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Cleaning Bchr - Help! I Marinated My Pen In Ink...

cleaning bchr ink-stain

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#1 colourml

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 16:05

Hi all,

 

Wondering if anyone might have some advice to get me out of the pickle I'm in...

 

So up until this evening, the cap on my Waterman #12 eyedropper used to look like this:

 

fpn_1437666604__black_1.jpg

 

 

Not minty by any means. But, at least black.

 

It now, looks like this:

 

fpn_1437666676__blue1.jpg

 

fpn_1437666797__blue2.jpg

 

 

As you can see, it's now lighter, and has a lovely blue tinge to the chasing....no! It's a tragedy! Or well ...actually ...I can only admit it was my negligence.

 

In a rookie move of stupidity, this morning I put my beloved Waterman 12 eyedropper in my jacket's inner pocket (the inside pocket you sometimes get in jackets, which sits perhaps just below one's chest).

This was not the first time that I've done so, and I always am careful to place my pen in a small zip lock plastic bag (I am in need of funds for a pen pouch - although the plastic bag helped today), squeezed the air out, zip it up, and put it upright in my pocket. However, I usually wear a thick sweater (it's winter here in Australia now) underneath my jacket, and I think my choice not to wear one today was my undoing.

 

As the pen was now closer to the direct heat of my body today because I wore no sweater ...and because I'm guessing it was less than half full ...yep, you guessed it!

 

It had a leak.

 

The section was fine, I had put silicone grease on it when it was filled up, so no problem there. But, it must have leaked out of the nib, into the cap, and flowed out of the cap, soaking the cap in warm ink for ....I have no idea how long. A nice marinade of Waterman South Sea/Inspired Blue ink.

 

The result as you can guess, was not pretty. I won't blame you if you grimace. What was once a, not minty admittedly, but certainly black cap, has now turned into a greeny brown ...BLUE disaster. The chasing lines have a bluer tinge in real life, whereas the non-chased part is more greeny.The barrel was affected, but not nearly as much as the cap, which was doing backstroke in the blue.

 

So I guess my question is, can I do anything about it? Micro mesh? Sunshine cloth? Horn of unicorn dissolved in essence of featherweed?

 

I do realise abrasives may wear down the chasing...but the blue tinge to the chasing irks me...

 

I really do love this pen. It writes as smooth as butter, and has a lovely flexy italic nib. It certainly was, and still is my pride of joy, so I feel awful that my negligence of eyedropper heating has caused it to be in the state it is now.

 

Any help or advice you may have would be greatly appreciated. 

 

Thank you for your thoughts in advance! 

 

Cheers,

Harry

 



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#2 Joe in Seattle

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 19:59

What ink did you use? Inks are water-soluble, I'd start there with wet cotton balls. I'm sure others have better ideas.
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#3 kirchh

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 22:43

I assume the first thing you did was rinse the cap in water, correct?

 

--Daniel


"The greatest mental derangement is to believe things because we want them to be true, not because we observe that they are in effect." --Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

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#4 colourml

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 14:01

Thanks for your replies, Joe in Seattle and kirchh.

Joe in Seattle - the ink I was using was Waterman Inspired Blue. I believe it used to be called South Sea Blue a number of years back. Cotton balls, okay!I might see if I can dig some up to try. Thank you for your advice!

kirchh - oh no no, certainly not. I have read enough to know that water and hard rubber do not mix and will only speed up oxidation. That said, along the lines of what Joe in Seattle suggested, I thought that since the Waterman ink is water soluble, I immediately 1) got a dry tissue and soaked up all the wet ink 2) wet a tissue and squeezed out all the water until it was only damp, and lightly dabbed at the cap - hoping to wick off and dissolve as much ink from the cap into the damp tissue as possible. 3)immediately got another dry tissue and dried off any remaining water.

Considering this, do you see the only method to restore the cap to it's old being light abrasives? I.e. sacrificing a little chasing for a little more of the original colour?

#5 MKB

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 14:09

If nothing else seems to work and you can't beat 'em, then maybe join 'em. That is, a similar treatment of a bullet proof black?



#6 colourml

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 14:17

Haha! MKB, I can't tell if you're being serious or not! The more I think about it, the more I don't see why that would not work ... you're a genius!

Although the small purist in me is trying to make a fight haha

#7 colourml

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 14:21

This just got me thinking though ...would Amodex work? Given that it is designed for the purpose of removing ink stains? I do have a bottle of that lying around.

I'm guessing no though, since hard rubber is a very susceptible to anything but the most inert substances isn't it?

Guessing no one has tried amodex on a pen?

#8 pen lady

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 20:48

Others will chime in I'm sure, but if all else fails, Syd Saperstien who moderates the Wahl-Eversharp forum sells a pen potion for re-blackening HBR though www.pensburymanor.com. (No affiliation). Good luck.

#9 kirchh

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 21:17

kirchh - oh no no, certainly not. I have read enough to know that water and hard rubber do not mix and will only speed up oxidation.

 

To be precise, water-based liquids and hard rubber do not mix, though these liquids will not speed up oxidation, as far as I know; they will carry away black pigment particles from already oxidized black hard rubber, however, as those particles are only tenuously retained once the material has oxidized (primarily due to exposure to light of certain wavelengths).

 

Ink is a water-based liquid. If the cap was already in contact with ink, the damage has been done, as far as removing pigment. I think it's likely that further exposure to water-based liquids will not cause further damage at this point, especially as you have already rubbed the pen with wet cotton balls (the speed with which you wiped the cap with wet cotton balls and then dried it hardly matters -- the damage occurs instantaneously, in my experience).

 

I would try scrubbing the pen under running water before I'd try an abrasive approach, though there are no absolute guarantees of the outcome.

 

I will note that the brownish tone of the cap seems to match that of the barrel in the pictures; was the cap previously much blacker than the barrel?

 

--Daniel


"The greatest mental derangement is to believe things because we want them to be true, not because we observe that they are in effect." --Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

Daniel Kirchheimer
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#10 kirchh

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 21:18

I'm guessing no though, since hard rubber is a very susceptible to anything but the most inert substances isn't it?

 

Susceptible to what?

 

--Daniel


"The greatest mental derangement is to believe things because we want them to be true, not because we observe that they are in effect." --Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

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Specialty Pen Restoration
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#11 colourml

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 00:10

Thanks kirchh for your explanation, that makes better sense now. I think the pictures have slightly altered the colours. Originally, the whole pen was a fairly uniform black, only that the chasing on the cap was a in better condition than the barrel. The barrel's chasing was certainly evident, but slightly smoothed compared to the cap.

Now, though the barrel was somewhat affected by the ink stains, it has remained fairly black (maybe now a very very slight brown black) - I guess because it did not have to endure as much of a soaking. I think again, the camera couldn't pick up the contrast in colour.

Inert - apologies if I have used the terminology incorrectly here. From reading all the advice given on various other threads here, it seems BHR reacts to so many things. And since so many products contain either water, alcohol or acids, it just seems in general, not many things are safe to put on BHR. I was just speaking to the general impression I got as a newbie. Do let me know if this is not the case.

#12 colourml

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 04:36

Thanks pen lady! Sorry I didn't see your reply. I will look into the re-blackening potion. You mentioned it is fine for BHR, is it natural to assume then too, that it is fine for BCHR?



#13 colourml

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 07:41

I have been doing a little more research though, and have found that some people advocated the use of Simichrome on Hard Rubber.

 

Has anyone perhaps had experience in using Simichrome on BHR or in particular BCHR? Will this remove chasing?



#14 lcoldfield

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 08:50

Where doe this obsession with Simichrome come from?  This is a metal polish - primarily for polishing  chrome plated items (hence the name).  There are many other products more suitable for plastics and BHR.

It will take a lot of effort to remove the oxidisation layer with polishes.  To remove the unpleasant appearance of oxidisation layers you either dye them or remove them.  Removal requires more aggressive treatment than conventional polishes.  I use abrasive sticks on smooth hard rubber, but for chased rubber the onlhy solution may be dyes.

Hard rubber is a very robust material and impervious to almost everything, but it is damaged by exposure to bright light which produces a layer of oxidisation.  Water affects the oxidisation layer, not the hard rubber itself.  Virgin hard rubber is unaffected by water.  You will not see many oxidised feeds.  This is because feeds are rarely exposed to light.  However, they are exposed to water based inks all the time.  Water/ink may affect any dyes previously applied to the pen and I suspect that this may be the source of the problem in the original post.

Laurence



#15 colourml

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 00:59

Thank you Laurence, the only reason why I mentioned simichrome was that I whilst researching through past threads on how I might go about repairing the pen, the name came up here and there. Apologies, since I am new to fountain pens, I did not know that it was so inappropriate. Thank you also for clearing up the oxidation process. I guess, I will just live with the pen in its current state and read more on dyes before I decide that that is the way for me.

#16 mmg122

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 21:08

I agree with Kirchh that water and perhaps some liquid soap to get as much ink as possible off. What you really want to avoid with BCHR is soaking the pens for long periods but cleaning them up with cotton balls or a soft cloth wetened is not a problem. I certainly wouldn't use an abrasive on a chastened pen for obvious reasons. Lastly, I echo what PenLady recommended about Syd Sappersteins Re-Blackening Potion to restore the color of your hard rubber. It really works very well and is safe for vintage pens if used according to instructions. Syd might also be able to give you advice on cleaning it up. Best of luck to you.

Don't you just hate when something you do (or fail to do) results in damage to a favored pen? I still haven't gotten over breaking a nib in half by swing my hand out while talking, with my favorite burgundy Parker Vac in hand. I hit a wooden ledge with the tip of the pen. Still brings a tear to my eye. Best writer I ever had...or at least that's what I tell myself. ;-)

BTW...that happened 30 years ago.

#17 kirchh

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 01:57

I agree with Kirchh that water and perhaps some liquid soap to get as much ink as possible off. What you really want to avoid with BCHR is soaking the pens for long periods but cleaning them up with cotton balls or a soft cloth wetened [sic] is not a problem.


Not so. A wet cloth will immediately discolor oxidized hard rubber.

--Daniel

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#18 mmg122

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Posted 30 August 2015 - 17:42

Daniel...may discolor some hard rubber. My understanding is that water can cause immediate fading in rippled and marbled hard rubber but is relatively innocuous in other hard rubber if used sparingly. Certainly, no hard rubber pen should be soaked. "Sparingly" is the operative word. Otherwise, how did they flush pens in the 20's or use water based inks.
My understanding is that the oxidation layers on a hard rubber pen can be buffed off with a mild abrasive or camouflaged with a substance like olive oil.
In summary, you are correct about some hard rubber pens...perhaps the majority...and I probably shouldn't have made such a blanket statement.

#19 kirchh

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Posted 30 August 2015 - 18:45

Daniel...may discolor some hard rubber. My understanding is that water can cause immediate fading in rippled and marbled hard rubber but is relatively innocuous in other hard rubber if used sparingly.

 

Cold water will instantaneously discolor oxidized black hard rubber. I speak from 40 years of experience, but this is also not a controversial assertion -- on the contrary, it is widely known.

 

Certainly, no hard rubber pen should be soaked. "Sparingly" is the operative word.

 

As noted, hard rubber that appears black but that has been compromised due to exposure to light will instantaneously discolor on contact with cold water.

 

Otherwise, how did they flush pens in the 20's or use water based inks.

 

Pens were flushed by forcing water through the section, not by subjecting the exterior of the barrel or cap to water. Water-based inks were used inside pens, not on their exteriors, so there would be no issue with discoloration of oxidized pens due to contact with water-based inks.

 

Dipping the barrel or cap of a black but oxidized hard rubber pen in cold water will instantaneously discolor it.

 

My understanding is that the oxidation layers on a hard rubber pen can be buffed off with a mild abrasive

 

Certainly, though this procedure will also buff off chasing and imprints; pens in this condition are frequently seen at pen shows and in other venues.

 

...or camouflaged with a substance like olive oil

 

Oil will somewhat darken a discolored hard rubber pen, though I don't put olive oil on pens. It imparts an odor I dislike, and I'm concerned about the oil becoming rancid over time. I prefer a preventative approach, and I leave my faded pens as they are, generally speaking.

 

--Daniel


"The greatest mental derangement is to believe things because we want them to be true, not because we observe that they are in effect." --Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

Daniel Kirchheimer
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#20 BamaPen

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 14:05

Given that the damage to the oxidized surfaces has already occurred and can't be undone, yet the OP wants the pen to be black, I suggest that Pen Potion No. 9 from the Wahlnut (www.pensburymanor.com) is a very good solution.  I've used it with success by following the directions.  It is quite easy and the results are good.

 

I realize that many will say that faded pens should stay faded, and I would not suggest blackening a pen that is rare or otherwise uncommonly valuable, but this is a case of a daily user pen that the owner wishes to look good.  I have re-blackened some BCHR pens that were well worn and brown to olive green (ugh!) with oxidation, but they were of no particular value and certainly not unique exemplars.

 

Here are before and after pictures of a Conklin 25P.  This pen must have been on a display card and exposed to sunlight.  You can see the bands around the cap and barrel where the elastic must have been. The re-blackened oxidized surface is still somewhat rougher than the original black area, but I did not use any sort of abrasive because I did not want to further damage the chasing.

 

The pen before any re-blackening. Notice the original black where the cap covered the barrel and section.

fpn_1441029068__conklin_crescent_25p_016

 

Contrasting the cap without re-blackening and the barrel after re-blackening

fpn_1441029449__conklin_crescent_25p_009

 

The completely re-blackened pen

fpn_1441029106__conklin_crescent_25p_018







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