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The Problem With Caps



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Over the years I've noticed that snap on, magnetic seal and push on caps seem to have an inherent problem which is sometimes (possibly mostly) not really concerning but occasionally bothersome. I wanted to know what the experience of others was. Of the push on caps that had an issue that wasn't worrisome I would include the Lamy 2000, Safari and AlStar models, some magnetic seal pens (such as the Netunno) and maybe a few more I can't think of right now. I would say they have a failing, but not a serious one, in that the ink tends to dry out slightly in the nib and feed so that when you start writing again after leaving the pen for a day and uncapping, the ink flows perfectly fine but for a few sentences writes in a darker and more concentrated shade. It doesn't really bother me, but it's a little irritating when some snap/push/magnetic caps seem to allow the nib to dry out significantly thus producing hard starts and drying up on the nib and feed. Two culprits I know of are the old model MB 144/5's and the Pilot Prera. Anyone else noticed that this style cap has it's issues?

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it depends. the Parker 51 has a push on cap which is very well designed/engineered and well made.

 

Usually dryouts are due to poor (inner)cap design and engineering.

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I have a Montblanc 24 from the 1960's that had a drying issue but I did some work on the nib and feed that left the feed less exposed and improved ink flow and now I have no issues (I also gave it a solid ultrasonic cleaning). My Lamy 2000 seems to get juicier the longer I leave my lid off, at least for short spells, but no issue with it capped longer. No issue with my Carene. My 2nd hand ST Dupont Olympio XL had a chronic skipping problem until I blasted the nib 4 times with my ultrasonic cleaner and now it has no issues either. Oh, and recently got a 60 year old PFM that just ran dry until I realized I had to do an initial ink feed ink soak and now no issues capped or uncapped. But I don't think I've let any of these pens go a week when inked without at least a sentence of writing. For me, making sure my nibs are juicy has always helped with on-demand writing.

Edited by Tseg
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My Pilot Metropolitan seems to do this, and it's especially noticeable when using Kon-Peki. For a few sentences the ink will be a bit darker, and have more sheen then usual. Then it'll settle down and the ink will appear more normal. I haven't noticed an issue with my Lamy 2000, but I only use black ink in that pen so it's hard to say if it's really occurring.

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This was driving me mad, I got single velvet pouches for all, now even Sonnets behave; my few screw cap pens evaporate less.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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RoyalBlueNotebooks

Thankfully my 3 Faber-Castell Loom and my Pilot Kakuno have a nice seal that doesn't do that. My Lamy Al-Star's cap acts out though, the ink dries a bit in the nib and flows regularly after a dozen or so words.

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This is observation with my limited number of pens. This list is not absolute nor exhaustive.

 

Preserves inks the best: Lamy2000, Preppy, Platinum 3776, Sailor Gold nib series, Pilot 74,91,92,742,743,912 all the custom heritage series, TWSBI, Kaweco Sport, Pelikan M200 and above, Faber Castell Loom.

 

Does not preserve inks 'properly', i.e. evaporate inks: Lamy Safari, Lamy Al-star, Waterman Phileas, Pilot Plumix, Sailor Somiko or Sailor Young, Pluminix, Prera, 78G, Kakuno, Pelikano, Jinhao (too many models), Baoer, many older Chinese pens.

 

If I finish the ink within 2-3days, this list would not exist.

 

But if I were to leave my inks in pens for 3-4 weeks, this is where I see a big difference and thus this list. Time is what sets pens apart and it tells me which are the best pens that can preserve inks and which ones fare badly at that.

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RoyalBlueNotebooks

Does not preserve inks 'properly', i.e. evaporate inks: Lamy Safari, Lamy Al-star, Waterman Phileas, Pilot Plumix, Sailor Somiko or Sailor Young, Pluminix, Prera, 78G, Kakuno, Pelikano, Jinhao (too many models), Baoer, many older Chinese pens.

 

If I finish the ink within 2-3days, this list would not exist.

 

I purposedly left out the Chinese pens I have because out of all of them only the Wing Sung 618 and 698's caps seal well from what I've seen. The ink in my Jinhao 991, 992, 993, X450 and X750 dries up overnight.

Edited by RoyalBlueNotebooks

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I purposedly left out the Chinese pens I have because out of all of them only the Wing Sung 618 and 698's caps seal well from what I've seen. The ink in my Jinhao 991, 992, 993, X450 and X750 dries up overnight.

Yes, my experience mirrors yours.

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I think of it as "pen-darkening", and when it bothers me, take it as a sign that I either need to use the pen more, or clean it out.

fpn_1375035941__postcard_swap.png * * * "Don't neglect to write me several times from different places when you may."
-- John Purdue (1863)

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My MB 144s take weeks to dry out. Pelikans do go for months at a time. I have found that caps with air leaks are the drying out cause. I have fixed a few by sealing the leak, with 5 minute set epoxy. The major culprit was Sonnet, early types, where the factory was alleged to have cracked the inner caps during assembly. A cap that lets the pen drop off into your pocket is a likely suspect. Screw on and friction fit caps can both do this. .

"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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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had the same problem. I prefer the convenience of snap caps, but the seal is inferior. I should add that some screw cap seals are also inferior.

 

Do you have a lathe? I've machined a groove for an O-Ring to make a good snap cap. These modified pens are my most dry-out resistant pens, better than most screw caps.

 

But here are a few things I've learned:

 

Use a 1mm cross-section O-ring.

 

Place the groove on the body very close to the end of the cap, to minimize sucking ink when uncapping.

 

You must also point the cap up when uncapping, because is will try to suck ink.

 

Best,

Alan

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