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Help With Cleaning

cleaning swan calligraph ink stain

13 replies to this topic

#1 MercianScribe

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 18:05

I don't know whether I should put this here or in the repairs forum, but here goes.

 

My much loved and previously pristine Swan Calligraph Prefect from about 1953 suffered an ink burp and I can't get the stains off it. I tried a very diluted ammonia solution. Less dilute? A light alcohol? Any help appreciated!

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#2 MercianScribe

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 18:06

I suppose that's a bit mean... here's the whole pen:

 

 

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#3 PaulS

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 18:27

I have the same thing in a greyish blue  -  I's suggest you remove the clip etc. before getting too invasive, just in case you scratch or damage the metalwork.     There's a nut up inside the cap, and a little DW-40, prior to using a nut spinner might help  -  the trouble with these nuts is that they can become corroded in the intervening 60 or so years and don't always want to come out.

Whether the clip comes off or not, the first course might be to use very fine abrasive methods, failing which you might try solvents  -  it's just that you don't want to end up pushing the stain further in, which just possibly some solvents might do.             Masking off the clip and clip screw might be an idea, whilst you're rubbing or scrubbing.

 

If you have any of the Micro Mesh coarse polishing compounds - they're worth trying as they're water based and shouldn't harm the plastic.

Working up from less to more is possibly the best route in any process.             Best of luck.


Edited by PaulS, 27 April 2017 - 18:29.


#4 Greenie

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 01:18

I find that polishing with Simichrome usually works.



#5 MercianScribe

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:59

Thanks Paul.

 

I'm still hoping it won't come to anything too invasive, but anyway, I'm thinking I'm probably careful enough to avoid having to take the clip off, which I wouldn't feel confident about. What kind of solvents would be in order?

 

Thanks Greenie: I thought Simichrome was just for the metal parts; will it do the celluloid too (assuming the Calligraph is celluloid)?


Edited by MercianScribe, 01 May 2017 - 07:00.

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#6 Zeeppo

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 07:37

what ink stained the pen?



#7 MercianScribe

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 08:18

Regular Pilot Blue


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#8 PaulS

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 10:22

just checked my Calligraph and definitely celluloid - so yours too, almost certainly.             The fact that you've tried and can't, so far, remove the stain, shows the ink has penetrated, so you have a problem.        I wouldn't recommend solvents - either you persevere with masking and fine abrasives then re-polish, or leave and live with something that won't affect pen performance.      I notice that the Pen Manual suggests "Very good results are achieved with cutting agents for cellulose paint on car bodies (T-cut)."  -    fine grits around the 4000 - 6000 grade might also improve the appearance, and then Micro-Mesh polish (formulated for use in the aircraft industry for use on Perspex).

With the greatest of respect for Greenie's comments about Simichrome - and especially since I've never used the stuff - it does apparently contain solvents, so unsure how this performs on celluloid pens, perhaps safer to stick with water based methods.           But as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 

I suppose this is where black pens score :D 



#9 Greenie

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 14:36

Thanks Paul.

 

I'm still hoping it won't come to anything too invasive, but anyway, I'm thinking I'm probably careful enough to avoid having to take the clip off, which I wouldn't feel confident about. What kind of solvents would be in order?

 

Thanks Greenie: I thought Simichrome was just for the metal parts; will it do the celluloid too (assuming the Calligraph is celluloid)?

 

 

Simichrome is great on plastic, celluloid, and even hard rubber (but not Waterman red ripple, and it can wear down chasing on chased hard rubber).  I use it for every surface on all of my pens made out of any material.  It can really make celluloid shine and bring out the depth of color.



#10 PaulS

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 15:31

unfortunate that the Calligraph clip is secured with a nut and bolt  -  the majority of the other late thirties to early fifties pens have intrusion clips that can be removed more easily.



#11 Needhelp

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 17:52

DO NOT USE ALCHOHOL TO CLEAN YOUR PENS!

Anyway you could soak it in some soap water solution for a week or two and then rub it.

#12 MercianScribe

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 06:45

DO NOT USE ALCHOHOL TO CLEAN YOUR PENS!

Anyway you could soak it in some soap water solution for a week or two and then rub it.

 

I thought soaking celluloid was a shortcut to plastic soup...

Thanks everyone for the advice.

 

In the end I went for about 3 hours with a stronger solution of sodium bicarbonate (or whatever that stuff is!), about thirty cotton wool buds, five minutes with a melamine sponge and some electrical tape, and a couple of gallons of elbow grease!

 

This is how it came out:

 

Calligraph cleaned up.jpg


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#13 PaulS

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 07:41

unfortunately, your picture is a little blurred and unable to see if stain has disappeared completely, but looks to have gone - so a good result.



#14 MercianScribe

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 14:45

It wasn't the best, was it?!

 

The stain has gone completely: about 95% of it went with repeated cotton wool bud soaking, drying and scrubbing from inside the cap and out (I figured since the ink came from inside the cap it might make sense to try and get a really wet bud in there and squeeze it out, so the solution worked its way through the same route as the ink had).

 

Then the last 5% or so looked like it wasn't budging, so I taped over the end with electrical tape and went gently but rapidly with the melamine sponge, testing every few seconds to make sure it wasn't causing noticeable abrasions or erosion.

 

It went really well. Although the stain must have been inside the material, there appears to have been NO change whatsoever. I've tried melamine sponge on No Nonsenses and old pattern (torpedo) Osmiroid 65s before, and a similar celluloid Unique to this pen, and in all cases it has worked well, but noticeably, with a slight loss of sheen or depth to the plastic finish, especially with the No Nonsense.

 

I do recommend melamine sponge as a very very kind abrasive, preferably without moisture. For future reference of anyone further interested, here are my two pearl Osmiroid 65s. The nice one looked pretty much the same as the mangled one: some surface stains, some deeper stains, some light scratching, and some quite extensive bite marks (although the bite marks weren't as bad on the one that's cleaned up here). It even seems to have dislodged the ingrained filth from the imprint without significantly altering the surface of the pen.

 

Pearl 65s cleanup.jpg


Edited by MercianScribe, 11 May 2017 - 14:48.

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