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Caring For An Ebonite Pen


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3 replies to this topic

#1 The Scribbler

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 15:22

I've only owned metal and plastic pens, so ebonite is a new area for me. I know it is hardened rubber. I also know it can be damaged and destroyed if one is not careful. So, in anticipation of getting my beautiful new Edison Nouveau Premiere LE in Blue-Black Ebonite swirl, I'd like to ask:

1. Are there any inks that absolutely must not be used in this pen?

2. What is the proper way to care for and clean the pen? With my acrylic and metal pens, I wash them out with water if need be. Can I use water to wash an ebonite pen?

3. What is the best way to store the pen when not in use?

4. What is the best way to protect the pen so my grandkids can sell it on E-bay, er, happily use it in 40 or 50 years?

Any advice or recommendations is appreciated.
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#2 gregamckinney

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 16:11

Hi The Scribbler,

IMO, ebonite is not easily damaged or destroyed. There are really only two cautions.
1) Oxidation due to UV light. Keep the pen out of direct light as much as possible. The oxidation does not 'damage' the pen as much as discolor it. Discoloration (fading) can happen surprisingly quickly at times. When I use my ebonite pens (modern and older,) I carry them in a case, rather than in my shirt pocket.
2) Oxidation due to immersion in (usually warm) water. Same impact on the pen (fading/ hazy finish) as with UV. In the normal course of use and maintenance, there isn't a need to immerse the pen in water anyway, but if your pen has an ebonite section, it is likely to have contact with water when you flush the pen. Just use cool water, and don't submerge more of then pen than is necessary, and you should be fine.

To directly answer your questions:
1. Any ink intended for fountain pens is fine. (Don't use India or Drawing inks, of course.)
2. Are you talking about washing the inside of the pen, or the outside? If your pen is a C/C filler, there should be no reason to need to wash the inside. You should avoid as much contact between water and the outside of the pen as possible. Discoloration isn't the end of the world, and sometimes doesn't occur very quickly, but better to be safe than sorry.
3. Flush the pen (nib, feed, filling system) thoroughly with water until the water runs clear. Let the pen dry thoroughly before storing in a cool, dry place. Nothing special for an ebonite pen that isn't standard for most pens.
4. Keep your pen away from lots of direct sunlight, bathtubs and curious/playful dogs. Store it clean and dry.

Best Regards, greg
Don't feel bad. I'm old; I'm meh about most things.

#3 The Scribbler

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 18:30

Hi The Scribbler,

IMO, ebonite is not easily damaged or destroyed. There are really only two cautions.
1) Oxidation due to UV light. Keep the pen out of direct light as much as possible. The oxidation does not 'damage' the pen as much as discolor it. Discoloration (fading) can happen surprisingly quickly at times. When I use my ebonite pens (modern and older,) I carry them in a case, rather than in my shirt pocket.
2) Oxidation due to immersion in (usually warm) water. Same impact on the pen (fading/ hazy finish) as with UV. In the normal course of use and maintenance, there isn't a need to immerse the pen in water anyway, but if your pen has an ebonite section, it is likely to have contact with water when you flush the pen. Just use cool water, and don't submerge more of then pen than is necessary, and you should be fine.

To directly answer your questions:
1. Any ink intended for fountain pens is fine. (Don't use India or Drawing inks, of course.)
2. Are you talking about washing the inside of the pen, or the outside? If your pen is a C/C filler, there should be no reason to need to wash the inside. You should avoid as much contact between water and the outside of the pen as possible. Discoloration isn't the end of the world, and sometimes doesn't occur very quickly, but better to be safe than sorry.
3. Flush the pen (nib, feed, filling system) thoroughly with water until the water runs clear. Let the pen dry thoroughly before storing in a cool, dry place. Nothing special for an ebonite pen that isn't standard for most pens.
4. Keep your pen away from lots of direct sunlight, bathtubs and curious/playful dogs. Store it clean and dry.

Best Regards, greg


Thanks Greg!

What kind of carrying case do you recommend? Is there a problem with leather?
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#4 gregamckinney

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 03:45

I tend to use fabric-lined cases. I haven't heard about issues with leather cases, other than for metal pens (tarnish from the leather-tanning chemicals.) I have a Piquardo 3-pen case that is leather with a fabric (silk-ish) lining, and a 24-pen case that is vinyl with a felt lining. Both work well for ebonite and any other pen I carry.

Best Regards, greg
Don't feel bad. I'm old; I'm meh about most things.






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