Dec 09

Mangled Nib? No Problem.

Accidents happen and when this client’s very young grand daughter put his Montblanc 149 in the washing machine, it did not have the desired effect the child had intended. Thankfully Linda was able to bring this mangled pen back to life, with only one feed fin missing.

Dec 09

Aurora 88 Piston Repair

Aurora 88 Piston Repair

I have long considered the vintage Aurora 88 to be one of the best pens to come out of Italy. Repairing the piston seal is generally pretty straightforward. The only real trick is that the hexagonal shaft has to line up correctly to be accepted into the receiver.


This pen, however, had  been in the hands of someone who attempted a more involved repair of the piston shaft itself. The 88′s piston shaft is threaded at the tip for the retaining/compression nut to screw onto, as shown in the photo below.

This particular piston shaft had been damaged: the threads were broken off. The previous restorer had the right idea but used items that would later cause problems, making future repairs difficult. Instead of a brass machine screw, that person used a small flathead wood screw. Under the wood screw was what appears to be a thin brass washer. Over time, the screw began to rust.

You can see from the photo above the components used on the previous repair and the state they were in, even after being cleaned. Because a wood screw had been used, the hole in the top of the piston needed to be drilled and tapped for a machine screw. We normally use a 0-80 round-headed brass machined screw for this repair, but the hole was already too large and had apparently been drilled by hand, as it was at an angle rather than straight. With the shaft chucked into the lathe, we could drill the hole out to the correct size to tap the threads for a 2-56 round-headed machine screw. To ensure that the threads were straight, the tap was chucked into the lathe’s tailstock, and the lathe was run at a very slow speed.


We normally use two O-rings of the same size for this repair. Unfortunately, the shaft was broken off so short that this was not an option. We used a smaller O-ring first to give us the height needed so that the larger O-ring would compress properly when the machine screw was tightened. We installed the retaining screw for alignment purposes, made a styrene washer, removed the screw, and then reinstalled the screw with the washer in place on top of the stack.

We applied a thin coat of silicone grease to the O-ring and then test-fitted the shaft and adjusted the seal parts to ensure a reliable seal. We then removed the shaft and coated the head of the brass screw with a good blob of two-part epoxy to protect it from corrosion.

Oct 01

Gate City New Postal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow available for immediate shipping.The New Postal is based on the patented design of the Postal Reservoir Pen, sold during the late 1920s by the Postal Pen Company in New York. This outstanding Gate City fountain pen was created by Richard Binder and is made in the US by skilled craftsman who fit each part together by hand to ensure the highest quality. The New Postal bulb filler holds an incredible 3.2 ml of ink, which is typically three times more than the average modern day fountain pen. Fitted with top quality German made JoWo nibs in either steel or 18k gold (optional upgrade) – this is a very classy pen for those with discriminating tastes. Available exclusively at Indy-Pen-Dance.



Jul 12

Not Just Nibs & Filling Systems

Recently a client sent us some pens needing restoration work.  Among the pens was a green modern Waterman Patrician set.  This set has not been made by Waterman for over 25 years. The ballpoint’s top finial had been broken and the client wanted to see if there was anything we could do. Waterman as recievied

As you can there was not much of the finial left.  Fortunately the client sent the fountain pen with it, so we had a visual of what it used to look like.  I am sure it was originally a form of plastic, but we did not have anything other than Lucite which was a little too translucent.  So I grabbed a piece of black hard rubber (Ebonite) and set to work.  The mechanics of this repair were pretty simple.  The black piece still attached had a raised square portion that the clip fit over, the brass insert went into the finial and screwed down to hold the clip in place.  The first step was to get what remained of the black in the cap cleaned up and flush with the clip.  Once done, a finial could be turned on the lathe which would accept the insert and which would screw down on the post tight and flush with the clip.  A quality metal lathe is such a wonderful tool as it allows for accuracy and precision when dealing with small parts.  The Ebonite was drilled to accommodate the brass finial and to allow it to sit flush.  It was sized and shaped to fit the pen then parted off.  Raw Ebonite can be quite ugly until it is polished correctly which was the next step.  Holding this small piece that was less than one half inch in diameter and smaller than one quarter inch tall presented quite a challenge, but it was overcome and once polished it was installed on the pen.


We are quite pleased with the way this one turned out.


Apr 09

Atlanta Here We Come

We head off for the Atlanta Pen Show on Thursday.  This is a show we have not gone to before and will be looking at it with thoughts of setting up next year.  This is a great time of year to head south and it s the same weekend as the Masters tournament.

We are constantly adding to a list of parts we will be looking for at the show. It is amazing the number of pens that come into the queue that are missing something or are broken. The key is finding donor pens that would be substandard, in our eyes, to restore them. This generally makes getting the needed part a little cheaper for our clients. Every now and then there’s that hard to obtain part that makes going to these shows well worth the trip.

So what are we expecting? Of course it will be a pleasure visiting with our mentors, the Binders. They are a wonderful couple with a wealth of knowledge on so many things, not just pens. Barbara is a fellow Hoosier who has not lost her “Hoosier Hospitality” even being in the northeast for so long. We always look forward to seeing Brian and Lisa Anderson. They are a great couple to get to know and always a blast if there is a pen auction. The show website does not have a list of vendors attending so it will be exciting to see who all will be there.

Pictures and a summary of the show to follow next week. Safe travels to all who are going and we look forward to seeing you there.

Feb 03

Bringing New Life To Old

 Taking an old dilapidated and dirty fountain pen back to life is quite rewarding, but has its pitfalls. If you have an old third tier pen that has no sentimental or monetary value, then this is the pen to learn on. Most of these are basic lever fillers that require only one real skill, patience. Replacement sacs and shellac are available from many sources. We offer a variety of sizes in standard sacs as well as shellac.

But what do you do when you have a pen that is beyond your skill set or has a sentimental value such as Grandpa’s pen? Many of us that do restorations have learned our skills through other restorers, trial and of course error. The later is not a very good choice if you have a Leboeuf sleeve filler or a Lucky Curve that is a cherished family heirloom.

If you have a pen that you do not feel comfortable tinkering with, drop us a note. We have experience in working with many different types of filling systems and have exact replacement parts on hand, such as point gaskets, O rings and pressure bars for many pens. We also have been collecting old pens that can be used as donors for parts that cannot be restored or are missing.

Another common problem is bent and twisted nib tines. Maybe your pen was dropped and the tines are bent, or you have an issue with the cap liner and it has twisted the tines. These are problems we deal with every day. There is such a great feeling in making a client’s pen whole again and seeing the joy in their face or a letter of appreciation expressing the excitement of using a pen they once thought was a lost cause.

Dec 14

Happy Holidays from IPD

watermansxmasWe would like to wish all of our friends and patrons the happiest of holidays.


May the upcoming year bring many exciting and new pens to your collection.

Dec 11

Welcome To “The Niblet’s” Blog

wedFollow our blog as we highlight special pens, restoration projects, fountain pen related topics and special happenings in the fountain pen community!

We are a husband and wife team (Linda & Mike) with a true passion for fountain pens.  From brand new Pelikan’s to vintage Waterman eyedroppers, these amazing instruments have become a part of our everyday lives – as well as a business.  We both consider an evening of restoring old pens a wonderful way to spend an evening together!  Inky fingers are an everyday occurrence that often draws comical comments from those who don’t quite understand our passion.

Not only do we offer restorations services, we have a website that offers a wide variety of products for the fountain pen lover.  With inks, nibs, paper, fully restored vintage pens and some brand new modern fountain pens hoping to make their new home in Your collection (and much more)…we believe you will find something to tickle your fancy!

Follow our blog to learn about old pens, new pens, pen shows, restorations and other fountain pen related topics!

Be sure to visit our website Indy~Pen~Dance for all your writing needs.

Dec 11

Bent Nib Restoration

Before & after shots of a Parker Vacumatic nib.

Before & after shots of a Parker Vacumatic nib.

From time to time you run across a badly abused nib, one most would consider junk and sell for scrap value.  Not all nibs are hopeless and with some good TLC can become whole again.  This particular nib is from a Parker Vacumatic Debutante.  The nib and feed were set too high on the section and got caught in the blind cap as the pen cap was screwed on.  This bent, twisted and separated the tines, rendering the nib useless in the state received.  After some finesse the tines were back in their proper place and behaving again.  The Vacumatic was restored and the nib was set in the section properly so that it would not catch on the inner cap any longer! The nib was then tuned, smoothed and tested leaving this pen is a wonderful writer. 

Do you have a prized pen that needs some help to become whole again?  Drop us a line and we will be happy to discuss how we might be of assistance!