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Brand New Pen Has Some Skipping--Should I Get A Replacement?


marcusocasey
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Yesterday I received a Pilot Custom 823 (Medium) from Amazon--my first fountain pen in quite a while. I loaded it with Diamine Monaco Red (which seems to be quite wet) and it wrote well in my first tests. I emptied it out, cleaned it, and loaded it with Diamine Woodland Green. The green ink seemed much drier than the red and had a lot of skipping. So I switched again to Waterman Serenity Blue. Seemed to be mid-way between the two. More skipping than with the wetter red, less than the drier green.

 

Today I put the Diamine Monaco Red (the wettest of the three) back in. It still occasionally skips.

 

I bought this as an everyday writer based on a lot of very positive reviews and many discussions--often from FPN. I'm not a collector (or at least trying to resist the urge) and just want one great-writing pen that will last for years. I exceeded my budget to get this pen. Generally, I'm very happy with it, but the skipping and general inability to use dry ink are surprising. None of the reviews mentioned this, so I think this is an outlier.

 

My question is this: should I just return it for a replacement and hope to get luckier the next time around? With a 1-day-old pen, I really hate to start trying to tune the nib. Is it expecting too much to get a good nib out of the box?

 

 

*Please note: I am well aware of the need to allow the ink from the barrel to be released into the nib area in this pen. That is not the problem.

 

What would you do?

Edited by marcusocasey
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Some say a new pen should be flushed with soapy water before the first use. Be it the reason for the problem or not, i wouldn't return a pen if i haven't done what can easily be done. I seldom believe in this flushing though...

 

I'm always encouraging people to adjust their pens. Fountain pens just are different from other pens, there's no way around it. We tinker brand new pens exactly because they may not work even if they are expensive and new. That's their nature, i consider them as adjustable tools. There is the pleasure of being able to adjust it to meet my personal preferences. I worry that you skip this aspect if you send it to be adjusted by somebody else. Sooner or later you will adjust your pen anyway, so why not to start rather sooner and get the optimal performance from the very beginning.

 

New pens often have the baby's bottom phenomenon. It requires some grinding, but the result follows instantly and is pleasing to see it happen. if you don't want to go grinding, you can prefer coarse paper that has more ability to absorb ink than a smooth one and may so help with the problem. Time will then do the grinding for you, but it takes months of active use. But identify the problem right. You shouldn't grind if there is no need.

 

The tines can be too tightly together, which is common. Putting more pressure opens them temporarily giving better ink flow, but you shouldn't accept having to write all the time with a lot of pressure. The tines should be pulled slightly apart permanently which is recommended to do the nib separated from the pen. The bending is actually done more upwards, the tines can't really stretch sideways. The difference will be so tiny, you'll need magnification.

 

You have just bought yourself a hobby. I was like you in the beginning, i only wanted to use a fountain pen and that's all. As my understanding grew, soon i wanted more and better pens, though i never intended to be a collector. I absolutely needed skills to adjust my pens. Later i started to search inks though it wasn't important to me at all. I see all this hassle as a hobby so i (try to) feel rather excited than frustrated.

 

I am naturally into precision tinkering and understand that not everybody are. If you feel very uncomfortable getting into these adjusting procedures, you may have no chance than sending the pen back for the work or finding someone nearby with the knowledge and experience. Of course, the seller may reject taking it back if it is abused, so you either adjust it completely or not at all. Then you don't learn which i consider as loss of something a bit valuable.

There are other ways than the easiest one too.

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that's actually a really good and nice post. I just think however that if the OP tinkers with his pen and damages it beyond free repair, then the company won't be accountable and compensate him for the pen or his efforts. If you feel comfortable tinkering, then by all means, but it should also be up to companies to provide writing pens...

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OP here...One edit to what I wrote. I remembered that the dry ink was Diamine Imperial Purple. The Woodland Green I put in an old Waterman Phileas that I forgot I had until the 823 was on the way.

 

Anyway, I think you have all helped me clarify my thoughts on this. I'll flush it with soapy water and try again. If that doesn't work, I'll return it. I won't floss or grind the nib this time around. If the second one is the same, I'll consider going further.

Edited by marcusocasey
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OP here...One edit to what I wrote. I remembered that the dry ink was Diamine Imperial Purple. The Woodland Green I put in an old Waterman Phileas that I forgot I had until it was on the way.

 

Anyway, I think you have all helped me clarify my thoughts on this. I'll flush it with soapy water and try again. If that doesn't work, I'll return it. I won't floss or grind the nib this time around. If the second one is the same, I'll consider going further.

Good idea. Just a drop of dish soap is all that is needed. Piston it through the nib and feed with the converter several times then follow it up with clear water. Some people like to use distilled water, I don't worry about it.

 

I am still trying to get the right feel for a Pelikan M200 (brown marble) I got for Christmas. Using it a lot, have used at least two inks in it.

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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I have absolutely no tolerance whatsoever for pens that skip. (My very first fountain pen was a skipper and it made for a rough introduction to the hobby).

 

If flushing it with dish soap, and changing inks or papers does not cure the problem I would take it back.

Edited by ErrantSmudge
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Hi Marcus,

 

After you do the flush... leave it unassembled and set it aside 24 hours to completely dry out... water in the channel and feed can also cause skipping. ;)

 

Rots a ruck. :)

 

 

- Anthony

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I bought a MB 146 that had terminal skipping. I had a chance to return it, and I kicked myself for not returning the pen, because it skipped forever until I had someone sort it out at my cost. Used soap to no effect. I say return the pen and do it now. Do not look back.

"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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Yes, it does require the blind cap to be loosened to allow ink from the barrel into the nib area. I had a little note about that in my original post, but it possibly wasn't clear. I watched a ton of video reviews before I ordered the pen, so I was well aware of that feature.

 

I wish the fix was that easy!

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I bought a MB 146 that had terminal skipping. I had a chance to return it, and I kicked myself for not returning the pen, because it skipped forever until I had someone sort it out at my cost. Used soap to no effect. I say return the pen and do it now. Do not look back.

There's something to be said for this advice... especially at the price level of the pen in question.

 

A pen of that caliber should work well, straight out of the box; if it doesn't... it should be returned on general principle alone.

 

 

- Anthony

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Yes, it does require the blind cap to be loosened to allow ink from the barrel into the nib area. I had a little note about that in my original post, but it possibly wasn't clear. I watched a ton of video reviews before I ordered the pen, so I was well aware of that feature.

 

I wish the fix was that easy!

Did you flush the nib section and inside of the vac with dish soap and water, and did this cure it?

 

Plop the nib section and vac filled with dish soap and water into an an old cup of dish soap and water. Leave for several hours, maybe 4-8, then rinse with clean water.

Edited by Bluey
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IME the 823 works best with only Pilot inks. With some inks even with the knob fully open, the ink wont cross the shutoff valve.

 

Return the pen while you can. Get a 743. Cheaper and has a replaceable converter.

In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

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I don't have a Pilot 823, but I have the Pilot 95S. It didn't have serious skipping issues, but it did require an uncomfortable amount of pressure to write.

 

I read a lot of similar posts about washing a newly bought pen with dish detergent, and I thought it's just a silly joke, I did not believe those guys. But I had nothing to lose.

So I took a glass of water, put a drop of dishwasher liquid in it, and flushed the pen thoroughly with that. Doing that felt exactly as silly as it sounds. But the pen does have much better flow since then.

I believe the explanation is that this will clean out any oily residue that is left in there during the manufacturing process.

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Are you holding the pen behind your big index knuckle like a fountain pen should be held.....45 degrees right after, 35 degrees at the start of the web of the thumb....or if long or heavy resting in the pit of the web of the thumb.

Held behind the big knuckle the (wider) tip floats in a small puddle of ink and needs absolutely no pressure.

 

Held before the big knuckle like a ball point....you dig the narrow tip of the nib into little grand canyons you are making hindering the flow of ink.

 

95% of scratchy is holding like a ball point....and misaligned tines....which can happen in normal transport, the slight bang on the table.

It happens often enough with new or transported pens.....that one needs a good 10 X Belamo glass loup ...a once in a life time buy, @$35 or a cheap 40X lighted Chinese loupe that you will buy more often over your life. That way you can see if the tines are misaligned.....and no a magnifying glass won't do; not even 1 1/4" thick one like I also have.

When you have a loupe...and not before, you can then look up how to align tines....no big deal... :unsure: after the first time.

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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Yes, it does require the blind cap to be loosened to allow ink from the barrel into the nib area. I had a little note about that in my original post, but it possibly wasn't clear. I watched a ton of video reviews before I ordered the pen, so I was well aware of that feature.

 

I wish the fix was that easy!

Didn't mean to offend you with a "is it plugged in" kind of question, but sometime you'd be surprised how the most obvious to you isn't obvious to others. Saw a guy once who just couldn't get his Lamy Safari to write. Turned out he forgot to remove that little cardboard insert between the section and barrel and the cartridge was not properly punctured to let the ink through.

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I had a Pilot 92broad once, skipped, I opened the tines, still couldnt write well, ultrasonic-cleaned it, still refused to write properly. I returned the pen in the end - with adjusted nibs. Pilot's feed can be quite temperamental, nib tipping grind and polish might have a part to play in these issues too, I guess.

 

Out of the box, my 912sm writes very dry but very smooth, 74sfm and music nibs are wet. 74BB has very sharp and unfinished inner tines.

 

I wouldn't buy a 823 and would get a Pelikan m600 in this more or less same price range.

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You might have some "gunk" in it from the ink you've used. I've had coloured inks crystalise in the feed and had blobs of dried ink comin gout of the feed. I've had this with Diamine reds and greens.

 

I've flushed pens, and gone over the feed with an old tooth brush, and that's worked.

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An update...

 

I washed the pen with a little bit of dish soap as was suggested here. That didn't help, so I ordered a replacement pen from Amazon. Knowing I would be sending this one back under Amazon's replacement policy, I got a little more bold with it and removed the nib. When I put it back in and wrote with it, it was much, much better. Somehow, the nib just wasn't seated right(?) or something.

 

It still hard starts occasionally. I looked at it under a loupe, and the tines have a decent gap up to the tip, but they come together pretty tightly right at the tip. I ordered those small brass sheets from Goulet Pens. I plan to floss the nib ever so gently to get a little separation on the end and help the ink flow a little. I'm hoping that helps with the hard starts.

 

In the meantime, I received the replacement pen from Amazon. The tines on the new one were even closer together, it was a tiny bit scratchy due to a slight misalignment of the tines, and it wrote with a finer line. I was happy with the truer Medium line of the original.

 

So I will actually be sending the replacement back to Amazon rather than the original. I will take care of the (now slight) ink flow problem myself.

 

Although I would have liked to have had a seamless experience from the start, having lived with this pen for almost a week, I do believe the extra trouble is worth it. This pen just feels great--bigish (something I like), heavyish when full of ink, and yet so, so comfortable. It feels like quality and writes like a dream. I absolutely love writing with it apart from the occasional hard starts. It is far and away better than any pen I have ever used before.

 

Thanks all for your feedback. Cheers!

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