Author Topic: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.  (Read 497 times)

Offline Cyril Jayant

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Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« on: October 30, 2022, 12:21:52 PM »
I have noticed I am running to problem getting my Pens/ nibs rusting.
All my pens are basically vintage or antique nibs. I have about 14 pen holders and sometimes I don't use them as I am using some straight holders.
So I had noticed several times in the past if I leave them for weeks they get rusted. In my house I guess there's some humid under normal room temperature.  Basically I leave my pens in a open box/Jars  and they are not in any closed protections.
What I did was I removed the nibs and used a soft sanding to remove the rust. Even today I had to repeat  it again ( sanding ) to remove the rust. ( I do it very carefully not touching  or mis aligning the tines or not doing anything excessively) 

OK my question is how or what do you do to keep them rust- free if you have many pens and if you are using them very occasionally? 
All I know is the more you sand scratch the metal the more you leave/ expose the metal to rust. But I don't have any option... some of  my nibs are good known brands as Gillett or similar  but they are not bronze or stainless-steel.
Perhaps some of you have experienced this and found solutions to this .. I appreciate for your  valid thoughts here. ;)
 

Offline K-2

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2022, 03:34:21 PM »
@Cyril Jayant -- It's frustrating to see good nibs rust!  I really feel for your problem.

I have a few thoughts on the issue, and I'm sure other people will also chime in.

Use: If you are prepping multiples of the same type of nib to put in different holders.... maybe don't?  Just use them one at a time, so that they wear out before they rust.  At any rate, don't store them in the holders!

Storage: I remove the nib whenever I take a break, clean and dry it thoroughly and carefully, and put it in a box with my "active nibs".  When I want to use it again, install it in a holder.  When it wears out, I throw it away.
* Note - I ALWAYS take the nib out of the holder, clean it, and store it separately when I'm done, even for an hour or two; I NEVER let it sit in the holder.
* If I think it's going to be weeks or months until I use a nib again, I rub it with a little mineral oil before putting it in a "long term storage" box.
* I keep new nibs in a separate box and only take them out one at a time.

Cleaning Part 1: I'm kind of a neat freak about my tools.  I remove nibs, clean and dry them, and store them separate from the holders every time I use them.  At least once a week I clean everything (nibs, brushes, ruling pens, etc) in an ultra-sonic bath.  Usually plain water is enough, but if I've been using certain types of sumi or india inks or acrylics, I'll use a bit of ammonia to help dissolve the lacquers.  Brushes get a restorative shampoo with brush soap.
* If you must remove rust - DO NOT use sandpaper.  Soak the nib in WD-40 or Liquid Wrench, then use a soft cloth to wipe off the rust.  You'll have to re-prep the nib to remove the residue before you write with it again, but it's fine to leave it on for storage.  If that doesn't clear the rust, the nib is done.  If you abrade it with sandpaper, the ink will never flow off it quite the same again, and as you're noticing, the microscopic texturing will incline it to more rapid rusting.

Cleaning Part 2: Don't forget to clean the flange!  I make sure the flange of the holder is also clean and dry every time!  "Universal" straight holders with internal metal flanges too - make sure there's no moisture in there; those things are huge rust magnets. 

INK: If you use certain types of iron gall ink, your nibs are going to rust faster, because the "gall" that keeps the "iron" in suspension is a type of acid.  Some brands are more corrosive than others.  Diamine's "Registrar's Ink" is one of my favorite iron gall inks (made from the same formula they've been using since the 1800s), but even ONE day of use will visibly discolor a steel nib.  After that, they don't last long.  They say Fox and Quills inks are buffered so the don't corrode nibs; I long to try them!  Some sumi inks are also VERY corrosive - like Yasutomo's highly lacquered KF series ink (green bottle).  It's very shiny and very beautiful, but it will eat your nibs.  For that reason I prefer Moon Palace (still shiny), and others swear by the matte Yasutomo KY series (red bottle).

Finally - maybe try a different nib?  Because ultimately, ALL nibs wear out -- Vintage steel flex nibs are fantastic, but sometimes fragile and often expensive. Modern nibs (steel, bronze, blue, whatever) are cheaper and easier to source.  And coated nibs last longer.  Nikko and Zebra both make G nibs with a choice of chrome or titanium coatings.  They're medium flex, designed for drawing, and often recommended for Spencerian.  They're also cheap and plentiful - which keeps me practicing regularly and often, as I'm not trying to "save for best" because they're rare and/or expensive.  If you like more flex, there are lots of modern options that give very very good performance, but are "priced for practice" (as I like to think of them).

Maybe you'd be surprised by how many nibs active calligraphers go through when we're practicing or working often and regularly.  I mean, there's a reason you can buy nibs by the gross (and ink by the barrel)...

--yours truly, K

Offline Cyril Jayant

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2022, 06:55:30 PM »
Thank you, @K-2 !!!!!!

That is very mouthful one might say  ;D.. for me you have already given here whole essence of ritual of how to hit the nail. Now I know all I am doing is wrong. I have about or more than 50 strait pen holders. They are all with a nib. (mostly with different nibs) they are part of the new nibs I find/ or buy as a lot then keep one on a holder for discovering a type of quality writing they give me. So that holder becomes a kind of permanent one for some times. I never use the same type of nibs on several holders. ( Yes unless there are ones refurbished from a Bach so I want to use first to save the best    for later)
So none of these nibs removed cleaned and stored separately as you said. Now I understand  I am compliantly wrong and I am suddenly scared and need to looking into all of those holders too.
This habit too is associated with my oblique pens of which I was talking about.
Now I understand I have to remove all those nibs and clean/dry and store in a box. I like using WD40/ I have a can, but never used it for storing but for cleaning some rusty nibs corrosions.
I'll consider using "mineral oil" and WD40.

So I have to think of leaving all the Oblique holders clean and free when storing. I have found many of my straight-holder's nib sections are rusty. Now I see the origin of the problem. They all need to keep dry and clean of ink and water.
Your point in using a ULTRASONIC BATH is a practical method to clean pens and parts of sophisticate items. I need to invest in a cheap machine too. ( Noted and thank you ) 

Thank you for all the details of Ink and types of inks and their effect to ware-out the nibs. I am at the time using my own home made walnut ink for my  daily drills and practices . I learn that is the only ink keep the longevity of a nib better. I have many fountain pen inks too and I have also chosen just Sumi ink(Moon Palace ) as an alternative better  writing.
I might use an iron gail ink and definitely  use a cheap modern nib to work with that.  I like to try that "Diamine Registry" one day and use Zibra / Nikko G or any modern nibs from my sample collections I have some where.
It is a good point again not to sand-cleaning the nib. I have a very worn-out Sandpaper and it barely  feel sanding when I work on that. but I can see the rust is transferring onto the paper when you do it for long minutes. So I use Rubbing alcohol to clean the nib. that is how I do. As you say each nib has a technology  of metal coating on every nib to have a smooth flowing of ink while it works on writing to generate a variable line according to the pressure  ons use. So as for after sanding.. my writing, I don't  feel any change of quality of my line width difference  as all my writing are  on Mono Line  ;D at the time. 

""Maybe you'd be surprised by how many nibs active calligraphers go through when we're practicing or working often and regularly.  I mean, there's a reason you can buy nibs by the gross (and ink by the barrel)...""

This is an area that we Newbees have never known or unseen. True and am I ready for that??? Before that I have many more other  thought to tackle  fight with.
Understand why we need to buy Nibs by Gross or lots and it has also mentioned in older hand books and manuals also.

Dear K-2 I, really value your long kind thought and loooooooog explanations. It is so kind of you to put that time to share your experience. I am sure this will be very headful for many as well.
 Thank you and all My love joy and peace..

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2022, 08:24:59 PM »
I am not nearly as diligent as @K-2 in keeping my nibs and pen holders clean. Once I put a nib in, I donít take it out again until it wears out. I donít usually have a problem with rust (knock on wood). But this is what I do:

I only ďprepĒ the part of the nib that will be dipped in ink. I know lots of calligraphers like to pop the whole nib in their mouth (yuck) but one very good reason to not do that is that you are then removing the protective film from the rest of the nib.

When using the pen, I only dip the front part of the nib and carefully dip and wipe my nib as I work. When I finish a session, I just dip and wipe again being careful not to get too much water into the flange.

I hope that helps. I have had some nibs rust over time while sitting in the holder. But itís not been a problem where I couldnít use the nib or it affects the flange.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2022, 10:13:09 PM by Erica McPhee »
Truly, Erica
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Offline K-2

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2022, 09:00:15 PM »
Thanks for that addition, @Erica McPhee -- I am an admitted neat freak about keeping everything really clean all the time.  I'm betting though, that you also wear out your nibs faster than they can rust, despite having a light touch, because you do a lot of calligraphy.

I know this topic of "how long do nibs last?" comes up every so often on the forum:
https://theflourishforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=3776.0
https://theflourishforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=3508.0
https://theflourishforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=3768.msg50556#msg50556

@Cyril Jayant -- I bet we'll hear a lot of variability in cleaning and care regimes.  I too only prep the working end of the nib!  I forgot to mention that!

But even so - those universal straight holders with the metal flanges inside... it only takes a little bit of residual moisture to run down the in there when you put them up.  I'm even more obsessive about my broad edge nibs in straight holders, because no matter how careful I am, it always seems that some rinse water gets in there.  Also, the Mitchell nibs I like have a little flex and some complicated topography that can hang onto ink and water and shimmer particles, and can cross-contaminate inks if I'm not careful about getting them really clean.

Offline MaureenV

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2022, 09:53:06 AM »
For the metal flanges on pen holders, would it help to store them in a cup or jar of dry rice to draw out moisture? Or store them in a container with silica gel packets?

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2022, 10:02:53 AM »
For the metal flanges on pen holders, would it help to store them in a cup or jar of dry rice to draw out moisture? Or store them in a container with silica gel packets?
@MaureenV
Nice to see you here.

Probably not necessary.
Like Erica, I keep my nibs in the flanges until they wear out. On seldom used pens, that can be many months.
To remove a stubborn nib, spray a little windex and let sit for a minute or two, then extract. Occasionally, I'll need needle nosed pliers to pull it out, but rarely. Never had a nib I could not remove from the holder.

Offline K-2

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2022, 01:23:31 PM »
So interesting, @AnasaziWrites & @Erica McPhee -- If I leave my nibs in their holders, straight or oblique, but especially straight holders, even just overnight, I get rust on them!  They don't get stuck or anything, but there's a ring of rust wherever metal was touching metal.  Maybe that's what @Cyril Jayant is seeing on theirs too?

Now, I've been known to dip my pens into some fairly exotic things - like bleach, inks I cook up in the lab with my colleague in the Chem dept, liquid graphites, masking fluids, fluorescing inks, and high-flow acrylics....  So maybe I'm especially hard on my tools?  Maybe the trace residues in the rinse water are especially corrosive?  I even use two jars of rinse water, because I'm always concerned about that - I do an initial rinse in one to get whatever's on the nib off, wipe it with a cloth, then rinse it again in the other.

It's funny how I've never considered that before!  But also, as @Lucie Y noted in the Inktober thread.  I sort of make a lot of art.  Like whether or not it's Inktober, I sketch with ink every single day.  A "crow quill" nib for cross-hatch drawing might last me a week before I wear it out.  And I'm in some stage of designing and executing a calligraphy project nearly every day too.  Even broad edge nibs wear out eventually - especially those little flexy Mitchell #6 nibs that I like so much for doing Renaissance italics.

Apparently YMMV quite a lot!
--yours, K

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2022, 03:46:02 PM »
So interesting, @AnasaziWrites & @Erica McPhee -- If I leave my nibs in their holders, straight or oblique, but especially straight holders, even just overnight, I get rust on them!  They don't get stuck or anything, but there's a ring of rust wherever metal was touching metal.  Maybe that's what @Cyril Jayant is seeing on theirs too?

@K-2
You could try this. When I prepare a nib for its first use, I use pharmaceutical grade alcohol (99+% alcohol vs. the more common 70% rubbing alcohol) on a paper towel and rub it to remove any coating. The alcohol evaporates very quickly and virtually no water is involved. If the nib has a reservoir, I soak it in a cap full of the alcohol to reach places the paper towel can't reach. Looking at some decades old straight holders I have with steel interior flanges, no rust on the nibs.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2022, 10:23:01 AM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline K-2

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2022, 05:12:10 PM »
@AnasaziWrites - I use that 99% alcohol treatment when I prep pointed nibs, but I don't like putting the whole nib in to soak, because I like to leave to machining oils on the part that's going to be in contact with the flanges, so I usually put the working end of those in my mouth.

I think the big moment that water gets in there is when I dip-rinse the nibs.  Those Mitchells seat up so close up in the flanges of a straight holder, that it's virtually impossible for me to swish them in water (even carefully) without splashing a tiny drop or two up in the opening - especially if I'm using a lacquered sumi ink that's a little stickier.

It's also true that my favorite holders are... well, they're cheap.  Really cheap - like $1.60 worth of barely treated wood and metal flange.  Those metal flanges in there are certainly not quality metal, but if I'm diligent about pulling the nib out each time, and dabbing the water out of the opening, where the flanges are, they're fine; the nib stays fine; everything lasts a long time!  But if I don't.... then rust.

Offline Estefa

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2022, 07:13:44 PM »
I treat my nibs and holders like @Erica McPhee and @AnasaziWrites Ö I never had problems with rust, except when opening some antique boxes that had some rust as a surprise ;). But maybe is really a question of climate? I am sure a tropical climate might be harder regarding rust Ö?

Oh, but with standard straight holders, I definitely take out the nibs, as these really do rust in my experience! But itís a different metal than the flanges of oblique holders! Though I do have some antique straight holders with silver where you can leave the nib in without problems as long as itís really not dipped too deep, either in water or ink, if that makes sense ;).
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2022, 10:17:41 PM »
Ah ha! I think @Estefa has narrowed down the issue. Yes, straight holders do tend to rust more than obliques for me as well. Especially if I leave a broad edge in one. I wonder if water quality (alkaline vs acidic) has anything to do with it, too.
Truly, Erica
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Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2022, 10:34:20 AM »
It's also true that my favorite holders are... well, they're cheap.  Really cheap - like $1.60 worth of barely treated wood and metal flange.  Those metal flanges in there are certainly not quality metal, but if I'm diligent about pulling the nib out each time, and dabbing the water out of the opening, where the flanges are, they're fine; the nib stays fine; everything lasts a long time!  But if I don't.... then rust.
@K-2
Are these favorite holders straight holders, of modern manufacture?
And why are they your favorite holders?


Offline K-2

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2022, 03:41:57 PM »
@AnasaziWrites - Since my work is mostly in medieval paleography (with particular emphasis on experimental recreation), most of my work is done with broad-edge nibs in straight holders - I use these em penholders: https://www.paperinkarts.com/em.html.  And I see that the plain wood ones have gone up in price to $2.  horrors!

Why do I like them?   Well, they are priced for spreading around.  I have them stocked in my office, in my lab, in my studio, in my kitchen...  I always have one at hand, and I can bring them to presentations and workshops abroad and not worry about them going missing.

And when I need to demo something with my students, they can see that I'm not using different equipment than they are (they always think that if they had "better" equipment they might do better, so just using the same ones foreshortens that discussion).  And when water inevitably gets up into them and the flanges rust, or when I break off a flange while adjusting them with pliers, it's not a huge loss.  And it makes me really aggressive in adjusting them so they fit whatever nib I want them to fit - even those tiny crow or hawk quill nibs.  In fact, it's super easy to pull out the flange unit and replace it with a new one.

I like how the beech wood makes them feather-weight!  This is a personal preference, but I like a very light-weight pen.  I draw and write a lot, so have less weight to push around helps keep my hand from tiring.  I also like the diameter of the grip area (another very personal preference).  But as a matter of professional interest, it's also a good trainer for my students, because real feather quills and reed pens are even lighter, and the lightness of this penholder helps them make that transition.  And me too!  Lots of my "finished/presentation" work will be done with a quill, but all of the designing and preliminary drafting gets done with metal nibs in these holders.  I have a SUPER nice and beautiful one that @darrin1200 of Timber Elegance made for me, but it's longer and heavier, curvier and wider at the grip, and while I do use it for videos and photographs, I find it quite heavy to use for long stretches of time.

I like them because they are unvarnished - They're more durable. I have a couple nicer/fancier holders with a varnish on them, and try as I may to keep water off them, just a bit of moisture at the lip can eventually sneak under the varnish and cause it to crack.  And also, more importantly, I love the feel of the wood under my fingers. That natural bit of texture gives them a good grip - never slippery.  And although they get "dirty" with ink stains, I feel this makes them better looking - there's nothing quite as beautiful as a well used tool.

Thank you for coming to my TED-Talk about the glories of really cheap penholders.

Offline darrin1200

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Re: Solution for not getting PEN RUSTING.
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2022, 06:01:30 PM »
Most obliques have a flange made from brass. These generally wonít cause rust on nibs. However, liquid caught in the flange with the nib still in place, could cause rust on the nibs.
Straight holders are another story. The inserts are generally made of cheap steel. That combined with liquid and steel nibs can quickly have an oxidation (rust) effect. Diligence can help mitigate this.

@K-2 Thank you so much for the mention. I am glad my holder is finding good use in the spotlight.  ;)

Darrin McArthur
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