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Clogged Nibs?


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24 replies to this topic

#1 Larry Barrieau

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 13:02

Hi,

I have a couple of estie nibs which seem to be clogged.  They came on a couple of pens from ebay.  I soaked them in water, then in water with 10% ammonia, then in water with 10% ammonia and a little dish detergent.  After that I tried forcing water through them with a rubber bulb and nothing happened.  I soaked them for three days and still nothing.  Do I now have to graduate to an ultrasonic cleaner?  Or is there something else that could be the problem?  I like medium nibs and they are a 9668 and a 2668.  Can I resuscitate or have they flatlined?

 

Thanks,

 

Larry


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Looking for a black SJ Transitional Esterbrook Pen.  (It's smaller than an sj)


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#2 Wolverine1

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 13:11

The nibs are not clogged. Most probably there is still old ink gunk still left or is cemented on to the feed. More experienced members here will give you the info you need to get your pens into full working order.



#3 cellmatrix

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 15:00

get a cheap ultrasonic cleaner and run the nib units thru a couple cycles. That should help



#4 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 15:34

You might try and "roto-root" out the feed channel from the rear with a steel guitar string. I forget the size, I have 2 different ones, but if you search here you should find it. Take a nib to a music store that does restrings and ask to see some they have discarded.

 

Failing that, an ultrasonic cleaner and more bulb flushing.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl



#5 Larry Barrieau

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 17:50

Ok,  Thanks!


To better see my icon     http://fpnlcb.shutterfly.com/pictures

Looking for a black SJ Transitional Esterbrook Pen.  (It's smaller than an sj)


#6 cellmatrix

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 19:20

You might try and "roto-root" out the feed channel from the rear with a steel guitar string. I forget the size, I have 2 different ones, but if you search here you should find it. Take a nib to a music store that does restrings and ask to see some they have discarded.

 

Failing that, an ultrasonic cleaner and more bulb flushing.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

Good point! I recall that was very helpful for some really tenacious debris inside a couple esterbrook nibs that did not respond to flushing and ultrasonic cleaning. I did not want to sacrifice a guitar string but found that a wire twist tie will work, as long as you remove the paper, and try to keep it straight as you push it in.


Edited by cellmatrix, 25 April 2014 - 19:21.


#7 pajaro

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 19:29

I hadn't thought of this before, but in another forum somebody suggested using distilled water.  If you live in some place like Michigan with hard water that smells if you don't have a water softener, crud in the water producing scale--lime scale--could be an issue. 

 

Dagnabit, there's another good reason to live in North Florida--good water.


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#8 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 20:03

CM, one thing about the guitar string is it's rigidity for it's thinness.

 

You can REALLY ram it in there to root out the channel without bending it.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl



#9 Larry Barrieau

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 22:13

I can't imagine a guitar string small enough to fit into those two tiny holes.  It would seem that a tight steel wire that small would act like a cheese slicer on the fingers of the guitarist.  

And yet...it's been done.  I'll look for some.

 

Thanks


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Looking for a black SJ Transitional Esterbrook Pen.  (It's smaller than an sj)


#10 Larry Barrieau

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 23:30

Hi,

Ok I soaked these for 7 days, then I used a heat gun, then I bought an ultrasonic cleaner and let them sit in there for a couple of session.  I'm done.  If you think you can unclog them I'll send them to you and if you are successful you send the 9668 back to me and keep the 2668.  Any takers?

 

Larry


To better see my icon     http://fpnlcb.shutterfly.com/pictures

Looking for a black SJ Transitional Esterbrook Pen.  (It's smaller than an sj)


#11 ac12

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 03:44

I would do it for my own nib.

But honestly, the time, effort and cost for me or someone to clean the nib and mail it back to you would not be worth it.

Follow along and you will see why I say that.

And maybe you can do it yourself.

 

Use an ammonia solution of 10 parts water : 1 part ammonia.

Run the ultrasonic cleaner (USC) for about 2 minutes, and watch to see if any ink comes out of the nib.

Then run it again up to 5 more times, each time checking the nib.

Although given what you said, I might just skip this step as it sounds like you did it.

 

If the ultrasonic cleaner does not do the job, the next step that I would do is potentially damaging. 

I would take the nib assembly apart, then inspect and clean the feed without the nib in the way.  

The danger here is taking the nib assembly apart.  The collar could be damaged or broken during the process.  It depends on how flexible the collar is.  A brittle collar could break when the feed is punched out or the nib pulled out.  And of course you do not want to damage the nib during the punch out.  To do this:

- You need the following tools:

-   - a spare section, or the section from your pen w/o the ink sack, to hold the nib assembly.

-   - a punch out block or similar to support the section and allow you to punch out the feed w/o damaging the nib.

-   - a punch and hammer, which you may have in your general tool box.

- The basic steps are:  install the nib assembly in the section, put the section on the punch out block, put the punch onto the back of the feed, tap the punch with the hammer.

- An alternative is to heat the collar, and carefully try to wiggle the nib out.  If the collar if brittle, you could break the collar.

If the collar is pinned, it is more difficult to take the nib assembly apart, as you first need to get that pin out.  While I have seen these pinned nibs, I have not had to disassemble one.

If someone used India ink or similar non-fountain pen ink in the pen, the feed might or might not be salvageable.  It all depends on being able to disolve or scrape the feed channels clean.  BTW, I have an Esterbrook 444 dipless inkwell where it appears that the prior user did use india ink in the inkwell, as the STUFF in the ink well did NOT disolve with water at all.  I had to physically scrape and chip it out. 

 

To return the 9xxx nib to you, I think the cost of a padded envelope is about $1, and postage for a padded envelope is about $2.40.   Total $3.40

 

gud luk

 

If you give up, I would be glad to take the nibs and give it a go.


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#12 Larry Barrieau

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 04:01

Thanks a lot ac, I'll try the punch out block.  

 

Larry


To better see my icon     http://fpnlcb.shutterfly.com/pictures

Looking for a black SJ Transitional Esterbrook Pen.  (It's smaller than an sj)


#13 kidde

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 07:37

If you are still interested in having someone else have a look I'm game. PM me and I'll give you my address, but if I'm successful you have to send one to Bruce for the loaner program and you keep the other. This forum has been good for me and to me, so cleaning a couple nibs is the least I could do.

Paul

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#14 Larry Barrieau

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 02:35

Kidde,  Sorry, but I did the knock out thing and I even put them back together.  They seem to work fine now.  But I will send Bruce one anyway.  I took advantage of the loaner program and was delighted.

 

Larry    

 

Bruce, you can have your choice.  2668 or 9668


To better see my icon     http://fpnlcb.shutterfly.com/pictures

Looking for a black SJ Transitional Esterbrook Pen.  (It's smaller than an sj)


#15 kidde

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 03:48

No need for apologies, and thank you. I've not contributed to the loaner program yet, I'm still trying to get past the "I need them all!!!" stage. Glad the collar held up and you could get them clean.

Paul

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#16 Tom Heath

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 12:30

The really difficult ones which don't respond to the ultra sonic or bulb flush may need to be taken apart.

Tools knock out block, punch, small hammer, after soaking and with the aid of a specially nib holder which I fabricated , knock out the nib and feed from its threaded collar, then clean thoroughly, then reassemble , you may need a pair of nib pillars but they are a good investment if you attempt repairs yourself.

There are some nib cartridges that just won't flow without this method.

Good Luck

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#17 Larry Barrieau

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 12:41

[attachment=256564:IMG_5700.jpg]Thanks  Tom.  I did that (my first use of the knock out block I made).  I was concerned about breaking them but with soft tapping they both survived the operation.

 


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Looking for a black SJ Transitional Esterbrook Pen.  (It's smaller than an sj)


#18 seattlec257

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 17:08

I love this forum! 

I have what looked like a nearly new Esterbrook 9556 nib unit that just wouldn't write for more than about a half-page. I could gently ease more ink to it via a gentle partial lever lift, but who wants to do that all the time? 

So I start searching and find this forum thread. I don't have an ultrasonic cleaner. I do have several guitars and an extra-light E-string fixed the problem! I'd soaked and soaked and bulbed and soaked and ammonia'ed and bulbed and soaked.....

But an Ernie Ball E-string did the trick and has been added to small box of pen maintenance gear.  

Thank you all!


Edited by seattlec257, 16 February 2020 - 17:10.


#19 ac12

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 16:56

@seattlec257

I suggest putting a piece of masking tape on the guitar string.

It is REALLY easy to loose a cut guitar string in your pen tool box.


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#20 GoldenNibs

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 17:08

I had a nib unit that someone must have used paint or something thick and it was completely clogged. I ran it through my ultrasonic numerous times but I got nowhere. I even tried manually taking it out and with no success. The fix I found was to toss it in the trash and save the actual nib.  








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