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Question on pen care and wear over time


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Hello, recently I got a Pilot Custom 74 and it was my most expensive purchase in the hobby so far. I really like the pen, and am having a good time using it so far, but one thing I noticed is that the screw that connects the section to the barrel is a metal on plastic interface. Now, I know that it's not something I'll be opening all the time and that I shouldn't apply much torque when closing it, but I wanted to know how long time users of this pen and other pens with a similar construction have had them hold up over time, and what cares should I take with the pen to reduce unnecessary wear on it. I'm only 7 months into the hobby so not really much time to really wear much of anything out.

 

For now I have put a tiny bit of silicon grease on the threads, since I figured a bit of lubrication to reduce friction couldn't hurt, but that's the only thing I've done so far since it's a cartridge/converter pen and there shouldn't be much else to worry about. That is, other than maybe cleaning it for the first time. I'm used to removing the nib and feed to rinse them off every time i change inks, but the stakes are a bit higher with a gold nib.

 

So what are some tips you guys got from your experience with fancy pens? And here's some pictures so the post isn't too boring:

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IMG_20220514_002752735.thumb.jpg.a97b82d91dead6c48ceff582a1853375.jpg

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4 hours ago, Mayo said:

I'm used to removing the nib and feed to rinse them off every time i change inks,

 

I'd suggest using a bulb syringe to flush section/feed/nib.  Over time pulling and reseating the nib/feed runs the risk of wear and loosening the fit.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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4 hours ago, Mayo said:

I wanted to know how long time users of this pen and other pens with a similar construction have had them hold up over time,

 

I can't tell you about the Pilot Custom 74, since I disliked the pen model and so sold both of mine, but I have plenty of other pens in the Pilot Custom, Sailor Profit and Professional Gear, and Platinum #3776 product lines with threaded metal connectors on the end of the gripping sections screwing into plastic openings in the barrel. There has been no problem with the interface wearing out causing the join to be loose or wobbly over time on any of the pens.

 

4 hours ago, Mayo said:

and what cares should I take with the pen to reduce unnecessary wear on it.

 

Don't “cross-thread” when reassembling the pen body resulting in damage to the plastic thread on the barrel's mouth in the process. If damage occurs, it'd be instant, and not something that develop over time just because you write with the pen.

 

4 hours ago, Mayo said:

I'm used to removing the nib and feed to rinse them off every time i change inks, but the stakes are a bit higher with a gold nib.

 

While it isn't something I'd recommend doing, for the reason @Karmachanic has given above, I also don't see why the stakes are a bit higher with a gold nib, as long as you don't lose the nib down the drain; that's why I have a mesh across the drain opening in my hand basin (having lost a gold nib “down the drain” once, but miraculously I managed to retrieve it from where it landed further down the plumbing). If you're pulling the nib and feed out properly and straight, it won't damage a gold nib any more than it would a steel nib. It's the feed and/or pen that gets damaged. The pen may be more expensive because it was fitted with a gold nib when you bought it, but it isn't the nib you need to worry about primarily.

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 advice about the bulb syringe is good, but I’ve found that my bulb syringe doesn’t fit some pilot pens very well. For those pens I have taken an old empty Pilot cartridge and snipped off the bottom end. Place the cartridge on the pen as you normally would and if you’ve snipped the bottom off correctly a syringe (with needle removed) should fit into it perfectly.  Then use the syringe to flush water through the pen. My Custom 74 seems to hold a lot of ink under the nib, so it will probably take several flushes and some soaking to clean it thoroughly enough to change ink colors.

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On 5/14/2022 at 5:37 AM, A Smug Dill said:

 

I can't tell you about the Pilot Custom 74, since I disliked the pen model and so sold both of mine, but I have plenty of other pens in the Pilot Custom, Sailor Profit and Professional Gear, and Platinum #3776 product lines with threaded metal connectors on the end of the gripping sections screwing into plastic openings in the barrel. There has been no problem with the interface wearing out causing the join to be loose or wobbly over time on any of the pens.

 

Don't “cross-thread” when reassembling the pen body resulting in damage to the plastic thread on the barrel's mouth in the process. If damage occurs, it'd be instant, and not something that develop over time just because you write with the pen.

 

That's very relieving! Thanks for the information.

Thank you all for the replies. I don't have a bulb syringe yet, but I like how quick it is to rinse and dry the feed once it's removed, plus I'm a bit too paranoid with ink leftovers. I got the Platinum Preppy recently and the process of cleaning the ink collector is dreadful, mostly the wait for it to dry enough not to dilute the new ink I put in it. Maybe I have been too picky with the process, so will see what I can change.

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I don't know about Pilot products but I don't hesitate to disassemble any of my pens for complete cleaning as long as there are replacement parts such as nib units for that pen.  Ultimately, I see pens as a consumable, whether it's life span is 3 years or 300 which is why I tend to keep my purchases in the sub $100 range.     

"Life is too short to use boring ink!" - JPMH

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2 hours ago, HauntedMyst said:

I don't know about Pilot products but I don't hesitate to disassemble any of my pens for complete cleaning as long as there are replacement parts such as nib units for that pen.

 

Other than for Pilot Capless pens, and then only in Western markets, Pilot does not offer replacement parts as retail products to consumers as far as I'm aware.

 

4 hours ago, Mayo said:

I like how quick it is to rinse and dry the feed once it's removed,

 

I understand the temptation, and I've ruined a steel-nibbed Sailor Fude de Mannen pen (on which the nibs was already in questionable shape when it got here, so arguably there was no big risk or loss), which I used only when reviewing inks, by compromising the friction fit of the feed in the section through repeated removal and reinsertion of the nib and feed from the gripping section for cleaning. I've also inadvertently broken off the very narrow tail of a feed in a PenBBS 494 pen while trying to clean the pen in that manner.

 

4 hours ago, Mayo said:

I'm a bit too paranoid with ink leftovers.

 

The risk of remnants of the previous fill of ink, or water from the cleaning process, trapped in the feed contaminating the bottle of ink you use for your next fill (by submerging the nib and feed, and sucking ink up through them into the pen's ink reservoir) is very low. If you're sufficiently worried about it, you could fill the clean(ed) converter independently, before reinserting it — as if it was a pre-filled ink cartridge — into the pen's gripping section. You can even go to more extreme lengths of drawing ink up from the bottle using a clean (single-use and/or disposable?) syringe and then injecting the liquid into the converter's cavity, instead of drawing ink up into the converter directly using its filling mechanism.

 

The risk of remnants of the ink or water in the feed and/or gripping section adulterating the body of ink that ends up in the pen's reservoir on the next fill is slightly higher, but unless you're doing ink testing and reviewing, it should not make a noticeable difference to your writing outcomes on paper. (The modern Kaigelu 316 is, to me, a known exception.)

 

4 hours ago, Mayo said:

I got the Platinum Preppy recently and the process of cleaning the ink collector is dreadful, mostly the wait for it to dry enough not to dilute the new ink I put in it.

 

That's why it is not advisable to use pens with such a design for purposes that require or warrant changing inks often. I have at least two dozen Platinum Preppy pens, and another eleven Plaisir, pens here all dedicated to (largely) exclusive use with a single ink each, changing inks in any of them no more often than twice a year. Some of those Plaisir pens still have inks last filled in 2020 (and they still write).

 

I also wouldn't want to change inks often in a pen with a feed that is supported by a fibrous wick, with or without that type of collector in the gripping section.

 

Do keep in mind that, in spite of the excellent Slip & Seal mechanism, ink evaporation still occurs over the months in those Platinum pen models, albeit very slowly. A nine-month-old fill of (say) Pilot Iroshizuku Yu-yake ink coming out of a Preppy could look quite different than a fresh fill.

 

4 hours ago, Mayo said:

Maybe I have been too picky with the process, so will see what I can change.

 

I wouldn't try to get by with only one or two changes of running apparel, if I don't routinely do a load of laundry as frequently as I go running. Having enough pens such that there is no delay or interruption to your intended applications of putting ink on paper, in spite of (and having planned for) some of the pens being “out of service” on “on the bench” from time to time waiting to air dry completely, is one way to get around the urgency of making a pen ready for the next fill of ink immediately.

 

Or, as I suggested above, you can do a risk assessment and consider what is the impact of a pen being refilled if its feed isn't fully dry after flushing and cleaning, as well as what is the impact if the feed gets damaged, or the friction fit in its housing gets compromised, by excessive cleaning practices.

 

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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