Markiaro Pen Cases Destroy Pen Hardware

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Loon-A-See

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May 25, 2013
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Camano Island, WA
Hello Penturners!


I have discovered a problem with my pens and the cases in which they have been stored. I am wondering if perhaps anyone else has experienced this problem and/or can offer any information/advice? My problem is this: As of late, I have noticed that the finishes on most of my pens are being eaten away in my Markiaro cases. It seems worst with less expensive pen component kits although it is also happening to the higher grade kits.


I have been storing most of my pens (all purchased from other turners) stored in Markiaro Italian Leather Cases. I have 2 40-count cases, 1 10-count case and 2 single pen cases. These cases have been sitting on top of my desk for easy access.


In hopes that the metal just needed some polishing, I have tried using gentle metal polish but to little or no avail. It looks as though the finish is being eaten away. Tiny spots are found on the metal but not the wood or acrylic blanks, thankfully!


I am at a loss. The only hypothesis that I have is that there is something in the Markiaro processing that reacts with the metal.


I spent large sums of my meager pen allowance with the expectation that my purchases would be protected. This is quite a disappointment.


Oh yes, I live in Western Washington so we do not have the heat & humidity found in much of the country. Also, since they have been sitting on my desk, they are obviously in a temperature-controlled area with relatively low humidity (40-50%) and a consistent temperature of 70 degrees F.


If anyone has any insight and can offer possible solutions, I would be most grateful. Thank you! Maria
 
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Curly

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Saskatoon SK., Canada.
If you’re using CA as a finish and put it in the closed case the off gassing may be causing the problem. Long shot guess.
 

Loon-A-See

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May 25, 2013
Messages
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Location
Camano Island, WA
Thank you. I purchased all these pens. I am guessing that all of them have CA finish. The blanks are fine but the problems are with the hardware. I know that there are different qualities of pen kits but even the higher quality hardware has been affected. Will consider contacting Markiaro.
 

Charlie_W

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Nov 16, 2011
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Sterling, VA USA
I don’t know if this is the issue but we found that formaldehyde is used in some leather processing.
Wifey had a topical rash several years ago...primarily face/ neck she had been doing some pyrography and also wearing an inexpensive Harbor Freight leather apron. We discovered that formaldehyde is given off from burning wood also. Through extensive testing we found that she was allergic to Formaldehyde, gold and nickel.....so now she has platinum rings!
Some online checking found formaldehyde is used in a number of products...such as make up...and shoes(leather).

More things to keep you up worrying at night.
I hope you find your answer.
 

PatrickR

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Apr 8, 2017
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Zionsville, IN
If the plating is corroded it is permanent. If its discoloration, a stronger cleaner may help. I had to look up the brand and it is not inexpensive. One would expect better.
I’d take the pens out, clean and store them else wear. Then put one in the case that has no issues. Wait and see what happens.
What ever is causing it is strong. Just think of how long chrome plating last on cars.
 

TonyL

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Alpharetta, GA 30004
I own some high end guitars with a high gloss finish. Most of the manufacturers warn of ruining their finish when making contact with leather guitar straps. This may not have anything to do with your experience - just trying to help.
 

rd_ab_penman

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Jun 1, 2007
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Location
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.
Don't leave pens inserted in the elastic sleeves for an extended period.
The acid used in the manufacturing process of the elastic will damage blank and plating finish.

Les
 

jttheclockman

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Feb 22, 2005
Messages
12,188
Location
NJ, USA.
If we are doing warnings about cases here, I will add one that gets overlooked many times. That is these cases that use elastic laces to hold pens in. If left in these cases it has been proven over time the band can actually form a dent around the pen. Especially pens with a finish such as poly, lacquer, or even CA. You can feel this imperfection with your fingers. Heat will cause this to happen faster. Beware.
 

monophoto

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Saratoga Springs, NY
Leather is produced using one of two tanning processes. The traditional process is vegetable tanning using extracts from the bark of oak and chestnut trees. It is a long, labor intensive process that produces fairly stiff leather, while the leather tends to last longer than the product of the alternate process, it is also naturally biodegradable which simplifies the problem of end-of-life disposal.

The other approach is chromium tanning. This involves soaking the hides first in an acid bath and then in a bath based on chromium salts. It has the advantage of being much faster and more easily automated, and produces softer, more pliable leather. Chromium tanned leather also can be more colorful than vegetable tanned leather. And of course, chromium tanning is much less expensive. However, leathers produced in this process contain some residual chromium, and should be reprocessed to recover that chromium as part of disposal.

One of the notable differences between these leathers is that vegetable-tanned leathers tend to dry out over time, while chromium-tanned leathers do not. I don't fully understand the chemistry, but that implies that chromium-tanned leathers retain water, which could have a role in oxidation of metals that are in contact with that leather.

Most of the leather produced today is chromium tanned, but there are still some tanneries that use the traditional vegetable process, and articles made from vegetable-tanned leather carry a higher price. According to the information I was able to glean from the internet, most (if not all) Italian tanneries still do vegetable tanning. But it would not surprise me to see articles made in Italy using less-expensive leather imported from other countries. Ultimately, economics can be a factor in just about every product manufacturing decision.

I haven't been able to determine which kind of leather is used to make these pen cases - but I would guess that it is likely chromium tanned. And that could be the explanation for the observation that pens stored in them corrode over time.

Also, you say "It seems worst with less expensive pen component kits". That's not surprising. Gold and platinum are noble metals that resist corrosion, but other materials can be susceptible to oxidation over time.

I have a gold-plated El Grande that has been stored in a leather pen case for five years. So far, there is no sign of corrosion. The case is marked "Genuine Leather. Made in Italy", and I bought it in the outdoor mercato centrale in Florence, but I wasn't smart enough to ask where the leather was produced or which tanning process was used - and even if the vendor had known the answer, I would not have been able to understand him!
 
Last edited:

Loon-A-See

Member
Joined
May 25, 2013
Messages
26
Location
Camano Island, WA
Thanks Everyone for your replies. Yes, I have wondered about the chemicals used in the fabric as well as the leather (which is like tack leather on horse equipment.) One would think that Markiaro would be very concerned about this. Problem is that I have not even been able to find a way to contact customer service.


Interestingly, the CHEAP pen cases with elastic straps have not had any impact on pens that I've tried storing there. Of course, once I got the Markiaros I put the cheap pens in the cheap cases and the good pens in the expensive cases.


Looking at other alternatives. One suggestion I had read about some time ago is to use hard glass cases. I've tried it with better pens having wrapped them in a soft cloth (like microfiber glass cleaning clothes.) So far, it seems to work pretty well. The only issue is remembering which pens are in which case.


Anyway, will continue my research. Thanks again!
 

wolf creek knives

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Dec 22, 2017
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Wolf Creek Montana
Leather is produced using one of two tanning processes. The traditional process is vegetable tanning using extracts from the bark of oak and chestnut trees. It is a long, labor intensive process that produces fairly stiff leather, while the leather tends to last longer than the product of the alternate process, it is also naturally biodegradable which simplifies the problem of end-of-life disposal.

The other approach is chromium tanning. This involves soaking the hides first in an acid bath and then in a bath based on chromium salts. It has the advantage of being much faster and more easily automated, and produces softer, more pliable leather. Chromium tanned leather also can be more colorful than vegetable tanned leather. And of course, chromium tanning is much less expensive. However, leathers produced in this process contain some residual chromium, and should be reprocessed to recover that chromium as part of disposal.

One of the notable differences between these leathers is that vegetable-tanned leathers tend to dry out over time, while chromium-tanned leathers do not. I don't fully understand the chemistry, but that implies that chromium-tanned leathers retain water, which could have a role in oxidation of metals that are in contact with that leather.

Most of the leather produced today is chromium tanned, but there are still some tanneries that use the traditional vegetable process, and articles made from vegetable-tanned leather carry a higher price. According to the information I was able to glean from the internet, most (if not all) Italian tanneries still do vegetable tanning. But it would not surprise me to see articles made in Italy using less-expensive leather imported from other countries. Ultimately, economics can be a factor in just about every product manufacturing decision.

I haven't been able to determine which kind of leather is used to make these pen cases - but I would guess that it is likely chromium tanned. And that could be the explanation for the observation that pens stored in them corrode over time.

Also, you say "It seems worst with less expensive pen component kits". That's not surprising. Gold and platinum are noble metals that resist corrosion, but other materials can be susceptible to oxidation over time.

I have a gold-plated El Grande that has been stored in a leather pen case for five years. So far, there is no sign of corrosion. The case is marked "Genuine Leather. Made in Italy", and I bought it in the outdoor mercato centrale in Florence, but I wasn't smart enough to ask where the leather was produced or which tanning process was used - and even if the vendor had known the answer, I would not have been able to understand him!
Louie is right on his differences between Veg tanned and chemical tanned leather. However, getting Veg tanned leather is very easy and many leather suppliers carry it, Tandy Leather being one in the U.S. Tandy may get their leather from Italy but I've also purchased leather sides produced here in the U.S. and had no trouble with them
Chemically tanned leather can cause all kinds of problems with metal. As a knife maker, all my sheaths are made using Veg tanned leather only. I've had manufactured knives shown to me with lots of metal showing pitting, brass discoloration and overall rusting. I won't use chemically tanned leather on any of my sheaths or any other items I make out of leather. If any one who reads this you can PM me and I can let you know where I get my leather from and what I paid for a side. If it doesn't say VEG tanned on the leather description, it's probably chemically treated and overtime it will cause problems with all metals.
 

Loon-A-See

Member
Joined
May 25, 2013
Messages
26
Location
Camano Island, WA
Leather is produced using one of two tanning processes. The traditional process is vegetable tanning using extracts from the bark of oak and chestnut trees. It is a long, labor intensive process that produces fairly stiff leather, while the leather tends to last longer than the product of the alternate process, it is also naturally biodegradable which simplifies the problem of end-of-life disposal.

The other approach is chromium tanning. This involves soaking the hides first in an acid bath and then in a bath based on chromium salts. It has the advantage of being much faster and more easily automated, and produces softer, more pliable leather. Chromium tanned leather also can be more colorful than vegetable tanned leather. And of course, chromium tanning is much less expensive. However, leathers produced in this process contain some residual chromium, and should be reprocessed to recover that chromium as part of disposal.

One of the notable differences between these leathers is that vegetable-tanned leathers tend to dry out over time, while chromium-tanned leathers do not. I don't fully understand the chemistry, but that implies that chromium-tanned leathers retain water, which could have a role in oxidation of metals that are in contact with that leather.

Most of the leather produced today is chromium tanned, but there are still some tanneries that use the traditional vegetable process, and articles made from vegetable-tanned leather carry a higher price. According to the information I was able to glean from the internet, most (if not all) Italian tanneries still do vegetable tanning. But it would not surprise me to see articles made in Italy using less-expensive leather imported from other countries. Ultimately, economics can be a factor in just about every product manufacturing decision.

I haven't been able to determine which kind of leather is used to make these pen cases - but I would guess that it is likely chromium tanned. And that could be the explanation for the observation that pens stored in them corrode over time.

Also, you say "It seems worst with less expensive pen component kits". That's not surprising. Gold and platinum are noble metals that resist corrosion, but other materials can be susceptible to oxidation over time.

I have a gold-plated El Grande that has been stored in a leather pen case for five years. So far, there is no sign of corrosion. The case is marked "Genuine Leather. Made in Italy", and I bought it in the outdoor mercato centrale in Florence, but I wasn't smart enough to ask where the leather was produced or which tanning process was used - and even if the vendor had known the answer, I would not have been able to understand him!
Louie is right on his differences between Veg tanned and chemical tanned leather. However, getting Veg tanned leather is very easy and many leather suppliers carry it, Tandy Leather being one in the U.S. Tandy may get their leather from Italy but I've also purchased leather sides produced here in the U.S. and had no trouble with them
Chemically tanned leather can cause all kinds of problems with metal. As a knife maker, all my sheaths are made using Veg tanned leather only. I've had manufactured knives shown to me with lots of metal showing pitting, brass discoloration and overall rusting. I won't use chemically tanned leather on any of my sheaths or any other items I make out of leather. If any one who reads this you can PM me and I can let you know where I get my leather from and what I paid for a side. If it doesn't say VEG tanned on the leather description, it's probably chemically treated and overtime it will cause problems with all metals.

Guys: Thanks so much for this information! I am of the opinion that this "fine Italian leather" must have been chemically treated. The hardware that is affected seems to have dimpling/pitting and corrosion. Yesterday I tried using some jewelry cleaner that I've used for years, along with a jewelers cloth to see what would happen. I am out of the cream polish (which has absolutely no abrasives) so I tried some of the liquid as an experiment. This cleaner is so gentle that I have been able to use it to clean even pearls and opals. On some of the pen parts could be polished a bit however the finish is gone. As for the parts that had dimpling there it made no difference, even on the Rhodium, Titanium and high-grade golds. Grrr.


All this being said, are there any considerations with buying display boxes that have those soft dividers? I don't know what they are made of so I don't know if there would be any more damage. Any thoughts?


Thanks so very much to all for your imput!


Maria
 
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