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Polishing Your Pens

care polishing polish maintenance shine

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12 replies to this topic

#1 DrSterling


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Posted 25 September 2013 - 01:33

Hey Pelikan Forum,

I picked up my first Pelikan a month or so ago, a gorgeous Souveran M805 in black. I absolutely love it, and It's become my daily writer for my notes in college.


Despite keeping it in a pen case while it's not in use, it's picked up some very small and fine scratches. They're actually very difficult to see if the lighting isn't right or if you don't look closely. Although I know and accept that this is a natural occurrence in a daily use pen, I'm afraid that I've always been a perfectionist, and like to keep my belongings in the best possible condition.

Does anyone here polish their pens to keep them smooth, shiny, and clean? I'd love to hear the methods you take to achieve this. Also, feel free to share any information regarding caring for Pelikans, as I'd like to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that's now available to me. My current TLC routine is wiping the pen down at the end of the day with a soft cloth, and flushing it with distilled water around once a month.

Thanks so much for your help!

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#2 ravantra


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Posted 25 September 2013 - 18:31

Ohhhh Actually "polishing your pen" Whew… thought it might have been a euphemism.  :blush:


I would embrace the concept of wabi sabi.


wabi sabi:

represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete".


just my 2 cents.

Change is not mandatory, Survival is not required.

#3 sargetalon


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Posted 25 September 2013 - 22:09

I use Novus on all of my Pelikans when some scratch removal is required.  Usually don't have to go beyond Novus #2 and some light polishing.  I'm generally very careful with it though so as to not overdo it or cause more harm than good.  Has worked well for me and is cheap/readily available.

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#4 BMG


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Posted 26 September 2013 - 03:39

FWIW and speaking strictly personally, I've never polished any of my pens. At most I may wipe them with a clean cotton t-shirt or -- aHEM -- pair of shorts.

Écrire c’est tenter de savoir ce qu’on écrirait si on écrivait. – M. Duras

#5 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 21:31

After you polish your pen, wax it.

Could be if you wax it, you won't see the micro scratches that bother you.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,


The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.




#6 Guy007



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Posted 01 October 2013 - 16:21

The only thing I use is a microfibre cloth - the same type I use for cleaning glasses - and only lightly rubbing - more where there is metal on the pen which holds finger prints more.

#7 DrSterling


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Posted 11 December 2013 - 02:41

Hi everyone, thanks so much for your responses. I meant to thank you sooner, but I wasn't getting notifications that this thread got responses! As a new user, I'm still figuring things out a bit.

It's interesting that so many of you responded that you didn't polish pens, but the longer I've had my pen, the more I understand how the micro abrasions represent the useage and character of the pen. I posted this request when I was still in my "honeymoon" period, and each tiny scratch was a tragedy.

I'll keep on researching polishes; Novus looks quite promising. Thanks again!

#8 Ron Z

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 14:03

A couple of comments if I may.   Keep in mind that polishing to remove scratches means removing material to one degree or another because you have to take off what's around the scratch.  Not that it matters much on a plastic pen, but with a lacquered pen or a plated pen, you will eventually wear through the coating/plating.  I have seen it on a few pens that came in for repair, and have received many requests to repair the paint on a pen.  I can't fix that.  You have to be careful  to avoid the trim when polishing plastic pens.  The same abrasive action that removes the scratches can remove the plating as well.  I've seen that many times.  It can also remove imprints.  My advice then is to polish infrequently and accept a degree of patina.


Now, about wax.  I don't have a problem with using a wax on a lacquered pen, and to a lesser degree with a pen made with a modern plastic.  I do have concerns about waxing celluloid pens.  I used to use carnauba wax until a chemist friend pointed out that the wax contains acids.  While he couldn't say that it would harm celluloid,  it is his belief it certainly has the potential.   Renaissance wax/museum wax isn't much better.  I don't use either, but use a micro abrasive in a water suspension.


Since Novus is intended for use with plastics, it may be/should be OK for modern pens.  But there are  most likely solvents and chemicals in the products, and I don't know what they are or what their potential for harm to vintage pens is.  It may very well be perfectly safe to use on your modern Pelikan.  I would not however use it on a vintage Pelikan - the celluloid is notoriously fragile. 

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#9 OcalaFlGuy


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Posted 11 December 2013 - 15:16

Polishing is a polarizing topic.


We took a poll a while back in Estieville. It was about a 50/50 split as to those liking and not, shiny pens.


I have a regimen I use for pens I sell and some of my own pens. (I'm lazier there.)  As El Zorno mentions, I mask off all trim, imprints and threads Before I start polishing. IF I am restoring say an Estie for a specific person, I'll ask them how shiny they'd like it and try to provide Just that degree. I will admit that my sold pens are nicely (possibly to some over) polished. OTOH, the pens I Do Sell are usually sold based on their looks before they even have a chance to be officially listed For Sale. 


For me personally, it's Not an ongoing (polishing) process, I really don't mind minor scratches, I'd just rather they be the few ones *I* put there, not those from previous owners.


Bruce in Ocala, Fl

#10 Nokin



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Posted 11 December 2013 - 15:49


For me personally, it's Not an ongoing (polishing) process, I really don't mind minor scratches, I'd just rather they be the few ones *I* put there, not those from previous owners.


Bruce in Ocala, Fl



I much prefer the pen to reflect my history with it.   I tend to keep my pens (and other personal items) for a long, long time, and it's strangely comforting to see them 'growing old gracefully' with me!  I also feel that the performance of every pen I own has improved wonderfully with long-term usage.

Happiness isn't getting what you want, it's wanting what you've got.

#11 dcpritch


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Posted 11 December 2013 - 16:21


... it's strangely comforting to see them 'growing old gracefully' with me! ...


You are doing it gracefully?  Please share some secrets so I can learn.  :D


On topic, pens in my personal collection get a light rub with a soft cotton cloth before they go back into a pen drawer, to remove finger prints and the like.  Pens I plan to sell get a very light hand polish using an agent suitable to the pen material; in some cases, especially with celluloid and hard rubber pens, I use nothing but the soft cotton cloth.

How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 16:49

This thread made me realize something I had never noticed about myself. I almost always polish new (to me) vintage pens to take out others scratches and to make them shiny, but I almost never polish a pen after I own it !


I guess, like some have said, I don't want scratches that others put in the pens but don't care about those from my own use/history with the pen.  I do admit that I treat my pens pretty gently and don't do a lot that might scratch them.


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#13 Ursus



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Posted 20 December 2013 - 13:34


I picked up my first Pelikan a month or so ago, a gorgeous Souveran M805 in black. I absolutely love it, and It's become my daily writer for my notes in college.


I'm glad to hear that! I used an M800 myself to take notes during lectures. Apart from writing like a dream it was great at catching the attention of the professors when I had an urgent question to ask and waved it around. :thumbup: I have just cleaned it up after having it inked for many years in a row.

Being rather perfectionistic myself I have only carried it in my shirt pocket or in the box to avoid scratches. I noticed yesterday during the cleaning that it no more looks like new. And so what; - it isn't.

When I was a boy my grandmother once told me that when she prepared for her confirmation she had to bring a hymn book, so she borrowed her mother's. It was extremely worn and almost falling apart and my grandmother found it immensly embarrassing. The very fist day the priest had forgotten his hymn book, so he asked if he could borrow one and went straight to my grandmother, who shamefully looked down as the priest took her hymn book, holding it up for everyone to see - and to her surprise stated: This is what a hymn book should look like! -_-

If we don't wear them down, we have no excuse for getting new ones either! :vbg:

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: care, polishing, polish, maintenance, shine

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