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Sticky Noodler's Konrad


emknickerbocker
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Hi all, tia for any input you're able to give me. I have a Noodler's Konrad, that I've kind of been through the wringer with, when I got it the nib was disastrously stuck. I ended up smashing the fins on the feed trying to get it out, and needed to order a replacement. Fast forward a year or so, the plunger mechanism(at least I assume that's what it's called- the twisty bit under the cap on the end to draw ink into the body of the pen- excuse my relative noob-ness) is so tight that I feel like I'm going to break it when I ink it up, with how much I have to torque it to get it to turn that first bit. My rather long winded, question is: is this normal, is there a problem with my pen that I've been oblivious to, and is there anything I can do to make the piston turn a bit smoother? Could the tightness in the body/piston of the pen be related to how tight the nib/feed was when I first purchased the pen?

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First, welcome to this group. Second, where in California are you as there may be a pen group near you that can help? If you're in LA you'd enjoy visiting The Fountain Pen Shop in Monrovia.

 

Without seeing the pen I can't say for sure but probably the piston just needs a little lubrication. This is not something you usually do more than once in many years. IF the nib unit unscrews put just a tiny, tiny dab of silicone lubricant on a toothpick and lightly touch the inside walls of the barrel. Use only pure silicone paste lubricant-- you can buy it from pen shops or scuba shops. Don't use anything like oil or WD-40!

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That would have been my first suggestion as well. I have a bunch of Konrads and I've never had that problem (although I have had it with another brand piston filler, and really should see about getting a little silicone grease into that pen).

What ink(s) have you been using? And how often have you been flushing the pens just in general? You may want to switch to a different ink that has better flow or lubricating properties. Check the ink reviews (yes, there are a lot of inks out there, but there's also a pinned Index thread in the Ink Reviews Forum). I know that the Noodler's Eel series inks are supposed to help with lubrication on piston fillers, but I don't have any experience with them myself.

And what OCArt said about the amount of silicone grease to use? Yeah. I was told by Ron Zorn to not dip a Q-tip into the silicone grease -- that's using way too much....

Another thought -- did you flush the pen out with soapy water and then rinse well when you first got the pen, before filling it with ink the first time? I know that's in the Noodler's instructions -- it's to flush out any manufacturing oils or other detritus. I know that it's hard to resist taking a pen out of the box (or packaging if it's a vintage pen) but flushing really is a good idea. And for a vintage pen it's often crucial, because it could be filled with 20 year old (or even older) ink if it hasn't been refurbished before you get it (not to mention possible leaks, rusted mechanisms, or dead sacs). And depending on the inks involved, you can have really bad chemical interactions if you're using an ink with a different pH from what was in the pen before: there's a thread from a few years ago where someone decided to make the "perfect" blue-black and mixed Noodler's Black (neutral pH) with Noodler's Bay State Blue (very high pH); I saw the posted photos. It wasn't pretty. The inks never really did mix, and then reacted together and came out of her pen in solid chunks.... :o

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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First, welcome to this group. Second, where in California are you as there may be a pen group near you that can help? If you're in LA you'd enjoy visiting The Fountain Pen Shop in Monrovia.

 

Without seeing the pen I can't say for sure but probably the piston just needs a little lubrication. This is not something you usually do more than once in many years. IF the nib unit unscrews put just a tiny, tiny dab of silicone lubricant on a toothpick and lightly touch the inside walls of the barrel. Use only pure silicone paste lubricant-- you can buy it from pen shops or scuba shops. Don't use anything like oil or WD-40!

Thanks for your input, I'm in San Diego, about an hour and a half away. I see a field trip in my future. Is the pure silicone paste lubricant what's marketed as "plumber's grease"?

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That would have been my first suggestion as well. I have a bunch of Konrads and I've never had that problem (although I have had it with another brand piston filler, and really should see about getting a little silicone grease into that pen).

What ink(s) have you been using? And how often have you been flushing the pens just in general? You may want to switch to a different ink that has better flow or lubricating properties. Check the ink reviews (yes, there are a lot of inks out there, but there's also a pinned Index thread in the Ink Reviews Forum). I know that the Noodler's Eel series inks are supposed to help with lubrication on piston fillers, but I don't have any experience with them myself.

And what OCArt said about the amount of silicone grease to use? Yeah. I was told by Ron Zorn to not dip a Q-tip into the silicone grease -- that's using way too much....

Another thought -- did you flush the pen out with soapy water and then rinse well when you first got the pen, before filling it with ink the first time? I know that's in the Noodler's instructions -- it's to flush out any manufacturing oils or other detritus. I know that it's hard to resist taking a pen out of the box (or packaging if it's a vintage pen) but flushing really is a good idea. And for a vintage pen it's often crucial, because it could be filled with 20 year old (or even older) ink if it hasn't been refurbished before you get it (not to mention possible leaks, rusted mechanisms, or dead sacs). And depending on the inks involved, you can have really bad chemical interactions if you're using an ink with a different pH from what was in the pen before: there's a thread from a few years ago where someone decided to make the "perfect" blue-black and mixed Noodler's Black (neutral pH) with Noodler's Bay State Blue (very high pH); I saw the posted photos. It wasn't pretty. The inks never really did mix, and then reacted together and came out of her pen in solid chunks.... :o

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

The last ink I had in it was Sailor Yama-dori, before that Diamine Silver Fox. I did flush the pen when I first got it, and again after I completely destroyed the poor feed. I clean it out every time I change the ink, and if it's been sitting unused for awhile. I'm glad you mentioned that ph matching issue, I was just starting to consider playing around with ink mixing and will be much more cautious going forward.

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