I made a rookie mistake a few weeks ago. Hot on the heels of my Waterman Carene review, I put the pen back in storage without thoroughly flushing & cleaning it. The consequences of which you can see below.
Waterman Carene Medium Point Fountain Pen – Amazon / eBay
Heres the thing: my fountain pen collection runs in the hundreds. I keep around 10-15 pens inked at all times, but I do cycle quite a bit, so sometimes I forget to put them away properly. Some pens are not an issue to do this with, like my Sailor Pro Gear, which has been in storage (loaded with ink) for around 2 years. I whipped it out today and the pen was fine. It actually started right from the get go with zero skipping. Pretty damn impressive if you ask me!
Sadly with the Waterman Carene, the ink I used seemed to be quite pigmented and thus it decided to re-appear as sludge… pretty much everywhere. This isn’t a huge deal with most of my pens, because I can just give then an ultrasonic bath, but in the case of the Carene, the inlaid nib gave me pause. I don’t know enough about how the nib stays on (is it glued? friction fit?) to risk ultrasonic vibrations even though logically I knew it would be fine and thus I should have cleaned it prior to putting it into storage.
Lesson learned folks. One mistake I won’t be making again.
What I found interesting is how different pens react in different ways when put in storage. My Noodler’s Creaper has picked up the habit of exploding with most of the ink finding its way in the cap and grip section. Other pens, like the bulk of my Pilots (actually, make that most of my Japanese pens), seem to not change at all. Whether its the Platinum #3776, which was designed with a nifty cap mechanism to resist dry out or other adverse effects, or a cheapie Pilot Penmanship – they tend to survive with zero changes even after years. Maybe this has just been my experience and I am an isolated case, though. Let me know in the comments if your experiences mirror mine.
In any case, into lukewarm water the Carene went. Swimming is healthy (so they tell me) and it seems to be no exception for fountain pens. I do this until the nib stops leaving trails of ink and then work on getting the reticent leftovers out of the feed.
Diamine Pumpkin Orange Ink – Amazon / eBay
The best way I found to get crap out of a feed if you don’t want to (or in the case of the Carene, can’t) take the pen apart is to use a simple syringe and blast any remnants out naturally. Worked out pretty well, but took a solid 5 mins. Remember to clean the converter too.
After that, I place the nib section face down onto some specially designed absorbent material (toilet paper) and let the capillary action do its business.
And here we are, good as gold! This isn’t really a horror story as remedies are easy enough, but it’s a silly mistake to make, especially with a pen that you can’t take apart.
Okay, you got me. This was a pretty boring post, but I really wanted an excuse (any excuse really) to share more photos of this sexy lady. I’ll stop slacking and work on more meaningful content.
(Ink in question by the way is Diamine’s “Pumpkin”: great ink with above average shading).
Brian Mooney says
I have rigged up an automatic washer/rinser by boring a hole into a liter plastic soda bottle near the bottom. Use a hot nail. I then inserted some clear tubing (about 6″) I found at the hardware store, sized to let me fit the nib section of most of my pens inside. The tube is the then inserted into the the opening, and glued into place using waterproof Goop or similar sealant. Let it all set up and cure.
To use, I just gently insert the nib section after warming the plastic tubing under running hot water. Next, I fill the bottle with cool water and a few drops of Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent. A little clear household ammonia is added for stubborn cases. I let it drain into a dish in the sink, in case the section falls out (which rarely happens). Once the nib is well-washed, I repeat with clean cool water. Wash and rinse with as much or as little water as you please.
This works really well, especially in conjunction with an ultrasonic cleaner. Different pen sections can be accomodated by buying a few extra sizes of tubing to slip over the glued section. My hardware store was fascinated by my project, and most helpful in helping my pick the right sizes and proper glue. All very inexpensive!
Thomas Xavier says
Wow. That is an impressive set up- any chance you could share a photograph? I have a Dolfi (ultrasonic cleaner) for the stubborn stuff but other than that im using rubber bulb syringes which is frequently less than optimal. Your system sounds so elegant! Thanks for sharing it.
Some Carène disassembly hints can be found at http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/264171-considering-a-carene/?p=2950647
Thomas Xavier says
I had no idea you could take the nib apart piece by piece! I figured it was heat set during manufacturing. Well, I am pleasantly surprised- thanks for sharing that mate!