Oct 5, 201899 views

Clogged Nibs!

So I neglected my fountain pens for a very very long time. Thanks to Massdrop, my passion has been revived. However, all of my fountain pens are clogged - I tried washing them by running
(endlessly) the nibs under water, then draining on paper towels. Still clogged, can't get the ink flow back. Any suggestions?

Not sure this is the best solution, and it inevitably ends up with ink in your mouth, but when I am re-vitalizing a pen I haven't used in a year or so I fill it with water and then force the water out through the nib by blowing on the the top. It always seems to work though.
Rapido-Eze is your friend: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000KNNI24 There are several fountain pen cleaning solutions on the market, but most of them are just overpriced glass cleaner. Soaking your pens in Rapido-Eze can do wonders for them. For the ultimate in fountain pen cleaning: a Rapido-eze soak in an ultrasonic cleaner.
CAUTION: Both Rapido-Eze and Ultrasonic cleaners are fine for most modern fountain pens. HOWEVER, avoid using Rapido-eze with vintage hard rubber; avoid ultrasonic cleaners and/or heat with laminated/layered celluloid; avoid partial submersion in ultrasonic cleaners.
We could probably give you much more specific advice if you'd tell us about the pens in question.
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The finish on the Invincia is fragile. I know, I used to own a bunch. Laban are all over the place, but their resin/acrylic pens are quite decent. Your Levenger will hold up to U-S and Rapido for sure. The Laban too. The Invincia... Here's the thing: All your pens are straight forward cartridge/converter pens. So there's really not much to worry about as you are only going to be soaking the section. Caps and barrels do not need Rapido nor U-S. Just make sure you fill the converter through the nib with whatever cleaning solution you will be using before placing it in the U-S bath. Try to get rid of any air pockets. Good luck.
Thank you! Mounte Verde has suggested that I send the Invincia to them for repair since I cannot get ink to flow. A new nib would do the trick - but replacements are not sold. So, should I try the ultra-sonic cleaner on that nib or send it in? I figure, at worst, I could just buy another - I do love that particular pen. On the other hand, my old school Shaefer cleaned up and is working beautifully.
Don't be afraid to soak the nibs, even for a couple days. Adding a bit of dish soap can help. So can a very soft toothbrush (try a children's or baby's brush).
I have a sonic cleaner (add a few drops of dish soap and/or a bit of ammonia) and it really helps get out the ink. Even when it seems I've cleaned my nibs thoroughly, a round in the sonic gizmo will release more ink.
There are "pen flush" solutions that you can use to help loosen and flush out ink. Use them after you've done all you can with water. Check Anderson Pens or the Goulet Pen Company or any site that sells fountain pens and ink. You can get a bulb syringe to move the flush through with a little more force that you'll get with a converter. The flush can be reused until it turns quite dark. Do rinse the flush out after your pen is clean. Most versions contain lubricant that will help your pen function, but anything more than a trace amount left in the converter of feed may make your ink flow more quickly than you'd like.
Let us know if that helps.
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Hi, Ruth. Yes! At last! Thanks to everyone here for their advice. I bought a $40 ultra-sonic cleaner from Amazon and cleaned all the nibs last night. I used a tiny bit of Dawn and it worked! I now have working pens. Now I am awaiting the Visconti Van Gogh from Massdrop. Thanks, again! Karen
Yea! Sonic cleaners would be a good writing community drop.
I've rescued a friend's neglected pens by soaking in warm water. Only warm, baby bath temperatures. If that doesn't help you can consider an ultrasonic cleaner but be careful and consider if the materials can withstand the treatment.
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Another vote for an ultrasonic cleaner. I actually got one to clean dentures and, since I had it, tried it on a very old and stubbornly clogged pen. I figured it couldn't do any harm and might help. The feed came out completely clean after a few cycles. It's very safe to use and won't harm your feeds.
What one did you get? I'm going to look on Amazon but have no idea what to look for.
Back in the dark ages we used Rapidigraphs, stylo pens with nibs that were little tubes. These were very hard to clean, and to make things worse, they were usually used with shellac based India inks. Every studio had a denture cleaner, a cheap version of an ultrasonic, dedicated for cleaning pens. Works great for fountain pens.
Thanks -I will look into that.