De-Clogging an Old Pen (I Missed You, Ole Faithful!)


This Sheaffer Lifetime Senior is one of my favorite pens. It’s also my oldest pen, being made in the 1920’s. It’s a wonderful and reliable writer, and it looks properly gorgeous in its beat up kind of way. That’s why I was so sad to notice several weeks ago that it would suddenly stop writing after a few lines. It was intermittent. Sometimes I get to finish half a page without incident, sometimes it dries up after a few lines. I flossed the tines, flushed it several times, all to no avail. It would write well at first, and then it would just suddenly stop.

I looked through the loupe and noticed that it has little bits of ink gunk coming out of the tines. I thought that it’s having a bad reaction to the new ink that I tried. Perhaps I did not clean out the last ink I loaded it with? I flushed it some more but the tiny bit of ink gunk would always reappear, and always at the end of the nib.

Some of my friends suggested that I flush it with warm, soapy water. So I did that and thought that maybe i’ll soak the inside of the cap too. Lo and behold, I saw what looks like a layer of dried up ink in the inner cap. I tried to scrape that off with cotton buds but it looks like i need to soak it more and scrape off the sides too.


I did a preliminary cleaning and viola! It’s writing well again. šŸ™‚ There’s still a bit of gunk left on the inner cap, so I’ll keep at it until I’m satisfied that it’s completely clean.

My takeaways from this experience…

  • DON’T submerge a lever-filler vintage pen in an ultrasonic bath
  • Replace the original sac with a silicone sac (I will do this soon, promise)
  • Clean out ink spills from the inner cap too
  • Don’t panic, pen friends are great resources for times like this. šŸ™‚

I’m happy to have you back, Ole Faithful! I missed you a lot.


Ink is Diamine Wagner, journal is from Elias Notebooks

As you can see, a whole page and a quarter without any incident, and more after taking this photo. šŸ™‚ Yay!


Doodle here...

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