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Dry Ink Flow


theitalianguy
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Dear community, for sure this issue has been discussed somewhere in the 89 pages of this forum.

I apologize if I re-propose it again.

My "brand" pens, with original unit (feeder and nib), work flawlessly. Great, generous and just the right amount of ink.

My "restored" ones don't.

Basically they all suffer from poor ink flow.

As a user, I buy old pens and I put new feeder and nib.

Nibs are the good ones, Knox, Artisan State.

Feeders, I never paid too much attention, but I'm now since they all have just one tiny ink drain, and that could possibly cause the dryness.

I checked a feeder from a good "brand" pen, and it had 3 drains instead of one.

If this is the case, should I look for these multi-drain feeders?

I haven't seen them around, where do they sell?

Is this "the" solution?

I can tell I adjust my nibs, I align the tines, with the correct separation, correct tiny space between nib and feeder for a good ink flow, etc.. so I think I'm ok on that side. Ink wise, I've tried all kind of brands, Montblanc, Private Reserve, Parker, Sheaffer, none gives the flow I need. So it's not an ink problem.

Suggestions and help are very welcome.

Thank you very much.

Vieri

 

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If by 'drain' you are talking about the ink channel slit on the top of the feed? If so, then 1 is all you need. Well most of my pens only have 1 slot for the ink channel. BTW we are talking about a NON-flex nib are we?

 

I seat my nib right up to the feed, with maybe 0.001 inch separation. Too much separation and the ink won't flow.

There is no "correct separation" without testing with ink and adjusting the nib. Separation of the tines and the nib to the feed has to be done for each pen and ink, and they may not be the same for each pen and ink combination. Some may want greater or less separation to get the ink flow that you want. I have had differences even with 2 pens of the same model.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

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Hi, thank you for your comments!

Yes, non-flex nibs, and yes, "drain" is the tiny slot..

Thing is that I enjoy very much having black ink today and on the next fill a blue, or another black from another ink brand.

I also write while sitting in the couch so pens are never totally perpendicular to the paper, actually about 45 degrees max.

So probably I'm asking too much from the FP world! But it's so much fun!

Great about the one-slot-feed.

Thanks again for your time and advice.

I'll try to calibrate each nib and feed, and "one ink for every pen"...

Greetings from Miami!

Vieri

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Fountain pens are rarely used above 45 degrees from the paper, that is one of their advantages over ballpoint pens. In fact, most fountain pen nibs are not really intended to be used at 90 degrees. I think your problem is using feeds and nibs that are not matched. The manufacturers of quality fountain pens have their nibs and feeds matched. It is not just the feed groove but also how the nib fits to the feed. As ac12 says, if the gap between them is too great, the ink will not flow between them. If it is too close, the ink will not flow well either.

 

Another thing is having the tines separated by the optimum distance. If they are too close together, the ink will not flow to the tip. If they are too far apart the ink flow will stop before it gets to the tip.

 

Switching inks is not a problem for well adjusted pens, I switch inks regularly and very rarely have any problems with the ink flowing too dry or too wet. In my experience (with 40+ pens and 25+ inks), the ink almost never has to be matched to a pen. Some inks are wetter and will work best in dry pens, some inks are drier flowing and work best in the wettest pens. But for nearly all of my pens and inks it makes no difference which pen any ink is used in. The nib and feed rarely ever have to be adjusted or matched to the ink I want to use.

 

However, I have no idea what nibs and feeds you are putting in these pens. I never heard of Knox and Artisan State nibs. Are you using calligraphy nibs in your pens? That would probably require tuning to fit a specific feed in a pen.

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Dear community, for sure this issue has been discussed somewhere in the 89 pages of this forum.

I apologize if I re-propose it again.

My "brand" pens, with original unit (feeder and nib), work flawlessly. Great, generous and just the right amount of ink.

My "restored" ones don't.

Basically they all suffer from poor ink flow.

As a user, I buy old pens and I put new feeder and nib.

Nibs are the good ones, Knox, Artisan State.

Feeders, I never paid too much attention, but I'm now since they all have just one tiny ink drain, and that could possibly cause the dryness.

I checked a feeder from a good "brand" pen, and it had 3 drains instead of one.

If this is the case, should I look for these multi-drain feeders?

I haven't seen them around, where do they sell?

Is this "the" solution?

I can tell I adjust my nibs, I align the tines, with the correct separation, correct tiny space between nib and feeder for a good ink flow, etc.. so I think I'm ok on that side. Ink wise, I've tried all kind of brands, Montblanc, Private Reserve, Parker, Sheaffer, none gives the flow I need. So it's not an ink problem.

Suggestions and help are very welcome.

Thank you very much.

Vieri

 

Once a fountain pen is well used it only needs one ink channel, unless the nib is wider than 1 millimetre and more ink is needed. More channels help to speed up the dry start.

 

You can buy feeds from Schmidt Technology

 

I have a website where I describe the function of fountain pens and their components. I have written about nibs and feeds extensively. Have a read and if you have any questions, let me know. Best is to comment on my site called Fountain Pen Magic

 

I like it when people ask, it keeps me motivated to write

with kindness...

 

Amadeus W.
Ingeneer2

visit Fountain Pen Design

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Hi graystranger, thank you for your input, extremely helpful indeed.

I got your point on inks and also on the 45 degree angle.

Feeds, I buy standard ones, from dealers. I recently bought 8 or 9 just to have them handy.

On nibs, I've been very picky, as every pen writer, I guess.

I've tried several and at the end I feel very comfortable with the Artisan State, sold by Craft Supplies.

The pairing of feed and nib is something I never thought about. I thought that if a feed and nib are f.i. #5, they're supposed to fit no matter what.

Another thing that I probably failed to mention, is that I use pens mainly to do crosswords. Don't laugh. I'm from Italian roots and the only way to keep the language is to do crosswords in Italian. They come in magazine style, usually on very poor paper, so I copy them on what I consider - and can afford - a decent paper. 24 weight, Office Depot or similar.

I've been shopping for better papers, Rhodia, some Japanese brands, but price is too high, especially since I use a lot.

Could you suggest me a good-to-excellent paper, letter size, blank, best ratio quality:price, that I could look for?

That, along with not pairing strangers but full units instead, should make a great difference, for my joy and fun.

Thank you very much.

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I have heard that the Hewlett Packard 24 pound laser copy paper is very good for fountain pens, that is what Goulet Pens uses in their office. Bleed through and ghosting are not usually a problem with that paper. I also heard (on FPN) that Staples has carried notebooks made in Brazil that have fountain pen friendly paper.

 

I don't use a lot of paper myself, so I can afford to buy Rhodia, and the other quality papers made in France, Japan, etc. I know the paper that your books use, it is just about the cheapest paper made and the poorest for feathering. For your use I don't think bleedthrough is a problem, unless you copy the puzzles on both sides of the paper.

 

Maybe others here could point you to some inexpensive but well performing paper for your use.

 

I got a crossword puzzle book last year, when I'd heard it was the 100th anniversary of the invention of the crossword puzzle! Used to do them in the newspaper many years ago. But, I used a pencil, never thought to copy them onto paper. But, I got tired as so many of the questions involved a) sports figures, B) entertainment celebrities, or c) other celebrities. Seems like today the audience these puzzles are aimed at are more knowledgeable about these subjects than important facts like science, history, geography, medicine. I rarely watch any prime time TV shows, any popular movies, or sports. Maybe I should look for puzzles with specific subject focus.

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If you do cross-word puzzles and want a great ink then you should try Noodler's Black (bulletproof). You will not have to worry about the paper since this ink writes well on virtually any paper with no bleed-thru or feathering. Take a look here: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/214676-im-often-asked-why-i-like-noodlers-black/

Edited by PenFisher
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Changing inks frequently and not cleaning out all of the ink between changes, or just leaving ink for a long time in a pen can sometimes cause precipitation, which limits ink flow. For those pens which are running kind of dry, I always first try to give them a thorough cleaning. For me that means soaking the feed and nib in dilute ammonia or in Koh-I-Noor Rapido-eze (or another reputable brand) pen cleaning solution for a day or two, then put them for a couple of runs in an ultrasonic cleaner (if you don't have one, you can buy one cheap like around 20 dollars). I've been successful in converting poor flowing pens to good flowing pens in this way.

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Thank you all for your comments, suggestions and support!

Thank you Pen Ingeneer, your blog is mind blowing and full of vital information.

Graystranger, again for your valuable suggestion on paper.

PenFisher, for your advice on ink that I'll try.

Cellmatrix, for your advice on cleaning and maintenance. Can plastic also be put into the ultrasonic cleaner?

Thank you all!!!

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Most plastics are no problem to soak or ultrasound, at least in my experience. But you want to be extremely careful with delicate pen materials like casein, or metallic colored celluloid. I would try to avoid contact of those materials with liquids. I also worry that soaking of hard rubber pen parts can cause spotting or browning of the barrel or cap and that soaking levers and other metal parts can promote corrosion. The best thing to do is to remove the pen barrel and cap and just soak/ultrasound the nib and feed separately.

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Hi, Reading through your original posting, it's possible that the nib and feed are setup just right, some combinations will work better than others as you would expect. I don't know the nibs that you use but I have looked at the images of them.

One issue that you might have not considered is the ink converter, as this is a problem that is so common with writers on the FPN, and many different answers are given.

I have many pens that use the so called 'International' converters, and it's likely that your pens do too.

The problem with them is that the ink will flow for a few lines of wriitng then will dry up.

It's been noticed that the ink stays in the top half of the converter leaving the lower half empty, causing the flow to slow and then stop.

Of course, turning the piston on the converter to push more ink down to the feed will cure this, but it shouldn't be necessary.

In some converters there is a small ball bearing to 'jiggle' the air up to the top of the converter, but it can also fall to the bottom and block the ink flow too, if the design is poor.

The cause of this issue is thought to be surface tension of the ink in a narrow space, and the plastic used for the converters, in my experience, is polythene, i.e. oil and water tend to repel.

One idea that I have used, and seems to work for me, is to add to your ink, a very small amount of detergent.

I do this by filling a small (1 inch diam ) cap from any plastic bottle, with water, add one drop of dish washing up detergent. I would say 1/4 inch deep water in the 1 inch diameter cap.

Mix it up for a few seconds. Take a small screwdriver or wooden toothpick and transfer one or 2 drops into your ink converter.

You might say it would change the ink colour, but really it's difficult to see any changes for the worse.

I would guess this dilutes the ink by under 1 percent, but cures the flow issue.

In my case this works well, it costs nothing to try.

At worst, you might find it makes no difference, but I do.

In my photo, notice how the ink is flowing in the converter, and not trapped up one end, usually the top end.

I did describe this 'dodge' recently in the LAMY forum, but I don't think it even got a comment, surprising, considering how many complaints I have read about this over many years of reading and my pen and ink experiences.

 

Hope this makes sense and helps.

Edited by Mike 59
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Mike

I have that problem with the red knob Safari converter but not the black knob one for the cp1.

A SS ball will PLUG the front of converter, tried it.

So the only option is a coil of spring or something similar that has enough mass to fall through the ink, yet won't plug the front of the converter.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com

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Hi ac12, Yes I have looked at these various options several times, and a small spring shaped part, made from copper wire wound around a suitable drill, does work well, aside from the minor problem of it getting in the way of the piston.

I'm convinced this problem is a combination of several factors, the plastic, the narrow inside diameter, and the water based inks.

But the tweak I have described works so well in my Vista, where I got used to twisting the control to push the ink into the feed, but that's not how it should work of course.

I have noticed that with use, plenty of cleaning (with detergent and warm water) the surface tension issue does go away to some extent.

Someone mentioned a while back that glass converters don't have this issue, which makes sense.

Another way around this is to keep the converter full of ink, no problem then, but again not the answer.

I can tilt my Vista at the slightest angle away from the horizontal, and the ink just flows to the lowest point.

(International cartridges don't seem to behave like this though, ....odd.)

Edited by Mike 59
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I have that problem with the red knob Safari converter but not the black knob one for the cp1.

Nowadays I degrease every new Lamy converter along with section/feed/feed-tongue*/nib before first inking. (Lamy common feed is 2-part molding)

 

IMHO these plastic parts either come coated with mold release oils &/or assembled by somebody with greasy fingers.

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Mike

I have that problem with the red knob Safari converter but not the black knob one for the cp1.

A SS ball will PLUG the front of converter, tried it.

So the only option is a coil of spring or something similar that has enough mass to fall through the ink, yet won't plug the front of the converter.

 

ac12, I have thought about purchasing a tine glass, mineral, or ceramic bead to drop in a converter. One with a string hole, and maybe a non-spherical shape (cube, tetrahedra, fluted). Have not done this yet, as I'm not having any trouble with my converters or cartridges that I refill. But, it has been in the back of my mind. You can get these beads at stores that sell beading supplies, gem and mineral stores, or on-line. If you use a coil of spring, just made sure it is stainless and not a plated non-stainless spring.

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Hi you all.

There's an issue that I've been thinking on over and over.

Ink is supposed to flow from a sealed environment.

Cartridges or converters, they all are tight to the feeder.

While emptying, a vacuum forms inside, that somehow "holds" the ink from flowing freely.

Let alone the "bubble" that holds the ink on top of the converter.

In fact, when this happens, I separate the cartridge/converter from the feeder and instantly I hear a very light noise like air been freed.

Right after, pens write great, until the next jam.

I know some feeders (or all?) have a breathing hole that somehow is designed to send air back to the converter. I don't know how well these perform, and if their functionality depends on quality of maker, age or anything else.

Comments welcome.

Thank you.

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@ Mike 59: I have tried this technique with liquid soap and it works, I have used it to increase ink flow with flexible nibs, to prevent ink skips or railroading. More than the perfect ratio mentioned though, and you might get ink feathering.

 

@ the italianguy: I could not agree with you more, feeds in my humble opinion are perhaps more important than nibs. To speak in car terms, feeds are the pen's engine, and nibs are just the chassis, obviously the converter is the reservoir :), The thing is that most of the times, feeds get neglected over nibs. You appreciate the importance of a feed when you try to convert a fountain pen to write with a flexible manner. Then, there is a need for more ink supply which regular plastic feeds cannot usually supply, that is why most flexible pens tend to have ebonite feeds which are capable of better ink flow.

 

@ Pen Engineer, we thank you for your dedicated work, congrats, we appreciate your input. I was wondering if you could let us know how can we get the Schmidt feeds in retail. May I kindly disagree with you, though, on the matter of ink channels number. Last time I checked, my Lamy Safari's feed has 2 ink channels, that is probably why a Lamy Safari does not dry as easily and can write even if left unused for some time, contrary to some Safari imitation pens which dry our pretty quickly. Plus my Pilot 78G takes a lot of time to dry out if left unused too, I attribute this to the fact that its feed ink channel's depth is twice that of feeds of other inexpensive fountain pens. So number and depth of ink channels and generally the anatomy of the feed does matter a lot.

 

@ Cellmartrix. I agree with you about the importance of thoroughly cleaning the feeds and other pen components.

 

@ AC12 and graystranger. My experience is that if the feed's capacity is right for the ink demands of the pen, and you have perfect fit of the components, then you do not need anything in the converter to break the ink surface tension. like small coils or beads mentioned above. In my personal mind, these may only help when ink has somewhat dried on the feed, and by shaking the coil in the converter and thus the whole pen, the ink is disturbed and reaches the nib tip easier again. In my personal opinion, especially with flexible pens, doing what @ Mike 59 suggested with the drop of a dishwasher diluted solution added to the ink.is much more useful.

 

Once again, the proximity and fit of the feed and the nib components is of utmost importance, but this has already been stated adequately. Therefore, it is preferable to change the whole nib unit (nib, feed and nib housing) in a pen if you want to upgrade its nib performance than simply change out the nib only.

Edited by Frank66

- Kaigelu 316 Modification (250 #6 Bock Nib / Beaufort Ink Converter)
- Titanium Bock Nib - Kaigelu 316 - Beaufort Ink

- Bock Rollerball Nib In Jinhao 886 Pen - Beaufort Ink Converter

- No affiliation with pen industry, just a pen hobbyist.

- It matters what you write, only for us it matters what we write it with.

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Here are a couple of photos of how the added detergent improves the ink flow in the converter.

No sign of ink sticking at the top, it just flows under gravity as I tilt the pen, and I have to think that it improves the flow through the feed also. I use very little detergent, which has been diluted previously in water, probably around 1 or 2% of the ink in the converter.

The surface tension issue seems not to be there, and if the ink has been altered by the added water + detergent, I don't notice any difference. The photos show this effect working in my LAMY Vista + converter.

Edited by Mike 59
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