Fountain pen tuning

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keithbyrd

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Sep 2, 2011
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Mount Wolf, PA
I think I know the answer but is there a fountain pen tuner/repair/grinder in Central PA?
I am doing minor work on my own but every so often - and very easily - get beyond my knowledge and skills - so just looking for an easy access repair!!
Right now I have a 14k gold nib that writes smooth and has good flow. but if I set it down (capped) for 10 minutes when I pick it up to write it doesn't. I have to "flick it" hard 4-5 times then it starts writing again. How do I keep it going? IT is for a customer so I have to get it right!!
 
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duncsuss

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Jun 29, 2012
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Wilmington, MA
Most of the time when this happens to me the problem is the cap is not sealing properly so the ink at the nib dries out.

It can sometimes be due to clogs in the feed - have you flushed the nib section? Maybe try a few cycles in an ultrasonic cleaner in case there's something in the ink and/or breather channels in the feed.

Or try a different ink - some dry quicker than others.
 

monophoto

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Mar 13, 2010
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Saratoga Springs, NY
My experience lines up with Duncan's - the rate at which an idle pen dries out is related to how well the cap seals, and the characteristics of the ink being used. In general, pens that have screw caps tend to allow more idle time, while the dreaded 'snap-cap' will dry out faster. I have found that the Platinum sliding inner cap design performs very well, and pens like the Preppy and Plaisir can sustain long periods of non-use. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any kit pens that offer that design. Some pen/ink combinations can have dwell times measured in weeks, but I find that a few days is more typical. Ten minutes is entirely too short.

This is another advantage to using converters rather than cartridges - with a converter, you can twist the knob to force ink into the section (hold it against a brightly lit piece of paper so that you can see the bead of ink form on the feed, but stop twisting before that bead drops off) - that will often start a pen that has been left idle for a few days. In more severe cases, dipping the nib into a container of water (or holding it under a stream of running water) may be required.

Regardless of the design of the pen or the ink being used, all pens should periodically be emptied and thoroughly cleaned. How often - depends on how much they are used, the design, and the ink. The secret here may just be getting into a routine of cleaning the pen or a regular basis. I don't have an ultrasonic cleaner, but I find that soaking the nib/feed in warm water for a few hours, followed by a series of flushes until the water leaving the pen is colorless will do the job. I don't use special pen pen flush solutions or chemical additives, but some people do suggest those techniques.
 

keithbyrd

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Sep 2, 2011
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Location
Mount Wolf, PA
Thanks guys. I worked on the nib - it was too close at the tip not allowing ink to continue to flow. I tweaked it a bit and now working fine - let it set over night and started right up.
 

Dr. Ed

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Jan 22, 2020
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Location
Kennett Square PA
My two cents:
In addition to all the above, 4th edition of "Pen Repair" by Jim Marshall and Laurence Oldfield as well as :The RichardsPens Guide to Fountain Pens" by Richard Binder are fantastic resources for those seeking information on pen repair/tuning.
 
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