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Thread: Maintaining Silver Pens

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    Default Maintaining Silver Pens

    I am deep in a romance with my 2 Yard-o-Leds. DEEP!
    I've been polishing them with a blue cloth for silver tarnish removing. One I cleaned with Wright's Silver Cream, which is very gentle and I use it for a lot of the silver I have. It seems in reading the pen forums that the cloth and cream are discouraged.
    Is there a reason?
    The cloth rubbing is very gentle and actually relaxing while I'm driving, although I may look like a perv to passing cars.
    The cream is more of a pain but I do make sure it all stays on the outside.
    Is there any problem with these? I like a slight tarnished patina, especially with the Victorian pattern, but it and the barleycorn look almost liquid when they're completely tarnish free.
    Any advice is appeciated.

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    Senior Member Robert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    I found this on the Yard-o-Led website:

    "Our writing instruments are not treated with finishing lacquers but left in a natural state which gives them their unique lustre
    After a time, or if your pen is not in regular use, it can tarnish or lose its original shine. A polish with a soft jewellerís cloth or a general silver polish will regain it sparkle."

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    I tend to not use any polish, *especially* in the case where there is any chasing/pattern, as there is no amount of care that can prevent the material from getting in the grooves and then you really can't get it out very well. I simply use a soft cloth - I have a whole bunch of the clothes that come with new eyeglasses - and I do it every so often to restore any shine on those pens that I want to shine.

    The only time I have used polish on silver/gold pens is when I have gotten a very old vintage and it has too much surface dirt/patina to come clean with a cloth only. And I also am not counting pens that I consider the patina a part of the actual look, such as intricate overlay pens.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    Where might you reside in Northern California? We could demonstrate the appeal of Vintage pens of the brands you identify as well as US manufacturers. We could connect you with the freaks in the SF Bay area that meet almost every weekend and sometimes meet multiple times in a week--to discuss pens.

    As to the polish compound--it tends to find a way to get into place you can't remove it. It will hide under clips, in the grooves between parts any recesses in the engraving and it will find its way into the mechanism. I've removed compound from some rather strange places leaving wondering what was this pen used for...

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    Perhaps its just me but there is often a confusion between polish and wax, especially how the words are used and that each can be a verb or a noun.

    To Polish is to abrade the surface, to make the surface reflect light to a greater extent. Think of the polished aluminum on a motorcycle engine for example.

    To Wax is to apply a coating over paint, plastic or metal for protection or to produce a shine.



    Silver and gold plating on pens is very thin, I have worn through the plate on pens in the paste due to polishing with some form of compound, it ruined the pen.

    A very soft cloth such as used for eyeglasses or jewelry, even the Sunshine Polish Cloths, is all that is needed as a rule, if the pen is dirty or has finger prints a light spray of a high wax spray furniture polish, Pledge or Beewswax, should be all that is needed. These wax sprays work very well on polished granite kitchen work tops also.

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    I only ever use silver cloths on my silver pens and even then I ensure the cloth never goes anywhere near the silver hallmarks that can easily disappear with over polishing.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens


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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    I used Wright's which removes the tarnish and polishes. It's not a wax in any sense.

    There's also Tarn-x, which is handy for very badly tarnished silveware but it seems to strip the metal in too aggresive a manner. I don't like it.

    But i will now just use my silver cloth occasionally and avoid the hallmarks, based on this thread. Thank you!

    00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20191105075414167_COVER.jpg

    IMG_20191105_075139.jpg

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    Where might you reside in Northern California? We could demonstrate the appeal of Vintage pens of the brands you identify as well as US manufacturers. We could connect you with the freaks in the SF Bay area that meet almost every weekend and sometimes meet multiple times in a week--to discuss pens.
    I'm in Napa, north bay.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    I'm figuring a carpool with JP at this point...
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    This is from the vintage jewelry world I'm around: polish, but only high points. That is to say, get a Sunshine Cloth or a Klean Karats polishing cloth. All you want to do is buff over the pen to preserve the patina, but bring out the high points. Often, those high points are considered by the maker and the natural place where rubbing will occur and provide contrast. I'll try to take a picture of what I'm talking about.

    A lot of the old Natives I know just use a toothbrush and some toothpaste to clean things up.

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    Toothpaste is still an abrasive though, so care should be taken in delicate areas.

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    Here we go:



    You can see the natural high points that are meant to end up pretty shiny in contrast to the dark bits.



    You can see a very similar motif here where there are a few accents that assumed to have rub and wear that maintain the patina, but allow shiny high points.

    @EoC: Indeed it is, but like I said, there are a lot of folks in my part of the world that use it to clean their jewelry. Usually its reserved to remove severe tarnish vs a little oxidation.

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    On several antiques TV shows that I've watched, high points on silver items have had holes worn right through them from over or aggressive polishing. It depends on the thickness of the silver to start with.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    Based on feedback Iíve been given on cleaning of pens I believe collectors prefer to buy pens that are original and allowed to tarnish.

    As a collector of other things I understand the preference to get items as close to original as possible.

    But if I donít plan on selling the item I want to do what I feel is best to fully enjoy the item. I donít want to be worried about what a future person may or may not want done.

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    I would add the caveat that this is to be done on solid silver only. Pen bodies are generally thick enough to not be of concern for wear through. Again, use a Klean Karats cloth at most and youíll be fine.

    Of course, frequency is an issue as well. You really donít need to polish more than a few times a year, if that. I give all of my jewelry (silver, gold, or otherwise) a light buffing about once a year if itís looking dull. Otherwise itís left alone.

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    As to the polish compound--it tends to find a way to get into place you can't remove it. It will hide under clips, in the grooves between parts any recesses in the engraving and it will find its way into the mechanism. I've removed compound from some rather strange places leaving wondering what was this pen used for...
    This is what makes me stop in my tracks. Even though I've been careful, this makes too much sense.
    So no more Wrights Cream.
    This is the cloth I've been using. As I said, even a clean looking pen will leave lots of tarnish. Much more than with the other silver I have. I can live with it and I'll be careful.
    Thanks for all of this.

    IMG_20191106_124813.jpg

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    That's the one my friend who is a jeweller uses and she's an expert.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens


    I have some silver polishing cloths that I get from a local jeweler. They have an oily feel. The only pen I have with silver is the Visconti blue Divina. These cloths are great on cleaning up tarnished steal, as well.

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    Default Re: Maintaining Silver Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    These cloths are great on cleaning up tarnished steal, as well.
    Is that, uh, like a robbery that didn't go so well?

    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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