Going inside the Wing Sung 601 fountain pen.

Since buying this pen two years ago, it has stayed inked in my pen cup. There seemed no point in taking it out of service. It has been paired with Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo ink. It is always ready and never skips or hard-starts. It does not seem to lose any ink to evaporation. With its large ink capacity and light use, it can easily stay inked for six months or more.

The hooded nib of the Wing Sung 601, in Lake Blue.

Yesterday, on finding it almost empty I decided to give it a clean. As it had been so long since since the last clean, I had forgotten the detail of how to do it, although I had a recollection of there being a few points to bear in mind. I had to recall these as I went along. So while the sequence is now fresh, it seems a good time to describe the process. Actually I found it very satisfying.

The Wing Sung 601 in nine pieces.

The Wing Sung 601 is a Chinese homage to the classic but long- discontinued Parker 51 vacumatic but with a few differences such as a stainless steel nib, ink windows and a price tag (in this instance) of around £7.50. It came with a small container of silicone grease, (the container being based, confusingly, on a cartridge- converter which has no place in this pen). I prefer to use a thicker silicone grease, which I purchased from a diving shop. My pen did not come with the necessary wrench to unscrew the plunger, but I received one later with the Wing Sung 601A and it also fits the 601.

Here are the steps to disassemble and reassemble this pen:-

1. Remove the cap…

2. Unscrew the front shell, to expose the ink collector, nib and feed. Put the metal cap-retaining ring aside safely. It does not matter which way round it goes back.

Under the hood.

3. Pull the ink collector out from the barrel. The nib and feed are still inside the ink collector, with a clear plastic breather tube at the back.

Shell, ink collector, nib and feed.

4. Grip the tiny, tubular nib (and the black plastic feed inside) firmly and pull them out of the ink collector. They might be tight and difficult to grip. Be careful not to distort the nib or damage the ink collector. Note: to reduce risk of damage, this stage could be skipped and the assembled nib, feed and ink collector instead be placed in water to soak.

Tiny tubular nib.

5. Now, for the other end: unscrew the blind cap.

6. Use the wrench to unscrew the plunger mechanism and withdraw it from the barrel, which can then be rinsed. Mine has the soft rubber diaphragm but I have a later version too with a hard plunger instead.

Using the wrench to unscrew the plunger mechanism.

When the parts have been rinsed and it is time to reassemble the pen, proceed as follows:-

7. Replace the black plastic feed (and breather tube) back inside the tubular nib, checking that it is centred symmetrically under the nib. It may be loose, until the nib goes back in the ink collector.

8. Apply some silicone grease to the barrel threads if desired and then replace the metal ring. But before pushing the ink collector back into the barrel, first screw on the front shell, to see where the protruding lip (for the hooded nib) finishes up: this is then the top, or 12 o’clock position. Then, keeping the barrel with the 12 c’clock position at the top, remove the shell again and then push the ink collector back into the barrel, with the nib in line with your 12 o’clock position.

9. Now screw the shell back on, over the ink collector. Hopefully, the lip will now line up over the hooded nib. If it is not quite right, just make a mental note of which way to make the adjustment; remove the shell, turn the ink collector a little to one side or the other as necessary and replace shell. Repeat until symmetrical.

10. Replace plunger. First apply a little silicone grease to the threads if you wish. Tighten with wrench but avoid over tightening.

11. Cap pen and you are done.

In between washing the pen parts I took the photos for this post. It was only on looking closely at these after refilling, that I noticed the gap all along one side of the ink collector. I feared that I had damaged it, perhaps by squeezing too hard to pull out the nib. However, I checked my other model 601, (a demonstrator version and so I did not even need to remove the section). I could see the same gap all the way down the ink collector and was relieved that it is meant to be like this and not some damage of my doing.

Oh no! Did I cause that split? No, I think it is meant to be like that.

I have inked my pen up once again with Tsuki-yo. I expect it to keep writing until Christmas. It is a great little pen. It has proved to be a very reliable writer and exceptionally good value, especially once you include the pleasure of cleaning it.

Filling is not required very often.

4 thoughts on “Going inside the Wing Sung 601 fountain pen.

  1. I’m going to be 84 two days from now, and reading this account I feel even more like a dinosaur than the calendar suggests. In My Day, to use a familiar locution, people used a Parker Vac 51 or an Aero 51 or pretty much any fountain pen without taking it apart for cleaning. My pens were, IMO, none the worse for not being thoroughly cleaned as that is understood today. Pens went on for decades without having very much done to them by the user.

    Today using a fountain pen is, at least around here, a hobby, and I can understand that hobbyists
    like to make choices, expand options, and create vast empires not only of possessions but of behaviors. Three cheers, then, for Rupert’s well-documented effort. And at least one more cheer for the likable Wing Sung 601.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jerome. Thanks for reading and I send my best wishes to you for your birthday!
      I take your point about pens not needing much by way of cleaning. It is probably fair to say that when you own one fountain pen and use it and refill it regularly, with the same ink, it will largely take care of itself. The flushing of the feed with fresh ink regularly on refilling, serves to keep things running. Such a pen could be cleaned only very occasionally and just when necessary, such as if it had leaked, or dried up or if the nib was clogged with paper fibres or if ink flow was unsatisfactory.
      Perhaps the problem is a modern one when enthusiasts such as myself own numerous fountain pens and have rather too many pens in use at any one time and are forever wanting to switch inks around. Even then, it is not essential to disassemble a pen; it could simply be flushed with water or left with the nib to soak in a jar of water overnight, without being dismantled.
      I like being able to remove a nib (such as on a Pelikan) to facilitate washing out the barrel and cleaning the nib and feed, to get things running like new, once in a while.
      I have enjoyed watching Stephen Brown’s “Disassembly line” videos on YouTube to demonstrate how to disassemble various pens.
      There is a satisfaction in doing this, to care for your pens and keep them running like new. Of course there is a risk involved that you might cause some damage and so I hope my occasional blog posts on disassembling pens may be of help to anyone wishing to have a go. It also affords an opportunity to see the separate components and better understand how pens work. In the case of this Wing Sung 601, it is not an expensive pen and I imagine that most owners would not disassemble it. It is not for everyone. I wrote the blog post partly for my own benefit as an aide memoire for when I next want to clean it, my memory not being what it was!

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  2. As with the Parthian shot or the sting in the scorpion’s tail, what some readers might take to be the rich payload comes at the end. To quote: “I wrote the blog post partly for my own benefit as an aide memoire ….” Thinking a bit more broadly, and keeping in mind my own experience as a writer, I can say of myself that a large part of what I have written is for my own benefit, not really as an aide memoire although the sum of my writings might constitute a kind of autobiography, but that I am writing for my own pleasure whether or not it is paid work.

    Lawyers take enough pleasure in good drafting so that I now ask myself to what extent they dare think of themselves as doing good drafting as l’art pour l’art as well as earning a living.

    My academic cousin, an historian of the British press and at least formerly one of the editors of the Dictionary of National Biography, now writes to me that at our age there are no more prizes or promotions to be won, except book prizes, ha ha, and so we really are writing mostly for ourselves.

    Samuel Johnson’s widely quoted “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money” strikes me as one of the falsest texts in the language, though very rich in ambiguities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this, Jerome. I confess to being a lawyer, although my occasional drafting is usually mundane and unfortunately more geared towards avoiding ambiguity than artistry. Since there is no money for me in this blog, Samuel Johnson would have me down as a blockhead and I would not like to argue with him. However there are other rewards from blogging, not least, enjoying a thoughtful and witty comment from readers such as your good self. Have a wonderful birthday.

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