Refilling Pilot Varsity pens

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Br Zaborowsky

Dec 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/12/98
Someone recently asked about refilling a disposable Pilot Varsity
fountain pen. I had a blue one that went dry a couple of weeks ago so
I took it apart this weekend.

The end cap is just a color indicator and a barrel plug. When removed
you can look half way down the barrel and see the top of the ink
chamber. Half of the barrel is nothing but dead space. No way to
fill from that end. I popped the cap back on and began working on the
nib end.

With a pair of needlenose pliers I twisted the nib assembly and pulled
it out with a bit of force. It came out with a "plop" like a stopper
from a bottle. And that is just what it is, a ribbed stopper with a
stainless steel nib attached. After adding a shot of Quink blue, I
reinserted the nib section. It took a little force, but went back in
and seated well. It works!!! In fact it works so well I wish I had
filled the ink reservoir instead of adding only 1cc of ink. My guess
it will hold about 2cc.

I wasn't very careful and the pliers left marks on the plastic under
the nib. With the amount of force necessary to remove the nib
assembly there may be no way to get it out without marring it. This
did not effect the nib or its writing quality. I'm amazed how well
these pens write. For a disposable they are great.

Shame on Pilot for only filling the barrel half full of ink. Other
than a marketing scheme (read greed), there is no physical reason they
could not have made the entire barrel an ink chamber. At a retail
price of $4.50 per 60cc bottle of Sheaffer ink, another 2cc of ink
would add only 1.5 cents to the total cost. More like 0.25 cents for
Pilot. Certainly a pretty small incremental cost for a retail $2.95
pen. The pen is well constructed and it's a shame that it is not
readily refillable.


Dik F Liu

Dec 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/12/98

Amazing Ben! Okay, you win. <g> In my years of surfing the net, this is the
most mind-boggling post I've read. When I read your obsessive quest to refill
the disposable Pilot pen, my jaw dropped to the floor. It isn't that you
managed to refill the pen, but that you thought of doing it in the first place.

Now, for an encore, how about showing us how to replace the Pilot nib with a
14K extra flexible nib?


Tom Kim

Dec 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/12/98
Actually, I don't see what the problem is. Varsities are among the most
consistent writers out there, with very smooth nibs and a great saturated
blue ink. Sometimes I rip apart Varsities (and Pilot Precise V5s) just
to put the ink in other pens, and I've often wondered how I could refill a
Varsity. Someone posted a while ago about drilling a hole into the back
end of the cartridge and plugging it with a teflon-coated plastic screw
that you could then remove to refill the chamber. I haven't tried this
yet, mainly because I don't have a drill, but I plan on doing it some time

Thank you for your informative post. There are people out there who
just don't get it. So what if it's not a pen that costs $300? It writes
better than many out there (cf. posts regarding the Sheaffer Balance II,
although I'm very happy with mine). It's too bad you can't get the ink
bottled anywhere (and no, Pilot/Namiki blue ink is NOT the same color).

Just for kicks, I bought a bunch of Sheaffer NoNonsense "jellies"
ballpoints and pulled out the spring in the bottom of the barrel, and
fitted them with some extra calligraphy units I had. Now I've tripled my
collection of Sheaffer cartridge pens. For $2.50, you can't really lose
out all that much.

Tom S. Kim
I am not a committee!

David Blumgart

Dec 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/12/98
to says...
> Amazing Ben! ....When I read your obsessive quest to refill
> the disposable Pilot pen, my jaw dropped to the floor....

Well, I understand. In fact, I've puzzled over the same challenge. Part
of it is the sheer love of a sweet writing pen. It just doesn't seem
like 'right action' to toss away a good tool that still has lots of life
left in it.

Of course, part of it may also be that I'm just plain cheap, too.

David (let me show you how I refill my Parker cartridges) Blumgart

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