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How I make pens
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Handcrafted Pens by Larry Banner
  Pen Care Information

With proper care, your new pen can last a long time and provide you much enjoyment. Here are some tips on how to care for and keep your pen in pristine condition.

Storing Your Pens

Keep your pen in a safe place to protect it and it will deliver years of service. It is recommended you store it in a pen case or box, or in the sleeve that was supplied when you purchased the pen. If you store it in a drawer, pocket, or pocket book unprotected you risk damaging the wood, acrylic, or hardware. Although your new pen can withstand a lifetime of use it will not survive abuse.
See our pen boxes here.

• Keep your pen out of direct sunlight, as the UV radiation will compromise the quality of the finish and prematurely age and oxidize the wood.

• For your capped writing instrument, it is recommended that the pen be stored with the cap securely over the nib while the pen is not in use.

• The inks used are susceptible to drying out if left exposed for extended periods of time.

Care of Wood Pens

The woods we use have either been kiln-dried, air-dried for more than 6 months, or stabilized with a casting resin. This means that the woods used are stable and should not crack under normal circumstances. However, being a natural material, special care of the finished product must be taken to ensure the longest life possible.

Sunlight is the #1 enemy of wood!

Try to store your pen out of direct sunlight, as the UV radiation will compromise the quality of the finish and prematurely age and oxidize the wood. As with most wood products, wooden pens are susceptible to the elements, so limiting exposure to strong sunlight and temperature and moisture extremes will ensure a long life for your pen. Do not leave them in the car!

Carrying your wood pen in a purse or pants pocket without a case will subject it to scratches and damage from keys, coins, cell phones and other items that will compromise the quality of the finish. Dropping a pen is always a problem, and obviously not recommended…

Over time, the natural oils in your hand may wear away the outer wax finish, and bring the wood to a natural patina that will vary in appearance depending on the type of wood and the acidity of the oil from the hands of the user.

Do not use chemical fluids or abrasive substances to clean your pen. Care for your pen as you would any wood product, using a light wax or coat of furniture finish and buffing to restore the finish. The frequency with which this is required will vary depending on the type of wood, the amount of use, and the conditions with which the pen is stored.

Care of Acrylic Pens

These materials are synthetic, and as such are more resilient than most materials. However, they are more brittle than wood and are therefore more susceptible to cracking or chipping if dropped onto hard surfaces and due to their high-gloss, may be scratched more easily. Clean using plastic polish and use a high-quality rubbing compound to remove scratches.

Rollerball Pen Care

The same care should be taken with your rollerball pen as has been noted above under wooden or acrylic pen care, again not exposing them to temperature extremes and avoid dropping them onto hard surfaces.

Choosing The Correct Rollerball Refill…

All our handcrafted rollerball pens come with either a standard refill; a Schmidt or a Hauser refill. When necessary make sure you replace your refill with a refill that is the same or equivalent. It can be any brand although Schmidt and Hauser are two of the highest rated refills.

Rollerball liquid ink is similar to liquid fountain pen ink. It is very different from ballpoint ink, which is waxy and requires thrust to push the ink from the tip. A rollerball liquid ink refill flows like a wick when touched to paper. Paper (or a shirt pocket) will literally wick the ink from a rollerball refill in a minute.

Fountain Pen Basics

Almost all fountain pens are comprised of the same basic components: a nib (also called a point, this is the decorative metal writing tip of the fountain pen, available in stainless steel, rhodium gold and other metals), a feed (the ribbed component attached to the back of the nib), and the ink supply (various options here include: cartridge, piston, convertor, plunger, vacuum, and sac). Many people do not realize that there are certain care requirements for fountain pens and that if they are followed many "problems" can be resolved or never happen in the first place.

Cleaning Frequency:

A fountain pen should be cleaned after every second refilling of either ink from a bottle or cartridge. Which means, if you use the pen and you replace the cartridge, insert another and then run out, clean the fountain pen before you install the third cartridge or refill from an ink bottle.

Cold Rinse Only:

Fountain pens should only be cleaned with clean, cool water. Important: never use hot water. Hot water can easily damage the feed. If your fountain pen is excessively dirty, a teaspoon of ammonia can be added to a cup of water, then soak the nib section overnight. You can also use a window cleaner like Windex. Just be sure it has ammonia as this helps break up dry ink and dirt the best.

Flushing the Nib:

Flush the nib section with water until it runs clear. You may use the faucet's power or you may use a ear syringe and force the water thru, this is very effective since it gives more force and cleans the nib out better.

Drying After Washing:

Cover the nib section with a soft dry cloth and shake it a few times to force the water out. It is best to then leave it to dry overnight. Then put in a cartridge and you are ready to write! If your pens are piston fed only (only bottled ink can be used) you can soak your pens first in water then suck fresh water into the chamber and evacuate the water. Do this three or so times or until the water runs clear. Most pens have nibs that easily unscrew which makes cleaning the chamber with a Q-Tip easy if you wish.

Storing Your Fountain Pen:

Never store your fountain pen lying down. The ink will coagulate and dry in the nib section and make it difficult for the ink to flow and for the pen to write properly. Keep your pen capped with the nib pointed up in a pencil cup or other type of holder. If you are not going to use your pen for a week or more, evacuate the ink or remove the cartridge. Pen cases where the pens lie flat are great ways to store unrefilled pens.

Care of Fountain Pens

Fountain pens are a delicate writing instrument that can bring years of enjoyment if properly used and maintained. Below are helpful tips on using.

Ink Cartridges:

Our handcrafted fountain pens use standard “International size” cartridge refills unless otherwise noted. To change cartridges simply unscrew the nib section and twist off the ink cartridge. Take the new cartridge and press it onto the nib unit until it is firmly seated. Gently write on a scrap of paper until the ink begins to flow.

Ink Convertor:

Our handcrafted fountain pens will accept a standard size ink converter to allow you to use your favorite brand of bottled ink. Simply remove the ink cartridge and replace with a standard size converter. Make sure the piston is at the bottom of the converter before placing the nib in the ink well. Twist the piston top while the nib is submerged thus refilling the converter's reservoir.

To see a tutorial video on filling fountain pens go to:

Remedies for clogged pen feeds:

Unscrew the nib from the pen body. Do not immerse the pen body in water.

It is helpful to have a converter that you can use to draw water through the nib and feed, and then push the water back out. Flushing the pen half a dozen times with lukewarm (but NOT HOT) water normally should do the job.

If ink has dried in the feed, then you may need to soak the pen nib overnight. Plain water is usually good enough, but adding one drop of dishwashing detergent often helps. If you use detergent, you should flush the pen several times the next day to remove any trace of the detergent.

The usual issue is that ink has dried inside the feed, but there is also a concern that the ink could have stained the pen. There are a few inks that are notorious for their ability to stain pen parts - Noodler's Baystate Blue is probably the most infamous and will stain both plastic and metal parts. I happen to like BSB - it is a beautiful bright blue. But my experience is that the stain from Baystate Blue usually won't be touched by water, even with detergent. Adding a few drops of hypochlorite bleach usually clears it pretty quickly. If you flush the pen out thoroughly, the residual stain won't affect the next refill of the pen, so you can change colors without clearing the stain completely. But for obvious reasons, using BSB in a really expensive pen would probably not be wise.

I recommend the classic brands of ink that have stood the test of time, Quink, Diamine, Waterman's and Shaeffer. No pen should be left standing with ink in it for any length of time. When you are done using the pen, just rinse it through a couple of times, or until it runs clear, with cold water.

Other tips - a drop of detergent in a cup of water should be run through a new pen to remove oils which prevent smooth ink flow. Detergent won't dissolve ink clogs, but ammonia will. Use India ink in a pen and you might as well throw the pen away! Cheap inks can ruin a pen through their acidity and clogging properties.

Thank you for your interest in my handcrafted pens.
Handcrafted Pens by Larry
3961 Floyd Road
Suite 300-246
Austell, Ga 30106
tel: 770-789-7467