Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Another Monthly Challenge - 12 Days in the Month Before Christmas

I had two monthly challenges this month set by two different friends.  One I've already done which was to sketch 12 things representing the Christmas Holiday season.  This second challenge, set by my friend in the UK, is to sketch 12 days in the month prior to Christmas something representing what we did.

Not sure I'll succeed working 12 days as I'm still struggling with motivation but I may surprise myself :-)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Hard Lesson Learned - Rohrer & Klingner Sketch Inks

I SHOULD have known better than jumping into filling SEVERAL pens with a new ink brand claiming to be safe for fountain pens.  I SHOULD have only tested in one pen rather than filling nine with different colors.

When I read about Rohrer & Klingner's Sketch Inks and compared the price against other well known bottled inks, I was excited.  I was excited with the choice of colors and jumped right in filling pens and testing them out between illustrations and writing.  I had even bought more Lamy Safari pens with different color barrels or clear barrels to see the colors they held.....just to house these inks.

WHAT A STUPID THING TO DO ON MY PART without first testing with one pen only !!!

Now, with all my other pens that range from Pilots to Lamy to TWSBI, as well as Noodler's fountain pens, I treat them all the same.  I'm not the greatest at regular pen maintenance and I have several filled with Lexington Gray or Platinum Carbon inks allowing them to sit for weeks and even months without being used.  I even have a Platinum Carbon Desk Pen filled with brown ink known to cause havoc in some pens that doesn't cause me grief.  The worst problem I've ever had was having to dip a pen feed/nib into water to help get it "jump" started (and part of that may be due to how I store my pens, which are standing - cap end up - in a pen display).  I've NEVER had a problem with total clogging and not feeding the ink.

Then Sketch Inks come along.  I found that even sitting a few days unused, they started showing problems of wanting to write or feed ink.  When I first saw that happening, that SHOULD have alerted me to clean them out immediately.  Unfortunately, I did not do that.  They sat for weeks unused....dreading having to clean them all....and now I'm paying the price, which MAY prove to be a costly one.

First I worked on cleaning one pen and immediately found it was going to be quite a task to do so.  The ink dries inside almost like a glue.  I couldn't get the nib off the pen even after soaking in warm water for hours (renewing warm water as it got cold) and flushing using a bulb to force water through the end of the pen feed/nib section.  I found the converter was just as challenging to clean out all the ink.  I cleaned the best I could still not being able to remove the nib.  I did NOT use a cleaning solution but only plain tap water.

I tried filled this pen with my trusty Lexington Gray Ink and it would not feed the ink.  I thought for sure the pen was trashed.

Yesterday I took on the task of cleaning all the pens I had loaded with the Sketch Ink.  Instead of warm water, I used hot tap water......replacing as the water got cold.  Off and on throughout the day I soaked and flushed with a bulb and syringe forcing hot water through the pieces.  After several hours of doing this, little slivers and specks were showing up in the bottom of the containers I was using.  

Next, I used fountain pen cleaner solution purchased through Goulet Pens that smells like it has ammonia in it that I forced through the feeds with the bulb.  Soaked and flushed some more with plain hot water.  Even more flecks and slivers showed up.

Then I tried removing the nibs again, including the first one I tried cleaning (I hadn't totally given up on it yet).  I finally got all the nibs off but took me having to pry them with a knife.........trying not to damage the feed.  I was right........they were basically "glued" in place with dried ink even after all that soaking time.  I had to take a brush to the feed where the nib sits as well as the little metal nibs to remove the stuck on ink.

Container with six of the nine pens I'm having to clean......hoping to work again:

Flecks showing up with plain hot water soaks:

After several hours soaking and then taking cleaning fluid and bulb to flush the feeds:

Here we are more than 24 hours later of soaking/flushing and I still have ink showing in the channels of my feeds.  Now I'm taking a blunt needle syringe and forcing cleaning solution and hot water from the hole in the end of the feed where the nib sits trying to loosen what's in those channels.  Then flushing using the bulb from the other end.

I wish I could remove the feed so I can brush the grooves and channel; but, even when not stopped up with ink (that binds like a glue) they are not easy to remove from Lamy pens.  It's possible and I've watched videos on how to do so but if I had to pry a nib off that's suppose to remove easily, I don't dare try to remove the feed.

UPDATE:  The first pen I cleaned and tried to use is now working again using Lexy Gray ink.  Because it's a black pen and I cannot see through to the feed, I don't know if it's flowing at full capacity or not.  BUT, it's working so far and I truly thought I would have to trash the pen.

As for the remaining eight pen feeds and converters.......they are still soaking.

Will try to update the results in another post once I finish the cleaning and if or when I fill those other eight pens with colored inks from another brand.  I don't need eight more pens filled with Lexington Gray or Platinum Carbon ink so may be awhile before I learn if they will ever feed ink again for sketching and writing.

So be warned by my stupidity not to always believe what a manufacturer claims as safe for fountain pens.  Test only ONE pen and one that doesn't cost a fortune if it's ruined or you can't purchase replacement parts.

Monday, December 3, 2018

FAST Group Monthly Challenge

Our sketching group, FAST (Fetch a Sketch Trekkers), is starting a monthly challenge where the folks interested take turns coming up with ideas for us to work on through the month.  One of the gals got us off to a great start with the idea to sketch 12 things that represent the Christmas Holiday season.

I chose to go with plants and flowers we are all familiar with during this time of year, as well as a page of ornaments I have on our tree plus shelf sitter. 

As I worked on my page of ornaments, it took me back years ago when the boys were young and I made all of our Christmas ornaments.  It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I added a few store purchased ornaments like the little plush hanging toys (reindeer, santa, snowman, penguin, etc) that have these little totes you can add goodies to.  The gnome is a shelf sitter rather than an ornament.

Worked in my large Beta journal using Pilot Falcon with Lexy Gray ink.

Cathy Johnson's Sketch With Me Effort Nov 2018

Miss Kate has initiated a monthly "Sketch With Me" project where people all over the globe work a sketch on a particular weekend and then share online.

For November (weekend following Thanksgiving Day), we were to sketch something we're thankful for.

This is what came to mind for me.

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