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Fountain Pen Doesn't Write For A While After A While Of Not Using

waterman dry nib cap

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#1 9a3eedi

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 09:39

I have a Waterman Expert II that I have been using for the past 5 years. It is an old pen (if I understand correctly, it's made in the late 90s) that has been lying around the house for a while that I've found 5 years ago and started using to write notes during work.

 

I've noticed for a while now that whenever I don't use the pen for a while (say for example a week or two), then try to use it, it would not write until after a bit of trying, like it was dry. At first I felt this was a normal thing about fountain pens (as it was the only fountain pen I had for a while), but then I realized that I haven't had this problem with other (newer) fountain pens that I've purchased recently. I'm trying to figure out why this happens and what I can do to solve it.

 

I suspected it was the nib. It was bent badly at some point (not sure how, probably an accidental drop, or a malicious colleague using my pen while I wasn't looking) so I had it replaced. However, even with the new nib, it still has the same issue.

 

The cap of the pen also doesn't close as well as it used to. It used to snap. Nowadays, it closes, but there's no "click" or snap. It feels loose, but it does look like it closes properly to me. I tried to give it to a shop to repair it, but they said that they couldn't find a replacement part for the cap as it's an old pen. I'm thinking this is likely the reason, but I'm not sure.

 

Perhaps it's the way I'm cleaning it? I only rinse it with water every once in a while, no ammonia. I use the same ink all the time (Noodler's Dark Matter).

 

Could the cap be the reason? If it is, and since I can't replace the cap, should I just "retire" the pen, and use another one as my daily?

 

When I don't use the pen, I keep the pen stored upright (nib pointing upwards) as is recommended by others in this forum.


Edited by 9a3eedi, 04 February 2018 - 09:41.


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#2 Uncial

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 09:55

Cap seal is probably broken or worn and the nib dries out. Leaving the pen for a week without use will usually result in a dry nib anyway. Some pens seal very well and you can do this to them without a problem; others, not so much.



#3 Torrilin

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 15:01

Seconded. It will probably work fine if you make sure to write with it regularly. Or draw, fountain pens are great for doodling. And really they like to be used, like most tools.

So if you like the pen, use it. Daily.

#4 OMASsimo

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 15:40

It seems that the spring in either the cap or the barrel is broken so that the cap won't sit snug and keep the feed from drying out. Since you say it's a 1990s pen, it won't have an ebonite feed which would be quite resistant to drying out. If you can't get it repaired, I would try to store it nib down when not using. You could also check if there are other inks that are less problematic about drying out.

 

Good luck!



#5 Olya

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 15:48

I don't think that fpens need to be used nearly daily to prevent dry out. I've left plenty of pens unused & inked, for about 1 month, and they usually all start right up. I just tried my Waterman Hemisphere (hasn't seen use in 3 or maybe more weeks) and it started immediately up, the ink isn't even concentrated, but looks like always.

 

The fact that your pen doesn't click anymore suggests sth isn't quite right anymore, maybe it doesn't seal properly anymore due to the worn snap mechanism or as suggested above broken seal caps etc. I'm not a good authority on repairs I'm afraid!



#6 ENewton

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 16:08

I agree with others that some pens can be left for weeks and start up right away, while others need to be used more often in order not to dry out.

 

If I think I am unlikely to use a pen for a week or more, I flush it with water, let the section and converter dry separately (if it's a cartridge/converter pen), and put it away.

 

I have three Waterman pens from the 1990s and really enjoy them.  If you like the way yours writes, I would suggest that you find a way to write with it more frequently while it is inked. 



#7 ac12

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 20:01

Not writing after a WEEK or TWO of being idle.

That is normal.


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#8 JayKay3000

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 20:46

I find a quick dip in the ink pot will usually get the flow going again. I had a pen I hadn't used for a year which had year old crusty ink in it. Filled the converter, quick dip in the ink pot to get it primed and it came to life quickly and carried on fine once it had used the ink from the dip. I didn't store it upright.


Edited by JayKay3000, 04 February 2018 - 20:47.


#9 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 23:46

In your case, it might be the cap seal isn't fully cooperating. You might see what happens when you use it a bit more frequently. Does it do it after a week? Three days? Every other day?

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#10 9a3eedi

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 06:05

Judging from the comments, it seems this is something normal in fountain pens, especially old ones, and that there's not much I can do about it.

 

Since I've used this pen a lot, and while it is an excellent pen, I think I'll retire it and go for a new one I got as a gift as my daily :)

 

Seconded. It will probably work fine if you make sure to write with it regularly. Or draw, fountain pens are great for doodling. And really they like to be used, like most tools.

So if you like the pen, use it. Daily.

 

I do use it daily when I have something to write at work. I write a lot of notes when I'm doing work (programming, etc.), and during that time the pen works great, but occasionally there's not much to write so I simply don't use it for a week or two.

 

One thing I do to "warm it up" after a while of not using is doodling all sorts of random shapes and coloring them in. It's fun.

 

 

It seems that the spring in either the cap or the barrel is broken so that the cap won't sit snug and keep the feed from drying out. Since you say it's a 1990s pen, it won't have an ebonite feed which would be quite resistant to drying out. If you can't get it repaired, I would try to store it nib down when not using. You could also check if there are other inks that are less problematic about drying out.

 

Good luck!

 

The other pens I have are newer and made in recent years, and they don't dry out after a week (or more, maybe a month) of non-use. Perhaps that's the real reason why my pen is drying out quickly, as well as the fact that the cap seal isn't working anymore.

 

Storing the nib down definitely helps, but I keep reading that it's not good for the pen, might cause it to clog etc.

 

 

In your case, it might be the cap seal isn't fully cooperating. You might see what happens when you use it a bit more frequently. Does it do it after a week? Three days? Every other day?

 

A week is usually the case, maybe less. I agree, I think it's the cap seal.


Edited by 9a3eedi, 05 February 2018 - 06:20.


#11 9a3eedi

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 06:06

I find a quick dip in the ink pot will usually get the flow going again. I had a pen I hadn't used for a year which had year old crusty ink in it. Filled the converter, quick dip in the ink pot to get it primed and it came to life quickly and carried on fine once it had used the ink from the dip. I didn't store it upright.

 

This works for me as well, but I don't like to do it as I'm a clumsy person, and the less I open the ink bottle the better :P I tend to make a mess sometimes.


Edited by 9a3eedi, 05 February 2018 - 06:06.


#12 SoulSamurai

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 06:16

I believe that the weather has something to do with it as well; one of the first things I do when I get a pen after inking it up the first time is sit it nib-up in a cup for week then try to write with it. If it doesn't write almost instantly, I don't use the pen. I guess about half the pens I buy fail the test, sadly.

 

Platinum is the only company I know of that specifically advertises it's pens' ability to resist drying out (at least the ones with their "slip & seal" inner cap). So a Plaisir can be a safe choice for an affordable and reliable pen.

 

If I do need to get a pen working again, wetting the nib with normal water then scribbling a bit will often do it.


Edited by SoulSamurai, 05 February 2018 - 06:17.


#13 Torrilin

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 00:22

Yeah, this sort of drying out isn’t my favorite. And I have a couple pens prone to it. Just a daily doodle habit can really help combat the issue.

As far as avoiding it, Platinum makes a huge point of having good cap seals even down to their cheapest pens. I found a lost Preppy that still wrote even though I’d misplaced it for a year while inked. And this doesn’t seem to be unusual. Maybe in a desert climate you’d need the best Platinum caps? But in a lot of areas the cheapies will just goooooooo.

I also have found that Platinum inks seem to resist drying out, even in pens that are prone to it. I haven’t fiddled around with it seriously, but it might make a difference.





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