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Non-Messy Pen Refill Option



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I’m trying to get back into fountain pens after a few years away, and one of the difficulties I’ve found is the finger staining when trying to refill a converter from a jar that is low on ink. Is there a way to fill a pen without getting the ink all over my hands? 

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I use a syringe to fill converters and cartridges --- works well, and no mess even from nearly empty bottles or sample vials.

What have you done with the cat? It looks half dead.

 ~ Schrödinger's wife

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A Smug Dill
1 hour ago, Poetman said:

Is there a way to fill a pen without getting the ink all over my hands? 

 

Wasn't that one of the main reasons ink cartridges were invented, as removable, disposable, replaceable self-contained ink reservoirs? Never mind the higher cost per millilitre of ink and adding to landfill; they address the primary concern of messy refilling of a fountain pen, and offer the individual user a different compromise.

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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The neatest and cleanest is using cartridges. After that, you should be able to use converters and pistons easily enough with mostly full bottles. When the bottles get down pretty low, there's the Ink Shot and other filling assists as well as the good old syringe. 

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A Smug Dill
1 hour ago, arcfide said:

The neatest and cleanest is using cartridges. After that,

 

What isn't clear to me, from the O.P.'s initial post in this thread, is whether he/she is filling the converter from the bottle independently of the nib-feed-grip section assembly, or sticking the pen, with converter firmly attached, nib-first into the “jar” of ink.

 

If the O.P. is just submerging the mouth of a detached converter in the ink and drawing the liquid into the converter's tube with movement of the piston, then there are multiple options — all involving more work on the part of the user, possibly additional vessels (which will require cleaning afterwards) to hold the ink in the interim, and more ‘wastage’ by having to wipe the nib-feed-grip clean of ink clinging to the surface as well as whatever may remain in the interim vessels after filling the ink reservoir — that can be considered, prioritising not making a “mess” and not getting one's fingers stained over ease, convenience, and minimisation of wasted ink (and paper towels, etc.)

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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I submerge “the nib-feed-grip section assembly…with converter firmly attached, nib-first into the ‘jar’ of ink,” but when the bottle is down to the end, the ink is not high enough in the jar for the the section to draw up enough ink. Hi would I use a syringe here? I can’t imagine people used syringes with ink bottles years ago…are there other options?

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Karmachanic

Use a syringe to fill the converter.  Transfering ink to 5ml sample vials and filling from the vial is a popular option.  Then there's the Visconti Travelling Ink Well.

 

Or have so many inks in rotation that getting to the bottom of a bottle will take a decade or so.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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7 hours ago, Poetman said:

.... Is there a way to fill a pen without getting the ink all over my hands? 

If worst comes to worst, put on a pair of (disposable) rubber (or nalgene  or non-nalgene etc etc) gloves for a minute or two....

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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A Smug Dill
1 hour ago, lapis said:

If worst comes to worst, put on a pair of (disposable) rubber (or nalgene  or non-nalgene etc etc) gloves for a minute or two....

 

Now that's a think-outside-the-bottle solution to the O.P.'s problem! Bravo! 👏  I'm embarrassed not to have thought of it myself, when shielding one's hands from ink is the most obvious fix.

 

2 hours ago, Poetman said:

… when the bottle is down to the end, the ink is not high enough in the jar for the the section to draw up enough ink. …‹snip›…are there other options?

 

 

 

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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You can buy blunt needle industrial syringes fairly cheaply on Ebay, from US sellers.  A 15 gauge needle is pretty big.  I use them for filling cartridges as well as flushing snorkel tubes and breather tubes.

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These days this issue is less of a problem because people don't write as much and they tend to have a lot of inks on hand if they are into the hobby. However, even back in the heyday of fountain pens it was an issue, which is why so many of the older bottle designs have some mechanism to increase the height of the ink in the bottle relative to the quantity, such as those of Sheaffer and Waterman. Additionally, there were pen designs that were made to help you get the last drop from the bottle, such as the Snorkel. And if you go back far enough, pens were mostly eyedropper, so the issue didn't exist then. 

 

Another solution is to pour the last of one bottle of ink into the new bottle of ink of the same color. That has its own dangers, but is likely what a lot of people did back in the day. 

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Mysterious Mose
9 hours ago, arcfide said:

The neatest and cleanest is using cartridges. After that, you should be able to use converters and pistons easily enough with mostly full bottles. When the bottles get down pretty low, there's the Ink Shot and other filling assists as well as the good old syringe. 

I've been using the Ink Miser "Ink Shot" for filling from bottles (in case I should knock over the bottle), but what is "Millennium Moms Tattoo Ink INK SHOTS?"  https://www.amazon.com/Millennium-Moms-Tattoo-Ink-SHOTS/dp/B009V5EDSU 

(Isn't there a trademark infringement problem?).

 

Pasteur pipettes really come in handy.  I used tiny ones to refill cartridges before I got syringes.

 

BTW, syringes fit into converters.

Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Osmiroid 65, FPR Guru

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Mysterious Mose
2 minutes ago, Mysterious Mose said:

I've been using the Ink Miser "Ink Shot" for filling from bottles (in case I should knock over the bottle), but what is "Millennium Moms Tattoo Ink INK SHOTS?"  https://www.amazon.com/Millennium-Moms-Tattoo-Ink-SHOTS/dp/B009V5EDSU 

(Isn't there a trademark infringement problem?).

 

Pasteur pipettes really come in handy.  I used tiny ones to refill cartridges before I got syringes.

 

BTW, syringes fit into converters.

Uh oh.  It looks like Millennium Moms Tattoo Ink INK SHOTS are meant for use in tatooing!

 

https://www.bodyshocktattoosupplies.com › millennium...

http://wholesaletattoo.com › ... › Mom's Millennium Ink

http://wholesaletattoo.com › moms-millenium-hello-yell...

https://technicaltattoosupply.com › tattoo-ink-accessories

https://www.poketattoopacks.com › product-page › mom-...

Mom's Millennium Ink Shots (all colours) - Handpoked Tattoo ...

https://www.handpokedtatts.com › tattoo-ink-shots

 

Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Osmiroid 65, FPR Guru

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On 9/25/2021 at 12:09 AM, Poetman said:

I’m trying to get back into fountain pens after a few years away, and one of the difficulties I’ve found is the finger staining when trying to refill a converter from a jar that is low on ink. Is there a way to fill a pen without getting the ink all over my hands? 

 Hi...

I am an ink bottle guy and no inked fingers so you need to practice..that is all...Regards.

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bunnspecial

One reason I like pens with built-in fill mechanisms(as opposed to C/C) is that you have the whole body of the pen to handle and manipulate rather than just a converter with the section dangling off of it.

 

In any case, it's pretty simple. Put nib in bottle, use mechanism(whether converter, piston, lever, button, pump, etc) to suck up ink, pull out of bottle, and wipe section with a paper towel.

 

Unless there's an issue with the pen like a leak or crack, you shouldn't get messy.

 

The last time I got ink on me just from a fill(as opposed to tinkering with a pen) was a Parker 75 that I realized all too late had a leaky converter. Some Parkers(namely the 75 and Duofold) I like enough to tolerate C/C filling, and I try to have a couple of new Parker converters in my desk. They're about $10 each, and I'll replace them at the first sign of trouble(although I can't bring myself to throw away old ones, especially Aeromatics). That was a quick fix, although I also keep empty, clean and dry Parker cartridges(IMO, one of the best cartridge designs) and have refilled them with a syringe from bottled ink plenty of times.

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If you have a TWSBI 580 and use their inkwell it is pretty fool proof. Unscrew the section, place pen onto inkwell nipple, draw in ink. The nib never gets wet and you never dip anything into a bottle.

 

I use their inkwells for my 580's.

 

For others I use an ink miser in two bottles and syringes for many others.

 

Also, if you use an Akkerman bottle it is easy to control how much ink you dip into...they are also quite cool:

image.png

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I have three suggestions for you:

- take a look at the Visconti Traveling Inkwell for virtually drip free filling of nearly any pen with any ink of your choice. The only drawback is the cost.

 

-Pineider Pen Filler, very similar to the above but only ~US$25

 

-and lastly the (often maligned) Pelikan Level fountain pen. This fills from a special bottle without any mess at all. I have had one in constant use for the last 5 years. No hard starts and one fill lasts a long time.

 

Although it uses a special bottle, that comes pre-filled with Pelikan Royal Blue, the bottle can be refilled with the ink of your choice. I dumped the blue ink and filled mine with Noodler's 54th Massachusetts. The Level 5 has an exceptionally smooth nib that is a pleasure to write with.

 

I have seen the Level 5 pen selling for $50-100on eBay. The plastic bodied Level 65 goes for less but aI find it quite ugly. This video shows the filling procedure.

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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ErrantSmudge

There's also the ever-popular Sheaffer Snorkel pens that can refill from near-empty bottles. But as these pens are vintage they may not be suitable for every ink out there (topic of a different discussion that's happened here many times).

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