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Thread: Deeper than water cleaning of ink-storage, casing and nip?

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    Question Deeper than water cleaning of ink-storage, casing and nip?

    Hi humanoids!

    For older pens (cirka 1950), is there a way to do a more thorough (than just "water" / "ultrasound") cleaning of the plastic casing, such as polishing / greasing or whatever, in order to make them flashier? What about the golden nip tip?

    Some of the pens I have are pretty scratched from nearly 70 years of active use, and I wanted to do a deeper cleaning every now and then, but all I can find is just "dishwater soap and water", but this doesn't adress polishing the plastic or shining the nip - if these things are even doable.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deeper than water cleaning of ink-storage, casing and nip?

    The nib (assuming the pen is flushed clean and dry) should only be polished with either a soft cloth or, at most, a jeweler's cloth (which can also be used on the metal trim). Bear in mind that this works best on gold nib/hardware, but will polish up 'silver' metals as well. For lower-tiered pens, be careful polishing a nib that has been gold (or gold-colored) plated, because a lower-cost pen will have much thinner plating which can actually be polished off.

    As to the exterior, if cleaning as you state and then polishing with a cloth doesn't make it, I suggest using Novus 3-Step plastic polish (you can find this easily on Amazon, etc). You can pick up the three bottles, I think 8 oz, which will last for many many pens. I rarely use #3, the most abrasive. A gentle polish with #2 and then final clean/polish with #1 will make the pen look very nice. Use any product as sparingly as possible, and PLEASE bear in mind that pens that are 70 years old but look showroom new have been overpolished, reducing value and looking like ancient Beverly Hills residents with too much 'work' done on them.

    Lastly, some people hate the concept of any materials/chemicals coming in contact with pens! One fine pen person suggests only Micro-Gloss (I believe that is it) which is non-chemically reactive and uses crystalline materials for soft polishing; I am sorry that I don't have experience with this but felt important to note. Others go the other route with micromesh pads for polishing, just like the bespoke penmakers do. I've not done that with any of my pens.

    So, take it for what it is worth and ask a lot of people before you decide. Finally, start with your worst/ugliest/least-loved pen so that if anything goes south you aren't crying for days!
    "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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  4. #3
    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deeper than water cleaning of ink-storage, casing and nip?

    I'm a fan of Novus too. As Jon so rightly says, don't overdo it!
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    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deeper than water cleaning of ink-storage, casing and nip?

    I also have Novus, but only steps 1 & 2. Other similar polishes can be bought on Amazon or ebay. One is a slightly abrasive cleaner, that you should be very careful with, and the other is a surface polisher to shine after the plastic is smooth.

    You could look on Richard Binder's web-site and on Main Street Pens web-site to see what polishes they recommend. You can also search for "polishing fountain pens" in order to see some YouTube videos that will show you what products some other repairers or restorers use.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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