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Old 12-28-2019, 12:47 PM
Artanzo Artanzo is offline
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Exclamation Help to clean ink nibs

Hi all,


I have a question for people who work with Indian inks and nibs, how do you clean the nibs during the drawing process ?

Personally I use a bit of water and a soft rag, but it's difficult to clean completely the nibs and they become clogged thus the strokes become irregular.


I tried also alcohol but I'm wondering if it may damage the nib surface.



Any ideas ?


Thank you for your help
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Old 12-28-2019, 01:27 PM
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vmrs vmrs is offline
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Re: Help to clean ink nibs

I use water as well and a rag that doesn't leave lint (an old 100% cotton t-shirt). I clean the nib constantly to avoid clogs. Some people use alcohol and there are also store bought cleaning solutions but I think those are basically alcohol as well.

Some people even use ammonia but that is an awful smell! And one you don't want on your paper.

I have to say, I am bad at keeping nibs for long, I buy them in bulk.

I was sidetracked a couple weeks ago and left a nib with a bunch of ink on it. I saw this question and took the opportunity to try and clean it. The first thing I tried was a "Wet One". (those are disposable hand cleaning cloths, we use on picnics or such) and wouldn't you now it the dried ink came off very easily! So that's good to know.

Hope that helps, if you have some older nibs, you could experiment with various cleaners and let us know what works for you.

Your website and drawings are absolutely charming and creative!
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Old 12-28-2019, 02:02 PM
blackandwhite blackandwhite is offline
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Re: Help to clean ink nibs

Washing soda (soda ash) in water dissolves Indian ink, so I would use it to clean the dried nibs. Use about 1 part of soda to 10 parts of warm water. It works also for dried acrylic inks.
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Old 12-28-2019, 03:11 PM
Artanzo Artanzo is offline
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Re: Help to clean ink nibs

Quote:
Originally Posted by vmrs
I use water as well and a rag that doesn't leave lint (an old 100% cotton t-shirt). I clean the nib constantly to avoid clogs. Some people use alcohol and there are also store bought cleaning solutions but I think those are basically alcohol as well.

Some people even use ammonia but that is an awful smell! And one you don't want on your paper.

I have to say, I am bad at keeping nibs for long, I buy them in bulk.

I was sidetracked a couple weeks ago and left a nib with a bunch of ink on it. I saw this question and took the opportunity to try and clean it. The first thing I tried was a "Wet One". (those are disposable hand cleaning cloths, we use on picnics or such) and wouldn't you now it the dried ink came off very easily! So that's good to know.

Hope that helps, if you have some older nibs, you could experiment with various cleaners and let us know what works for you.

Your website and drawings are absolutely charming and creative!




Thank you very much for this detailed answer. I'm relieved that I'm not the only one to be faced to this issue, the problem is that I use expensive fine nibs and I can't throw them away easily. And you are right, ammonia is a bit toxic and dangerous for the calligraphy paper, so maybe just using a cleaning solution can be the solution, I just need to find the right one.

Thanks !
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Old 12-28-2019, 03:12 PM
Artanzo Artanzo is offline
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Re: Help to clean ink nibs

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackandwhite
Washing soda (soda ash) in water dissolves Indian ink, so I would use it to clean the dried nibs. Use about 1 part of soda to 10 parts of warm water. It works also for dried acrylic inks.




Thank you for your answer ! I can try washing soda too, have you tried the liquid black soap ? I have some but its sticky and not very convenient.
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Old 12-29-2019, 04:36 AM
indraneel indraneel is offline
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Re: Help to clean ink nibs

If other stuff does not work, I use a razor blade. It is not as bad as it sounds because the ink often peels off.
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Old 12-29-2019, 06:18 AM
Artanzo Artanzo is offline
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Re: Help to clean ink nibs

Quote:
Originally Posted by indraneel
If other stuff does not work, I use a razor blade. It is not as bad as it sounds because the ink often peels off.




Good idea, especially if the ink has completely dried. But does it damage the nib ? I use flexible nibs that seem kinda fragile.
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:27 PM
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Re: Help to clean ink nibs

I used 70% rubbing alcohol to clean my drafting table today. It worked really well! Took even older ink off easily.
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Old 12-31-2019, 12:55 PM
Artanzo Artanzo is offline
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Re: Help to clean ink nibs

Quote:
Originally Posted by vmrs
I used 70% rubbing alcohol to clean my drafting table today. It worked really well! Took even older ink off easily.




Thank you for the tip
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:03 AM
indraneel indraneel is offline
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Re: Help to clean ink nibs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artanzo
Good idea, especially if the ink has completely dried. But does it damage the nib ? I use flexible nibs that seem kinda fragile.

Never managed to damage a nib yet, but I'm also known for being too slow with everything If I need to clean the channel, sometimes I end up with a wetter nib. Cheaper blades are thinner. I've done this frequently with crowquills with no problems. The hunt 100/101 etc can usually be kept clean during use with a wet rag, but I haven't damaged them with a razor blade either.

Consider this... the tip of the nib is most delicate, but can be easily cleaned during use with a wet rag. The rest of the nib is stiff enough to be scraped with a blade.

Maximum damage occurs during storage due to rust. I use a tiny airtight kitchen container with lots of silica gel in it.
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Old 01-01-2020, 12:25 PM
pedlars pen pedlars pen is offline
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Re: Help to clean ink nibs

I find that the real damage to a dip pen when using india ink is when it builds up between the tines & the fineness of line slowly broadens & the feed slows
The best way I have found to clean a pen is to have an old tooth brush in a small glass of water & give it a clean every couple of ink dips.
Ultimately if we are using the most sensitive & delicate of flexible pens & we use it to it's fullest advantage , then we have to accept that it has all too brief a life
Mike
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Old 01-01-2020, 05:27 PM
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Re: Help to clean ink nibs

Quote:
Originally Posted by indraneel
Maximum damage occurs during storage due to rust. I use a tiny airtight kitchen container with lots of silica gel in it.


That's a good idea. I usually put a bit of olive oil on them, if I'm not going to use them for awhile but silicon gel packets makes way more sense.
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