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Friday, January 31, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 20, Pen Maintenance



Here's another Goulet Q&A, and it's amazing to me that I'm on the 20th one already! I am absolutely loving doing these, and I'm getting so many great questions from you all. This week's theme is Pen Maintenance, and I have a lot of great stuff to discuss. Here are the questions I tackled this week:


1) Junee L.- Facebook (1:38)
How often should I re-grease a piston filler?
  • LOTS of questions about silicone grease
  • It depends, not needed often
  • Eyedropper threads, every time
  • Piston seals, whenever it feels like there's resistance (1-12 months)
    • May vary depending on cleaning regimen
  • Converters- 1-3 months (varies)
  • Shoot a silicone great vid?
  • Keep it away from the nib (Tom)
2) tanyees- YouTube (5:50)
Do you have any experience removing scratches on plastic/resin pens. How to go about doing it?
  • Jeweler's cloth
  • acrylic polish
3) Wesley S.- Facebook (9:12)
What are some good troubleshooting tips for pen problems during the work day? Sometimes my pen will dry up or feed poorly into the nib while I'm working and it's difficult to get it right again.
  • Keep several pens
  • Proper pen maintenance
  • Try different inks
  • Don't use repeat offender pens
4) @supermassive- Twitter (11:56)
How many times can you syringe (re)fill a cartridge? How do you know it’s time to use a new one?  
  • 5ish
  • until it fails
5) Luis M.- Facebook (12:45)
I purchased my (Goulet) Lamy Safari around 6 months ago, I use a converter, I write a lot in College and usually ink it up twice a week. I have noticed the flow has more resistance than when I first got it. I've never cleaned it or done anything to it. Should I clean it? How do I clean it? I didn't know fps needed cleaning. 
6) @drudesign- Twitter (14:38)
Any tips for keeping nibs free of extra ink? Every time I wipe it with a paper towel or tissue it just draws out ink.
  • nib creep
  • varies by pen/ink
  • embrace it!
7) Tristan N.- Facebook (16:00)
What is the easiest way to clean the treads on a pen? The treads that hold the cap on will over time accumulate dirt. Now I use a toothpick or a stiff piece of paper, but I can't imagine this is the easiest way to do so.
8) g4bbR- Reddit (16:56)
What is the most maintenance free pen you sell or have ever tried?
9) mrmojorisingi- Reddit (19:35)
How about the most finicky?
10) lookatmycamels- Reddit (20:50)How often should I be cleaning my pens and doing sort of a "total cleaning" if I like to swap out my inks constantly? I feel like I'm emptying or filling a pen just about every day or every other day because I want a certain color with a certain nib. Right now I use water and just flush until clear and then dry with a paper towel and load my new color. But how often should I be cleaning with soap and/or ammonia and then taking everything apart and adding more silicon grease, etc?
  • Up to you
  • Water is usually fine
  • Pen Flush- crusted up ink
11) Chad T.- Facebook (22:43)
Best way to clean a piston filler? Assuming it doesn't disassemble like a TWSBI.
  • LOTS of these types of questions
  • TWSBI, Lamy 2000, Pelikans, etc
  • No easy way, gotta do the work
  • If piston removes, use bulb syringe
12) Carla S.- Facebook (26:35)
So now I have bent my third nib. One on a Metropolitan by dropping it. One on a Safari by sending it through the laundry. And now another one on a CP1. I just replaced the ones on the Safari and the CP1, but I guess that is not an option on the Metropolitan. Any tips on straightening a nib? I would love to be able to save the Metropolitan and avoid $13 each time I kill a Lamy nib, which I am sure will happen. 
  • Hold on to your pens!
  • No cheapie Metro nibs, Pilot Plumix ($9), Penmanship/78g 
  • Pen with #6 nib and get a bunch of $2 Noodler's nibs
13) Nikesh J.- Facebook (29:41)
Have a Noodler's Konrad and Ahab. Cleaned them out over night if you can believe it to get out the machine oils. Inked them up and worked fine.  Now,sometimes the ink flows and the pen writes, and then very quickly it stops after it was working so well in one sitting of only a few minutes. Are there still oils restricting the ink flow still? Also used soap.
  • Could be oils, doubt it (not enough info though)
  • Leftover soap- bad
  • Could be ink/pen combo issue
  • Feed may need adjusting/heat setting
14) Katie B.- Facebook (32:32)
Are buying used fountains pens a good way to go if you are looking for something specific, without the initial cost of a new pen? Or does that  lead to problems because you don't have any guarantees from a company and the pen might need servicing?
  • It's going to depend
  • Caveat Emptor- Let the buyer beware
  • Most FP folks are honest, but scammers exist everywhere
  • FPN, other forums are good because they will be banned if they scam
  • eBay is okay, check ratings
  • Use common sense- too good probably is 
15) Jeffrey G.- Facebook (35:09)
The converter in my Lamy Safari is apparently not sealing nicely. Is there a way to disassemble the converter to get silicone grease on the piston?
  • Yes, not the easiest
  • Never done a vid on this
  • Metal sleeve on back of converter slides off, takes a LOT of force
  • Back pulls out
16) adamsw216- Reddit (36:11)
When you have a large collection of pens, how many do you keep inked up at once? I would imagine having them all inked up with something could lead to a couple getting neglected and drying out.
  • Judge for yourself
  • 3-5 pens at a time
Next week I'll be back with a new theme, I'm putting the Open Forum format on hold for a bit. I want to try out doing some brand-centric themes, and I'll be kicking it off on February 7th, 2014 with my first brand: Lamy. Ask me anything you want about Lamy pens and ink products, how to use them, etc. Just post your question in the comments below! If you've missed any previous Goulet Q&A's, be sure to check them out here. Have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet
 

47 comments:

  1. This reminds me of a question I have about cleaning, maybe someone can help? I might should post to Reddit or a forum, too.

    Basically, I had 6 pens inked up and bought a 7th and rather than try to fit all 7 into my pen case when I typically only use 3-4 during the course of a week, I swapped it for a similar pen, and took my Waterman Phileas out of rotation for about 7 weeks.

    The problem is that I was tired and forgot that I hadn't flushed the Phileas or removed the converter before storing it. So when I went to fill it up the other day, there was still Apache Sunset in the feed and everything. I did some water flushes, then used Pen Flush by submerging the nib unit in the little sample phial for an hour - it immediately got really dark greenish-greyish (obviously more than Apache Sunset was gunking up the feed!) so I dumped the phial after the first hour and did it again, then used the converter to draw the Pen Flush up through the feed several times, until it was coming through clear, and agitated the nib and Pen Flush. I then did the same thing with pure water.

    However, when I put an absorbent paper towel to the nib to dry it (which I did in between each round of dunking), I kept getting a grungy green bit from the nib slit. So I wasn't just watching for the converter to draw up clear water or the phial to stay clear, but for the paper towel to stop drawing out that bit of color. It finally was mostly gone, and I was exhausted, so I decided it was good enough...

    And then I noticed that along the sides of the nib where it goes into the section and the wings around the feed still had actual drops of Apache Sunset. How on earth did that happen? Little strips of paper towel patted into the space between nib wings and feed also came out greyish green. It took effort to wedge them in there, because the space was so narrow and the paper towel so thin (I doubt a toothbrush would manage it).

    The nib doesn't appear to come out of the Phileas easily for cleaning, and as it's my oldest pen and isn't manufactured anymore, I don't want to break it. What can I do to give it a proper cleaning?

    Or even my clear Platinum Cool and Monteverde Artista Crystal feeds - I flush them with water, let them sit for hours in the Pen Flush (and shake it up and so on), but there's always bits of ink clinging to the innermost fins, and I can't for the life of me figure out how to remove it, or if it's even going to cause me trouble down the road. (I don't want to think about the standard black feeds of other pens, or the ones which are differently shaped, like the Pilot Metropolitan.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Al in PhiladelphiaFebruary 1, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    My Lamy Safari is feed with a cartridge that i repeated refill with syringe. Now my question: Can I extend the life of the cartridge by placing a very-very small amount of silicon grease on the inside of the mouth of the cartridge? I ask this question because i fear the migration of the grease down into the feed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Question for Lamy Q&A. I have a Lamy 2000 and really enjoy it. I notice the nib has a small "sweet" spot and takes a bit of concentration to hit the "mark" so it lays down a nice line of ink. Any suggestion on how to find the sweet spot on a consistent basis?

    ReplyDelete
  4. You'd probably be risking clogging your feed with grease by doing that, moreso than you'd be benefitting extending the life of the cartridge.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great questions! I actually don't have a Phileas so I'm not able to give specific advice there. But one thing you could try to clean further is an ultrasonic cleaner: http://www.harborfreight.com/ultrasonic-cleaner-3305.html


    Might not be worth buying just for this pen though. I personally feel that if you're cleaning the pen that thoroughly and you're not having any ink actually coming out of the pen, then it's probably not going to be an issue for you. Same thing goes for the Cool and Artista Crystal, other than aesthetics, there isn't likely to be any harmful effects of a bit of ink 'tint' on the feed, especially after you'd done a full flushing. You could try using a bleach solution (10% household bleach in 90% water), as some inks (Baystate Blue is famous for this) clean up better with bleach.

    ReplyDelete
  6. When you get back to Open Forum, a question: Recommendation for a fountain pen for use on the golf course. Knockabout sturdiness, reliable flow, pocketability, ease of one-handed use, able to hold at least a converter's worth of ink so you don't run dry in the middle of an 18-hole round. Any suggestions that meet all the criteria?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Don't know how they differ from the original model, but the original Kaweco Sport fountain pen was popular with golfers back in the 1930's because its small size made it simple to carry in pants pockets for use in keeping score. Not sure I would want to put an eyedropper conversion in my pocket! But it could be kept in a bag pocket. One-handed use? I sometimes unscrew the cap on mine holding it in my teeth when my other hand is busy.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I know you're not fully into vintage pens maintenance wise, but could you tell me how to clean ink out the rubber sacks the best way? And what types of inks should I defintely not use with the vintage rubber sacks? And how should I care for it best for durability? Most of my vintage pens I've resacked by using fountainpensacs.com sacs so they are new sacks. Thanks for doing these educational Q&A's!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Here's a Lamy-related question for you!

    A couple of years ago, my first Safari broke in spectacular fashion. I went to undo the section to clean it out, heard a disconcerting crack, looked down and found the body of the pen in two pieces. I'm very gentle with my pens and have small hands so I doubt I smashed it with my Hulk hands. It broke along the ink window so I thought maybe it was a weak spot or there was a hairline fracture that gave way. Any theories as to what happened? Also, have you ever heard of a Lamy breaking like that before? People on FPN seemed pretty surprised to hear how it broke. The look on my face was probably priceless, too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh my! That is a new one for me. I've never heard of a Lamy break in that way, though I don't know if that's comforting for you to hear or not :P

    ReplyDelete
  11. Please don't let the pen nib or grip soak in the bleach solution for more than a few minutes to an hour. Chlorine will attack most all metals (even gold alloys), all rubber seals, and some plastics. If it works it won't take bleach long to do its job.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi -- I can't get my Noodler's Ahab Flex to work properly. I'm not filling it completely, because I want to try my new ink samples. But the ink is always stuck in the piston, and there's lots of ink between the nib and the pen barrel ( I can see it, my pen is clear) but the flow out of the nib itself is only so-so. I soaked it in detergent-water overnight, but still the same behavior. What's up with the ink between the nib and the barrel? I feel like it leak out someday soon. If I tap the pen to make the ink come "down" from the piston, ink blots out the nib. I'm using Noodler's ink, so I thought they would definitely match.

    ReplyDelete
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