks good from both sides as Greg is very good at keeping things symmetrical.

Here's all of its 1.3mm of iridium goodness!

Underneath the nib. This is where all the magic happens!

A perfect 1.3mm! Nicely done Greg!

Here are the photos I took of both my pen and the nib compared to some other pens I had lying around. We have the Parker 51 with its 1.3mm stub, an Esterbrook with a 2284 Broad Stub, and a Hero 616 Jumbo with a fine nib.

Here's my favorite pen with my new favorite nib!

Uncapped it looks even better!

Here it is! Look at that 1.3mm tip sticking out! It looks awesome!

Here it is compared to the other pens. Hero 616 to the left - Esterbrook to the right.

Here you can really see the tipping sizes compared. Makes that fine nib in the Hero look so small!

Lastly, a hand-written sample of the nib compared with the other nibs. Greg really nailed down the line variation on this nib. This picture is certainly worth clicking on for a super sized view. You're gonna want to see this one big.

All in all I'm very pleased with my 1.3mm stub nib and the work Greg did for me. I have no doubts about his quality craftsmanship at all. I you ever need a re-tip please, give him a go, he will not disappoint you! His website is Greg Minuskin Nib Re-Tipping.

Please, drop me a comment below and let me know what you think of this review!

A big THANK YOU to Greg Minuskin for his awesome work!!!

777 - Tyler Dahl

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ink Review - Private Reserve Sherwood Green

This is a handwritten review of an ink that I really enjoy. The best part of this ink is the color! It's a deep, rich, dark, forest green color that really stands out among other inks.I like to use it for everyday writing and I think it's not to bright or flashy for use in business settings. Remember, just click on the picture for a super-sized view of it!

Also, please leave me a comment below the post and tell me how you like this ink color! I'd love to hear some feedback from you on the review!

777 - Tyler Dahl

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Free Esterbrook-box giveaway! Don't miss out!

Hello to all of my Blog readers, subscribers, followers, etc. Now is your chance to enter for my free giveaway on my Blog! It starts now and ends on Sunday night, 6:30PM Central Time. At the end on Sunday night a winner will be selected and the prize will be shipped the following morning. So what is the prize!?! Since I'm a big fan of Esterbrooks this giveaway is geared toward (but not limited to) those who share my interests in these amazing pens. I'm giving away an original Esterbrook-box with filling instructions! No pen included (sorry) but the box and instructions are a great addition to any vintage Esterbrook collection. They are a neat piece of Esterbrook history.

Here is the box shown closed. The winner of this giveaway will receive this exact box shown in the picture here.

Here it is opened with the papers inside.

Here is the paper. One side has instructions on how to use an Esterbrook pencil, warranty, nib options, etc. The other side has filling/cleaning instructions.

The box with the paper flipped over showing the other side.

So by now I'm sure you're wondering: "how do I win?". Well I'll tell you. It's this easy. Drop me a comment below about what you think of my site. Make sure to leave a name instead of anonymous. The comments will all be numbered like so: first comment is #1, second comment is #2, and so on... Then on Sunday night I will pick a random number and select the winner. I will make a new blog post with the name and number of the winner. Whoever the winner is must then contact me via email to claim the prize!

The "contest" begins today so be sure to leave a comment soon so you don't miss out! No comments will be accepted after Sunday night, 6:30PM Central Time. I look forward to hearing from you!

Best Regards,
777 - Tyler Dahl

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Loose Esterbrook clip? - Another how-to tutorial!

Have you ever had an Esterbrook with a clip that was bent slightly away from the cap making it loose? There's a very easy way to fix that! Here's a picture-heavy tutorial with detailed steps showing how to bring your clip closer to the cap. Lets begin!

Note: Please use gentle care during this tutorial. Performing any of the steps improperly, or overdoing any of them can result in damage of your pen.

What you'll need for this tutorial:
A pair of scissors
A straw (the kind that you drink with)
A butter-knife or any other kind with a thin blade
An Esterbrook with a bent clip

Step #1 - Get out all of the listed materials for this tutorial. This Blue  J Esterbrook (in the picture) came to me with a lightly bent clip...

Step #2 - Examine your clip. This pens clip is bent upwards. This is a very not-severe case. This trick can work on much worse clips than this.

Step #3 - Using scissors, cut a piece of straw big enough to slide over and cover the whole clip. This will prevent the clip from scratching the surface of the pen during this process.

Step #4 - Slide the straw piece over the clip.

Step #5 - Insert the knife under the clip. I position it near wherever the bend is. This bend was near the base of the clip so that's why the knife is positioned there.

Step #6 - Turn the knife slightly upward. What this does is bend the clip upward and create a pivot point where the blade meets the clip.

Step #7 - The, while maintaining slight upward pressure on the knife, gently push down on the end of the clip.

Step #8 - Examine the pen. If it needs more bending then go for another pass. If you accidentally bent it to much then flip the pen over and press the clip against a flat surface such as a table. This will bring it back into shape. If all goes well then you're done! Your Esterbrook should now stay securely in your pocket like it was manufactured to do so.

Hope this helps any of you out there with loose Esterbrook clips! Please drop me a comment and tell me what you think of this tip/trick tutorial!

Best Regards,
777 - Tyler Dahl

Back from vacation...

Hello to all of my Blog readers, subscribers, followers, etc. I'm happy to announce that I'm back from vacation and that you can expect things to start picking up again very soon! I'm going to kick things off with a free giveaway this weekend (keep alert for that post!) and then follow up with some great reviews and tutorials. Stay tuned and keep watching for all the new things coming your way!

Best Regards,
777 - Tyler Dahl

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Going on vacation? Yes I am!

Yes, that's right. Even I need a vacation every now and again! I'm going leaving from the 13th (tomorrow!) to the 27th of this month (April). I won't be doing any repair work during this time though I still will be taking requests however. As soon as I get back I've got some really cool posts coming up! Here's a little teaser for you!

- Parker 51 compared to the Hero 616 jumbo
- Iroshizuku Kon-Peki ink review
- Private Reserve Sherwood Green ink review
- Review of a Greg Minuskin 1.3mm re-tip to a Parker 51 nib!
- Free Esterbrook-box/filling instructions give away!
- Much much more!!!

Best Regards,
777 - Tyler Dahl

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Levenger Galaxy Aurora writes again!

This pen was sent to me in need of some nib work. As you can see in the following picture this nib was bent with the tines slightly upward and the spread apart. It was writing like a BB but it now writes a perfectly true medium line just like it did from the factory!
Before picture with the tines bent.

Another before shot.

Here's the nib after it underwent my special tuning treatment! Quite a difference!

Here's the whole pen. It's a very nice looking one too!

This nib is ready-to-write again!

There are no traces of the previous bend anymore. Looks good as new!

Best Regards,
777 - Tyler Dahl

Everyone needs help sometimes...

And I'm certainly not the exception! Yes, even I need help - and I need it from you! There are three super easy ways that you can help me out on my Blog, both to keep it up and running, and to encourage me to keep posting more and more.

(1) Subscribe. If you haven't yet subscribed to my feed via email or RSS then feel free to do so! Just sign up for either a desktop or web-based RSS reader to help you keep a constant, organized, and easily manageable stream of posts from your favorite Blogs (like 777 Pen Repair!). If you're worried about having trouble subscribing then fear not! It's super easy and requires just a few clicks! Start by just clicking on the orange button to the left. Subscribing helps keep you updated and keeps me motivated to continue posting.

(2) Become A Follower. This is essentially the same thing as subscribing. You can just click the link on the Blogger bar (at the top of the page) that says "follow". This will also keep you updated on my Blog and keep my posting away.

(3) Leave A Comment. This is one of the most important things you can do to help me out with my Blog. I enjoy discussing anything and everything with my audience. It gives me feedback on what you think, lets me know you're there, and makes the whole post more fun and educating! So please, leave a comment on my any or all of my posts. It really helps!

Thank you all so much!

Best Regards,
777 - Tyler Dahl

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lamy Safari VS. Esterbrook J - A detailed side-by-side comparison!

The Esterbrook J always seemed to me a sort of vintage counterpart to the Lamy Safari. I believe both these pens can be put into the same category. They are entry-level pens that are very well made for what you can buy them for. I decided to do a head on review comparing the two of them - Their good points and bad points. Let's jump right in!


First off: Pricing

These are both entry level pens that are priced for a beginner, someone on a tight budget, or anyone else who likes them.

Esterbrook J: Usually between $25.00 (beat up or maybe even un-restored) to $45.00 (In near perfect condition).

Lamy Safari: Runs almost the same. I got this one in the review for $25.00 but they can retail for $45.00.


Secondly: Size and weight. I'll do the sizes both in mm and inches.

Lamy Safari: 14cm or 5 1/2" capped, 13cm or 5 1/4" uncapped.

Esterbrook J: 12.7cm or 5" capped, 11.7cm or 4 5/8" uncapped.

Here they are compared right next to each other. The Lamy Safari is longer by a good 1/2".

Here are the pens uncapped next to each other. The Lamy has a very noticeably larger section than the Esterbrook J.

Here's another cap and pen comparison.

As you can see, the Lamy is a bigger pen, but surprisingly it's not as heavy as the Esterbrook J. I don't have a scale currently but the Esterbrook J is definitely heavier than the Lamy Safari. Here are the pens in my hand. I have medium-ish sized hands.


Next up: Nibs

In this area, both pens good advantages and disadvantages.

The Esterbrook has it's awesome trademark feature of interchangeable nibs. This is a huge bonus for any pen especially when extra nibs units can be found for $7.00 and up like the Estie nibs. The downfall of the Esterbrooks nibs is this: They really are hit or miss. I've had some horrible Esterbrook nibs before out of the box and other ones that are just perfect. They are not super dependable. Also, if you're not getting the iridium-tipped 9xxx series of nibs then their lifespan is shortened greatly. The 1xxx and 2xxx series nibs have a folded tine construction making them inexpensive and less durable then their 9xxx series counterparts.

The Lamy on the other hand seems to have a little more dependable nibs. I've heard stories of bad ones but certainly not near as often as the Esterbrook nibs. They also have interchangeable nibs, though not as easily interchanged as the Esterbrook ones. The Lamy nib do have iridium tipping on them so they will last much longer than any 1xxx or 2xxx series Esterbrook nib. Their nibs are actually cheaper most times than Esterbrook nibs. When I say "sometimes" I mean this: If you compare a fine Esterbrook nib of the 2xxx series to a Lamy fine nib you get the following prices:
Esterbrook fine: $7.00
Lamy: $11.00

However, when you get into the range of big nibs such as a 1.9mm cursive italic, a radical change takes place. Let's take a look:
Esterbrook Broad Stub (9xxx series): $40.00 - $60.00 (NOS)
Lamy 1.9mm Italic: $11.00!

So, there's a real difference there! The Esterbrook nibs get very expensive when you increase the tipping size. Now in favor of the Esterbrook you do have a lot more options than with the Lamy. There is around 16+ different tipping sizes of nibs for Esterbrooks. The Lamy has about 3-5.

Here's a shot of the two nibs side by side. The Esterbrook actually has a bigger nib than the Lamy.

Here are the feeds of both nibs.


Next on my list: Filling Systems

The Esterbrook uses a lever filling system to draw its ink supply whereas the Lamy uses a c/c or Cartridge/Converter. I'll dive right in on the advantages and disadvantages if each.

The Esterbrook utilizes a very simple yet exceptional filling system known as a lever-fill. It's very easy to learn and there's something so classic about it! It's main advantage over the Lamy would be this: It's much easier to clean in my experience than the c/c filler used in the Lamy. Also, it will hold more ink than a c/c filler. It's main disadvantage is this: It's much harder to replace if broken than a c/c filler. If your Esterbrook suddenly has a broken j-bar and a leaking sac, you're going to need to send it in for repairs. This will cost around $20.00 and leave you without your precious pen for a while.

The Lamy on the other hand uses a very easily replaceable c/c filler. New ones can be purchased for about $5.00 and can be put in by anyone including you! The c/c filler is very simple to operate and does not break easily. Its main advantage over the Esterbrook would be it's ease of replacement and the fact that you can see how much ink is left in the c/c by just looking at it. You can do no such thing with an Esterbrook. Its main disadvantages are such: It can be a real bugger to clean sometimes and c/c fillers in general don't hold much ink.

Here are the filling systems compared side-by-side.


Lastly I'll go over: Fit and finish

Both pens are nice and have their advantages in very different areas. I'll go into detail here:

The Esterbrook is just such a classic design! It doesn't look cheap but it's not overly flashy either. The Esterbrook comes in the following colors: Red, Blue, Copper (brown), Green, Grey, Black, and White (these are rare). The Esterbrook has a twist cap and I personally think that is more secure than the Lamy's push cap. The Esterbrook does have its disadvantages in this: The clip is not very flexible. It's not springy like the Lamy clip. If it gets pulled, it'll get bent. Also, the jewels on top of the pen can be fragile. I often see an Esterbrook with one or both jewels broken.

The Lamy looks a little more cheap. It has the feel of a kid's school-pen. On the same note, it's built to withstand being a kid's school pen! The Lamy definitely wins over the Esterbrook in terms of sheer durability. The plastic they use in its construction is very resistant to breaking. Also, the clip on the Lamy is very strong. The Lamy comes in the following colors: Red, Blue, Orange, Yellow, White, Black, and Clear. The main disadvantages to the Lamy is this: If you were to carry this around and pull it out in the middle of a business meeting it might look a little... Childish. The Esterbrook certainly looks more elegant.

Here are both pens compared. As you can see, the Esterbrook does indeed look more elegant than the Lamy.

Here are the pen caps/jewels compared with each other.

Here's the bottom of both pens.


So, to wrap things up: These are both great pens and I like them almost equally. I am (of course!) slightly slanted towards the Esterbrook mainly because I love vintage pens. It all depends on what you want! If you want super-durable, bullet proof, and modern - Go with a Lamy Safari. If you want classic, vintage, and quality - I'd lean towards the Esterbrook J!

I hope you've enjoyed this extensive review of these two wonderful pens. Hopefully this will help someone make a decision or just be informative to the general population!

Best Regards,
777 - Tyler Dahl

Is this the pen photographers best kept secret!?!

Almost! This little secret was shown to me by a fellow pen restorer and I found it to be so handy that I had to share it with you all. Have you ever tried photographing your pens, but they keep rolling around on you? Here's the secret: Sticky Tack! Yes, It's that simple. I was very surprised that I hadn't thought of this before. It makes so much sense and it really works!

Here's the stuff! You can buy it almost anywhere. Wal-Mart, Target, Staples, or any other store that sells office supplies.

Just a micro-ball of it is all you need! It lasts forever if you re-use he same piece over and over. I've had this pack for months now and used it on dozens of pens.

There's a thin ball of it on the cap of the pen. That's all it takes, then you just need to hide it from the camera veiw when you take your pictures.

I hope this is helpful for someone!

Best Regards,
777 - Tyler Dahl

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Your First Fountain Pen!

September 2008 - The day I received my first fountain pen! It was given to me by a very good friend of mine during someone else's wedding (of all things). Very shortly after I purchased my first bottle of Noodlers Ink (Luxury Blue to be exact) and the addiction started! I've never turned back since. I thought I'd start an interesting little discussion. A sort of show-and-tell! I've posted the story of my first fountain pen and I've got pictures coming up. I'd love to hear your story and especially love to see a picture! Please, do me the favor of posting a comment sharing your story!

This is my first: A Chinese made pen that looks more expensive than it is. The brand in Naki/S.Z. LEQUI (Chinese and French?!?). It's still an excellent writer!

Best Regards,
777 - Tyler Dahl

Review - Goulet Pens Sample Ink Vials

Hello guys and gals! I just ordered some of these great little sample ink vials and I just had to do a mini review of them! They work extremely well at what they're made for. If you've been looking for a sample bottle to mix inks, or get the last drop out of your bottle then look no further than these! Remember to click on the pictures for a large view of them! Let's get started then:

So here's the bottle. I have one empty one and one filled with Private Reserve Sherwood Green (an awesome color by the way!). They hold approx. 6 ml of ink when filled to the top.

As you can see in this photo the threads of the cap are very secure. Apparently, earlier versions of this bottle had a very small screw section on it making them less secure than this version.

Here's an Esterbrook J (full-size) in the bottle. notice how the bottom is conical! This means you can suck the very last drops of ink out of this sample vial!

Really the only critique I could level against these awesome bottles is this: The mm markings (a very handy feature) can't be seen unless light reaches them from the backside of the bottle. Here in the picture you can see what I mean. The 5mm mark only shows because I'm tilting the bottle and letting light come through the back side. This is mainly due to the fact that the marking are imprinted inside the bottles. Aside from that these bottle are a must have for any FP enthusiast! 

I ordered mine from Goulet Pens which I highly recommend you order from also. They have great prices and excellent customer service! With your bottles they also include sticker labels so you can label your inks!

Please, leave me a comment below and let me know what you think of this review and this product!

777 - Tyler Dahl