by Lih-Tah Wong
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Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains answers to your questions.  Please send new questions to me by email.

10. How do I restore the dark grid lines on my sterling silver grid 75 pen?

February 1, 2004

Parker used two different approaches in darkening the grid lines on the sterling silver 75.  One was by using some black material, and the other by aging the sterling silver in the lines.  You can restore by using the second method which is simpler.

A compound called as "liver of sulphur" is available in powder or solution form from art stores.  It is an oxidizer for silver that is commonly used to give metal collectibles an antique appearance they call patina.  You can do the same on your Parker 75 pen.  Be forewarned, this working solution stinks so you should use it in an open area or you may be overcome by the fumes.

To use it, apply it over the entire pen cap or barrel and allow the solution to oxidize the surface and lines until it is as dark as you want the lines to appear.  Depending on the strength of this solution, it may be very quick.  Once the desired color is attained, quickly rinse off with water to stop the oxidation process.

The next step is to polish the surface using the silver polishing cloth suggested earlier.  Be gentle when polishing so that  you may leave the dark color in the grid lines.

One last suggestion.  The solution of liver of sulphur has a shorter shelf life.   Given a choice between powder or solution for the same price, choose the powder form since you can mix it whenever needed.  Just follow the instructions to dissolve the powder in hot distilled water to make your own solution.

Update of February 7, 2004

I received an excellent suggestion from a contributor to this website .  He wrote to say that you can also accelerate the oxidation if you simply put the sterling silver cap or barrel in a new rubber sac of an appropriate size.  Apparently the sulphur in the rubber is enough to oxidize the silver but at a rate that is a bit more controllable than using a liver of sulphur solution.

Also, for a bit more aggressive polishing than the silver polishing cloth you can use a 6000+ grit micro- surface micromesh but do so very gently. 

Update of July 15, 2006

Sam Fiorella from Pendemonium wrote to me about the sac sizes:

"A #22 sac is a snug fit, but can be worked on around the cap and/or barrel of a 75 FP or RB, easy fit for BP or MP.   The #23 1/2N sac slides over the FP & RB easiest, BUT, the neck of the sac has to be trimmed off first so it will fit.  The 22 sacs are about 3 inches long, so one on each end of pen fits over FP, RB, BP or MP.  The 23 1/2N when cut is only 2.25 inches, so it would take 3 of them to completely cover any instrument, with one in the center would need to be cut open at both ends.   There are very slight variances in the length of the sacs, minimal though."

From what she wrote, perhaps the best way is to use three 23 1/2N sacs as she suggests and put the pen with sac into a sealable plastic sandwich bag.

Write to her if you want to place an order for these sacs by clicking here.

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11. How do I remove the nib assembly from the section?

April 29, 2004

It is simple but you need to be gentle to avoid breaking the unexposed portion of the nib assembly.  Here are the steps.

  1. Rinse the nib and section so that there are no more traces of ink in the water.
  2. Use a wide rubber band to get a better grip on the exposed nib. Use your thumb and finger of one hand to hold the nib static while the other hand holds on the black plastic section, and gently try to rotate the section relative to the nib assembly, in a back and forth manner.
  3. If the nib assembly seems stuck, then soak in it warm water standing the nib and section with the nib down in water that just goes up to where it meets the section.  Put some water from the other end of the section.  I would say to let it stand like that overnight. 

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12. Now that I disassembled them, how do I clean my FP gripping section and nib assembly?

May 22, 2008

OK so you followed the above FAQ to separate the nib assembly from the gripping, here's how you clean each.  

Nib assembly:

  1. Rinse it and drop it into a small cup of warm water.  
  2. Periodically throw out the inky water and replace with clean warm water.
  3. Repeat the above steps until your cup of water has no more ink color.

Gripping section:

  1. Remove the ink cartridge or converter so you are only dealing with the gripping section.
  2. Rinse under slow running warm water from the converter end until you see only slight ink color.
  3. Place the section standing in a cup filled with warm water that is shallow enough just to get the water to the chrome ring without going to the plastic.
  4. Leave for 15-30 minutes until you see the ink color in the water.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the water shows very little ink color.

A few words of caution

  1. Do not let the gripping section become immersed in the water for a long time.  The plastic develops this smoky white discoloration if the entire section becomes immersed for more than an hour.
  2. Do not you use alcohol to rinse the section.  The white discoloration occurs quickly when the section is exposed to alcohol as you can see below.

    Photos updated June 8, 2009


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13. How do I improve the ink flow through my nib?

June 30, 2012

After following FAQs #11 and #12 above for a thorough cleansing, you can now re-assemble the nib with its section and converter.  Before you fill with ink, however, fill it with a solution of 90% water mixed with 10% hand dishwashing liquid soap (don't use machine liquid which is gritty).  Leave the solution for 15 minutes then empty and wipe the nib and section dry,  You can then refill with ink.

The purpose of this exercise is to coat the interior surface of your section with a surfactant.  This chemical will lower the surface tension of ink to the interior and will promote better ink flow.

I suggest you perform this thorough cleaning of your nib and section, and this pre-fill of the surfactant solution once every 6-9 months.  Doing this will keep your pen in top operating condition.

One final note.  Many people come to me in need of replacement sections because the metal band has corroded or become unsightly.  In a few extreme cases, the band has completely fallen off the section. To prevent this situation and minimize the corrosive effects of ink on the metal band of your section, don't let dried ink remain for long periods.  Wipe the dried ink off your metal band whenever you see it.

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14. How can I insure the longevity of my FP gripping section?

December 31, 2013

Over the years I have seen two repeating problems with Parker 75 FP gripping sections.  The end result is that you will likely need to replace the section, which is expensive nowadays since the part has not been made in several decades, more so the triangular grip US version with wide metal band than the rounded French version with the thin gold colored band.

Here are descriptions of the problems and my suggestions that will help your FP gripping sections last as long as possible.

Metal band corrosion on the older US-made 'triangular' grip version

The source of the corrosion is dried ink that is left on the metal band for long  periods of weeks or months.  The worst is when the wide metal ring corrodes to the point that it breaks and falls off.  Besides appearing badly without the metal ring, the section can then develop stress fractures causing leaks.  Also without the ring, the cap may not close properly.

To avoid this problem, keep the metal ring clean instead of letting ink dry and remain for long periods.  Also remember that sometimes ink drips inside the cap and transfers onto the metal ring of the gripping section so flush the cap interior with water to keep that clean too.

Mating nipple breaks

This is one good reason to stay away from using ink cartridges.  The constant extraction of empty cartridges and insertion of new ones increases the chances you will break this mating nipple inside the gripping section.   

To avoid this, use the Parker ink converter, preferably either modern version with plastic and metal parts that no longer uses the rubber sac.  With an ink converter you never have to remove it off the section unless you want to thoroughly clean out your FP per my FAQ #12 above.



Revised: December 31, 2013 .

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