A Personal and Novice Toolkit

Mind you, the most complex pen repair I perform with any frequency is, in theory, the easiest: a basic sac replacement on a lever-fill pen.

In addition to copies of Da Book and Pen Repair, the other tools in my possession include an inexpensive loupe. I use the loupe to check for tine alignment of nibs, not for precision nib work. Other tools are detailed below.

Variety of tools

Clockwise from the top:

  • “Gripper squares” sold by RichardsPens.com. I use them to hold on to the barrel when I’m working a section out.
  • Pen sacs in a variety of sizes. What sizes? Read Da Book.
  • Talc – used when re-sacing a pen.
  • Pressure bulb – used to squirt water through a pen’s section and out the nib. You could use an ear bulb. It helps flush the feed. It’s amazing how much ink is held in a pen’s feed, isn’t it?
  • Variety of sticks. Ya never know when you might need a long skinny stick.
  • Nib block – used to remove nib from a section on a vintage pen.  The rule of thumb is to leave the nib and section in place unless absolutely necessary. Yet there are times I’ve needed to use it beyond my own curiosity about how nibs and feeds fit together.
  • Pen cleaner by Koh-I-Noor. I use this to clean an unrestored pen found in the wild. It’s my preference. Others like plain water or some hybrid ammonia or dish soap solution.
  • Tweezers – again, ya never know.
  • Barrel brush. I’ve never used it. Um, yes I have! Many times by now. (updated 2017-Feb-27)
  • Section pliers – used to remove a pen section. The single best tool investment! They cost me $10 a couple of years ago.
  • Soft cloths – for cleaning the outside of the pen.
  • Eye dropper – used for dropping ink into a pen barrel.
  • Brass shim = 0.002″ sheet brass used to floss nibs.
  • Micro mesh pads. I have used the little ones but not on pens.
  • Mylar sheets. The large white and green sheets that are underneath the micro mesh pads. I’ve used these to smooth a nib or two.
  • Tiny brush – this came with the Amodex.
  • Ink Nix – Great stuff and my answer to removing ink from fingers.
  • Amodex – hasn’t worked so well for me. Supposed to help get ink out of stuff.
  • Tenax – Used it once and I hope I never have to use it again. It was very hard to find.
  • Shellac – for setting the sac to the section.
  • Silicon grease – lube for stiff piston pens. Also used to tighten barrel to section seal for eyedropper conversions. Must be pure and contain no petroleum or other stuff. A little lasts a long time.

Pendemonium, Richards Pens, and Tryphon are places I’ve gotten most of my repair items from. (I have no affiliation with any of the places I mention. Just a customer here…)

Having the proper tools for a task helps and IMHO reduces the risk of damage to a pen. There’s no guarantee, though, and that’s where patience, time and skill come in to play as well.


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