Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Preppy cartridge fountain pen converted to an eyedropper

After seeing the Preppy's over at Unposted today I was inspired to finally post about one of my favorite things to do: Convert my fountain pens from cartridges to eyedroppers. Ready? Let's go...all you really need is the above items and a cloth to clean things up should things get messy. You don't actually need two inks, I just decided on a blend.

Here is what most people are worried about, but actually the easiest part of the process. Go to Lowes or Home Depot... in the plumping section they should have something called "waterproof grease" Ask the guy in the orange vest, he knows where the hide it... its only a couple of bucks and it will last you a year. Act cool like you are going to go home and tackle that pesky water leak in your master bathroom. Use works like " Grease trap" and "Stop Valve." Pull your pants down a little in the back, and bend over a lot... it helps. Trust me.

Take your finger, dip it in the grease and run it around the threads of the nib. A light coating will take care of things and seal it up nicely.

Here's a better shot of how thin of a coating you can get away with. (click for larger view) Gently set this aside, let's grab some ink.... its time for the wet work.

So take your pen body and start dumping some ink in it, an eye dropper, or a squeeze bottle or anything that you can draw ink up with and fit in the end will work. I live dangerously- so I go for a syringe. You will be amazed how much ink you can get in here at the end of the day.

Screw the nib back on the body and IMPORTANT! Wipe down the pen for a minute or two, some of the grease will seep out of the threads and just wipe it off, it will not kill you. The job of the grease is to keep the ink in the pen.

You now have an eyedropper. The only maintenance you need to do is whenever you add ink, just run a little grease around the threads again. There you are.

Here's another blend... Some Private Reserve Midnight blues and some J Hervin Vert Olive. Heavy on the Olive. This whole process only works on fountains that do not have any holes in the body, the Preppy's and the Petits are great, fun pens to do this with. Enjoy.


brian said...

Where do you get your syringes from?

Good Pens said...

Amazon, around .17 each plus shipping, it's through a vet supply company.

The Missive Maven said...

So detailed and awesome - I'm gonna take the plunge with the grease and go for it!!

I use the syringe from The Write Fill Kit sold by the Pear Tree Pen company.

Matthew said...

Thanks sooo much for this! I've been wondering how to do it for a while.

brian said...

Thanks! Going to order some up now.

stevlight said...

Just remember that fountain pens with metal screw sections or metal anywhere the ink will be in contact with in the barrel are not good candidates for eyedroppers because the metal can react with the ink and rust and clog the pen. Wierd because the nib is metal and always in contact with ink but that is the warning given many times over on the Fountain Pen Network!

a frog named purl said...

great! i have been looking for an alternative to ordering silicone grease online. it's good to know i can hop over to home depot and get some there.

Anonymous said...

how good would be vaseline ?

Sam said...

The grease is hard to get hold of in the UK, so I'm going to give this a try with PTFE (thread seal tape), which theoretically will do the same job. Keep your fingers crossed for a lack of inky fingers when I'm done! ;)

Unknown said...

I would avoid the Vaseline—it's a petroleum jelly.

For the same reason I suggest not using the Danco Waterproof Grease. The Danco Silicone Grease can be found in the same section of Home Depot right next to the Waterproof Grease and costs at most 25¢ more. The container looks exactly the same, but the Waterproof Grease contains petroleum-baased grease which will react badly with ebonite pens (black hard rubber).

The Waterproof Grease recommended here might be safe for pens made of other materials, but for two bits, why take the risk?

rachel carpenter said...

awesome and thanks! am now wondering about the exact meaning of the word "eyedropper" in the context of fountain pens... seems like the main thing is that the barrel holds a whole lot more ink than those dinky cartridges - AND you don't have keep buying said dinky cartridges. can't wait to try w/some noodlers.

kenship said...

Seth, I'm going to follow your instructions to fill up the whole pen. My question though, is that have you tried pull the nib out? I want to do that because I want a clean feeder chamber and wonder if it can be done.

Thanks in advance

Unknown said...

I use a #5 o-ring rather than the grease. Also found in the plumbing supplies are of the store. A little cleaner that way. Or do both the grease and the o-ring for an extra leak resistant pen.

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