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Inks That Eat Sacs


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#1 saskia_madding

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 16:08

I'm in love with snorkels.  I can't lie.  I have TONS of them, and I specialize is hunting down funky, broader nibs.  I also have a love of ink, as some of you may know.  

 

This can sometimes cause a problem.  Because I don't feel like resac-ing a snorkel by myself (though I did learn how to do it), it costs me $40 CAD every time an ink eats through the sac.  At first, I was just mentally remembering which ones not to use, but now the list is getting longer, so I thought I'd put a post up here, and then link it in my signature so I could always find it, and so other interested parties could as well.

 

I'd love to hear what everyone else has experienced too.  Add to this thread and I'll periodically update the first post after a few people have agreed that the inks does in fact chew through sacs.

 

***PLEASE NOTE:  I am 100% NOT suggesting not to use these inks.  Some of these inks are my absolute favorites, and I still use them all the time.  Except now I use them in piston and converter pens, and they behave perfectly.***

 

 

Caran d'Ache Storm - this just ate the sac of a snorkel recently.  However, I had it for one day less in another snorkel and that snorkel still functions.  Not sure what it looks like inside or how long the sac will last now, but ... <shrug>

 

Diamine Midnight Blue - I used this for a year in the same snorkel with no problems.  Of course, I probably only used the pen maybe 4 times, but on the 5th time it didn't work.  The man who repairs all my snorkels for me (Restorer's Art), showed me a picture of the chewed sac.  Now I only use it in converter/piston pens.

 

Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue - another absolute favourite of mine that now lives in converter/piston pens.  It ate through the sacs of two snorkels.



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#2 DaveBj

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 16:39

Watching this thread, since I have two vintage saccers en route from rehab.  I have read bad things about some of the Noodler's inks in the research that I have been doing.


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#3 Witsius

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 17:05

Diamine Midnight is one of my favorite blue inks.  Richard Binder has an article on his website, which includes information about inks that can eat sacs, and he doesn't mention Diamine.  In fact, Diamine is one of the inks he says he relies on at his bench.  Of course, Diamine makes  lots of colors, and Midnight might be one that doesn't play nice with sacs.   All my pens are either cartridge/converter or piston fillers,  I've bee trying to track down an Esterbrook to restore.  Maybe I'll avoid putting Midnight in it once I finally get one.  Thanks for the info.  


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#4 linearM

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 17:09

Check out: http://richardspens.com.  Do a search for 'ink sacs' and read  Inks:The Good The Bad and The Ugly.  Richard gives the whys that some inks should be avoided.  There are some inks I no longer use in my vintage pens with ink sacs, but only in my more contemporary pens with converters.



#5 ac12

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 20:24

Thank you for the feedback on Midnight Blue, as I had planned to get that and put it into a sac pen. Now I have to rethink that.

The problem is that Diamine and Noodler's have a BROAD line of inks with different characteristics. So one cannot state anything about the entire line, without having exceptions. Some are good and some are bad.

Edited by ac12, 10 February 2016 - 20:25.

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#6 Witsius

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 20:31

I just remembered that my wife has Midnight in her Metropolitan with the squeeze converter.  I wonder if it will eat the rubber sac leaving an inky mess in her purse.  


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#7 D Armstrong

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 21:10

Poor Saskia!
 
gooeysac.jpg
 
You will note the lovely way the hole matches how the ink pooled in the pen when it was at rest. The little ball beside the sac is the gooified residue that once was the missing sac wall. The perimeter of the hole is quite gummy. The sac was a new one; all but the gooey hole is lovely, new, stretchy, bouncy rubber. This means that it's not a defective sac, but one that was compromised.
 
It should be noted that the thickness of a snorkel sac is about half that of a regular sac (it needs to be thinner to allow the filling system to work properly). As such, snorks can be considered to be like the proverbial 'canary in a coal mine', in that they will probably fail in this way faster than a full-thickness sac.
 
As several qualified repair people have stated in the past: when choosing ink for vintage pens, stick to that made by reputable pen manufacturers (e.g.: Parker, Waterman, Pelikan, etc.). You are also likely safe with companies who have successfully made ink for hundreds of years, like Herbin.

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#8 saskia_madding

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 22:20

That is SO BORING, D Armstrong!   :P  I prefer to test each ink I love by using it and simply having you endlessly restoring any snorkels that get killed in the process.  And then post results on this thread to remind myself later which ones not to use in what pens.  



#9 sirgilbert357

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 23:17

Wouldn't it be easier to just buy like 5 ink sacs (or 10 or however many you want/need) and test an ink by filling the sac and letting it sit for a week? You'd have to pinch the sac closed to keep the ink from drying up, but it would be WAY cheaper than paying 40 bucks + downtime to find out the hard way. I'd personally use a tall shot glass to hold the sac during the test.

Edited by sirgilbert357, 10 February 2016 - 23:18.


#10 dcwaites

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 00:01

 

Poor Saskia!
 
gooeysac.jpg
 
You will note the lovely way the hole matches how the ink pooled in the pen when it was at rest. The little ball beside the sac is the gooified residue that once was the missing sac wall. The perimeter of the hole is quite gummy. The sac was a new one; all but the gooey hole is lovely, new, stretchy, bouncy rubber. This means that it's not a defective sac, but one that was compromised.
 
It should be noted that the thickness of a snorkel sac is about half that of a regular sac (it needs to be thinner to allow the filling system to work properly). As such, snorks can be considered to be like the proverbial 'canary in a coal mine', in that they will probably fail in this way faster than a full-thickness sac.
 
As several qualified repair people have stated in the past: when choosing ink for vintage pens, stick to that made by reputable pen manufacturers (e.g.: Parker, Waterman, Pelikan, etc.). You are also likely safe with companies who have successfully made ink for hundreds of years, like Herbin.

 

 

But, then, so has Diamine (or at least since the mid to late 1800s, under the name of Webster).

 

What are the sacs made of? If it's latex, perhaps a quick test would be to get some latex gloves (there should be a lot lying around since they have generally been replaced by the blue nitrile ones), cut the fingers off (ouch!!) and put a little of the suspect ink in the finger. Because the material is so thin, you should get results in a few days.

 

Note, don't hang them over something stainable.

Or where the cat can get at them.


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#11 zwack

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 01:57

I do wonder how much of this involves leaving the ink in the sac unused, unmoving for a while. The only new sacs I have had that sort of issue with were left sitting for a while before I discovered that the sac had failed.

In this case a whole being on the order of months.

Equally is there a better material to make sacs out of... One that can withstand such deadly inks as Parker superchrome. (Another allegedly reputable manufacturer that has a corrosive sac eater disguised as an ink)

#12 white_lotus

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 02:03

Also please note that the chemical compatibility grade for Ammonia 10% and natural rubber is D, meaning there will be a serve effect on the material. This information comes from the Cole-Parmer Chemical Compatibility Database.

 

I have a couple of modern pens with rubber sacs or diaphragms that I believe were damaged more from using pen flush containing ammonia in an attempt to excessively clean them.



#13 dcwaites

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 02:32

I am also wondering how many destroyed sacs were old ones. Rubber perishes anyway over time, and some sacs may have been ripe for attack by aggressive pen-eating inks.

 

Does anybody have any new sacs that were damaged by inks?


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#14 Abner C. Kemp

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 03:26

I recall Dr. Brown mentioning that Noodler's Liberty's Elysium destroyed one of his pens awhile back. I had it in a Sheaffer Admiral before hearing and didn't have any issues, but it also wasn't left in the pen for a prolonged period. 

 

As others have said, your best bet is to stick with standard inks (not permanent or bulletproof or fraud resistant or whatever the term is these days) from major pen manufacturers (Pelikan 4001, Waterman, exc.). That's a great rule. The problem is that there are a TON of inks that are not made by major pen manufacturers or are permanent that won't destroy a sac. So, threads like this are great to tell us what to definitely steer clear of. The other thing to keep in mind is that with regular and careful pen maintenance and a modern sac you can probably use 99% of inks for years without running into any major issues. For that other 1%, well, at least pen sacs are relatively inexpensive!!


Edited by Abner C. Kemp, 11 February 2016 - 03:29.


#15 ac12

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 04:47

Here is a write up on 3 different ink sac material; latex, silicone, PVC
http://www.vintagepe.../pen_sacs.shtml
Each material has its pros and cons. So there is no one perfect sac material.
Example, In an email discussion with David Nishimura, I came to the conclusion that silicone sacs are not good for desk pens, because desk pens are stored nib down, and silicone sacs are air permeable, and thus would drip ink into the holder. But silicone would be fine for a clip pen stored nib up.

And a write up on snorkel/touchdown sacs
http://www.vintagepe...down_sacs.shtml

Edited by ac12, 12 February 2016 - 01:46.

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#16 Tweel

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 06:43

Also please note that the chemical compatibility grade for Ammonia 10% and natural rubber is D, meaning there will be a [severe] effect on the material. This information comes from the Cole-Parmer Chemical Compatibility Database.

 

I have a couple of modern pens with rubber sacs or diaphragms that I believe were damaged more from using pen flush containing ammonia in an attempt to excessively clean them.

 

To be fair, I think that the usually recommended mix of 1 part household ammonia to 10 parts water comes out to a strength of 0.45% to 0.90%, not 10%.  But I've become more cautious with the use of ammonia for pen cleaning, myself.  And in fact, in the past I've used stiffer solutions to remove recalcitrant sac remnants from sections: the rubber becomes a pale, viscid gel that can be rubbed off with a fingertip (luckily the hard rubber section is much more chemically resistant than a latex sac, but I don't use that trick anymore anyway).

 

Here is a write up on 3 different ink sac material; latex, silicone, PVC http://www.vintagepe.../pen_sacs.shtml Each material has its pros and cons. So there is no one perfect sac material. Example, In an email discussion with David Nishimura, I came to the conclusion that silicone sacs are not good for desk pens, because desk pens are stored nib down, and silicone sacs are air permeable, and thus would drip ink into the holder. But silicone would be fine for a clip pen stored nib up. And a write up on snorkel/touchdown sacs http://www.vintagepens.com/FAQrepair/Snorkel_Touchdown_sacs.shtml

 

I'm not sure whether my browser is just acting up, but here's that second link again:

http://www.vintagepe...down_sacs.shtml

 

Regarding the main topic, I think that one thing that can be done to help prevent damage to pens is to not allow them to lay around with ink gradually drying and concentrating in them.  Ink that's normally innocuous can be damaging as it dries and concentrates.


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#17 saskia_madding

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 13:01

Please note that I NEVER leave ink around in unused pens. Ever. I ink up six every day carry pens and take them everywhere with me, using each one at least every other day. It usually takes me about three weeks to finish the ink inside. All were newly repaired pens. Even the diamine midnight pen - the first time the sac gave out I repaired it assuming the sac was old. I put the same ink in it when I got it back and immediately had to repair it again.



#18 Ron Z

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 13:15


I'm in love with snorkels.  I can't lie.  I have TONS of them, and I specialize is hunting down funky, broader nibs.  I also have a love of ink, as some of you may know.   This can sometimes cause a problem.  Because I don't feel like resac-ing a snorkel by myself...

 

This is why I abandoned latex sacs for any Sheaffer pneumatic filler, and snorkels in particular.   Three or four years ago I started to see premature failure of sacs in snorkels, especially pens in which what I call "boutique" inks were used, but also in which other traditional inks were used - especially inks that contain red (orange, purple, brown for example).    Sac failure in a snorkel can allow ink or water to escape, which can lead to a rusted spring, and if bad enough we get into replacing not only the spring, but also the ring on the sac guard, maybe the screw, and in extreme cases the touchdown tube because I have to cut it to get to the rusted screw that holds the blind cap on.  It can get expensive.

 

That being the case, I use the synthetic the sacs from Woodbin in these Sheaffer pens.  Never latex.  With the rubber plug in the snorkels and PFMs, and because the sac never comes in contact with the plastic of the pen, there is no concern that the plasticizer from the sac softening the plastic of the barrel. 

 

I've been encouraging fellow pen mechanics to do the same.  The difference in cost is minimal, but the life of the repair is much longer, and the risk of damage to the pen significantly reduced because it is unlikely because the sac is so resistant to ink. 

 

Note that I don't consider the Woodbin sacs to be an option for lever fillers and other plastic/celluloid pens.  See this article for a more detailed discussion on the different types of sacs and their particular vulnerabilities.

 

 

 

It should be noted that the thickness of a snorkel sac is about half that of a regular sac (it needs to be thinner to allow the filling system to work properly).

 

This is a popular myth, but quite untrue.  As a matter of fact, the truth is quite the opposite!   Richard Binder and I got a large bag of OEM Sheaffer snorkel sacs that came from the Sheaffer service center after our visit back in 2008.  They were decidedly standard sacs, cut to the proper length with a bit of a neck at the end to fit the nipple on the plug tighter.  The pens filled very well with these sacs.

 

The reason that I say that you should not use a super flexible/special snorkel  sac is that there is plenty of air pressure to collapse a sac when you push the touchdown tube down.  The problem comes when the air pressure is released.  The sac wall of the super flexible sac being thinner and weaker, does not return to shape as quickly or completely compared to a standard sac, so less ink is drawn into the pen.  Which is why I use a standard #14 synthetic sac instead of the 14 1/2 snorkel sac in a snorkel.  


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#19 Boniface

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 14:40

Has anyone had a problem with Montblanc ink and sacs? I like their royal blue and new midnight blue (non-IG), and use them in vintage pens. Thanks.



#20 Ron Z

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 14:42

Has anyone had a problem with Montblanc ink and sacs? I like their royal blue and new midnight blue (non-IG), and use them in vintage pens. Thanks.

 

My standard recommendation is that one use an ink made by a pen manufacturer.  I've never had nor seen a problem with MB inks, including the permanent blue/black for documents.


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