Soaking Pens And Other Stories

I hate to drone on about this but it maybe does need re-emphasising.  Do not soak entire pens! In fact, before you soak any part of a pen, have a good think about it.  Water will liquefy dried ink and that’s about the only benefit it has.  On the downside, it can discolour black hard rubber, destroy casein, discolour some celluloids and rust metal internals.  Heat will soften and expand  BHR, casein, celluloid and other plastics, allowing you to pull things apart without damage.

My assistant went out in the rainstorm to try soaking.  She didn’t like it.
I bought another book from Andy Evans of Andy’s Pens.  This time, on the basis of “know thine enemy” it was The Incredible Ball Point Pen by Gostony and Schneider.  I haven’t really read it yet but at first glance I can tell you that it’s mostly American and stops at around 1980.  Fair enough, I don’t think that there have been any ground-breaking developments since then.  The point I want to make, though, is how quick Andy’s deliveries are.  I’m sure it isn’t Royal Mail that delivers it.  They deliver nothing else as quickly.  No, I think Andy has a wee guy with a monster sports car – maybe a 1933 aero-engined Napier Railton, and the wee guy has goggles, a flying helmet and a white silk scarf.  And an expression of seething madness.  He sits outside Andy’s shop awaiting a purchase in need of delivery and instantly takes off in a burst of wheel-spin and a cloud of dust and races to deposit his parcel on, in this case, my welcome mat.  He breaks every speed limit and most of the rules in the Highway Code to get here but that’s OK.  The police have nothing fast enough to catch him.

That’s enough crazed rambling for today.  I have pens to describe if I’m to upload them in the next few days

4 thoughts on “Soaking Pens And Other Stories

  1. Hi Deb,

    Excellent point about not putting whole pens into water. In my case I use a cheap art materials Aluminium Brush Washer where I suspend the pens on the top spring with only the nib and section (which should be waterproof otherwise they will deform with ink running in them) in water.

    Here is an example of one these washers:

    Kind regards,


    1. Hi Rui,
      Looks like a useful bit of kit but it isn’t the way I would go. Most sections are BHR – why take the chance on fading them by soaking? I use heat to remove the section from the barrel and a bulb and water to clear the ink out. If it should prove necessary I drift the nib and feed out and scrub the feed with a scrubbing brush and clean the section out with cotton buds.

      So I use some water but I don’t soak anything. In fact, I get the section out of the water very quickly and dry everything with a kitchen towel.

  2. Well now, THAT was a rollicking fun read! Your assistant looks cheesed off (although I have one of those – two actually – and they just seem to have “that look” much of the time so I won’t read too much into it). The little man in the extraordinary sports car is quite fabulous. It seems you might be feeling your oats as they say, Deb, and I think that’s a wonderful thing.

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