Favourite Tools

I bought a set of eight dental picks. This is the only one I use often. It’s the perfect shape for scraping sacs out of barrels. This pocket knife is around 60 years old and is my husband’s. It has three blades but it is limited to one job: scraping the remains of old sacs […]


The more tools you have, the more relaxing pen repair and restoration becomes. Having been at this for a long time, I think I have all the tools I need though every now and again I’ll see something that I suddenly must have. And I get it. There’s no point in not acquiring something that […]


Sometimes I get lucky and the pen I have bought only needs a sac, hand polished and maybe a little nib adjustment. Usually though, old pens demand a little more love and attention and some are downright challenging. That’s okay though. Over the years I have amassed the tools to deal with almost any situation. […]

Tools: Rubber Gloves

  Until recently if you had asked me if I was allergic to anything I would have said, ‘bullets, sharp knives and roving gangs of disaffected youth’, but now I have another thing to add, unfortunately: latex gloves. After many years of using latex gloves in pen repair (the cool, black-coloured tattooists’ gloves), my skin […]

Tools: Sac Removal

Most decayed sacs come out of the pen without any difficulty. Often, the sac is virtually whole, though ossified, and falls out of the barrel. Mostly, the sac has disintegrated into flakes and again, can be knocked out of the barrel. There are those, though, that have assumed the consistency of very tough chewing gum. […]

Tools: Sac Fitting.

Most sacs can be slipped on only using your fingers, without any other assistance, but there are some awkward sections where you need a bit of help – necked sacs, for instance, or where the section protrudes a long way, or when there’s a breather tube. When I began repairing pens (it was quite a […]

Tools: The Knock-Out Block.

Pen restorers have a tools problem in the way others might have a drinking problem or a heroin problem, and sometimes family interventions become necessary as the furtively-purchased tools continue to multiply. You can never have enough pliers, for instance, or angled dental probes. Faced with the array of tools on display in a hardware […]