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Old 06-25-2018, 01:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Sealing a cap

Hi,

One problem I've noticed with the fountain pens that I turn is that the cap does not keep the nib dry for all that long compared to mass-produced fountain pens. I'm thinking of trying silicone to seal the cap and I'm wondering if anyone else has tried this, or has a technique to seal the cap to keep the nib wet.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 06-25-2018, 04:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by msoulier View Post
Hi,

One problem I've noticed with the fountain pens that I turn is that the cap does not keep the nib dry for all that long compared to mass-produced fountain pens. I'm thinking of trying silicone to seal the cap and I'm wondering if anyone else has tried this, or has a technique to seal the cap to keep the nib wet.

Thanks,
Mike
Are you wanting the nib kept wet or dry? You seem to be asking for both in the post, or more likely I'm just a bit dense on a Monday. I use my FP daily and haven't had a problem with the ink flow starting (wet). I store it nib up. The cap is aluminum lined with Claro Walnut on the outside with aluminum to aluminum threads.

I've had a Graduate Magnetic FP that would not only dry the nib but the entire reservoir would evaporate in about a week's time stored nib up. I've also had several nibs (Bocks) that would not feed ink correctly because the tines were spread too far apart (too wet). After tuning I was able to get them to perform correctly. My JOWOs have been better behaved in that respect.

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Old 06-25-2018, 05:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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A thin O-ring might work and not be as potentially messy. The trick is finding ones the right sizes.
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Old 06-25-2018, 06:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I had the same issue with wooden caps. A Q-tip and three layers of varnish solved the problem: now, I can forget the nib two weeks in its cap, and then it will write as new.
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Old 06-26-2018, 09:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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The nib's propensity to dry out is largely dependent on how well the nib is sealed off from the rest of the cap when the pen is capped. For example, most fountain pens will have a shoulder inside the cap that the end of the section butts up against to create a seal when the pen is capped. This prevent air from getting to the nib and drying the nib out.

Another possible factor is if the inside of the cap is a porous material such as wood, that allows moisture to be absorbed.

If you are having problems with a kit pen, I'm not sure how you would work around that. If you are talking kitless, then designing the pen in a manner that seals off the nib would be your best bet.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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most fountain pens will have a shoulder inside the cap that the end of the section butts up against to create a seal when the pen is capped. This prevent air from getting to the nib and drying the nib out.

That is one thing I don't clearly understand. On one hand, nibs are sealed. On the other hand, there are air holes through the cap. The latter I found useful on eyedroppers. I don't see where the theory is. Any ray of light, John or others?
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Old 07-03-2018, 08:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I just took a look at an old Sheaffer leaver fill that I have. It has a hole in the side of the cap behind the cap threads before a shoulder that seats against the forward face of the section. It would seam that the hole will vent the cap until just before the cap is seated. Without the hole the air would have no place to go while being screwed on.
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Hi,

I'm thinking of trying silicone to seal the cap and I'm wondering if anyone else has tried this, or has a technique to seal the cap to keep the nib wet.
Short answer: no.

If you are referring to a kit pen, there are two cap arrangements to consider. A snap-cap is almost always loose, and there really isn't a way to seal it. If the kit features a screw cap, the threads are press-fit into the brass tube, and that arrangement should be pretty tight.

If you are referring to kitless designs, then you are probably (but not necessarily) using some kind of plastic (aka 'resin') for the body, and it will be reasonably tight. And kitless designs usually feature a threaded cap.

I have lots of fountain pens - some commercially made, and some shop-made. And the experience I have had with them drying out is all over the map. I have an El Grande (kit) that seems to stay wet forever. Likewise a plastic Lamy Safari, and also a no-name metal pen. I also have some kit pens (both CSUSA and PSI kits) with snap caps, and a no-name commercial metal pen that will dry out if I don't use them for four or five days. And I have a very expensive Mont Blanc that would dry out if I didn't use it a few days - which is one of the many reasons I no longer use it.

The solution is to use your pens frequently. And if you are using several pens simultaneously, set up a rotation scheme so that you use a different pen every day.
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jalbert View Post
most fountain pens will have a shoulder inside the cap that the end of the section butts up against to create a seal when the pen is capped. This prevent air from getting to the nib and drying the nib out.

That is one thing I don't clearly understand. On one hand, nibs are sealed. On the other hand, there are air holes through the cap. The latter I found useful on eyedroppers. I don't see where the theory is. Any ray of light, John or others?
The breather holes allow the cap to screw on while expelling air so a vacuum doesn't build up into the pen through the nib...which will slowly release expelling ink with it. the holes are drilled before the shoulder, so the nib will remain sealed off when fully capped. You don't see this much on modern or custom pens though. I use big square threads, and don't cut them extremely tight, so vacuum build up isn't really an issue that I've had.
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