Fountain Pens · Uncategorized

RIP Conklin Duragraph :(

Here’s the thing about people who enjoy fountain pens – we often enjoy tinkering around with things, and if something is not working properly, we try to figure out what is wrong with it so we can fix it.  This has been the case with a forest green Conklin Duragraph I got about a year and a half ago.  In fact, it was featured in my last ink review.  To refresh your memory, here is that picture again:

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I absolutely love the pen – the way it looks, the way it feels, and it writes really well (though it didn’t write well out of the box – I originally had switched it out with a Goulet nib, and then I put another Conklin nib on it and did some realigning and smoothing to get it the way I like).  It’s a nice, wet writer and a joy to write with

However, I’ve had issues with this pen since I first got it.  Initially, it would dry up as I wrote – starting out laying a really nice, wet line, but acting as if the ink could not keep up with the nib and feed, and less than a page later the ink would be writing maybe two shades lighter than it had started.  Eventually I learned the trick of “priming” the feed by depressing the converter enough to allow a drop of ink fall out of the nib, then retracting the converter all the way.  Something about getting the air pressure right to create decent flow, and it seemed to work.  Problems solved, right?

Not so fast.  Not too long after that the pen developed some serious leaking issues.  I would often open the cap and ink would be EVERYWHERE, getting all over my fingers.  I tried things like reseating the nib, using drier inks, etc.  I went months without using this pen, thinking I’d “given up” on it, only to come back and tinker a bit more.  I took the converter out and used Standard International cartridges.  That’s when I noticed the leak was not coming from the nib itself, but from the seal with the converter.  I would unscrew the barrel and there would be ink all inside the pen.

I did some research and read that often leaks between cartridge/converter and pen happen when there is a crack at the post that sticks up at the back of the nib unit, which is what punctures ink cartridges and forms the seal.  Thinking I had finally discovered my problem, I ordered a new nib unit a few weeks ago.  I was hopeful that all of my problems had been solved, and for awhile, it seemed like that was the case.  But last night, I noticed that ink was seeping around the threads of the converter, and as I flushed the pen out, I was getting ink all over my hands from where the ink was leaking out of the sides.  It seems that the new nib unit did nothing to fix the issue.  I put a bit of silicone grease around the threads of the converter, and decided to just stick with the threaded converter from now on.  Unfortunately, even silicone grease doesn’t seem to help 😦

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This is what the inside of the barrel looks like.  This is actually quite tame, but you can see the ink pooling up the sides of the converter, despite this being a threaded converter and despite my liberal use of silicone grease on those threads.

At this point, I’ve decided to give up on this pen.  It will be relegated to decoration only, I guess.  I suspect there is an air leak of some sort that a new nib unit didn’t fix – perhaps there is a crack in the section that I just can’t see.  My other Conklin Duragraph does not have this issue (though I am hesitant to use anything but threaded converters after my issues with this one, despite the fact that even threaded converters do not stop the leaking).  It’s just such a shame that such a gorgeous looking pen has so many issues.  I would look into sending it of for repairs, but honestly I don’t want to put any more money in this pen.  I’ve already spent enough on parts trying to fix this pen that for the money, I could have bought a MUCH nicer pen.  I’m sure I’ll come back to it some day, but for now, I’m cleaning the ink out and storing it.

In case you’re wondering, it is currently inked with Diamine Shimmering Oasis. I’ve already written out an ink review for it (using this pen) and it will be appearing on Inky Mondays in the next few weeks!  🙂

Do you have a pen that you want to love, but has just given you nothing but headaches since you got it?  What were the issues you dealt with?

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