Thin Bits of Ruination

I bought a pen because I knew I wouldn’t be afraid to ruin it. Today I tried to ruin it.

The rabbit hole that is pen addiction consists of several steps that lead the addict from “Who the hell would ever use a fountain pen” to “why would anyone ever use anything but a handcrafted fountain pen made of gold harvested from asteroids”? (Something like that.)

One of the steps involves taking control of your pens by learning to do basic maintenance on them. This step usually comes after the step where you start using bottled ink and well after you learn what a good pen feels like. At this point you learn to straighten nibs and widen the gap between the tines and maybe even change nibs. You also remove the nib for cleaning.

In my case I’ve been interested in learning some basic nib care and to do so I bought a cheap fountain pen that I’m not afraid to ruin. My plan was to use a few tools I’ve acquired over time to tweak the pen and make it better and then change inks. That said, if it had been perfect I wouldn’t have messed with it, but it was kind of dry and didn’t like working on smooth paper.

I tried soaking it in pen flush but that didn’t work so I finally decided to try some brass sheets I acquired a while ago to clean out the tines and, hopefully, make the ink flow smoothly.

The problem is that poking around on your pen, even a cheap one, with bits of metal is not a natural act. (It’s kind of like a dentist scraping a metal hook around your teeth and gums in the name of “hygiene”: even though you know it’s supposed to be helpful, you’re kind of worried about long term damage because “metal hook”.)

I cleaned and flushed the pen and was surprised to see how easily it cleaned. I then had to poke around at it with the sheet of metal.

Whatever I did, it seems to have worked. The cheap pen is working well. Now I need to know if it was the cleaning or the ink change that made it work.

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