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Thread: Eyedropper and rust

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    Default Eyedropper and rust

    Quick question.

    There are a number of threads, blogs and vlogs that talk about the inadvisability of using a pen with metal parts in the barrel as an eyedropper. Does anyone know for sure whether, for example, a pen with metal section threads will actually corrode if used this way.

    I ask because most of the stuff I've read/seen seems like 'received wisdom' rather than actual experience, and bearing in mind the plethora of non-corroding (within our lifetime) steel nibs that have constant contact with ink.

    Further to this, in the spirit of ongoing inquiry, what exactly are metal section threads or metal cartridge holders made of that leads to this supposed corrosion?

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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    Was just thinking about eyedropper a metal Karas decograph...

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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    Given the lack of response from the crowd maybe the warnings are apocryphal.

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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    Might be just received wisdom, but is it worth the risk? I have read, as example, that vac fillers should not be used with iron gall inks, because the ink might react with the rod! I don't care enough to risk my Vac700R to find out the hard way.

    Here's the picture taken from user, Misso of fountainpen.it, of the nib of a Pelikan Jazz, which reportedly had nib corrosion from using iron gall inks - R&K Scabiosa. Despite being a modern yet economical pen, you can clearly see how it has rusted and chipped away by the slit.


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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    And yet I use iron gall ink with modern Jowo steel nibs without any corrosion, so that is interesting.

    Anyway, the question is really more related to modern dye inks rather than modern IG inks (and certainly not the older and more corrosive IG inks).

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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    I recall starting a discussion about this on FPN some years ago. That may be a false memory, as I can't find the thread; perhaps someone else had started it, and I just participated.

    But as I recall, the evidence was mostly or entirely anecdotal, with people thinking that the actual type of metal would be significant. Stainless steel, no problem. Brass or aluminum, possibly a problem. According to that thread. True or false, that's not implausible.

    If anyone cares to make the experiment over an extended period of time, then I'll be interested to read of any results. For myself, it's not just that I don't want to take the risk, but I don't have any pens with metal barrels or section threads that I want to use as eyedroppers. For that matter, I don't have any plastic pens that I want to use that way, with the exception of one that is actually designed as an eyedropper. And it isn't really one of my favorites.
    Last edited by Kaputnik; January 1st, 2019 at 03:38 PM.
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    Default Eyedropper and rust

    To your second (I think, Iím going off memory) question, the metal tenons in FPs are usually plated brass. Brass will corrode and it will do so without much of a fight. Even stainless steel will corrode under the right conditions (I would say typical FP ink qualifies).

    As to your first question, I think it is information that is simply passed around. That doesnít mean, however, that itís baseless. I think it quite likely that corrosion caused by ink is a phenomenon one sees over years or decades, so itís unlikely that many people will have first hand knowledge of it happening to them, unless theyíve been both violating this sacred rule of pen stewardship AND doing it for long enough to see the results.

    Actually, one doesnít have to look too far for examples of ink-induced corrosion. We see it on vintage steel nibs and we see it on section-trim rings. Why shouldnít it, then, also occur on metal tenons of eyedroppered pens? Or maybe the fact that we donít see firsthand examples is actually indicative of the fact that most people heed the admonitions?


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    Last edited by Kulprit; January 3rd, 2019 at 10:08 PM.

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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    Some of Karas pens are aluminum. If aluminum oxide has formed, it acts as a barrier to protect the metal. You probably won't see any oxides right away, but eventually, it will form, especially if you use ultrasonic cleaners. Here is a Delta Serena nib after a month of use with an ink that I thought was safe. The damage can be reversed if I go in with an abrassive but a toothbrush and water is all I have tried to remove the damage and that is the most I want to try for now:
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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    That is really surprising. As noted earlier, I have several Jowo steel nibs, but I have not seen corrosion like that (or indeed any corrosion). Makes me wonder about the material of the nib in the picture. Also, what was the ink?

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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    That is really surprising. As noted earlier, I have several Jowo steel nibs, but I have not seen corrosion like that (or indeed any corrosion). Makes me wonder about the material of the nib in the picture. Also, what was the ink?
    The ink was Diamine Majestic Blue. I would have never known about the damage but I decided to swap the nib and was totally surprised. I have not seen that type of damage before. I checked other pens I had used the ink in and they were fine, even a cheap Indian pen did not show any signs of being damaged. That is my point, you never know which pen is going to react badly. Putting ink in the barrel of a pen with a metal section or barrel might turn out totally fine for you. Then again it might not. If you don't attempt it, you have a better chance that it might not happen.
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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    Quote Originally Posted by KrazyIvan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    That is really surprising. As noted earlier, I have several Jowo steel nibs, but I have not seen corrosion like that (or indeed any corrosion). Makes me wonder about the material of the nib in the picture. Also, what was the ink?
    The ink was Diamine Majestic Blue. I would have never known about the damage but I decided to swap the nib and was totally surprised. I have not seen that type of damage before. I checked other pens I had used the ink in and they were fine, even a cheap Indian pen did not show any signs of being damaged. That is my point, you never know which pen is going to react badly. Putting ink in the barrel of a pen with a metal section or barrel might turn out totally fine for you. Then again it might not. If you don't attempt it, you have a better chance that it might not happen.
    You, sir, are the victim of galvanic corrosion. Two dissimilar metals (aluminum and steel) swimming in a salty/acidic electrolytic solution (ink) causes metal particles to migrate from one metal and deposit on the other.


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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulprit View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KrazyIvan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    That is really surprising. As noted earlier, I have several Jowo steel nibs, but I have not seen corrosion like that (or indeed any corrosion). Makes me wonder about the material of the nib in the picture. Also, what was the ink?
    The ink was Diamine Majestic Blue. I would have never known about the damage but I decided to swap the nib and was totally surprised. I have not seen that type of damage before. I checked other pens I had used the ink in and they were fine, even a cheap Indian pen did not show any signs of being damaged. That is my point, you never know which pen is going to react badly. Putting ink in the barrel of a pen with a metal section or barrel might turn out totally fine for you. Then again it might not. If you don't attempt it, you have a better chance that it might not happen.
    You, sir, are the victim of galvanic corrosion. Two dissimilar metals (aluminum and steel) swimming in a salty/acidic electrolytic solution (ink) causes metal particles to migrate from one metal and deposit on the other.


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    Aluminum? From where?
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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    Quote Originally Posted by KrazyIvan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Kulprit View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KrazyIvan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    That is really surprising. As noted earlier, I have several Jowo steel nibs, but I have not seen corrosion like that (or indeed any corrosion). Makes me wonder about the material of the nib in the picture. Also, what was the ink?
    The ink was Diamine Majestic Blue. I would have never known about the damage but I decided to swap the nib and was totally surprised. I have not seen that type of damage before. I checked other pens I had used the ink in and they were fine, even a cheap Indian pen did not show any signs of being damaged. That is my point, you never know which pen is going to react badly. Putting ink in the barrel of a pen with a metal section or barrel might turn out totally fine for you. Then again it might not. If you don't attempt it, you have a better chance that it might not happen.
    You, sir, are the victim of galvanic corrosion. Two dissimilar metals (aluminum and steel) swimming in a salty/acidic electrolytic solution (ink) causes metal particles to migrate from one metal and deposit on the other.


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    Aluminum? From where?
    Oh, I misread your post. I thought that was a nib you pulled from an aluminum Karas.


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    Default Re: Eyedropper and rust

    I'm certain a number of us have brass shims lying around. Maybe I'll cut one up into strips, put them into ink sample bottles with a selection of inks and see what happens. Not sure I've got anything made of steel lying around I can sacrifice, though.

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