Restoration is a thorny issue within the fountain pen community. For discussion of the ethical problems involved, I refer you to Fountain Pen Network and especially Lion & Pen, where this subject has been thoroughly debated.

I restore conservatively, and I think it’s worth going into a little detail of what that means to me so that you will know what to expect if you buy a pen from me.

The pens I sell almost all date from before 1970 and they are usually in need of repair when they come to me. It is my aim to do no more than return them to good working order and an acceptable cosmetic condition. Perhaps I should clarify that by saying what it is that I don’t do.

I don’t use a buffing wheel or strong abrasive polishes. I clean the pen thoroughly and polish it lightly. I don’t try to disguise its age or remove the surface scratches that it has accumulated over time. Sometimes heat will make tooth marks pop out and I do that, but I don’t grind indentations or scratches out.

I don’t replate metal trim. I will polish trim but make potential buyers aware of plating loss.

I don’t re-black faded black hard rubber pens.

Replacement sacs are new, of course, as are pressure-bars when the original is damaged. I will replace damaged nibs, levers, clips, feeds or sections with spares from pens of the same model and date.

My aim is to present a good honest pen that doesn’t pretend to be what it’s not. Old pens that are found in an unused, perfect condition naturally fetch a premium price from the collector. Over-restoring a well-worn pen to resemble one that hasn’t been used is, in my opinion, a fraud on the buyer. Further, if a pen has been well-used for many years, its scratches and wear have been honourably come by, and are, to some at least, part of the attraction of owning the pen.

There are collectors who go further and believe that you should do nothing at all to an old pen. It is a collector’s item and should remain in the condition in which it was found. I don’t agree with that. I think people should have the option of using old pens, which write quite differently from modern ones and are an especial pleasure in themselves. After all, collectors can choose, if they wish, to buy the unrestored pens before I get my repairing hands on them.


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