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Thread: My Pen changed color - now what

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    Default My Pen changed color - now what

    Looking for your 2 cents. I came across a George W Heath fountain pen and got it for next to nothing ($15). Pen looked real good for 90+ years old. There was just a little discoloration (see before picture) and the pen is chased so I had no interest in applying any kind of sandpaper, etc to it. Here is my problem. I got it wet! I wanted to take the section off and now the barrel is a way different color. To me, the seller applied oil or something to reduce the discoloration. I know light-damaged BHR will get water spots but I don't believe that si the issue - thoughts?

    What do you think my options are?

    Danny
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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    Water and hard rubber (that has oxidized) are not a good mix. Your options are to live with it in the condition it is after 90 years of service, or consider treating the exterior, which most vintage pen people tend to not do. If you want to go this route, Syd Saperstein at Pensbury Manor has some products to help with discolored hard rubber. Scroll down to the bottom of the main page, on the left, and you'll see the stuff there. Syd is a well-known pen guy. Other people use products by Mark Hoover but I don't have enough experience with his stuff to mention as a recommendation.
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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    I don't think you should find blame with the seller so readily. My introduction to vintage hard rubber fountain pens included carrying them in the pocket of a sweaty shirt on a hike, only to have them change from black to olive green in very short time. It happens, and now I'm careful to keep old hard rubber away from water, except when the latter is in the form of ink.

    The quality of the hard rubber varied between manufacturers and over years, and their susceptibility to color change from exposure to damp is hard to predict...until after it happens.

    I've settled on Mark Hoover's "deoxodiser" to restore hard rubber pens, which is not a dye. See: https://www.lbepen.com/deoxidizer-instructions

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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    Ooooh...so my 115 year old Mabie Todd can turn Olive Green if I get it wet?
    This is awesome news!!
    "I can only improve my self, not the world."

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    I've settled on Mark Hoover's "deoxodiser" to restore hard rubber pens, which is not a dye. See: https://www.lbepen.com/deoxidizer-instructions
    Thanks for that, Fred. I haven't known anyone personally who had used it, so this is a good reference. OP, take note.
    "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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    Senior Member christof's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    I have also tested this. The procedure is somewhat laborious, but the result was satisfactory.

    You have to remember that Mark Hoovers deoxidizer removes the oxidized layer. The darker the result, the more material is removed. Although the material is removed evenly, the imprints suffer a bit. But in fact it is the best process I know of.

    C.

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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    I agree with the above. Saperstein's preparation is merely a coating and can be washed off, though not thoroughly, especially on pens with deep chasing. Mark Hoover's mixture removes the oxidised layer and exposes the original colour underneath.

    I don't use either but have seen the results achieved by friends who do.

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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    I don't use any deoxidiser or dye either - but I quite like brown and green pens that have had a good honest life and written many words for many hands.

    I have considered it for pens where there are substantial repairs needed, which would be hard to colour match without 'restoring' the original black, but since they're only going to be for my own use, I'd rather add a band or overlay if necessary.

    I have seen some impressive results from the Hoover products, however, and I'm sure they're more widely used than perhaps we realise!

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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    Like mizgeorge I like the colours that faded pens assume through time. We have a well-used Swan SF2 that Deb wrote about in the blog the other day. It isn't too faded - it's a rich, pleasing brown, just what I like. The more you use and handle hard rubber pens, the more they shine and that appears to fix the colour so that they don't fade further.

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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    Quote Originally Posted by eachan View Post
    Like mizgeorge I like the colours that faded pens assume through time....
    I like pens with patina as well, but what I don't like is uneven patina like it can be seen on pen barrels, when one part was covered by the cap and the other part was exposed to sunlight:



    That's why I prefer in some cases decent reblackening:





    C.
    Last edited by christof; April 16th, 2021 at 08:56 AM.

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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    I've settled on Mark Hoover's "deoxodiser" to restore hard rubber pens, which is not a dye. See: https://www.lbepen.com/deoxidizer-instructions
    Thanks for that, Fred. I haven't known anyone personally who had used it, so this is a good reference. OP, take note.
    A friend had an old BHR no-name pen restored with this and it came out awesome. The purists will not approve of it because it makes the rubber look new. It did not degrade the rubber as far as we can tell. That was about 3 years ago IIRC. I have a couple of BHR pens that I want to use this on but I kept forgetting to order the stuff.
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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    I certainly appreciate all the comments and welcome more. I'm not trying to lay blame on anyone other than myself - I did it. Personally, I liked the brownish color. That being said I've done the same thing to 5 other BHR pens and they did not turn green instantly. They didn't turn green at all. My goal was to separate the section so I could install a new ink sac and I don't like hairdryers. As I said, I really appreciate the insight, you all have given me a lot this think about. In all likelihood, I will contact professionals. Which is pretty crazy because I have only $15 invested in this pen. The barrel changed color almost instantly, that really makes me think some kind of chemical has been introduced to the HR prior to my purchase so I am hesitant to introduce more chemicals.

    Thanks Everybody
    Last edited by arbutus967; April 16th, 2021 at 01:03 PM.

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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    Of course the other possibility is just to use water to get the rest of the pen to match the barrel :-)

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    Default Re: My Pen changed color - now what

    Quote Originally Posted by arbutus967 View Post
    I certainly appreciate all the comments and welcome more. I'm not trying to lay blame on anyone other than myself - I did it. Personally, I liked the brownish color. That being said I've done the same thing to 5 other BHR pens and they did not turn green instantly. They didn't turn green at all. My goal was to separate the section so I could install a new ink sac and I don't like hairdryers. As I said, I really appreciate the insight, you all have given me a lot this think about. In all likelihood, I will contact professionals. Which is pretty crazy because I have only $15 invested in this pen. The barrel changed color almost instantly, that really makes me think some kind of chemical has been introduced to the HR prior to my purchase so I am hesitant to introduce more chemicals.

    Thanks Everybody
    You don't like hairdryers? What have hairdryers done to you?

    If you don't like using heat you'd best leave sections alone because I don't think you would like a cracked barrel either.

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