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Bchr Not Black Anymore


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67 replies to this topic

#1 Pen_Padawan

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 13:50

Hi All,
I just cleaned, washed with cool water a BCHR vintage Onoto pen. It was not very black, sort of dark olive color but after drying it got even lighter in color, almost a tan color! I know not to soak, or use warm water but is this normal?

Second question, what are options to bring back the black color?

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#2 siamackz

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 17:27

Yup, some pens are far more sensisitive to water. Options I know are:
1. Dye like pmnbr9
2. Chemical sold by Hoover
3. Micromesh or some kind of abrasive

Each has their own advantages and disadvantages and depends on your specific needs. For example, small parts might be best address with option 1. Pens with chasing I would do option 1 or 2. Smooth pens without imprints I would do option 3. Just IMHO. Do wait for the pros to share

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#3 Pen_Padawan

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 07:05

Yup, some pens are far more sensisitive to water. Options I know are:
1. Dye like pmnbr9
2. Chemical sold by Hoover
3. Micromesh or some kind of abrasive

Each has their own advantages and disadvantages and depends on your specific needs. For example, small parts might be best address with option 1. Pens with chasing I would do option 1 or 2. Smooth pens without imprints I would do option 3. Just IMHO. Do wait for the pros to share

 

Hi Siamackz,

It was strange how just cool water changed the color so much, but thank you for your advice.  Further searching on FPN located a wealth of information.

Thanks again.



#4 Paul80

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 08:30

For the less knowlegable amongst us

What is 1 & 2 ?

#5 FarmBoy

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 06:40

For the less knowlegable amongst us

What is 1 & 2 ?

Potions of snake oil that shouldnt touch pens.

Edited by FarmBoy, 11 June 2019 - 06:41.

San Francisco International Pen Show - They have dates! August 23-24-25, 2019 AND August 28-29-30, 2020. Book your travel and tables now! My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

#6 siamackz

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 07:26

Lol @ farmboy

Point 1 is a black dye that you paint onto the pen. It requires some skill/practice to get it right. But over time, my expertience shows that the dye can fade and start looking ugly (even when pros apply it). There is no abrasive action using the dye.

Point 2 is a sticky liquid that you immerse the pen in for about 20 mins and then rub off. This is abrasive action, though gentler than micromesh I feel.

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#7 eachan

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 14:40

Potions of snake oil that shouldnt touch pens.

 

Absolutely.  Couldn't agree more!


Regards,

Eachan


#8 PaulS

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 15:50

the physical process of Mark Hoover's product is one of dissolving the top oxidized layer from the surface of the BHR pen without the need of abrasion to do so - the pen is then cleaned by wiping down carefully to remove the chemical containing dissolved oxidation.     This process can be repeated if necessary, until the required level of blackness is achieved.                    Oxidation isn't being removed by friction, scraping or abrasion - the act of wiping off the jelly is not removing any BHR  -  this is attested to by the fine detail of chasing that remains after using this method.  

Unfortunately, Mark's product can be messy, but does produce good results though perhaps not on all pens.      After using the product a balm is applied that helps to retain blackness, and whether the pen is returned fully to its original blackness is open to debate.

 

Micro mesh is an abrasive - albeit an ultra fine grade, but it does remove material based upon the act of friction and abrasion, and is unfriendly toward the fine details seen on some BCHR pens. 

 

The pro's and con's of this subject revolve more around the individuals approach as to whether you wish to keep the effects of history, or not.   Some folk love to see patina and the knocks of use and time  -  others don't  -  there's much personal opinion here  -  for example originality versus a dislike of that horrible khaki brown coating. 

There are those who consider that in the long term there might be as yet unseen side effects that could suddenly pop out of the woodwork and bite us on the bum - a not irrational feeling perhaps since we don't know the chemical make up of Mark Hoover's product.

 

I've used both w. & d. paper and Mark's product, and there's no doubt that an old e.d. with some value can be wrecked in minutes using abrasive papers, though this won't happen with the jelly.        Both methods have their down side  -  the former is very smelly as the sulphur begins to be released and fingers smell and stain.    The jelly is very sticky and seems to get everywhere it's not wanted.

 

From what I'm reading, the jelly route is the only method that preserves the fine detail of chasing - the unknown long term effects are perhaps its Achilles Heel.     Using abrasives is not to be recommended if the pen has surface decoration, and using dye sounds unpredictable in the long term.

 

The answer is probably to stay away from oxidized pens, unless you love history and don't object to owning some brown sticks. 


Edited by PaulS, 11 June 2019 - 15:51.


#9 Seney724

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 16:06

Agree, Hoover's stuff is way more trouble than its worth.  Even the most fastidious and experienced user ends up with a huge mess.  Ugh!!!      :wacko:

 

I've had very good outcomes using Syd Saperstein's "Pen Potion #9."

Some here do not like Syd's product....... but if you search FPN you will find enough members who do like it to make it worth your consideration.

For example, look here:  http://www.fountainp...r/#entry4193700

 

Like most  other things, if you do not use it correctly, it does not work!!   ;)

 

Good luck!



#10 Herobrinefly

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 16:29

In my experience, once black hard rubber starts to fade, it has a tendency to fade more very easily( even just exposed to strong light could change the dark brown colour to olive). Renaissance wax seems to work a bit to protect it from fading.



#11 eachan

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 17:27

Renaissance wax, or any wax, can never be removed once applied.  It isn't an entirely inert substance and may have long-term deleterious effects of its own.  Museums no longer use it. I'm quite happy with a certain amount of fading and I find that faded pens that are handled regularly take on a more pleasant appearance.  I stay away from the pens that have faded to grey or yellow as I find the chemical methods of re-blacking unpleasant and unsatisfactory.  Abrasion works well with smooth pens but, really, life is too short...


Regards,

Eachan


#12 siamackz

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 17:48

the physical process of Mark Hoover's product is one of dissolving the top oxidized layer from the surface of the BHR pen without the need of abrasion to do so - the pen is then cleaned by wiping down carefully to remove the chemical containing dissolved oxidation.     This process can be repeated if necessary, until the required level of blackness is achieved.                    Oxidation isn't being removed by friction, scraping or abrasion - the act of wiping off the jelly is not removing any BHR  -  this is attested to by the fine detail of chasing that remains after using this method.  
Unfortunately, Mark's product can be messy, but does produce good results though perhaps not on all pens.      After using the product a balm is applied that helps to retain blackness, and whether the pen is returned fully to its original blackness is open to debate.
 
Micro mesh is an abrasive - albeit an ultra fine grade, but it does remove material based upon the act of friction and abrasion, and is unfriendly toward the fine details seen on some BCHR pens. 
 
The pro's and con's of this subject revolve more around the individuals approach as to whether you wish to keep the effects of history, or not.   Some folk love to see patina and the knocks of use and time  -  others don't  -  there's much personal opinion here  -  for example originality versus a dislike of that horrible khaki brown coating. 
There are those who consider that in the long term there might be as yet unseen side effects that could suddenly pop out of the woodwork and bite us on the bum - a not ir

rational feeling perhaps

since we don't know the chemical make up of Mark Hoover's product.
 
I've used both w. & d. paper and Mark's product, and there's no doubt that an old e.d. with some value can be wrecked in minutes using abrasive papers, though this won't happen with the jelly.        Both methods have their down side  -  the former is very smelly as the sulphur begins to be released and fingers smell and stain.    The jelly is very sticky and seems to get everywhere it's not wanted.
 
From what I'm reading, the jelly route is the only method that preserves the fine detail of chasing - the unknown long term effects are perhaps its Achilles Heel.     Using abrasives is not to be recommended if the pen has surface decoration, and using dye sounds unpredictable in the long term.
 
The answer is probably to stay away from oxidized pens, unless you love history and don't object to owning some brown sticks. 
Thank you for clarifying about Hoovers product - I didnt know it dissolved the outer layer. I thought it was a different kind of abrasive. But your clarification makes sense.

My Vintage Montblanc Website--> link

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#13 Marlow

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 20:22

Quite a few sellers have been using the de-oxidiser and achieving tremendously enhanced closing prices on pens that would otherwise achieve only their average regular figures! If you see a chased hard rubber pen for sale that is very black but, despite the chasing looking really quite fresh, is without the almost scratchily sharp top edges of the ridges of the chasing, it has been re-blacked or de-oxidised! Even the truly New Old Stock hard rubber pens will likely have faded in the 80-100+ years since manufacture. You need truly high quality photos to enable this to be properly clarified before you have the pen in your hands. Interestingly, that kind of macro-detail is rarely provided.

 

Despite the fact that many purists on this forum (myself included) prefer the authenticity of 'honest wear', there are many folks who are seduced by the apparently pristine condition of a pen that has been effectively re-blackened.


"Every job is good if you do your best and work hard. A man who works hard stinks only to the ones that have nothing to do but smell." Laura Ingalls Wilder

#14 PaulS

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 20:54

:)  love the thought of seduction by a pristine BCHR - such erotic sentiments - but the warning of being wary of buying a treated pen is very real, so caution always if you're someone who ordinarily wouldn't buy such pens.               An honest seller should always inform the buyer if the pen has been renovated in this way.

What is annoying is that for whatever reasons some BHR pens seem never to oxidize.



#15 Marlow

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 22:13

:)  love the thought of seduction by a pristine BCHR - such erotic sentiments - but the warning of being wary of buying a treated pen is very real, so caution always if you're someone who ordinarily wouldn't buy such pens.               An honest seller should always inform the buyer if the pen has been renovated in this way.

What is annoying is that for whatever reasons some BHR pens seem never to oxidize.

 

Based on my incomplete experience it seems that the higher the sulphur content of the vulcanite the less the likelihood of oxidation. Montblanc safety pens are often very black or at least very very dark brown despite being a hundred years old and I believe I read somewhere that the MB ebonite was made with more sulphur and also with a greater thickness than most other pens. Whilst I could be talking complete twaddle here, I do have a perfectly mint Onoto HR safety retractable that is pure ebony coloured and a couple of very old MB safeties that are either jet black or ultra-dark brown.


Edited by Marlow, 11 June 2019 - 22:14.

"Every job is good if you do your best and work hard. A man who works hard stinks only to the ones that have nothing to do but smell." Laura Ingalls Wilder

#16 PaulS

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 09:29

pix attached of several pens I've recently put through Mark Hoover's recipe, showing before and after (apologies in advance if I've not posted these previously).  

Attached Images

  • Oxidised -  B.B. - Mentmore - N.Y. e.d. The Swan Pen.jpg
  • oxidation removed.JPG


#17 Marlow

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 09:39

pix attached of several pens I've recently put through Mark Hoover's recipe, showing before and after (apologies in advance if I've not posted these previously).  

 

Perfect illustrations of what worn pens look like when re-blackened! I don't know about anyone else, but I find the 'before' pics to be much more aesthetically pleasing than the 'after' pics!?!


"Every job is good if you do your best and work hard. A man who works hard stinks only to the ones that have nothing to do but smell." Laura Ingalls Wilder

#18 eachan

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 11:34

I agree.  They don't look pens that have retained their original black.


Regards,

Eachan


#19 PaulS

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 12:03

o.k. - so no one likes them. :)            They were my trial run to see how the concoction would work - I don't sell pens, though I've been known to give the odd one away.               These will stay with me, as virtually all my pens will, and though I am a great fan of patina and the aesthetics gained by the passing of time - none of these is a rare of important pen - they're commonly found examples, so I don't feel I've deprived history of something unique. 

Revitalizing can often allow the imprints to be seen a little more clearly, and of course there are those who do like to see a little more black.



#20 Marlow

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 12:24

o.k. - so no one likes them. :)            They were my trial run to see how the concoction would work - I don't sell pens, though I've been known to give the odd one away.               These will stay with me, as virtually all my pens will, and though I am a great fan of patina and the aesthetics gained by the passing of time - none of these is a rare of important pen - they're commonly found examples, so I don't feel I've deprived history of something unique. 

Revitalizing can often allow the imprints to be seen a little more clearly, and of course there are those who do like to see a little more black.

 

Totally agree. I have some of Mark's potions on my bench (as yet unused) for this very reason. I certainly wasn't planning on using it on my Ford's Patent Pen! :lol:


"Every job is good if you do your best and work hard. A man who works hard stinks only to the ones that have nothing to do but smell." Laura Ingalls Wilder






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