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Hard Starters - What To Do?



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I have some lovely old pens, but while some of them start happily and willingly, some need a great deal of encouragement to get the ink to flow.

 

Is it the nib, the feed, the ink or something else? What do you do to fix the problem?

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Yes, all of the above. Hard-starters may have a clogged feed, baby-bottom nib, not like the ink, not like the paper. My method for checking out a bad writer is to look closely at the nib under magnification, disassemble and clean the pen thoroughly, refill with a different ink, make sure I have good paper by writing on with a different pen. If none of that works, send the pen to a Master Penman. Or throw it out.

 

Enjoy,

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?

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Would help to know what the pens are and how often and how much you write with each.

Sometimes the caps don't seal well, and a the ink in the nib can dry out overnight or in a few days or a few weeks.

Sometimes it's what randal wrote.

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I had been having trouble persuading a Parker 75 with an OBB nib to start without priming the feed by twisting the convertor. Even then, the ink would only flow for 5 or 6 lines before I had to repeat the process.

 

I was despairing. I then noticed that there was an air bubble in the convertor that didn't move when the pen was inverted. Suspecting a surface tension effect, I added a tiny amount of photographic surfactant to the convertor's load of ink.

 

Voila! The ink flow has been perfect for the last 24 hours despite rest interludes and extensive writing.

 

Elsewhere on FPN users describe adding a small steel ball bearing or a spring to the convertor to break the surface tension but I didn't have either to hand.

 

The other remedies for hard starts that have been mentioned already should be tried before this remedy.

 

Good luck,

Dave.

Edited by the_gasman
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Yeah it sounds like a good thorough cleaning and a close inspection of the nib tip with a loupe would be the first place to start. Do the tines seem misaligned? Maybe soak the nib and feed in a bit of distilled water with a drop of light dish soap? If I'm using a converter I tend to keep the ink pushed up to the feed to keep it saturated and leave air out of the reservoir as I write if it doesn't have an agitator. Sometimes the ink can evaporate over time, particularly if the pen isn't used as often. But any of that seems less likely the issue.

Edited by Arkamas
...The history, culture and sophistication; the rich, aesthetic beauty; the indulgent, ritualistic sensations of unscrewing the cap and filling from a bottle of ink; the ambient scratch of the ink-stained nib on fine paper; A noble instrument, descendant from a line of ever-refined tools, and the luster of writing,
with a charge from over several millennia of continuing the art of recording man's life.

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I'm looking at a half-dozen ancient ringtops with lever fillers. In a couple of cases it's a bent nib or a gap between nib and feed.

It's always something. Something I haven't the skills or patience for. This is what keeps the nibmeister community in their homes.

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I first get the ink to the end of the feed. I then use a tissue or a smooth sheet of paper to "pull" the ink to the tip using capillary action. Getting the ink to the end of the feed is done by one of, or a combination of:

 

a) squeezing the cartridge several times to pump ink to the end of the feed,

 

B) turning the piston/converter knob,

 

c) holding the pen with the CAPPED nib pointing away from my body and shaking the pen in a circular motion (so centripetal/centrifugal force) to push ink to the tip of the nib.

 

d) this is the weird one. put the pen nib pointing down in a case/pouch inside a rolling suitcase and walking around while doing errands.

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I have this problem when I leave certain old Onotos for at least day or two unused. I lick the tip of a little finger and run it down the nib slit, then on to a handy cloth or chamois to clean the finger. That is usually enough, without a shake being needed.

 

I found recently that the Magna was not responding to this treatment. I found then that this was owing to having run out of ink. :rolleyes:

X

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I found recently that the Magna was not responding to this treatment. I found then that this was owing to having run out of ink. :rolleyes:

 

I once had a conceptually similar problem with an old diesel camper-van while touring around New Zealand. :blush:

 

Cheers,

David.

Edited by the_gasman
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Misaligned nibs, not good contact between the feed and nib, caps that do not seal well, ink that has dried and impedes ink flow, have been the usual culprits in my case, followed by poor ink and paper choice and nib baby bottom.

- 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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I have been very fortunate that my couple of hard-starters can be coaxed back into action with a bit of water. I keep an antique glass inkwell on my desk with water for the purpose. (also serves as a nice paperweight). A quick dip and then wipe on a soft rag and I'm back in business. I haven't had any temperamental pens with more serious hard-starting issues, thank goodness.

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Bo Bo Olson

I keep an antique glass inkwell on my desk with water for the purpose.""""""""" :rolleyes: :headsmack:One can tell I spent time behind the bar...having at first a shot glass.

And me with so many inkwells :wallbash: .....I use now a German postal sponge in a rubber cup; just poking the nib and feed into the damp sponge.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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I have gone through the drills of wetting the nib, refilling the pen, etc. Now I usually retire these pens when I find them among my horde.

 

Wetting the nib and feed and refilling the pen usually work. This is the drill I went through with most of my pens when I was working. Retired now, it's too much trouble.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

 

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RichardsPens has good info. As does the repair q&a here on FPN.

I do as little as possible, I prefer pens to write as they do, so I haven't needed to adjust feed, spread tines or smooth.

I have several times put in a new sac, adjusted nib/feed connection, or ground a bent nib. And I like using those pens, but it that work is a bother.

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Bo Bo Olson

When one often has 17 pens inked....some are going to be standing around for a long time. I keep losing my battle to get down to 5-6 pens so I can use up more ink. There I was down to 8-9 pens....and on a whim my wife bought me three new inks.....up to 12 again.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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We are sometimes prisoners of our stuff, but one likes to have a pen that writes when one puts it to paper.

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We are sometimes prisoners of our stuff, but one likes to have a pen that writes when one puts it to paper.

 

Absolutely. But with pens as with friends, sometimes the most interesting are not the easiest to get along with. If one loves a pen for other reasons, one makes allowances.

ron

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