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Old 11-17-2014, 01:28 PM
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AnnaE AnnaE is offline
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Care of your Nibs

I enjoy using traditional steel and crow quill nibs with pen holders. What is the best way to take care of these and make them last longer? Should they be washed afterwards to get the ink off or just wiped? Is there a special cleaner or a special way to clean them?
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:40 PM
katwalk katwalk is offline
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Re: Care of your Nibs

I guess it sort of depends on the inks you use with your pens, I tend to use India Ink and find that I need to clean my nibs at least once (sometimes more) during a drawing session as the ink can dry on the nib even while I am working and cause a build up that thickens my lines, and of course I always clean them at the end of each session. I wouldn't say I wash them though I have been known to put them in a jar with ink cleaning solution, if you do just make sure you dry them off with a cloth or paper towel (I usually use paper towels) lately I just wipe them down with a damp towel that has been moistened with an ink cleaning solution. And if the ink is caked on I will use a needle to scrape ink off, though I have a feeling that isn't an esp. good idea as it can damage tips of pens. But no nib is going to last forever, just use is going to wear them down.

There was a thread this summer where a formula to make your own ink cleaning solution was posted by Jeffro Jones, we were discussing Technical pens but it should work for nibs also, let me see if I can post a link to the thread, message itself in toward the end of the first page.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show....php?t=1355275

Don't know what others have to say though so I will be watching this thread.
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:38 PM
Martin1974 Martin1974 is offline
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Re: Care of your Nibs

Ah, good question and great tips! Thank you both.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:53 PM
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Jeffro Jones Jeffro Jones is offline
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Re: Care of your Nibs

Quote:
Originally Posted by katwalk
I guess it sort of depends on the inks you use with your pens, I tend to use India Ink and find that I need to clean my nibs at least once (sometimes more) during a drawing session as the ink can dry on the nib

Kathy makes a good point, and even within the Indian Ink family, each brand is different. Some are very dense, and some have more shellac (the waterproofing agent). There are now acrylic inks too, which of course contain acrylic resin as the waterproofing agent, which can also cause buildups on the nib. I keep a small container with some pen cleaning fluid to clean off any excess of dried ink that occurs while I'm drawing. The test is, is it affecting your line? If your line seems to become unwieldy, a quick clean might be in order.

This is the cleaning fluid recipe that Kathy was referring too:
In a large jug, mix:

3-1/4 cups water
1 cup ammonia
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (I used methylated spirits)
1 tsp. dish washing liquid.

Store in a plastic bottle.
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:43 AM
indraneel indraneel is offline
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Re: Care of your Nibs

I should point out that if you use a cleaning liquid, be sure to dry the nibs immediately afterwards (possibly with a hair dryer). Nibs rust much more easily with cleaning solutions than with ink... I'm not sure why...
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:47 AM
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Re: Care of your Nibs

I usually use non-waterproof ink, and I find that frequent wiping with a paper towel keeps the nib in good shape. But I am thankful for the information on the homemade pen cleaner, I might make up a batch.
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:49 PM
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Re: Care of your Nibs

It is handy especially if you use technical pens a lot. The main failing with tech pens is setting them aside for a few days, or forgetting to clean them before storage. Then a good soaking in cleaning fluid might be in order
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:53 PM
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AnnaE AnnaE is offline
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Re: Care of your Nibs

Thank you all for your responses, they are very helpful.

Kathy, I do find that I need to wipe the nib every so often while I'mk drawing. I use india ink most of the time. At the moment, I'm experimenting with drawing on Dura-Lar (clear acetate). I love the clean, crisp lines but the nib has to be meticulously clean, or the ink stops flowing completely.

Jeffro, thank you for the recipe for the home made cleaner. I'll make some up to keep on hand. I have some acrylic ink that I stopped using because I wasn't comfortable with the way it dried and made a film on the nib. I'll try keeping it clean with the solution. I'll try it on my Rapidographs as well.

Once again, thank you all for your feedback. Great discussion.
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