Sunday, July 5, 2015

June meeting topic-- "Pen Maintenance 101"

Many thanks to VPC member Mark Harcourt for his excellent presentation on "Pen Maintenance 101", the topic of our June meeting. We had excellent attendance that night---27 members (including two newcomers---Erin and Richard---as well as Ben's daughter Kelly, and Alejandra's daughter Natasha)!
Mark talks about pen maintenance, as our members listen with rapt attention
That orange object on the counter is an ordinary salad spinner, converted to a makeshift centrifuge for drying fountain pens that have been rinsed of ink. You can either use ordinary tap water for rinsing, or a water-household ammonia mixture (if I recall correctly, the recipe is a 1:10 solution of clear household ammonia in water). The pens are attached to the inside of the spinner with pipe cleaners. Make sure that the nibs do not stick out, or they can be damaged when the spinner is engaged. A useful tool that isn't very expensive, but effective if used correctly!
Another useful tool (albeit one more expensive) for cleaning pens is an ultrasonic cleaner. Some pen types should not be cleaned in these devices, such as pens made from casein (the material will soften and start to dissolve), hard rubber pens (they can discolour in water) and Parker '61' pens (the decorative arrow on the hood can fall off), among others.
Mark briefly spoke about one of his favourite polishing compounds, a product called Wenol, which is made in Germany. He also spoke about a plastic polishing compound that he likes to use, called Ultra Gloss.

Many thanks, once again, to Mark for taking the time to teach us about maintaining our fountain pens in good working order---it was a very interesting talk! Mark operates a local pen repair business out of Perks pen store on Cambie Street (where our club meets) and has always been very helpful and enthusiastic about getting old & new pens working again, so it was great to hear his advice and tips.

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