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Hello from London, UK and advice on ink stains



Audrey_london

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Audrey_london

Hello FPN,

 

I am a long time dip pen and modern flex pen enthusiast who is finally dipping a toe in world of vintage pens.

 

I have received my first pen which is wonderful but has stained the box interior in transit and wondered if anyone had any advice on how to / if possible to remove it, or even better if they know anyone in the UK who I could send it to who does this sort of thing regularly.

 

Thanks in advance,

Alyson

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Hello and welcome to FPN.

Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous  Who taught by the pen

Taught man that which he knew not (96/3-5)

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mizgeorge

Hello Alyson and welcome :)

 

What sort of box? And do you know what sort of ink was responsible (slightly concerned at the leak in transit thing!) 

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Beechwood

Hello and welcome

 

I have found no successful way of removing ink stains from pen boxes, they often have a satin like lining and takes ink very readily.

 

I would not have thought that it would be worthwhile to send any regular box away for speciialist treatment.

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Audrey_london

Thanks both for the quick reply! It is a satin lined leather box and washable blue ink according to the seller and I have removed a lot of it with cold water, cotton wool tissue and lots of cycles of blotting but there's still a light bluish mark which doesn't seem water soluble...

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It depends on what part of the box is stained. If it's the internal removable part and you're "handy" you might be able to remove the material and replace it with something similar.

 

If it's a brand new pen then contact the seller.

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Audrey_london

Beechwood - I am sure you are right but if you know of someone, please let me know, even just to ask them. I hate the idea of something surviving 100 years in such good shape etc...

 

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Beechwood
2 minutes ago, Audrey_london said:

Beechwood - I am sure you are right but if you know of someone, please let me know, even just to ask them. I hate the idea of something surviving 100 years in such good shape etc...

I wish I did Audrey, If we are talking about a regular satin lined card box then I don't know of anyone offering a refurbishment or even basic cleaning service.

 

Some cases do come up from time to time on ebay, especially for post 1957 Parker boxes.

 

It may be worth your while reposting this question in the repair forum

2 minutes ago, Audrey_london said:

 

 

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Hello Audrey and Welcome to FPN!! So glad to have you as a member!!

PAKMAN

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                                                 My Favorite Pen Restorer                                 My Favorite Brick and Mortar Store

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Hello and welcome Alyson, nice to meet you.

I once had ambitions to become an art conservator when I worked in the fine arts industry.

I have referred to one of my old 'restoration' books and found a couple of sentences on ink and iron stains.

Much will have changed with ink and bleaching compounds since publication but for ink and iron stains it was once recommended to place Sodium Formaldehyde Sulphoxylate powder on the dampened stain. A very thorough washing must follow. I would recommend updated advice from your local chemist shop.

There was once a mild bleach available in the UK, called Chloramine-T, which was used on delicate watercolours, chalk drawings and fugitive ink washes. (teaspoon of crystals in a quart of warm water, stirred until dissolved and applied to stain with brush or lightly sprayed with atomiser).

"Art Restoration", Francis Kelly.

David & Charles (Publishers) Ltd 1971

Old but perhaps a modern alternative is commonly available.

A local museum or art gallery will have a conservator and that could be a promising area to try.

Best wishes, Gary

 

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Hello and welcome to you from Manchester England. Cold & lock down weary but others have had it a lot worse....

Money may not make you happy but I would rather cry in a Rolls-Royce

 

The true definition of madness - Doing the same thing everyday and expecting different results......

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Hi Alyson, sorry to be all up in yr face about the ink stuff but I hope yr finding the help you needed with the spill in your pen box.

Just saw on a well known, Hertfordshire pen site,  'Amodex' ink remover, $12nz per small bottle. Never tried it but it sounds especially targeted to such problems.

Cheers, Gary

 

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Audrey_london

Hello Gary! Not at all... I was slow to reply as had a busy week at work and didn't get a chance to log in until now... I was going to say... thanks so much for looking at the book for me! Art conservation must be truly fascinating, such an interesting mix of chemistry, physics, craftsmanship and art. 

 

I studied chemistry many years ago and have always been fascinated by stains and stain removal - also that my very non-scientific grandmother was much better at getting stains out than I was - certainly an area where experience helps!

So, onto the results:

Before staining:

400453078_Beforestaining2.thumb.jpg.bb8ebc014c3aff938fe211aaf6b2a72a.jpg




 

 

Picture on arrival:

Stain.thumb.jpg.73b6611a2bbfb965cbf6bcb7d36a1b84.jpg

 

Pictures afterwards: stain has entirely been removed and lettering is untouched. Even a faint brown spot stain from the original picture has been lightened. Sheen of the fabric is normal. 

504112222_Afterremoval2.thumb.jpg.6132d99f007ba840961c3d8a9a356c2b.jpg

 

504112222_Afterremoval2.thumb.jpg.6132d99f007ba840961c3d8a9a356c2b.jpgMany thanks for all of your kind comments and for the fantastic introduction to Amodex!     

 

For those of you who are interested - details on the method below:

 

Method: 

1) Decided to tackle right away as seemed fresh and not dried (grandmother's mantra). Blotted a little off with tissue paper, but not much came off.

 

2) Cold water:  damp cotton wool bud followed by tissue paper very quickly to blot, repeated multiple times with fresh tissues. Much ink was removed but size of the stain also increased. One tip to prevent this (I thought about halfway!) was to fold up tissue paper 4-8 times into a strip and make a square around a tiny section, pressing it against the satin as much as possible, as you are dampening in the centre. This resulted in the square tissue "barrier"  immediately wicking up a lot of the ink and it not spreading as much. The stain entirely moved but left a faint blue stain about 2-3 times the diameter, and going as far as T of Todd, and could not be lightened with multiple rounds of cold water.

 

3) A week later repeated same method with Isopropanol alcohol - no stain was removed and nothing visible on the tissue. Tried again with cotton wool - same result...

 

4) An hour after this tried Amodex by applying a dab with a finger to the centre of the stain with little finger - dramatic change to the colour within seconds (not so much "moving" as "disappearing"), sheen of the satin seemed to go matt. Several rounds of dampening and blotting per the above restored the sheen of the test spot and looked identical colour to the non stained satin. Amazing!! I then spent some time understanding how altering Amodex application method, concentration and rinsing / blotting method could be controlled as I worried it would also remove the Mabie Todd lettering. My best approach was to put a drop of water on a plastic surface (3mm wide) dab a toothpick into the Amodex, then into the water drop and swirl around to make a dilute solution, then use the dilute solution on the toothpick, not worrying about any "barriers" but then rapidly dampening a much larger area and blot for a few cycles. I optimised this approach on the stain far from the lettering so I had fairly good control of cleaning a spot approx 1-2 mm. I then removed the majority with the concentrated /dab on with finger method and dampened /blotted extensively. The used the diluted amodex toothpick method around the letters (e.g. in the spaces).

 

I had the sensation throughout these trials that the Amodex continued "working" at some level in the dilute solution so I wet the whole of the area with a quite wet tissue and blotted several rounds to try to ensure it was all rinsed out. I felt at this stage (evening) that there remained an area of blue around the lettering but decided to wait to daylight (another of grandma's tips that the final remains of stains often don't look noticeable when dry). 

 

Pictures afterwards: stain has entirely been removed and lettering is untouched. Even a faint brown spot stain from the original picture has been lightened. Sheen of the fabric is normal. 

 

I am very impressed, but thoughts about which might limit applicability of this process / open questions:

1) This was washable blue ink, probably one of the easiest to remove

2) Stain was recent (<72 hours) and may not have dried

3) Box was leather and not cardboard - a cardboard box might have been damaged, although I think with being careful on the dampness of the tissues you could get away with it

4) Was the care required about diluting the Amodex and applying tiny drops of it actually required? Could it have differentially removed the newer ink stain and left the lettering? One of my drops was too large / too near letters but didn't seem to affect the lettering, so perhaps this extra care was not needed. In any case, diluting the amodex to the most dilute point where it still does anything seems sensible if you are worried about removing something other lettering etc, but perhaps the toothpick method is overkill. 

5) Amodex asks to be applied first, before water (this was not possible in my timescale). I'm sceptical why this would be an issue - it says that alchohol will set a stain, but I tried Isopropanol alcohol first and then Amodex and this was not a problem. My process could have been much shorter if I had started with Amodex and might have worked just as well. Although this goes against my grandmother's obsession with getting cold water onto a stain as soon as possible!

 

In an unexpected bonus I removed ink from my fingers this morning with Amodex as it was on my desk in about 2 seconds!

 

Chemistry:

Frustratingly the label only say "contains lanolin" which is not very useful. Lanolin is an oily secretion from sheep skin, and used in a lot of creams etc as a barrier to water. It doesn't make any sense to me that this is involved. However you can have Lanolin alcohols that act as emulsifiers - this ties in with the packaging saying Amodex is a soap. This makes sense to me to break up a greasy stain into small particles and tallies also with the immediate colour change (as the hydrophobic tails bind the ink and hydrophilic heads the water in the solution, they make lots of extremely small particles (that look different) and that can be washed away. If is the case, I can't see why cold water or alcohol pre-treatment would be an issue, but heat and regular washing cycles definitely will be and should be avoided.

After removal 1.jpg

Before staining.jfif

Edited by Audrey_london
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