Hard Rubber Repair – Taking the Bite Out

Ever try hard rubber repair?  Just the other day I came cross a nice early Esterbrook hard rubber dollar pen.  I don’t know where it came from (I swear, these things breed around here), but it was entirely salable with one huge exception.  Someone had decided they were going to keep a record of their dental history on the end of the pen.  I mean really.  Big deep bite marks all around the end of the barrel.  Now, when I think of having a snack, I usually go for popcorn, but apparently hard rubber is tasty.  At least it was for this person.

Now the beauty of hard rubber is it has a memory.  That is, you can squeeze it out of proportion and heat it back up and it will go back in to shape.  As long as you don’t crack or have a crack to begin with, it will try to get back to “normal”.  I first found this out a couple of years ago at the Chicago Pen Show, which is another reason (as if you really need ANOTHER reason) to get thee to a pen show!

Hard Rubber Repair

Mmmm!!! Tasty!! Just one of many bite marks on this pens barrel

Basically, with careful application of heat, those bite marks will basically “pop” back out to their original shape.  What some people may do is to try and sand down the barrel end, but then you lose material and the end result is not very good.  Hard rubber can take an amazing amount of heat and still maintain its structural integrity.

Hard Rubber Repair

Hard Rubber Repair – After heating the barrel end

Now with just the right amount of heat the hard rubber will go back to its original shape.  Chances are, it may still maintain marks in the rubber where the bite marks were, or even just slightly rise above the level of the rest of the barrel.  That’s ok, in my opinion, because we aren’t quite done just yet.  In comes a visit from my good friend Micro-Mesh, and about five easy minutes later we have this:

Hard Rubber Repair

Hard Rubber Repair – Ta Daahh!!! Good as new!

I should mention it is pretty important to remove the J bar during this procedure, as it is possible to create a warped barrel end as the rubber gets soft and the pressure of the J bar pushes outward.  If this does happen, remove the J bar and heat up the barrel again and then roll it on a smooth surface like your desktop.  Chances are it will roll completely out and you won’t even know it was there.

So there it is, now you know what to do when you see an otherwise ugly, bite marked hard rubber barrel or cap end.