You Need To Try It At Least Once

Some people prefer to get their fountain pens ready to write “out of the box.” I can appreciate that especially with some of the prices we pay for pens. Every once in a while it is good to get your hands dirty and just try some basic pen repair. My last post is a reflection of that sentiment. Keeping with that same theme, I present to you the story of an Esterbrook with an ossified sac.

I found the pen on eBay and the thing that caught my eye first was the deep blue color I had not seen before. I already have a blue Esterbrook and have seen plenty of blue Esterbrook photos. I could not be sure if the seller’s photos were accurate but I decided I could take a chance. The fact that the pen also had a #3556 “sunburst” nib was a big reason I wanted the pen too. The plating was gone but for the price I paid, I was not going to complain.

The pen arrived and to my delight, it was that deep blue color I was hoping for.
Blue Estie arrived today.

I read up on the process of replacing an ink sac and also watched a couple of Youtube videos. I was confident I would be able to get the job done. Esterbrooks are probably the most forgiving pens when it comes to repairing them. I took to Andeson Pens and purchase a #16 sac, shellac  and some talc. I already had a heat gun but decided to go with my wife’s hair dryer instead. After less than a minute warming up the section, it came right out. One problem. The sac remained inside the pen barrel

Success in Esterbrook section removal. Sac is totally intact but ossified inside the barrel.

I tried using some tweezers to pull the sac out of the barrel but it was just breaking off in small pieces. I decided to use an old computer chip puller along with a couple other computer related repair tools to try and get the sac out. It finally did come out. It was the original Esterbrook sac. I could still see the Esterbrook labeling on it.
Sac came out almost in one piece. J bar looks like it has never touched water. Looks about new!

Close up of old ossified Esterbrook #fountainpen sac

I then measured out the new sac using the old sac as a lose guide along with the barrel. Once I was sure about the length I needed, I cut the new sac to size.

New sac, shellac, and talc standing by.

After scrapping the section nipple clean, I used masking tape to cover the section so I did not accidentally get shellac where it should not be. The surprise of the evening was that the old computer chip pullers work perfectly as sac spreaders. This made it really easy to slip the sac onto the section.
Esterbrook #fountainpen ink sac installed. Now I wait for it to dry until tomorrow night.

I was going to let the sac dry overnight but someone on Instagram and with access to “Da Book” told me that 20 minutes was long enough of a wait. By this time 30 minutes had already elapsed so I dusted the sac with talc by putting some talc in a small Ziploc bag and wrapping it around the sac. I closed it up with a rubber band and shook it up. A perfectly dusted sac emerged. 🙂

Dusting the ink sac with talc.

I put everything back together and made sure the nib was aligned with the lever box.  I am OCD like that. 😛 I was satisfied everything would work. I did check the J-bar for corrosion and it was shiny. I did not bother pulling it out.

Finished pen ready for ink. Note ink lever aligned with nib. :D

I filled the pen with Private Reserve Tropical Blue and enjoyed my “new” pen.

Writing Test.


I hope this inspires you to try your own basic pen repair. Being able to do this opens doors to many pen prospects that otherwise would go untouched.

Thank you for reading.


The Fountain Pen Sith Lord.


5 thoughts on “You Need To Try It At Least Once

  1. Ivan- thank you. I would have NEVER tried any pen repairs if I had not read this post. Now I am going to start taking a look at those wonderful old pens that need some TLC. Maybe I will find a great Esterbrook for myself.

  2. This had the opposite effect for me. I now know I would never want to do that and value even more the work of someone to do this for me 🙂

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