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Conklin Ebony All American Dry Out



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In late November I bought a Conklin All American limited edition ebony wood pen with an extra fine Jowo nib. The pen is a nice big hunk of wood, though they produced it with extra weight in the body to make it feel even more substantial which I don’t think was necessary.

When it writes the Jowo nib is nice, smooth, and quite fine. The problem is the darn pen dries out when it sits for even a day. I wish I had known that before I bought the pen; there weren’t a lot of reviews up at the time, or, I missed them. I’m pretty disappointed with this pen.

I know this is a Chinese-made pen and perhaps I should have known better but I’m a sucker for wood pens. I avoided the nice looking, and apparently not very functional  Moonman wood pens because of the poor reviews here, but fell for this one. 

 

Has anyone experienced this and come up with a solution? I’ve read here, in discussions of other “dry” pens, that some have dripped crazy glue into the cap to seal it. I’m not sure that will work. I don’t think there is a hole to plug, I think it’s just a poor design. I’m willing to try it, but want to hear other experiences and possible other solutions before I do. 

The prizes of life are never to be had without trouble - Horace

Kind words do not cost much, yet they accomplish much - Pascal

You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream - C.S. Lewis

 Favorite shop:https://www.fountainpenhospital.com

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Mine is a little temperamental too. I adore everything about it but need to be careful what I ink it up with if it’s going to be left unused for over a week. 
 

I found if I stuck with “Benign” inks, Waterman, Iroshizuku, Parker and the like then it plays along. Most others need daily(ish) use to keep from poor starts. Perhaps try the same?

 

Thing is, it’s such a gorgeous size and the nib so smooth that I forgive it 😇
 

 

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I’ve put nothing but Iroshizuku Take-sumi in it since it arrived. Yes it is a gorgeous size. 

The prizes of life are never to be had without trouble - Horace

Kind words do not cost much, yet they accomplish much - Pascal

You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream - C.S. Lewis

 Favorite shop:https://www.fountainpenhospital.com

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JosephKing

Same issue with mine; hard starts even after 5 minutes capped.  I hoped it was the nib and swapped with others that worked, to no avail.  An o-ring on the end of the threads didn't work.  Kiri Same didn't help either, but I'll give some Quink a shot *fingers crossed*

 

I'm also going to try giving the feed a good scrub (I don't know why that would work, but I guess it couldn't hurt)

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JosephKing

Follow up 1:

a) pulled out the feed and nib

b) soaked in soapy water for ~30 minutes

c) scrubbed with a tooth brush, rinsed, and repeat for 5 minutes

d) replaced nib and feed and half filled converter with Parker Quink Blue 

e) jotted down time, then capped

f) tested ~1 hour later... NO HARD START!

 

That's a record for my Ebony All American (sad but true).  Thanks for the Parker ink suggestion, Tas!

 

 

Will test and update tomorrow.

 

Additional info: the nib in the test above is a steel Diplomat Fine (because I like the Conklin's nib and put it in an Opus 88 Jazz at the moment)

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Interesting. I won’t pull the feed yet but I will do a toothpaste scrub and a soapy soak. 

 

I think the bigger problem, at least for me, is that the ink in the converter is drying out and the seal created when the cap is screwed on is not sufficiently airtight. I filled the pen about 3 weeks ago, put in my pen drawer. When I took it out to sketch  with 2 days ago the converter was nearly empty. 

 

Is there a possible solution for this?

 

The prizes of life are never to be had without trouble - Horace

Kind words do not cost much, yet they accomplish much - Pascal

You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream - C.S. Lewis

 Favorite shop:https://www.fountainpenhospital.com

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I have the Moonman pens and have the same problems, but not the the extent that you have had it.

 

My guess is that there are two potential problems and at least one potential solution to one of the problems.

 

My sense is that the wooden caps simply absorb the ink because the wood is not conditioned to stop air from coming through.  If that is the case, then perhaps lacquering the inside of the cap might do the trick.

 

However, if the problem is the seal - that there are gaps between the cap and the main body - then I do not know what could be done other than put a plastic seal inside that effectively plugs any air leakage.

 

I do know that my Japanese wooden pen (Platinum 3776 Briarwood) or my Italian wooden pen (Stipula Etruria) don't have the hard-start problems that the Chinese pens do.

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Narwhal Schuykill "F" nib running Wahl-Eversharp Everberry

Cleo Skribent Classic "F" nib running PR Plum

ASA Nauka Flora "F" nib running Green ink

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A Smug Dill

Given my own experiences with pens with wooden bodies and, most importantly, wooden caps, I fully expect this pen model to be ineffective at preventing ink evaporation when capped; the only question in my mind, when I saw the marketing images for it, was whether it would be as poor as the Moonman M6 in that regard.

 

14 hours ago, Maurizio said:

I know this is a Chinese-made pen and perhaps I should have known better but I’m a sucker for wood pens.

 

The only pen, in what I've used, with a wooden cap that seals effectively is the Pilot Custom Kaede; but the maple wood on it is ‘resin-impregnated’. Even the not-exactly-entry-level Platinum #3776 Briar models are not sufficiently effective, in spite of having plastic inner caps (which are actually not designated Slip and Seal, according to Platinum's product catalogue).

 

(But then, I can't comment on the cap seal effectiveness of the Platinum Izumo Tagayasan or Pilot Custom Ichii.)

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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A Smug Dill
31 minutes ago, langere said:

My sense is that the wooden caps simply absorb the ink because the wood is not conditioned to stop air from coming through.

 

I don't think it's that per se, but that the solvent — which I presume it's mainly, if not entirely, water — in the ink is evaporating from, and through, the nib and feed into the space inside the wooden cap, and the vapour is absorbed into the material through the cap's porous interior wall, with or without then allowing the moisture to escape through its exterior wall.

 

There should be no actual movement of air through either the material of the cap, or (gaps in) the threaded join between cap and section. However, if there is an inner plastic cap, then it is possible that the inner cap does not fit perfectly over the nib, feed and front end of the gripping section to form a separate compartment and seal them off completely when the wooden cap is secured.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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JosephKing

Follow up 2:

 

Nope; 8 hours later it hard started.

 

So it's not the:

- nib (swapped with multiple known working nibs)

- machining oils on the feed (cleaned, unless a different agent is required)

- air through the threads (o-ring, unless air still found a way through)

- ink (parker, noodlers, monteverde, diamine, and iroshizuku all yielded the same results)

 

Exploring the cap material seems warranted.  Does anyone have a resin All American? Does the resin cap fit the wood version?

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SoulSamurai

I've screwed around a bit with o-rings but have not personally been able to make troublesome pens dry out less quickly. However I have found that some inks dry out far more quickly than others; switching inks can make the difference between a pen that dries out a little bit too quickly and one that is useable.

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On 1/23/2021 at 12:34 PM, Maurizio said:

I’ve put nothing but Iroshizuku Take-sumi in it since it arrived. Yes it is a gorgeous size. 


Hmmm 🤔
Go on, give it a lovely wash out and give another ink a try. 🤞🏼

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47 minutes ago, JosephKing said:

Follow up 2:

 

Nope; 8 hours later it hard started.

 

So it's not the:

- nib (swapped with multiple known working nibs)

- machining oils on the feed (cleaned, unless a different agent is required)

- air through the threads (o-ring, unless air still found a way through)

- ink (parker, noodlers, monteverde, diamine, and iroshizuku all yielded the same results)

 

Exploring the cap material seems warranted.  Does anyone have a resin All American? Does the resin cap fit the wood version?


Nooooo 🥺

 

 

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As I wrote I know at least in MY pen’s case, the main issue is drying out. I am frustrated. If the reason for the drying out is a poor airtight seal even when the cap is screwed on, and, as some here have suggested that is due to the porous nature of the wood, which seems like a reasonable diagnosis to me, then I feel I have nothing to lose by trying to seal the wood  from the inside. There is some kind of inner cap liner inside the cap but it apparently isn’t enough. I also see the it has serrations rather than being a smooth circle like every other cap liner I’ve seen. 

 

I have some varnish left over from a summer project when I bought a drawing board from an art store and varnished and sanded it to a nice finish. 

 

I am gong to try to coat the inside  of the cap with varnish including at those serration points of the cap liner with an inexpensive brush. But I’m not at all happy that I’m forced to do this. I am one who does NOT like to spend my time tinkering with pens to make them work. I just want them to work and I’d rather spend my time sketching or drawing. I’m afraid this is going to be tricky because the cap is a very small space to work in, visibility will be poor, I’m going to have to be careful that the varnish is COMPLETELY dry, it will be difficult to sand smooth the inside of the cap, and then clean out the dust. What a pain in the a—. This pen is going into the back of the drawer and I’m not going to try this until summer. I will also try an O-ring when I decide this pen deserves to be in my sight again. For now it’s banished!

 

Shoulda’ known better. I am today leaving a bad review of the pen on the vendor site. 

The prizes of life are never to be had without trouble - Horace

Kind words do not cost much, yet they accomplish much - Pascal

You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream - C.S. Lewis

 Favorite shop:https://www.fountainpenhospital.com

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SoulSamurai

I'm interested to know if the varnish solves the problem, but I'm not sure why you would need to sand the inside of the pen parts after varnishing?

 

You could contact the seller about the problem to see if they can resolve it somehow, before leaving a bad review. I believe that's generally considered good etiquette for online shopping.

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sgphototn

As no one else has suggested this, have you tried replacing the converter? Converters that do not properly seal can cause the problems you're describing. 

"Bagpipes are the missing link between music and noise." E. K. Kruger

 

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37 minutes ago, sgphototn said:

As no one else has suggested this, have you tried replacing the converter? Converters that do not properly seal can cause the problems you're describing. 


+1

or try a standard cartridge out to test. 

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Not a bad suggestion, but I don’t think that is the issue. One of the unique things about this pen, in addition to the “rocker clip” is that the converter screws on. I don’t believe there are any issues with that.

 

SoulSamurai - I’m not planning on leaving a bad review about the seller - it’s Goulet Pens FYI, I don’t see that they did anything wrong, except tempt me with a pen - but just about the pen’s poor design as a caveat emptor to others.

 

I’m as frustrated with myself as with the pen for not being clear-headed when I bought it. I have two Pilot Custom Kaede’s one in M and one in F and they are absolutely great. There’s no rational reason for me not to be satisfied with them until I can save up for another nice wooden pen. 

 

When the Moonman (I think M6) pens came out, I heeded warnings posted here about their dry-out issues. I also followed Smug Dill’s notes posted in the Japanese forum about his Platinum 3776 briar which he noted has the dry-out issue, which had also been on my list but is now crossed off. This is just another hard-earned lesson that “you get what you pay for”. I was trying to get a nice wood pen for a bargain price and ended up, predictably, with frustration. One would think that by now I would have learned that you don’t get good nice pens on the cheap. I’m annoyed because this pen, at least mine, appears to be a gussied up version of the Moonman wood pens with the same dry-out issues. I’m now wondering if it came out of the same factory. Viewing images online they look quite similar in size.  It was not expensive enough to re-sell, despite the “limited edition” numbering, nor was it an inexpensive pen.

 

Honestly, I’m done with it for now and am putting it away.

 

I just regret I didn’t save the money I spent on this pen to use toward a good pen. Next on my list will be a Sailor Precious Wood either the Tagayasan (ironwood) or Chizusugi (cedarwood). 

 

I’ve really got to stop buying pens. I have more than enough nice ones

Edited by Maurizio

The prizes of life are never to be had without trouble - Horace

Kind words do not cost much, yet they accomplish much - Pascal

You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream - C.S. Lewis

 Favorite shop:https://www.fountainpenhospital.com

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One pen you might like that does not have the drying out problem at all is the Sailor Kabazaiku. That's because the pen has a layer of cherry bark over a (I think) metal or plastic interior.  So you get the wood, but not the problems with the drying out of the nib.

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Narwhal Schuykill "F" nib running Wahl-Eversharp Everberry

Cleo Skribent Classic "F" nib running PR Plum

ASA Nauka Flora "F" nib running Green ink

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