Posts Tagged ‘fountain pen cleaning’


A Simple 2013 Fountain Pen Resolution


This certainly explains a lot. A light went on for me this morning when I realized the word “resolve” had something to do with “resolution” as in starting off the new year. Until today I thought you just made up something, tossed it out into the ether, and magically it would come true – or not as mine rarely have. Time for a change. defines resolve as “to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something).” As a verb, “resolve” is used with an object and what better object to be the target of my latest resolution? Why, the mighty fountain pen, of course!

Putting substance to that thought, my 2013 pen resolution is to keep the kids clean. Now that may not sound like a big deal but cleaning and flushing them before they get dried out takes some organization when a rotation can number over a dozen. Flushing a nib while there is a tiny bit of wet ink in the feed makes quick work of cleaning. Waiting until the ink has dried in the nib can take days of rinsing and draining. Frankly, I’d rather be writing.

Here’s the plan. Check every pen once a week on a consistent day. Sunday works best for me. Any pen that has ink in the feed but not the filler will get a cleaning or a refill or both. If the same ink will go back in the pen, I may refill it without cleaning up to three fills total but only once if the ink is highly saturated.

The other part of this is to immediately rinse or refill a pen if I write with it until no more ink flows. Some of my pens give a hint that the end is near but most don’t. Too often I have been guilty of setting aside an empty pen in favor of one still able to work and then forgetting the empty pen needs attention. In a pinch, filling the pen with enough clear water to keep the nib and feed moist until I have time for a proper cleaning will do. This is one of the areas in which resolve should come in handy.

There you have my simple 2013 pen resolution: keep the kids clean. Is there a pen or ink resolution on your list?

Pilot Custom 742 FA Nib

Pilot Custom 742 FA Nib


J. Herbin Fountain Pen Cleaning Solution


J. Herbin is one of the premiere makers of fountain pen ink so it seems a natural to offer an ink cleaning product called simply Fountain Pen Cleaning Solution. Mon ami, Jean Elie from Paperandco, kindly sent a bottle as a gift and this review is my way of sharing my good fortune.

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Cleaning Solution

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Cleaning Solution

After a bit of trial and error, I discovered that it speeds the cleaning of nibs that do not contain dried ink and to a lesser extent reduces the time to clean a nib with dried ink. It seems to contain a surfactant as lots of tiny bubbles appeared in the clear converters used in my side to side tests. Consequently, I rinsed the nibs and converters well before filling with new ink as I prefer my ink straight up. A smidge of surfactant won’t do damage but it might alter ink performance – not ideal when testing inks.

Since JH Cleaning Solution worked better at removing moist ink than junk dried in a nib, a great use might be as a traveling companion. Whether it is to change ink colors or just to keep a nib flowing well with a refill of the same ink, a quick cleaning will be even faster with this product.

The directions are simple. I had already emptied the pens and rinsed them with cool water before I realized the two on my desk would make good test subjects. Neither the Levenger True Writer with the dried ink nor the Lamy Safari that still wrote were clean, but the worst of the ink had gone down the drain. Both continued to drip color so that made a good starting point.

After some drying with a paper towel, I loaded the nibs and feeds with JH Cleaning Solution and let them sit for the recommended five minutes. The directions say to “rinse well with cold water” which is when I saw the bubbles. So I kept rinsing until there were no more bubbles in the converters. Then I tested to see how much ink remained. The Safari that was still able to write before the cleaning, was indeed ink-free enough for a new fill. The True Writer with the dried ink was not. Back to my old regimen for that one.

This is why JH Cleaning Solution makes sense for travel. Dried out pens are unlikely on the road but refilling or changing ink colors are common tasks. The Lamy was ready to fill with a new color in less than tens minutes and that’s with five minutes of soaking in the Solution. How easy!

What I cannot declare with certainty is that JH Cleaning Solution made a difference in reducing the time it took to clean the True Writer. It is just not something I can quantify. But using the product should make using the same pen to test multiple inks faster and easier. Besides I doubt these pens have ever been so clean.

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