December 2020

Vintage Pens — Where to Start?

At least once a month, I get an email from someone I’ve not met, noting “Your website has gotten me intrigued by the idea of restoring and writing with vintage pens, where do I start?” These messages often lead to frequent correspondence and new friends, and I truly enjoy both. Although my first response is usually along the lines of...

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September 2020

Why Some Pens Don’t Work For Me

I often describe a pen as “needing a right-handed writer”, and some pens need my wife or friends to write the writing sample. Why is this? Is it me or the pen?  From my first using my first fountain pen in 1965, having received a Parker 21 for a present, I realized that the left side of my left hand...

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June 2020

The Restorer’s Challenge

When I first considered turning my small hobby shop into a restoration and sales practice, I consulted a number of prominent restorers.  One of those consultations was with Ron Zorn of Main Street Pens, with whom I spent the better part of a day in conversation at a Long Island Pen Show.  He told me a lot that day, but...

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March 2020

Selling the Oversized Sheaffer Balance? Really?

No, this isn’t a commercial for a pen that is listed in the For Sale page. Yes, I’m having some misgivings about selling the oversized Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green from the core of my collection, but I think this is a decision that will stay decided. I’ve owned this pen since the first year of my building a pen...

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December 2019

An Admission

Looking at the pens in my three-pen everyday carry case this holiday week, I am ready to acknowledge publicly that all three are modern pens. This is pretty heady stuff for someone so devoted to vintage pens. No, I’m not preparing to rename my company “xxxx, formerly known as timsvintagepens”, because I do still love everything about vintage pens, from...

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September 2019

Making Parts

Some months back, this space was devoted to my purchase of a vintage machine lathe for fabricating replacement parts for vintage fountain pens. Eight months later, after getting-to-know-you learning, restoration, repair, and experiencing the first steps, sidetracks, and culs-de-sac of machining’s very long learning curve, I have now produced my first pen part, the sac nipple for a 1930s Wearever....

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July 2019

On Selling Esterbrooks…

Over the past few months, after placing the large listing here and on the Fountain Pen Network, I’ve sold a lot of Esterbrooks. As usual, this has made me think about the history of what I sell and why a pen sells when another doesn’t. I continually find that selling Esterbrooks isn’t like selling any other pen, because the variety...

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April 2019

The Pen From Hell

Every so often a restorer has to experience a Pen From Hell. I must say, by way of preface, that since Timsvintagepens is not a repair service, Pens From Hell are relatively rare. But, when a friend passes me a nice looking Sheaffer Snorkel Crest and says “I got it at a flea market, can you get it working?”, I’m...

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February 2019

My Best Tools, the Official Ones

Two Thoughts ago, I listed the eight tools I use all the time in fountain pen restoration that are not officially Pen Tools. Although the distinction is viewed by some as narrow, with this Thought I’ll address my most important official pen tools. None of these are secret, so I’ll also note good places to get your own. One caveat...

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December 2018

Upping My Game

I know I said that this Thought would be my most important tools list, but that Thought got pre-empted by this Thought.  Next time… In recent weeks my shop experienced a major change: I acted on years of frustration with my inability to restore pens that needed replacement parts, and bought a vintage machinist’s lathe. With the predestined introduction to...

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