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A Mystifying Problem - About To Give Up In Frustration!

visconti michelangelo le ink flow double reservoir skipping

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57 replies to this topic

#1 Ciliegia

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 12:53

Hi all

 

I feel like throwing in the towel on my most expensive pen (a double reservoir fine nibbed Visconti Michelangelo Grande LE in beautiful green celluloid).

 

By my standards, this pen cost me a fortune a few years ago, but it has been problematic since day one. 

 

I bought the pen second hand but was told it was uninked and in mint, unused condition. It certainly seemed to match that description when it arrived. It looked (and still does look) mint...it's a beautiful pen. 

 

However, regardless of how often I flush it, and regardless of what type of ink I try in it, I have a perennial problem.

 

The pen usually starts from the first stroke, but after half a page of A5 writing, it starts to skip...first just on the occasional downstroke, but within a line or two it skips on practically every stroke of every letter. I check and it has plenty of ink...I unscrew the bottom and tip more ink from the reservoir - it hardly make a jot of difference. 

 

If I persevere to the end of the sheet and turn to the next page in my notebook, it often starts writing like a dream again...until the dreaded half way point of the page, when it starts to skip again....start a new page and often it writes well again...until the midway point. 

 

It seems to happen in all my notebooks (although, admittedly, these tend to be restricted to Rhodia, Clairefontaine or Paperblanks journals). Smooth papers seem to exacerbate the problem (it hardly writes at all on Clairfontaine paper)....if the paper's a bit toothier it tends to happen less, but ALWAYS happens eventually, regardless of the paper. I've just bought some Midori cotton paper to see if it happens on that - I haven't yet tried it - but really I don't want the pen to be so temperamental that it only writes on one or two types of paper. 

 

I've wondered if it's something about the oils from my skin rubbing on the bottom half of each sheet of paper, but I've tried covering the writing surface with a covering sheet and it still happens...and I have quite dry skin and ought to use hand moisturiser, but I'm lazy and rarely do, so I can't see oil transfer onto the paper being a contributory factor. 

 

My husband suggested it could be that I'm inadvertently changing the angle at which I write as I reach the halfway point of the page...but he's observed me and can't spot any noticeable different in my writing style between the top and bottom halves of the page. 

 

Could it be something to do with the double reservoir design? But if so, why does the problem tend to resolve itself when I turn to a new page? Then recur at the halfway point?

 

For clarity, I write on both sides of each sheet of paper, and the problem occurs on both sides of the paper and on both the verso and recto sides of the notebook. 

 

I am mystified, frustrated and fed up. 

 

The nib itself seems well aligned and I can't see any evident signs of baby's bottom (not that I'm an expert).

 

I thought it could be a feed/flow issue, but when I switch to a new page it often starts wrting again prefectly...until the half way point! 

 

At this point I'm so frustrated that I feel like chucking the pen in the bin! 

 

Does anyone have any insights or ideas about what could be causing this problem?

 



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#2 _InkyFingers

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 13:09

Have you tried leaving the blind cap in the open position while writing? This allows continuous flow of ink to the reservoir.

#3 Addertooth

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 13:10

Experiments:

1. Before you write anything, wipe your hand back and forth for a few minutes on the bottom half of a blank page.  Then try to write where you just wiped your hand.... if it skippy, or hard starting, try to write on the "untouched" upper half of the paper..... if it writes well on the upper half of the page, but not the lower half of the page, then the problem IS skin oils/lotion.

2. after the oil check (if it makes no difference), do a feed check..... When the pen gets fussy, rotate it end-over-end about ten times, see if it writes properly now.  If it does, then your feed is not letting air back into the pen, and the vacuum is keeping the ink from coming out.

3. But I think that _inkyFingers may have the right of it, if the pens has a cap on the back side which controls air into the reservoir. 


Edited by Addertooth, 07 September 2019 - 13:12.


#4 Ciliegia

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 13:45

Have you tried leaving the blind cap in the open position while writing? This allows continuous flow of ink to the reservoir.

 

Yes I've tried that - it sometimes helps the problem but doesn't eliminate it entirely...but thanks for the suggestion. 



#5 dumaresq

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 14:14

Mystifying indeed!

 

What happens if you flip to a new page and start writing three-quarters down the page instead of from the top? Is it skippy?



#6 Tadeo

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 14:30

I suggest a little experiment:

Skip the top of the page and start writing at the same spot where you are having trouble.

As a control condition, ask someone else to use the pen and look if the problem persists.

To collect data and analyze the problem better, you can video record the problem, preferably with the camera in a fixed position.

My hypothesis is that the nib has baby's bottom and it causes problems depending on the angle of the pen to the paper. I think you may be changing your pen's angle along the page.

Tadeo

#7 sansenri

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 14:33

might also be insufficient flow in the feed, the available ink allows you to write half a page and then ink starvation starts, when you stop writing and go to the next page the pause may be sufficient for more ink to flow in the feed.

Changing the nib and or the feed would be a good test to see if it's a nib/feed problem, but you would probably need a shop's assistance to try that.

Assistance from a nibmeister would probably finally solve your problems without having to tinker with the nib or feed yourself, and is probably recommendable for such a nice pen.



#8 evan-houseman

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 14:57

-If it's an oil problem, it would reveal itself, to some degree, with all your pens.

-If the secondary reservoir is visibly full, my guess it's a feed problem. Either not enough ink or not enough air exchange.

-The observation that leaving the blind cap open helps a little, my guess it's an air flow problem in the feed.

Try examining the feed under magnification to see any obvious malformations or blockages.

If you fill the pen with distilled water and a few drops of food coloring, and the problem disappears, then the channels may have to be gently/carefully dredged with a brass shim.



#9 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 14:58

Sorry to hear about your issue with the Visconti. Such problems can be very frustrating. Some good advice was given by others in this discussion. My guess would be a combination of mild babys bottom (making the pen susceptible to skipping on the part of the page where hand oils may be found, or where the angle of writing becomes more steep) and an air exchange issue. Solving the issue requires systematic elimination of possibilities. One word of caution: do _not_ start to meddle with the nib. Leave that to a nibmeister. Whatever it is that causes your problem, it can be fixed. If all else fails, send the pen to a good nibmeister and provide the nibmeister with a video of you writing with the pen (ask someone to film your hand as you write). You can either put the video on YT or on an SD-card that you send with the pen. Based on that, almost certainly the problem can be fixed. Good luck!

Edited by TheDutchGuy, 07 September 2019 - 15:00.


#10 Beechwood

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 15:33

I might have missed it, what ink are you using? If you are using Diamine flush it out and try something else such as Waterman or Parker.

 

I have to say that I have had three Viscontis and they all behaved in the way you described, they were all converter filled but I think that your pen has a special technique that has to be followed with its two compartments. You can write for a half page or so with the full front reservoir and you then screw the filler knob and retract the shaft by a tiny amount which opens the seal to the back reservoir which tops up the front reservour, quite a faff,  you then refasten the filler.

 

I think I am correct in saying that there is a small tube in the reservior leads to the nib and feed, this tube is taller than the bottom of the chamber  you can still have ink in the little chamber but if the level of the ink is lower than the top of the  tube, you won't get flow into the section and nib/feed.

 

 

If the problem is a. not your ink or b. not the filling system then it sounds like you need a nib specialist to sort out the feed and nib relationship. I would have thought that would cost around £40 so try and sort  a and b first of all.

 

 


 79 minus your age plus 40 eaquals the year you were born.

 

 


#11 Ciliegia

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 16:40

You've all come up with some good suggestions, for which I'm very grateful. 

 

I've been continuing my experiments and tests. 

 

With a full pen (newly inked) I've now written ten A5 pages, with the blind cap fully screwed closed. I haven't fiddled with the blind cap and filler shaft at all today - that's for tonight's experiments!

 

What I have tried is:

a) starting on a new sheet of paper, but starting half way down

b ) tipping the pen several times as soon as I detect skipping

c) covering the lower half of each sheet with a cover sheet of paper, to prevent my hand moving across the bottom half of the page as I write

 

I started halfway down after turning the page when the pen had been skipping for the bottom half of the previous page. I'd capped the pen, left it lying horizontal for an hour, picked it up and uncapped it and then started to write on a new page but on the bottom half of the page  - the pen skipped almost constantly.

 

I persevered to the bottom of the page, and then I tipped the pen slowly  up and down half a dozen times and started at the top of a new page, with the bottom half of the page covered with a protective sheet - the pen wrote like a dream for not only that whole page, but also for the next two pages. 

 

I then turned to a fresh page and started writing, but this time I didn't use a protective sheet....the pen wrote perfectly until the halfway point and then skipped through the second half of the page, where the pad of my hand had rubbed against the page. It particularly skipped on the bottom four lines, where I'd deliberately rubbed the fleshy pad above my wrist bone across those four lines several times. The surface was almost unwriteable. 

 

I then tipped the pen up and down several times and turned to a fresh page, and reinstated the protective sheet - again, I had three solid pages of non skippy writing, covering the whole sheet.

 

So this seems to suggest that it IS a skin oils problem - which is surprising, because my skin is actually very dry (too dry!) and I don't have the problem with any of my other pens. 

 

As a next step, I plan to expand my experiments by NOT using a protective sheet, and tinkering around with the blind cap and shaft to see if I can manage to get a couple of non-skippy full pages without resorting to a cover sheet....but I'm not hopeful.

 

The skin-oil issue is not something that I ever expected to have, as I rarely use hand lotion and the skin on my hands is really dry....it's really odd that it only seems to affect this pen, while all my other pens work perfectly. 

 

As for inks....I mainly use Diamine inks, but the pen also skips with the Herbin, Private Reserve, Visconti and Aurora inks that I've tried in it. But it's been inked with Diamine more than any other ink....I'm currently using Diamine Sherwood Green. 

 

EDITED to add that the notebook that I'm carrying out these experiments in is a Paperblanks Carmine Equinoxe journal, which has 120g acid free paper (and is usually unproblematic with all of my other pens.)


Edited by Ciliegia, 07 September 2019 - 16:48.


#12 Beechwood

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 16:47

 


As for inks....I mainly use Diamine inks, but the pen also skips with the Herbin, Private Reserve, Visconti and Aurora inks that I've tried in it. But it's been inked with Diamine more than any other ink....I'm currently using Diamine Sherwood Green. 

 

No fan of Diamine, just try something for me with sherwood green, Empty your pen into a seperate small bottle and dilute it with boiled cooled water, at least 50/50. Mix it up. Fill your pen with the new solution and see if there is any improvement.


 79 minus your age plus 40 eaquals the year you were born.

 

 


#13 Ciliegia

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 17:06

 

No fan of Diamine, just try something for me with sherwood green, Empty your pen into a seperate small bottle and dilute it with boiled cooled water, at least 50/50. Mix it up. Fill your pen with the new solution and see if there is any improvement.

 

 

Ok, I'll try it...I have a bottle of distilled water to hand for cleaning my vinyl records - is that better than cooled boiled water? Especially as Norfolk has the hardest water in the UK....



#14 Beechwood

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 17:14

 

 

Ok, I'll try it...I have a bottle of distilled water to hand for cleaning my vinyl records - is that better than cooled boiled water? Especially as Norfolk has the hardest water in the UK....

 

 

Either distilled or boiled cooled water, doesnt really matter.

 

 

I follow the idea of resting your hand on a seperate sheet of paper but i really think that you would have seen this problem with other pens if it was a factor.

 

I think it is either an ink  issue or the pen itself, either the reservoirs or the feed drying up.


Edited by Beechwood, 07 September 2019 - 17:19.

 79 minus your age plus 40 eaquals the year you were born.

 

 


#15 Ciliegia

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 18:17

 

 

Either distilled or boiled cooled water, doesnt really matter.

 

 

I follow the idea of resting your hand on a seperate sheet of paper but i really think that you would have seen this problem with other pens if it was a factor.

 

I think it is either an ink  issue or the pen itself, either the reservoirs or the feed drying up.

 

 

Well I'm totally gobsmacked! I did what you said and diluted it 50:50 with cooled boiled water and wrote two pages without any protective sheet to stop my hand rubbing on the page....I did get one minor skip on the very last line of the first page, but otherwise the ink flowed perfectly - and I was amazed that it didn't look at all watery. In face, there was barely any colour change at all. Amazing. 

 

I can't believe the problem can be solved as easily as using different ink...I've had this skipping problem definitely with Visconti Green, Visconti Black, Aurora Black and - I think - PR Dark Cherry. 

 

It'll certainly make my bottle of Sherwood Green last a lot longer!

 

Incidentally, Beechwood, if you don't like Diamine inks, which inks do you think ARE well behaved? Ideally I'm looking for a well-behaving green ink....



#16 dumaresq

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 18:34

Very interesting!

 

Beechwood, do you mind explaining what's your thinking behind this? Presumably the hand oils are a contributing factor (based on Ciliegia's follow-up experiments). Why does diluting the ink help to overcome this?



#17 Beechwood

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 18:40

 

 

Well I'm totally gobsmacked! I did what you said and diluted it 50:50 with cooled boiled water and wrote two pages without any protective sheet to stop my hand rubbing on the page....I did get one minor skip on the very last line of the first page, but otherwise the ink flowed perfectly - and I was amazed that it didn't look at all watery. In face, there was barely any colour change at all. Amazing. 

 

I can't believe the problem can be solved as easily as using different ink...I've had this skipping problem definitely with Visconti Green, Visconti Black, Aurora Black and - I think - PR Dark Cherry. 

 

It'll certainly make my bottle of Sherwood Green last a lot longer!

 

Incidentally, Beechwood, if you don't like Diamine inks, which inks do you think ARE well behaved? Ideally I'm looking for a well-behaving green ink....

 

 

I am pleased that you have a real improvement. I actually like Diamine Sherwood Green but find it really saturated, I buy a bottle of 30ml and dilute it to 80ml.

 

The great thing about Diamine is the huge range of colour and there are some jewels in their range but  I avoid their reds and purples because I have seen some bad staining, and shimmer inks are not for me at all.

 

The well behaved inks that I have used are a bit boring, Parker, Waterman and some MB inks. I have been trying Organics Studios inks and really like what I have seen.

 

https://www.purepens...organics-studio

 

and James Joyce Hunter Green is a really deep dark green, they also do a really nice ink called Blue Crab

 

https://www.purepens...ce-hunter-green

 

 

Good result for you, pleased to have helped.


 79 minus your age plus 40 eaquals the year you were born.

 

 


#18 sandy101

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 20:28

 

 

Well I'm totally gobsmacked! I did what you said and diluted it 50:50 with cooled boiled water and wrote two pages without any protective sheet to stop my hand rubbing on the page....I did get one minor skip on the very last line of the first page, but otherwise the ink flowed perfectly - and I was amazed that it didn't look at all watery. In face, there was barely any colour change at all. Amazing. 

 

I can't believe the problem can be solved as easily as using different ink...I've had this skipping problem definitely with Visconti Green, Visconti Black, Aurora Black and - I think - PR Dark Cherry. 

 

It'll certainly make my bottle of Sherwood Green last a lot longer!

 

Incidentally, Beechwood, if you don't like Diamine inks, which inks do you think ARE well behaved? Ideally I'm looking for a well-behaving green ink....

 

I would suggest both Sailor and Caran D'ache's inks work well - but they are not cheap. The inks are on the wetter side. I use them to nurse pens that have had dried ink in the feed. Both of these inks seem to be wet enough to dissolve other dried inks. Waterman is also good - I'm not sure if they have a green ink, but Waterman Tender Purple and Havana Brown can be too wet for some pens and papers. 

 

 

A fill of one of these inks has fixed my dried up Visconti and Cross pens - then I go back to using the regular black & blue inks.   



#19 Larry Barrieau

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 03:26

Easy fix and cheap when compared to the purchase price: Send it to a nib mechanic.

To better see my icon     http://fpnlcb.shutterfly.com/pictures

Looking for a black SJ Transitional Esterbrook Pen.  (It's smaller than an sj)


#20 Ciliegia

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 18:01

@Beechwood, my sense of having solved the issue was premature....the pen has started to skip again, and I'm at a solution of about 55:45 water:Sherwood Green

 

When the pen starts to skip, the feeling I have is as if I'm trying to write on waxproof paper - there is no feeling of connection to the page, and the stroke looks thin and appears unabsorbed into the paper (this isn't a consequence of diluting, this also happened when the pen was filled with 100% undiluted ink). 

 

Could it be baby's bottom? Or skin oils?

 

Is it worth me increasing the dilution to a 62.5:37.5 (i.e. 50:30) water:ink ratio (the way that you say that you do?)

 

Or should I change to a less saturated ink (I have a bottle of Waterman black that I could try....)

 

Or just smash the pen with a hammer?!?







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