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Basic Tips for the Care of Your Hand-Made Writing Instrument

 

 Pen Care

Try not to drop your pen, The wood is turned at times to 1/8 inch thick and will break. Custom turned pens can be a bit dense and heavy thus can chip. Resins such as Celluloid, Tru Stone, Inlace, Acrylic, and Bone are very beautiful but these materials are more brittle and can crack or chip if dropped.

Try not to leave your pen in the car. The temperature extremes experienced in a car can damage or destroy your pen. Wood is a moving material, it responds to changes in temperature and humidity in unpredictable ways. If you leave your pen in the car or on a windowsill where it can expand and contract it may crack. Many Burls and Rosewoods are very heat sensitive. These extremes will weaken the wood and cause it to crack.  Treat your pen as you would any fine, delicate instrument. Try to keep your pen dry. Although it can withstand a lifetime of use it will not tolerate abuse.

 

Cleaning your pen

Wood finishes can be restored with a light buff from a clean dry cloth. If it has become dull from repeated use, apply a good quality furniture wax and let it dry before buffing to a shine. A clean, dry, soft cloth or lens-cleaning tissue works well for this. NEVER use cleaning fluids, solvents, compounds, or abrasives, as these may damage the finish of the wood, and possibly the plating on the metal parts Polishing not only restores the lustrous finish, but will provide your pen with a layer of protection from oil, dust and dirt.

A Plastic or Resin pen can be restored by buffing with a clean dry cloth.  Over time the high gloss finish can wear and micro scratches can dull the sheen. You should use plastic polish to revive the luster Restore the pen with any approved plastic polish such as Greygate. Use as per the manufacturers instructions.

 

Long Term Usage

Nothing lasts forever. I try to use the best available components when making my pens, even the toughest, most durable finishes will eventually wear out or wear through with constant use. This includes the finishes on metal components, such as the clips, nibs, and the center rings. The care instructions above should help to minimize this wear, and/or prolong the beauty of your pen for as long as possible. Please read my page on Pen Plating to help you decide what type of plating is best for you. I want you to be aware of how your pen will age, so that you are not surprised nor disappointed. If you take care of your custom wood/acrylic pen, you'll be writing with it for years

 

 

Storing your pen

Carrying your pen in a trouser pocket with car keys, loose change, etc., is a really bad idea. These pens are designed to be carried in a shirt pocket (the slimmer styles), or used at your desk. There are nice leather pouches available for those who wish to keep their pens protected while stashed in purses or trouser pockets. I supply a plastic pouch for each pen.

 

Fountain Pen Care

Periodically flush it out, fill it with cool water and empty it a few times.  Do this once every few months and it will keep dried ink from building up and interfering with the ink flow. Don’t use hot water or solvents.  Only use inks intended for fountain pens. If the ink backs up when writing it is time for a flushing.

Carry your pen nib upwards and you should have no trouble with leakage.  Keep your pen full, ink flow can become irregular if the ink chamber is close to empty. Many can remember the leaky fountain pens of the past, this is not the case now.

Do not soak any part of your pen other than the nib assembly. If ink gets into the inside of the cap, wipe it out with a damp cotton swab.  Dunking the entire cap, or the entire barrel into water may harm your pen.  If your pen is clogged with dried ink, soak it by placing it nib-down in enough water to cover the nib and the lower part of the section, leaving the barrel dry.

Take care when placing the cap on the end of the barrel, set it in place gently.

Avoid operating the filler mechanism when the pen is fully closed. This puts excessive strain on the sac and the filling mechanism: when the cap is screwed down, the inner cap seals around the nib, leaving no place for the air in the ink reservoir to escape. Be gentle when pulling out the knob on a plunger-filler.

 

Fountain Pen Tips

Non-permanent ink is the easiest on your pen. If you desire to use permanent ink, weekly washing and cleaning of your pen is necessary. Colored ink (other than blue, blue-black or black) is hard on fountain pens. They require frequent cleaning to prevent clogging your pen’s feed.
 

Don’t loan your pen to someone else. Your pen’s nib breaks in to your specific handwriting style. Use of your pen by someone else will tweak the nib differently and the pen will not perform well for you.
 

When flying with your pen, it is highly advisable to empty it first. The change in atmospheric pressure, even in a pressurized cabin, can cause your pen to leak ink. 

After filling your pen, wipe the lower portions that have been immersed in ink with a soft fabric. Using facial tissue can leave fibers on the nib that will cause smearing.

Writing with a fountain pen is an art, the pen should not be gripped. It should be held lightly. No pressure should be exerted on the pen while writing. The pen should be allowed to glide smoothly across the paper. A good quality, smooth finish paper should be used.

 

Replacing your pen's ink cartridge

All of the pens I make use commonly-available ink cartridges that can be obtained in any office supply or stationery store. If in doubt about what cartridge your pen uses, bring along the old one when shopping for replacements to make sure you get the right kind.

 

"Slimline" ballpoint pen: Grasp the top and bottom sections of the pen and pull the sections straight apart, be careful not to lose the center band. Unscrew the old ballpoint pen cartridge from the bottom section and replace with an equivalent cartridge. Carefully press the two sections back together. Uses a Cross® type ballpoint refill.

 

 

 

"European" style ballpoint pen:  Some european styles pull apart and others unscrew in the middle. I will give specific instructions when the pen is sold. Uses a Cross or Parker® type ballpoint refill.

 

 

 

"Cigar" style ballpoint pen: Unscrew the conical metal tip of the pen. Carefully remove the old cartridge (don't lose the spring or the little spacer ring!) and replace with an equivalent cartridge. Replace the conical tip. Uses a Parker® type ballpoint refill.

 

 

 

"Bullet" twist style ballpoint pen: Unscrew the metal tip of the pen. Carefully remove the old cartridge (don't lose the spring!) and replace with an equivalent cartridge. Replace the conical tip. Uses a Parker® type ballpoint refill.

 

 

 

"Classic" screw cap rollerball pen: Unscrew the metal tip of the pen. Carefully remove the old cartridge (don't lose the spring!) and replace with an equivalent cartridge. Replace the conical tip. Uses a rollerball or gel refill.

 

 

 

"Gentlemen's" rollerball pen: Unscrew the metal tip of the pen. Carefully remove the old cartridge (don't lose the spring behind the cartridge!) and replace with an equivalent cartridge. Replace the conical tip. Uses a Schmidt #888 or #5888 rollerball refill, or equivalent


  
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