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Mystery Hard Starts?



boulderchips

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boulderchips

I recently got my hands on a PenBBS 355 (shoutout to everyone who helped me decide over here: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/347558-penbbs-355-vs-456/)

 

The pen came with a medium nib, and for the most part I really enjoy it. But I'm getting a persistent hard starting issue, irrespective of stroke direction, which is resisting all my best attempts to fix it. Under its own weight, the pen writes only sporadically. If it doesn't start right away, I can drag it all over the place with no ink getting down. Hard starts happen while writing as well.

 

First I checked nib alignment, which was every so slightly off. Fixed that, but still hard starts.

 

I thought there might have been debris in the way, so I gave the pen a very thorough flushing and flossed the tines. Didn't help either.

 

Then I thought it must be baby's bottom, but some attention with micromesh didn't make a difference, and I was unsure if the tip showed the baby's bottom shape (although I am no nibmeister).

 

Does anyone have any suggestions? I can always swap out for a different #6 nib if necessary, but I'd love to salvage this one if I could. Nib photos (sadly primitive ones) attached below; angles from above, below, writing angle, and head-on.

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

 

Edit to add: So far I've tried the pen with Pilot Blue Black and Iroshizuku Asa Gao, which have always behaved well for me in other pens.

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Edited by boulderchips
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I don't know about this particular model, but in my experience flow problems have little to do with the nib, and more to do with the feed; in fact I would leave the nib well alone. I would give it another thorough cleaning with dishwashing liquid; in easy to clean pens I would even suggest disassembling it, not sure how fragile this is.

 

Inks do have different flow characteristics, but the Iroshizukus I have including Asa Gao are really well behaved.

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

 

B. Russell

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boulderchips

I don't know about this particular model, but in my experience flow problems have little to do with the nib, and more to do with the feed; in fact I would leave the nib well alone. I would give it another thorough cleaning with dishwashing liquid; in easy to clean pens I would even suggest disassembling it, not sure how fragile this is.

 

Inks do have different flow characteristics, but the Iroshizukus I have including Asa Gao are really well behaved.

 

That's a good idea. I know at least the nib and feed come out, so I'll disassemble and clean them tonight. Thank you!

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TheDutchGuy

I don't know about this particular model, but in my experience flow problems have little to do with the nib, and more to do with the feed; in fact I would leave the nib well alone.

Exactly. +1. It’s probably not the nib. It’s certainly not the ink. Some things that might help. Some other things: remove the nib and feed, clean both thoroughly with mild soap solution, rinse with water and dry. Check the ink groove(s) in the feed with a hand lens: is the groove of equal width everywhere? No blockage of any kind? Using a small (!) pocket knife and very little (!) pressure, you might widen the groove a bit. When done, check with the lens if the groove is clear along its entire length. Next, check the air channel. Then check if both the ink groove and the air channel are properly in connection with the converter. Use a different converter, preferably one of high quality that doesn’t trap air bubbles between the ink. If all this fails, take the pen to a pro.

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Check if the nib slit is gapped properly.

 

 

This.+1

 

It doesnt look too far out.

 

If you gave any DVD cases they may have a security pocket, often with a bar code over it, cut open the pocket and inside you will find one or two brass shims, these are ideal for gapping the nib.

 

Also whilst the nib and feed are apart, ease the shoulders of the nib a touch.

 

During reassembly see if you can seat the feed better so that it sits closer to the end of the nib.

Edited by Beechwood
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  • 3 weeks later...
boulderchips

I was out of town for a couple weeks, but I wanted to come back and say thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

 

I got back and tried everything suggested here. Took out the nib and feed, thoroughly cleaned both, and inspected the feed for any obstructions or abnormalities. Carefully went down the feed with a shim to remove any obstructions.

 

That didn't help, so I tried adjusting the nib slit. That made the pen a little wetter, but it didn't help the hard starting issue.

 

I'm totally stumped. I guess I'm down to replacing the nib or sending it to a professional. Not a huge loss, but certainly a mystery to me.

 

Also, that's a neat trick with the DVD cases. I'm going to try that.

Edited by boulderchips
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Honeybadgers

I see what looks like a little kick out on the left tine (right tine in the picture facing dead on) at the bottom that would create just enough baby's bottom to make it do that. You can fix it by rotating that tine with a pair of jewelry pliers (ones without teeth) with a layer of scotch or electrical tape on the jaws to make them soft grip. The problem is it looks like that baby's bottom extends a long ways up into the nib slit, so the only way is to rotate that tine slightly to bring that flat spot inside the tine into line with the other. I just had to do it with a vintage eversharp nib that was doing the exact same thing (it'd VERY rarely hard start but it was just annoying the (bleep) out of me) and it was pretty trivial. Just go slow and recheck frequently.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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boulderchips

I see what looks like a little kick out on the left tine (right tine in the picture facing dead on) at the bottom that would create just enough baby's bottom to make it do that. You can fix it by rotating that tine with a pair of jewelry pliers (ones without teeth) with a layer of scotch or electrical tape on the jaws to make them soft grip. The problem is it looks like that baby's bottom extends a long ways up into the nib slit, so the only way is to rotate that tine slightly to bring that flat spot inside the tine into line with the other. I just had to do it with a vintage eversharp nib that was doing the exact same thing (it'd VERY rarely hard start but it was just annoying the (bleep) out of me) and it was pretty trivial. Just go slow and recheck frequently.

I wondered about that gap, but I had absolutely no idea how to fix it. I'm going to try this tomorrow. Thank you!

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