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How Does One Fill A Plunger Fill Pen, Such As An Onoto, Safely?

onoto plunger

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3 replies to this topic

#1 Methersgate



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Posted 14 March 2018 - 11:20

I have a couple of plunger fill Onoto pens. The business of filling them with ink is a little unusual, in that the pen's custodian (the very youngest Onoto plunger filler is now about to qualify for its old age pension and free bus pass, so one is a custodian for the next generation!) removes the cap, puts the nib in the ink up to the section (so far, so normal!) and then unscrews the cap at the other end of the pen, pulls it all the way out, and then firmly shoves it all the way home, at which point, all being well, ink flows into the pen's barrel. The custodian then screws up the cap (thereby, allegedly, closing the ink flow valve) wipes the nib, puts the cap on, and that's that.


The bit that worries me is the business of firmly shoving the plunger home. With a lever fill, piston fill, button fill, Aerometric or Vacumatic pen, one is holding the pen so that the nib is clear of the bottom of the ink bottle, and not applying downwards force in the direction of the nib, with a plunger fill pen that is exactly what one is doing with the plunger filler - shoving the nib hard towards the bottom of the ink bottle. If the plunger slides smoothly down, as it should, there is no trouble, but if the plunger sticks slightly, or if one continues shoving after the top cap is closed, the downwards shove is transferred to the body of the pen and thus to the nib...     


I'm always scared of bending the nib - older Onotos are rightly famous for long, delicate, flexible nibs... 


I want to steady the hand holding the pen on something (not the open top of the ink bottle!)


Is there an approved technique?  

Edited by Methersgate, 14 March 2018 - 12:25.

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#2 Chrissy


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Posted 14 March 2018 - 12:07

You could use a rubber glove on the hand that holds the pen, then rest those fingers on the open top of the ink bottle. The idea is to pinch the pen and not let the fingers on top of the pen ink bottle let it move any further down towards the bottom of the bottle.  :)


Hopefully you don't use a Visconti ink bottle  :(

#3 praxim


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Posted 14 March 2018 - 21:52

Adding to what Chrissy is saying, the responsibility for holding the pen and pushing the plunger should lie with different hands, so holding the barrel firmly while using the plunger with precision rather than force. After some fiddling around previously, I now do one of the following: grip the bottle and pen barrel as a unit (easy with a bottle like Robert Oster's) or rest against a support below the threads (see GvFC and MB shoe bottles) or simply grip bottle threads and barrel in a fist. A thumb and two fingers of the other hand guide down the plunger safely then a bit of Amodex takes care of the case where you were not wearing a protective glove. Get your gripping hand in position loosely, and set the pen's depth in the bottle with your other hand before tightening your grip. The pen should now have no chance of moving more than trivially.


Of course, you could always fill it only from freshly opened bottles of ink to ensure ample depth below the nib. As a good custodian, you will know your Onoto deserves no less. :)


Editing to add: pull out the plunger before you put the pen in the bottle. There is no reason to do otherwise.

Edited by praxim, 14 March 2018 - 21:54.

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#4 Methersgate



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Posted 15 March 2018 - 09:40

Thank you both.

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