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How Often To Clean Or Flush Fountain Pens Used Regularly



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I have a handlful of Vintage and new Pens.

 

Parker Vacumatic, Parker Duofolds, Skyline Everysharps, Pelikan 400nn.

Pelikan M200's, M400, Sailor 1911, Various TWSBI's.

 

Inks: Only "wetter" inks. Aurora, Diamine, Waterman, Iroshizuku. Mostly blues.

 

I have read that pens should be flushed or cleaned regularly to extend the life of the feed and nib and prevent ink drying out and build up.

 

I have been using the above pens regularly, every 1-2 weeks or much more, for some time.

 

Should I be emptying the ink and cleaning out the pens every so often?

How often?

 

Or, is it not necessary as long as the pens are inked and used regularly?

 

Thanks for your help.

jim

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Honeybadgers

Depends on the pen and ink. My 3776 UEF that I use exclusively with diamine registrars gets cleaned once a month.

 

My wing sung 698 with a pilot italic that is always inked with a non-IG, usually low saturation color... once every 2-3 months.

 

The rest that don't sit and get used to completion, I usually rinse them every 2 or 3 fills.

 

If it's a pigmented or shimmer ink, every other fill at minimum if you're using it up within a week or two. But I don't like shimmer inks in large capacity pens, as the amount of glitter they can hold can just straight up clog them, when a converter just can't hold enough glitter to clog.

 

If you have a pelikan M205 demonstrator (if you don't, don't buy one. It stains if you look at it wrong) then once a week at minimum and never ever use a red ink or heavy saturation ink. I severely regret getting the m205 in that color. I wish it came in the striped colors of the M400. It's funny how my 698 has been inked perpetually for like 2 and a bit years and it hasn't stained whatsoever. but my m205 demo was stained after a week with pilot blue black.

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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silverlifter

With the inks that you have listed, I would only flush when I changed colours/brands. Otherwise, if the pen is in use, I just keep using it.

 

I flush only when I take a pen out of rotation. Have done for decades. Haven't had one die on me yet.

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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With the inks that you have listed, I would only flush when I changed colours/brands. Otherwise, if the pen is in use, I just keep using it.

 

I flush only when I take a pen out of rotation. Have done for decades. Haven't had one die on me yet.

 

I have 2 pelikans and a Sailor 1911 that I use several times per week and have been inked for over a year with Aurora Black, Aurora Blue, and Waterman Black.

 

Is this okay?

 

thanks,

jim

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inkstainedruth

I have a Vacumatic Red Shadow Wave that has been run for over 3 years (pushing four at this point) with no flushing, nib flossing etc. Just refills of Waterman Mysterious Blue as needed. The ONLY maintenance that the pen has needed is that I need to put thread sealant on the blind cap jewel (it's a first generation Vac with the lockdown filler). It probably should be flushed at the same time.

Other pens? Depends on how often you swap out inks and/or take them out of rotation in favor of other pens. And unless, as Honeybadgers said, you're using super-saturated inks, or pigmented or shimmer inks (and I'd add iron gall inks to the list, because IG inks need a little extra maintenance), or switching inks often, you should be okay and not flushing as often as you think (maybe every couple of months or so). Mind you, I'm the one who had premature sac failure in a Vac Sub Debutante because I was using a red/purple ink in it (De Atramentis Red Roses) -- but that was on me and I didn't mind paying to have it re-sacced (again), because I just liked how that ink looked coming out of it. Oh, yeah, red/purple/brown inks can be more problematic apparently because of the type of dyes used. But if you're mostly using blue inks you should be okay.

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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If you are using cartridges, you need to clean and flush regularly. If you are using bottled ink, you in effect flush the pen every time you fill it - just cycle the filler two or three times. If you are using a dye saturated ink, I would be inclined to clean on occasion just on the principle that use of the inks requires a higher level of maintenance. ...and of course, flush if the pen will be sitting unused for a while.

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Ron has the final word - as should be the case! He repairs pens, so he knows what you should or should not do. Your advice, Ron, is very sensible.

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Cleo Skribent Classic "F" nib running PR Plum

PenBBS 480 "F" nib running Pelikan Brilliant Brown

Nettuno 1911 Oceano "EF" nib running PR DC Supershow Blue

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I have a Vacumatic Red Shadow Wave that has been run for over 3 years (pushing four at this point) with no flushing, nib flossing etc. Just refills of Waterman Mysterious Blue as needed. The ONLY maintenance that the pen has needed is that I need to put thread sealant on the blind cap jewel (it's a first generation Vac with the lockdown filler). It probably should be flushed at the same time.

Other pens? Depends on how often you swap out inks and/or take them out of rotation in favor of other pens. And unless, as Honeybadgers said, you're using super-saturated inks, or pigmented or shimmer inks (and I'd add iron gall inks to the list, because IG inks need a little extra maintenance), or switching inks often, you should be okay and not flushing as often as you think (maybe every couple of months or so). Mind you, I'm the one who had premature sac failure in a Vac Sub Debutante because I was using a red/purple ink in it (De Atramentis Red Roses) -- but that was on me and I didn't mind paying to have it re-sacced (again), because I just liked how that ink looked coming out of it. Oh, yeah, red/purple/brown inks can be more problematic apparently because of the type of dyes used. But if you're mostly using blue inks you should be okay.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Yes. Waterman Mysterious Blue. Great Ink.

I have it in the vintage Parker Vacumatic and also a modern Pelican M400.

 

Thanks for the help.

jim

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If you are using cartridges, you need to clean and flush regularly. If you are using bottled ink, you in effect flush the pen every time you fill it - just cycle the filler two or three times. If you are using a dye saturated ink, I would be inclined to clean on occasion just on the principle that use of the inks requires a higher level of maintenance. ...and of course, flush if the pen will be sitting unused for a while.

Thanks Ron.

That makes a lot of sense. When I refill a pen I do cycle it several times to try to get a complete fill.

For example:

Vintage Parker Vacumatic and also a Pelican M400 using Waterman Mysterious Blue. Both used weekly. or at the least bi weekly. So no flushing needed.

 

Thanks for your great help.

jim

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I think that "in the days" of fountain pens nobody flushed their pens, just re-filled. For YEARS. And guess what, the pens from that era, which I buy regularly, are usually just fine after cleaning up and some standard maintenance. Sometimes I come upon vintage manuals from the 1930s through 1960s and frequently read "flush once or twice with cold water once a year". In my opinion, many aficionados here overdo cleaning to a degree that is probably more harm than good to their pens. Especially Pelikans are prone to being ruined by over enthusiastic cleaning fans who even take out the nib and then crack the section by over-tightening when putting it back. SIMPLY DON'T. Only flush your pens when it's absolutely necessary like when you change to another ink or retire the pen for a longer period. In case you ever get a vintage piston filler with cork seal, keep it filled with water if you don't use it so that the piston ring doesn't dry out. But the pens and inks you list should be totally carefree.

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I think that "in the days" of fountain pens nobody flushed their pens, just re-filled. For YEARS. And guess what, the pens from that era, which I buy regularly, are usually just fine after cleaning up and some standard maintenance. Sometimes I come upon vintage manuals from the 1930s through 1960s and frequently read "flush once or twice with cold water once a year". In my opinion, many aficionados here overdo cleaning to a degree that is probably more harm than good to their pens. Especially Pelikans are prone to being ruined by over enthusiastic cleaning fans who even take out the nib and then crack the section by over-tightening when putting it back. SIMPLY DON'T. Only flush your pens when it's absolutely necessary like when you change to another ink or retire the pen for a longer period. In case you ever get a vintage piston filler with cork seal, keep it filled with water if you don't use it so that the piston ring doesn't dry out. But the pens and inks you list should be totally carefree.

 

Outstanding information. So much to learn.

I'll follow your expert advice.

Thanks,

jim

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It's age-old FPN lore that filling and writing with a pen actually is a sort of very slow flushing process in and of itself. There's even some inks that have performed cleansing miracles on stained pen parts.

 

 

Dominique

Snail Mail


(fluent in SK, CZ, DE, EN


currently learning EO, JP, NL)

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If you are using cartridges, you need to clean and flush regularly. If you are using bottled ink, you in effect flush the pen every time you fill it - just cycle the filler two or three times. If you are using a dye saturated ink, I would be inclined to clean on occasion just on the principle that use of the inks requires a higher level of maintenance. ...and of course, flush if the pen will be sitting unused for a while.

 

Reasonable advice. I had a Pelikan M400 that I used regularly for over 10 years. Never cleaned it, and much of the time it was inked with Parker Penman Sapphire (the claimed pariah of inks). I still use that pen in rotation today.

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I am using something like 29 pens, I only flush them when swapping inks or when one stops writing, which only happens with Rouge Hématite as it inevitably gunked up the pen.

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

 

B. Russell

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Reasonable advice. I had a Pelikan M400 that I used regularly for over 10 years. Never cleaned it, and much of the time it was inked with Parker Penman Sapphire (the claimed pariah of inks). I still use that pen in rotation today.

 

Why is it called the "pariah" of inks?

 

jim

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Why is it called the "pariah" of inks?

 

jim

 

Apparently some folks had trouble with it clogging pens and drying out quickly in their pens. Not something I experienced, and there is no other ink color like it (in my opinion), although I've tried many that claimed to be an exact match.

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ethernautrix

Since it turns out that I'm fickle or capricious, I flush most of my regularly-used pens every few days or coupla weeks, either changing colors or putting the pen back into the Pen Valise.

 

Certain pens that are more or less permanently matched to an ink, such as Pilot 823 and Noodler's Black, I'll rinse or flush maybe once a month or two. More out of perhaps excessive caution, but doesn't hurt

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etherX in To Miasto

Fleekair <--French accent.

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After every fill unless the filling mechanism does not lend itself to easy flushing. Even if I am using the same ink (does not happen often). For the few of those I have that are hard to flush, I try to use a dedicated ink for them. Really, I do not use pens like that very often. Now, if you mean CLEAN the pen, it depends on what I'm doing. I can't recall the last time I have cleaned a vintage pen after first assembly. Flushing is fine and the pen does not need it usually. And vintage pens have a potential to break.

 

That being said, I have a pen that has had Diamine Registrar's ink in it for over a year (yes, flushed every time before filled) and I am noticing it is starting to clog. I think some of the iron gall is beginning to build up a sediment. I read on another post recently I should do an Ascorbic Acid flush. I was going to attempt that and see if it helps before I do a full disassembly. It is an old vintage safety pen with a glass nib on it. I am not keen on disassembling it if I do not have to.

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