Lightening fast advice, much appreciated guys!
What is the correct process for soaking and flushing?
- do I use just normal tap water or distilled water?
- do I soak it overnight or just an hour or two?
- do I soak it a bowl on its side or stand it up on its nib?
- do I flush by just blowing through one end?
- do I blow gently or with force?
I don't have an ultra-sonic cleaner - is it worth getting one?
Thanks for your help folks!
re ultrasonic cleaner (USC)
IMHO if only for ONE pen, NO it is not worth it. Unless that pen is valuable to you.
A household USC will cost about $35 (search eBay), the commercial stuff will be over $100. So it is actually pretty inexpensive, compared to the price of many pens. CAUTION, you want an ULTRAsonic cleaner, not a sonic cleaner.
I have one that I use for my model train hobby (it is labeled denture cleaner ), which I also use it to clean pens. And boy does it do a number on blowing out old dry ink. It is fun to watch the cloud of ink come boiling out of the feed. But it is not a miracle worker. If you have a lot of dry ink (which some used pens that I bought have), it can take MANY cycles of cleaning to get all the ink out.
By cleaning cycles I mean
- 1 to 2 min in the USC
- flush to clean out the softened ink
- repeat as necessary
A couple cautions on USC.
#1 - If your nib is gold PLATED, there is a remote chance that the USC can remove the gold plating. I had this happen to me with an old pen, probably cheap plating. This becomes a problem when you do MANY cycles thru the USC to clean a really dirty pen.
#2 - A USC will heat the water as it runs. So you have to replace the water every few cycles to avoid using HOT water on the pen. I want my water at near room temp, if it is warm I replace the water.
As for water, I use filtered water for cleaning my pens. Tap water filtered thru a Britta filter.
I am not familiar with a VP pen, so I can't tell you how to clean it specifically. It is different enough from my pens that I would listen to someone familiar with it.
But generically, I would do a similar cycle; soak for an hour or two, then rinse/flush any loosened/softened ink, then repeat the soak. If the soak water gets inky, dump and replace with clean water. Keep doing this for 2 days. Or as Sasha said, keep doing it until the pen flushes clean.
If it is really blocked with ink you may not be able to flush water thru the pen. In that case, just rinse both sides of the pen to try to rinse out the softened ink then soak again.
If you use ammonia (1 part ammonia to 10 parts water), at the end make sure you do a GOOD rinse/flush after the soaking to get rid of the ammonia.
I flush my pens using a bulb syringe (infant dept at Target). It lets me force a LOT more water thru the feed than using the converter. I do not know if you can use a bulb syringe on a VP.