Friday, February 6, 2009

Refilling your Pilot Varsity Disposible Fountain Pen

After a few requests from my review earlier this week of the Varsity, I decided to post a presto- chango ink change how to of sorts. It was just about dead anyway so let's breathe some new life into the patient.

Here we have the tools prepped for surgery. You can get away with an eyedropper, but what's fun about that? Go for the danger of the syringe. Oh and I don't condone drinking and operating, but sometimes it's needed.

The secret is to not scratch the crap out of your nib, use a rag, or plastic covered pliers and give it a gentle tug, this pen actually gives a refreshing pop to let you know it's out. Now go clean up all the ink you just spilled if you were not patient enough to wait till your pen was dead.

Rinse in warm water, rinse till it runs clear and then rinse it for another 5 minutes. Trust me. After rinsing--- dry thoroughly with paper towels, or I use an old jar stuffed with paper towels that I put the nib point down in. Acts like a sponge. Make sure all parts including the cap are rinsed clean. No need to pull the metal nib off of the feed, just rinse it all as is.

Because I only have two hands, I cant shoot and fill, but I have 2 cc's exactly of ink here in the body. The nib goes on the same way it came out. I had to put a little more pressure on the way in, but it popped in and sealed nicely.

Without hesitation, the ink started flowing and I have a brand new disposable fountain pen that I won't be disposing of. It's a new good pen. Oh, and I recycled the bottle my beer was in so that's two green things for the day.

More importantly... the Boston Red Sox equipment truck leaves for Florida today. Suddenly it's not so cold outside. Have a great weekend and I will have a fresh pen on Monday.


The Missive Maven said...

I was JUST wondering about how one really does get that nib off, and actually did a lot of web searching on this earlier this week. Thanks for posting the clearest explanation (with photos! cool!) I found on the web (even better than explanations on The Fountain Pen Network). And, I'm tickled that the porter was labeled as a required tool. I'll be trying this at home, kids, this weekend.

PA bike rider said...

Great write up !!!

Nrepose said...

Great job! I have seen other sites that used some sort of intricate vacuum method. I think your method will work much better. Nr

dowdyism said...

Killer post Seth - love it!

Speedmaster said...

Nicely done! ;-)

Jess said...

Wow! This is great I was just planning on getting the Pilot Varsity Fountain Pen but was turned off since I couldn't refill it. Great post, :D

Nosferatuia said...

Great explanation and pictures! :)

Kim said...

Oh yeah!! I did this tonight and put Noodler's Baystate Blue in mine, and it worked like a charm. 2ml, and it writes just great. I'm hoping I can trust the seal on the feed and I am thinking I will handle with care for a few days before just, say, tossing it in my purse.

The Old Geezer said...

Works great! BTW the feed tube and nib from a Petit1 fits the Varsiry and V Pens.

John Johnston said...

Very nice how-to article! The pics certainly help. I've stayed away from the Varsity Pilot since I wasn't interested in a disposable fountain pen. Now, I may have to give it a go.

Rick OzTown said...

Where do you get your refill ink? I usually just use blue and black, so those are the two I'm most interested in.

And the comment on the Petit1 pen point and feed tube interested me. Where do you get those? What brand/store/price?

Nico said...

Thanks so much for the article and especially the pictures. I still wonder if there is an easier way to do this. But, until then, thanks for sharing with everyone. Especially in such an amusing way. BTW, do you think a brown ale will work in place of a porter?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

My method of filling the V pen is to place the empty pen upside down in a cup of boiling water for 30 seconds to heat the air in the pen. Then quickly dive the pen nib into the ink and leave for 2 minutes of cooling time. The pen will fill about 1/3 Repeat this step twice more and the pen will be about 3/4 full. Good enough for further use. Clean up spillage with water and paper towell.

Anonymous said...

Genius James!

Unknown said...

I like the boiling water method :)

Here's a method I used to create a vacuum in the pen using a syringe:

lightspirit said...

For Rick Ozgood... You can find ink on Ebay all the time. If you want a local source, try office supply, art supply and school supply stores near university. Any major brand should work for ya. Aurora, diamine, Cross, Parker, Sheaffer, Montblanc, Noodlers or Private Reserve.

Anonymous said...

I know this isn't a fountain pen, but I refilled a pilot V Ball grip pen using the dip in hot water method. I didn't get as much ink into the comapartment as I would have liked. Maybe I wasn't patient enough for the cooling step, but it's nice to know I don't have to throw those pens out either. I removed the whole ink cartridge by unscrewed it from the back half of the pen and used noodler's polar blue. So far so good.

Unknown said...

I now fill the pen by removing the nib with a pair of pliers (grip it tight and it clicks out without damaging the nib. Likewise to replace it.

Unknown said...

I used the vacuum method with a syringe. I used a 5ml/cc BD branded syringe and approximately 2cc of Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black. The syringe was a little too big to get a tight fit on the pen so I used a small piece of surgical tubing as a sleeve around the first 1/2" of the clear part of the pen. A little pushing and pulling on the plunger of the syringe and the pen was full. Just make sure you remove the pen while you are pulling a little vacuum on the plunger. This will suck the ink into the pen clearing the internal ridges. No surgery needed at all!!!!! The whole process took about 5 minutes including cutting the end off the 5ml syringe.

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Unknown said...

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Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phillip King said...

Awesome article! I found reference to your write up on Economy Pens < > as I was JUST sitting here thinking, "Aw, man... My Varsity is empty, and it's a shame to throw it away..." Now I shan't!

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