Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Pens Not Working?

I touched on this in another post but felt that it warrants  a post of its own, for anyone who is specifically searching for this information!

I have a thing about pens, in that I collect them like other women collect shoes. Every year, I go through them and throw out ones that don't work. Largely this has involved throwing away a lot of Sakura pens of various sorts because, no matter what I tried, they wouldn't work.
When  a pen won't write, we often think it is because the ink has dried out. Well, of 20 non working pens yesterday, I can tell you that only ONE of them had run out of usable ink. On the rest, the ink was fine.
We are talking completely non writing or barely marking the surface after  5 minutes of scribbling, warming, shaking etc.

So, how to get them going?

Use a small pair of pliers if needed to completely take the pen apart. Carefully remove the nib (most just pull out), laying the tube flat or the ink may spill. Now, fill a sink with warm water and put the plug in. (Don't want to lose the nib!). Now here is the bit you probably have not tried. Take a piece of thin wire and wriggle it around in the back of the nib, rinsing the ink out. Push the wire in as far as it will go. When done, stick the wire through a bit of tissue and back into the nib, allowing the remaining ink to come out. Re assemble the pen. Put the cap on and tap it, nib down, against your palm. See if it now works. If not, the ink could be a bit separated. Take the wire and  put it into the ink tube (with the nib still on). Wriggle it to mix the ink and remove. Put pen back together again.

In all but one case, this fixed my non working pens.


Take apart and totally clean out if possible. Sakura pens have a wider tube and you can even get a cotton bud in there. When totally clean, put the nib back on and use a hypodermic  syringe to refill with glycerine, or glycerine with a drop of ink. You now have your very own, custom made heat embossing pen, in what ever colour you choose. (I use liquid watercolours).

Another use for a really dead pen, is as an embossing tool, either by hand or in a machine holder.

I've even put life back into cheap kiddies felt tips by removing the sponge pipe inside and re inking it.
You have to let it stand in the ink and absorb it, then replace.

Oh, one last tip. About an hour before you do this, moisturise your hands with a good thick cream or vaseline. Any ink will find it harder to get into your skin! Failing that, wear thin latex gloves...:)

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